Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Petition in Orbit!

My petition to save the beautiful natural habitat and wildlife at Jabre Peak - the highest point in the State of Paraíba - has today passed the 9,000 signatures mark! PTL! It would appear that things are starting to have the possibly desired effect as I received information today that the top environmental council set up to defend nature discussed the question and it was made clear at the meeting that the State Governor is organizing action. Please keep praying.

I had a good discussion with Philip this morning on this year's EAB/ACEV Youth Conference to be held at Green Pastures in October whilst we will be in the UK. It was a very good chat with some clear plans drawn up to aim at for the conference. Please pray.

I have done some more work today on preparations for what to say and present around the churches in the UK in the autumn.

Tomorrow I am going to inaugurate the well at Sousa for the gypsies. It is the largest gypsy community in Brazil.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Petition takes off!

Last night's service in Patos was great. A real blessing. The sermon on "To Fast or not to Fast? - that is the question"! was from Mark 2:18-22 and the answer some are asking me for can only be given in a longish sermon really. But certainly not like a show-biz act like the Pharisees but sometimes yes as a private discreet devotional exercise.

This morning I was out to Green Pastures early for exercise and discussions. It was good.

The petition in defense of the natural environment at the highest point in the State of Paraíba has really taken off today so as to double signatues in a day to over 3,000 thus far! PTL!

Please pray for the EAB finances, as I have been told today that our contingency back-up fund is down to nought!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

EAB/ACEV's Got Talent!

Last night's special service, uniting almost all of our church ministries, was very good. The church was packed out on a Saturday night with people dressed in regional dress and taking part with songs, dances, poems, testimonies and a short play. It was wonderful! Afterwards there were the typical regional foods made from maize for all. You can see the kid's choreography group below with our granddaughters Bia and Alice 2nd and 3rd from left.

I finally got my sermon preparation done yesterday afternoon ready for tonight. The title is "To Fast or not to Fast? That is the question"! based on Mark 2:18-22 in my 7th sermon in the series in this Gospel. We value your prayers.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Word + Radios

The Bible study went so well last night. I am giving an increasing amount of opportunity to different ones to take part with short words early in the service and last night we had 4 young people bring words! PTL! Rayla, Brenda, Lucas Silva and Jonatas. Wonderful! The whole meeting was a real blessing. 

Today I did three radio interviews. Two in the morning and one this evening. There's never a dull moment!

Tomorrow night we have a special big Saturday night meeting with all the ministries coming together for praise, fellowship and food! Everyone seems very upbeat about it. PTL!

Philip got back from India late afternoon. He must be exhausted. He brought me some pencils back from India made of Neem tree wood. The Neem trees' origins are in India.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Preparation for Euro Trip

I worked a lot on preparing for our trip to Europe in 2 months time yesterday. It's always a challenge to try and figure out what to speak about and show in our presentations as there is so much to chose from. I remember in my youth producing a super-8 film which lasted over an hour! That was crazy! We learn by our mistakes! So I am now in the process of getting my mind round all we have going here in terms of churches and projects and then chosing just a little bit of this to present. All suggestions are welcome - not that we are in a position to guarantee anything at this stage, but I always consider suggestions and put them in the mix to see what comes out at the end. We value your prayers.

Tonight is Bible study night so I am preparing for this too.

Philip, I am glad to say, is flying back from India today and should be back in Patos tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The battle is hot!

We would appreciate your prayers and support for our campaign in defence of the most beautiful area in our region: Jabre Peak - the highest point in the State of Paraíba. Owing to its height the vegetation is different with a more humid atmosphere and thus the fauna is richer too. However the promised protection for this very special area (promised in the State Government decree of 2002!) has not been forthcoming. Hence we have lots of illegal and enormous antenas on top of the peak, ruining its beauty. We also have hunting and trapping for later selling of wildlife totally out of control, logging is also occurring as is the proliferation of rubbish by the visitors, hunters etc.

The battle is hot on the matter as I have had discussions with the State Governor and County authorities. There are vested interests in the status quo from some quarters. So to increase pressure on the Government to ACT I started an online petition last night which already has 250 signatures. Please help us by signing the online petition no matter where you live if you love God's creation and believe it is right to defend it. All you need is to give your name and email to sign the online form. 


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

I trod on a Snake

This morning's Green Pasture's walk saw me engaged in two snake encounters close up. Clearly snakes-on-the-move time is here again. The first was a second encounter with a 6 foot Black Snake (Pseudoboa nigra) which I had seen at the weekend. 

Not more than about a hundred metres from this encounter something a bit more complex occured as I trod on a highly dangerous Coral Snake which I hadn't noticed on the ground as I was looking for a bird in the tree Tarcísio and I were under. Tarcíscio saw it all happen but it was so quick that it was all over in seconds. The snake wrapped round my boot and as I walked on got loose and I then saw it disappearing down a hole in the ground. This is why I always walk in the bush in boots and jeans as it gives you necessary protection.

The church youth's special programme to coincide with the St. John's Festival here, with its heavy drug, drink and promiscuity, is going very well. How wonderful to see them all in church having fun last night and tonight there is more. It's no good just telling kids not to do wrong. You've got to give them good alternatives!

Our campaign to get the drunk drivers' situation here taken seriously is finally paying dividends. The police have really got their act together at this festival and many have been arrested. This has certainly saved lives.

Tomorrow is St. John's Day which is the big festival in Brazil's north-east, so as things always happen on the eve of the day (e.g. Christmas Eve) so tonight promises to be noisy and long!

Monday, 22 June 2015

I won the pizza, but Louisa & Tiago ate it!

Saturday night's wedding went off lovely. I conducted the wedding held in a new restaurant's party area made for these sort of events and my loyal granddaughter Louisa sang beautifully accompanied by her boyfriend Tiago. Normally at these events Philip and I have a private guess as to what time the bride will actually be at the entrance to the church or whatever, to start the proceedings. Whoever gets nearest is bought a pizza by the other! 

Well... as Philip is in India I challenged Louisa and Tiago to maintain the tradition as of course the bride never turns up on time! For the 7.30 kick-off Tiago (inexperienced in the field!) went for 8.10, I went for 8.30 and Louisa for 9.00. The bride was ready to roll at 8.35 (a mere one hour and five minutes late!) so I was nearest and won the pizza. However as Louisa sang so well I paid for her and her boyfriend to go and have a pizza together after the wedding!

The service this Sunday night in Patos was great. Liz brought a great spontaneous word early in the service which set the tone for the rest. PTL! The worship was good, the church was full and into overflow mode, the sermon went great and one decision was made at the end. I also dedicated a little child - Miguel. You can see the child and family with me below.

Saturday, 20 June 2015


I'm off to do a wedding in a couple of hours and Louisa (bless her heart) is going to do the songs accompanied by her boyfriend Tiago. This couple are my great supporters in the mid-week meetings when Philip is away as Sacha works in the evenings. Louisa always is there. A chip off the old block! The wedding isn't even anyone from the church but the groom is a brother of a deaconess - so out of consideration for her I accepted the wedding on top of everything else I have on.

I finished preparing my sermon this morning for tomorrow in Patos. It's sermon 6 in my series in Mark's Gospel and talks about the Call of Matthew: 1. The challenge of the Call (after all he was giving up a lot more than the fishermen!). 2. The Grace of God in the Call (traitor to apostle!). 3. The Cure of the Call (the best doctor at work!). - For a small fee I'd let my friend Michael Rollo borrow these 3 points!!

Baby granddaughter Amanda Ivy is steadily improving. PTL! She had her weekly weigh-in yesterday with the paediatrician's and is over 2.7kg now and should reach 3 kg at next Friday's visit calculating by the rate of daily weight increase she is now into. We are very happy. Thanks for your prayers and please keep praying!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Very hectic week

That was the week that was! I've been so busy that I can't even remember all I've done. I just know that lots of church issues were initially sorted plus more work on EAB's Action Child Project.

Then on Wednesday I was invited by the State Government to a meeting in the morning on the environment and I went. I was the first to ask a question about the criminal devastation and hunting going on up in the mountain in the beautiful area of Jabre Peak - the highest point in the State. Since then I have been leading a campaign with the Stae Governor to change things and I have had some good exchanges of views with him and we seem to be making progress. Please pray.

I gave the Bible Study last night and that went great and the meeting was followed by umpteen meetings with different people. I had a meeting today with one of our pastors and have been preparing my sermon for Sunday on the Call of Levi/Matthew from Mark 2. This is sermon number 6 in the Mark's Gospel series.

Now it's the noisy St. John's Festival time in Patos. May the Lord help us between now and next Wednesday!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Baby Amanda Ivy getting stronger

I took photos of out little baby granddaughter this morning. Praise the Lord she is slowly but surely growing and getting stronger. Thanks for your prayers.

Our thanks go to Jean, all who took part and all who supported the Concert for EAB on Saturday at Basingstoke which raised £300 for the work here. PTL!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Great Service

The service in Patos tonight was really good. The church was full but not the overflow hall. The P&W was lovely and the sermon really rocked! 2 decisions were made for Christ at the end, including a man of about 40 who was last in church in our Sunday School as a kid of 7 years of age, having been living in a poor little house near the church. He is now bubbling and says he's back with his wife and child! PTL!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Action Child, water shortages etc.

Thursday's meeting of the Action Child leaders went very well and lasted about 4 hours. We did a complete overall evaluation of the different schools and set things in motion (I think and I hope) for the speeding up of the making available of new children for sponsorship with EAB oversees. I sent 4 this week to the UK coordinator Pauline and now hope to be able to send more next week.

Following this meeting we had another on the the new project in a very complicated and dangerous borough of Patos where drugs reign supreme! We discussed some necessary adjustments to the project and praise God that thus far things are going well.

After lunch there was a general meeting of all our project coordinators. The work of God marches on!

Yesterday I was preparing my Sunday sermon (to be completed today) and went to Green Pastures to visit our school there and also to work on ways to cope with the new horrific drought. We have water from wells which is fine for certain things but is too brackish for others. We have discovered that another well little used and some distance from the centre of Green Pastures has good quality non-brackish water so we are working on running a pipeline to have access to this.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Action Child meeting

Liz, Sacha and I are just off to an EAB/ACEV Action Child leadership meeting to discuss how things are going in this year of transition for the programme and what can be done to speed the process up and make things flow smoother. Leaders are coming from Campina Grande and Imaculada and meeting at the Projects Centre next to the church in Patos.

Yesterday I dispatched to Pauline the first new children for this year for sponsorship. All 4 are either nursery or year one kids as the new Action Child system requires. Your prayer are valued.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Patos church leadership meeting

The meeting of the Patos church leadership team was very worthwhile last night. It lasted about 2 hours and covered a wide range of topics. On July 1st we restart our church planting endeavours in the borough where we have our school. Please pray for the Jatobá borough church plant project.

The team in the photo: the ladies from the left are Marcia (projects team member), Marah Danielle (Social Worker), Deborah Maria (Deaconess) & Liz. (The men from the left) Ricardo (3rd year Bible School student), Philip & me just squeezing in!

Other topics covered included some counselling issues in progress, youth leader, a request for someone who had left the church last year to return etc. It was a good positive united meeting. PTL!

Celebration of Musical Talent for EAB!

A Celebration of Musical Talent in aid of EVANGELICAL ACTION BRAZIL. This Saturday at 3pm at Christ Church Chineham Basingstoke. Tickets £5 children free. Refreshments included. Everyone welcome! Further details from the organizer Jean Medcraft-North at medcraftnorth@sky.com

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


The communion service on Sunday went particularly well - especially the sermon - because it was a sermon with a difference. I asked the church to give me the words that come to their minds at a breaking of bread service and preached on the spot on the 13 words they gave me plus one which I added. It was a risky thing to do as it might have not taken off - but it did! PTL! Some people gave rave reviews afterwards and said it was the best communion service in years! The words the church gave me were Love, Pact, the Blood of Jesus, Gratitude, Salvation, Last supper, Forgiveness, Communion, Reconciliation, Hope, Commitment, the return of Christ, Worship - and I added the Cross.

Yesterday (Monday) we had a special thanksgiving service for the graduation of a young woman in our church who has just become a physiotherapist. These events are always great opportunities to share the Gospel with people who do not usually come to church. There were at least 50 people there on a Monday night who I had never seen before. PTL!

Tonight we have a Patos church leadership meeting.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


Thursday's Bible study went well. I am encouraging people to voluntarily bring short words in the earlier part of the service and this is really taking off. This week we had a young man called Joely and a married man called Dedé. Really good. PTL! It is a very participative service with different folk singing too plus good times of prayer. The Thursday night service is now getting between 40 and 50 present and it is varied and lively.

This weekend the Singles/Divorced Fellowship is running a food stall at the annual united church outreach in Patos. The stall serves also as the central point of focus for our church and is being a real blessing.

Philip is on his way home from Holland and should be back in Patos late tonight. He went and watched the Holland 3 x USA 4 football match in the Ajax stadium prior to leaving last night!

I am preparing for a graduation service on Monday evening. I am already prepared for tomorrow night's Communion service.

Baby Amanda Ivy has now recovered her birth weight and passed it a bit. She is slowly improving and growing but still no visits allowed as great care needs to be taken to keep her away from viruses or the likes. Thanks for your continued prayers about everything.

Thursday, 4 June 2015


I woke at 5am hearing a drizzle of rain falling! Wow! Unbelievable! It drizzled for about an hour and then stopped only to return for a couple of further hours later. It's of no use for reservoirs but fine rain is so beautiful when you've never more seen it!

Today the youth of our Princesa Isabel church have come to Green Pastures to spend the day which is a public holiday here. Actually they came last night and slept there to be on site bright and early. Bless their hearts.

I now must prepare for this evening's Bible study in Patos.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Communications Statistics

This blog has now passed the 138,500 visits mark.

My Flickr photos page has now passed the 183,000 visits mark https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmedcraft/

EAB's English language facebook page now has 1,038 likes https://www.facebook.com/eabrazil

John's personal facebook page mostly in Portuguese has the maximum 5,000 friends or there abouts https://www.facebook.com/john.p.medcraft

The EAB/ACEV Patos church's facebook page in Portuguese as 2,125 likes https://www.facebook.com/pages/A%C3%A7%C3%A3o-Evang%C3%A9lica-Patos-PB/773650192729931

The Ups & Downs of Action Child

The ups and downs of EAB's Action Child Schools programme stared us in the face today as we worked through reports about each pupil spread around our schools. On the one hand we saw the trajectory of a little skinny poor lad born out in the sticks in the middle of nowhere, who ended up graduating from Bible College with a degree in theology and is at this time leading an EAB church plant.

On the other had we came across reports like - "moved in with her boyfriend at 13 and won't listen to anybody". Or - "her Mum was murdered in front of her because of her brothers drug debt". Or - "Her Dad's in jail, her Mum's gone off with someone else, her brothers are hooked on drugs and her sister is a prostitute. Now she's disappeared and EAB's UK office is crying out for her half-yearly letter and photo for her sponsor"!

We value your prayers for Action Child. It's not easy and it doesn't always go according to the script! Please pray for EAB's UK Action Child Coordinator Pauline Pennels and her husband Adrian as they handle reports and communications with sponsors in Europe. Their email addresses for further information are: papenn3557@hotmail.com / adypenn3557@hotmail.com

Action Child Programme

Sacha and I did a complete review, child by child or person by person, of every sponsored child / person in EAB's Action Child Programme this morning. I say person and not only child because everyone get's older and we have sponsored people who are no longer kids! 

This year is a year of transition to a tighter sharper version of EAB's Action Child programme. We have learnt over the years and are still learning - so seek to improve the programme and increase its efficiency for the kids and for the sponsors who maintain the programme running. Let me explain how things are now run.

EAB Action Child Schools will focus on primary education with intake at nursery and year 1 levels with children studying with EAB's school programme through to the end of year 5. Everything else stays as it was - education with God's love on a full tummy! 

The defined goals of the programme are:
•             Pupils learn thoroughly to read, write and handle basic maths.

•             Pupils receive special help with homework and areas of need so that they pass each year's final exams in their regular school.

•             Pupils receive Christian education to lead them to possibly making a commitment to Christ.

Thus in the coming months EAB will be encouraging sponsors to switch to new younger children in accordance with the new programme guidelines above, if their current sponsored children are outside the primary school age bracket. This switch will be done slowly over the next year or so, unless sponsors particularly want to stay linked to their current child, because we know friendship links do become strong with some. In this case the sponsors support will go into the schools pool fund.

The point of all this is that EAB realizes it can't do everything and feels it can more efficiently give poor kids a good start in life by concentrating its efforts up to year 5. Please pray with us in this extended period of transition and stay with us in the EAB Action Child programme for the glory of God.