Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

EAB/ACEV churches are preparing for their late night service to see the New Year in. In Patos I'll be preaching and baptizing 11 + receiving another 2 new members into fellowship. God is good. It's been a good year. Thanks for all your prayers and support. Now it's marching on time into a New Year for God. A Happy New Year to everyone wherever you are!

This morning we received some old Christian friends at Green Pastures we hadn't seen for many years. It was a good hot longish walk round Green Pastures to show them round and chat over many things as we went. With the couple of inches of rain we've had in December things have greened up quite nicely - but of course no rain in the reservoirs yet.

I have worked hard preparing my sermon for tonight this week and there's another one to prepare for Sunday after what will be a very late night tonight. All the family will be round our place after church.

This morning I managed to buy petrol! Things are getting so chaotic in this country and the whole of the State of Paraíba ran out of petrol! Inflation is spiralling upwards dangerously again and on top of the economic instability there is much political turmoil too.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Traffic Police recognition surprise

I received a diploma of recognition from the hands of the Patos regional traffic police chief today for my work in combatting drinking & driving. I imported from Wales the first breathalyzer for Patos many years ago and donated it to the police. I maintain a friendly support & advisory role with the police to this today. We believe this is practical Christianity and is important. It's a way of preserving life and showing God's concern for the community through His people who care and put their heads on the line. 

Rain glorious Rain!

We had 32 mm of rain last night at Green Pastures. PTL! This takes us up to a total of 57 mm this month after months without a drop.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Last Sunday of the year

After the last Sunday service of 2015 yesterday our EAB/ACEV Patos youth went out for a pizza together to celebrate. Nothing unusual about that. 

But what was beautiful was the way they unashamedly held hands in a circle in the middle of the restaurant area to thank God for His blessing this year. That is encouraging! That is beautiful! May God bless out youth more and more in 2016!

The service was great and we are getting so many visitors in! PTL! Now to get ready for the big baptism and communion Watchnight service on Thursday. A Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Dinner!

We had a lovely family Christmas Dinner today and actually managed to get a photo of all 4 children and their spouses + 9 grandchildren + nephew & spouse + a few more. It was a lovely time!

Happy Christmas!

Last night's Christmas service went off beautifully. The musical presented was brilliant and wonderfully conveyed the Christmas message. I followed this with a short sermon which also went well and then Liz coordinated the giving of all the presents and sweets to our Sunday School children as we do every year.

After the service we had a family supper as we also always do. This was great as well. We took a family click of Liz and I and our 4 children with (from left) Sacha, Lynn, Philip and Deborah.

Now this Christmas day we will have a family Christmas dinner together in a while.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Just off to main Christmas service

As I always remind people, in Brazilian culture it's the eve of the day that counts more than the day itself. Wish someone a happy Christmas on Christmas day and they look at you odd!

So we're just off to church for the big Christmas service with a musical to be presented by the youth and children and I will bring a short message after the musical. I prepared my message during today.

Then we all come home for a family supper together.

It has drizzled a bit with 5mm of rain at Green Pastures today so hope for a wet Christmas tomorrow. Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

I'm dreaming of a WET Christmas!

Monday evening saw me involved in a two and a half hour meeting of the Patos Bible College leadership. In my advisory role these days I was called in by the leadership and it was quite a tough meeting as things aren't quite what they could be. I had a further meeting on the Tuesday morning with one of the leaders who couldn't be there the night before. Your prayers are valued. I have suggested the leadership should meet more regularly and have offered my office as the venue with me lending my experience. We shall see if they do this. I hope so.

Tuesday, at 8am, saw the start of the official giving of the Christmas Hampers to the poor at the Patos church. I say official as we have been distributing at different places during the month prior to this. It has been a major endeavor of logistics getting the hampers out to where most needed. The final big push yesterday morning went great and attracted a lot of press interest. Many many people have been helped and blessed by the food EAB has distributed this month in the middle of the catastrophic drought. Thanks to those who gave to make all this possible. Below are some photos of yesterday's hamper distribution.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Praise & Action

We are seeing a tremendous wave of Christmas praise and action all round EAB's 85 churches spread far and wide. We praise, as did the shepherds and wise men, and we carry gifts too. Christmas Hampers are coming right at a critical time to feed the hungry amidst the horrific drought and great Gospel services are being held to proclaim the Good News of Jesus!

Yesterday our church was packed out as I preached on "The Light is Jesus"! Our Christmas Eve service will have a musical production. God is really blessing.

Add to all this the action round the region distributing gifts of hampers and food to the hungry. This must be what Christmas is supposed to be all about! Here are one or two photos:

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Hampers

With the terrible drought situation the Christmas Hamper season has sure come at the right time as so many people need help it's unbelievable! We are spreading out the Christmas Hampers to a number of other needy places as well as Patos. Quite a job but well worth it. Please pray and thanks to all who have donated to this.

Nutshell, Sermon, Marriage blessing and Arrivals

I have worked flat out today - first of all producing the new style EAB Nutshell Update and dispatching it. I hope everyone liked it? Certainly it is smarter as far as I am concerned.

I then prepared my sermon for tomorrow in Patos: "The Light is Jesus" - a Christmas message whose title rhymes better in Portuguese!

I now am preparing a wedding blessing for the service too. This is for a couple who this week did their civil marriage separately before the judge and now want a blessing in church. Normally I do weddings in church with the civil legal part built in as allowed by Brazilian law. I was the first pastor to fight for this right in Patos about 40 years ago!

Tonight Philip, Gylmara, Lucas and new baby Luis have arrived in Patos so that is nice. The baby is gorgeous and has lots of dark hair. Louisa, who has been staying with us, is of course particularly happy.

Friday, 18 December 2015

I have a Badge!

I am not quite sure what I do with it, but I have won a badge from Trip Advisor because my comments on the Lavender Farm near WestWellow and a Brazilian Ibis Hotel have received 350 reads!


Finally, after 5 months without a drop of rain, we received 19 mm (nearly an inch) of rain late this Friday afternoon. We are overjoyed! It is a sign of hope! Thank you for praying! Please don't stop! The last time we had rain was on July 8th when we had 8 mm.

Empty Arm

Having had a whole batch of routine blood tests this morning I am at the moment rather unbalanced with one arm distinctly empty.

Last night's Bible study went well. Normally prior to the Bible study up to 3 people give should words and it was particularly nice to have my nephew Ben (my sister Joy's son who married a Patos girl) in one of these slots. It went very well and I interpreted for him. Ben's wife will be baptized on New Year's Eve and then both will be received into fellowship in the Patos church. 

Last night we had Brother Romildo singing again. I like to give simple folk like him a chance to sing in the mid-week meeting (about 50 there last night) but the problem is that he insists on singing with a playback which is scratched and old and often the track he wants gets muddled. It's quite an ordeal. Last week it took us 10 minutes to sort out the dear brother and when he started the same antics this week I asked him to go and sit down whilst he sorted out his track with the sound man and then I'd call him back. Eventually we sorted him and he was smiling, bless his heart.

Yesterday afternoon we had the exploited women's group (the batterred wives) Christmas party and made a cake for them with soft drinks and the present of Christmas hampers (see photo) for each one. Wow did they love it! It was really moving to see how they all turned up, like Cinderela at the Ball, with borrowed clothes from friends and relatives, made up and hair all fixed. It clearly was a very proud moment for them and we loved to see it.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

We press on!

Sunday night's service went really well. The sermon was particularly blessed and appreciated I think. At Campina Grande they baptized 15 and 4 who came to watch got converted!

Yesterday I did a lot of administrative work and celebrated daughter Lynn's birthday. Today I have walked at Green Pastures and been to the doctor's for a post-UK check-up and was relieved to discover I am only 900 grams heavier than when I left! 

I also have been trouble shooting with Liz on a particularly difficult church issue and I believe the Lord really helped us.

QPR drew tonight as I predicted. I saw the first half on TV and was pleased with the way we played.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

No Room in the Inn

I took an urgent Christmas hamper this morning to a family in desperate need as are so many in this tragic drought. With little water available building sites are grinding to a halt causing unemployment to soar further. This dear family depended on Dad Jucieldo's work as a bricklayer's labourer and their world collapsed when he was layed off from his work. With no money to pay the rent they were evicted. No room in the inn. Someone allowed them to erect this sort of shed from scrap wood on land a few miles from Green Pastures so as to have somewhere to live and I got to hear about them from folk in the area.

I soon discovered that they had little food to eat via Mum Francisca so headed there with an EAB Christmas hamper and found them under a tree cooking with a wood scraps fire and on the fire was just beans and nothing else at all! To say they were overjoyed just doesn't transmit what I experienced. We were leaving but forgot something and Tarcísio went back into the shack and they had already ripped open the sack and were devouring the biscuits and readily eatable things!

Another very happy moment was when I presented bags of sweets to the children. It was like they'd just received the latest IPhone or the likes!

EAB ministers to people for whom there is no room at the inn. If you feel you should and can help EAB do this more please donate now online at or send direct to the EAB UK office. A Happy Christmas to everyone!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Bible with Baby!

Thursday night's Bible study was certainly different with Philip & Gylmara's baby son being born about half an hour before the service started! The church was joyful with the news and I kept my mobile phone on through the service for updates for everyone. The service was a real blessing and Fábio gave a great testimony one year into his new life in Christ. PTL!

Yesterday I went to Green Pastures in the morning and spent the rest of the day preparing my sermon for Sunday. In the evening there was a little party for granddaughter Louisa's 16th birthday at out house.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Luis Philip is born!

Luis Philip has just been born and all is well. We have no further details as yet. Praise the Lord and congratulations to Philip & Gylmara!

Grandchild number 9 about to land!

Our daughter-in-law Gylmara is in the maternity hospital in João Pessoa and Philip is rushing in that direction so as to be there in time (hopefully!) for the birth of Luis Philip expected in the next few hours. Please pray and don't panic! I am totally calm... just don't panic!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Walk before meal

Yesterday saw me up at 5.10am and off for a two and a half hour walk at Green Pastures where the drought is utterly horrific and the lake has now completely dried up with all fish dead. The photo shows Tarcísio looking on forlornly. 

We went to the English School's Christmas dinner when I got back. The School is run by our 3 daughters and is their means of income. It all went off very nicely. Here's a photo of Liz and I with the girls at the event.

Apart from all this I worked a lot on EAB & ACEV communications yesterday and dispatched the latest EAB Diary Update. There are not enough hours in the day for all there is to do, but it's good being busy for God!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Exhausted but Inspired!

Here are more details of our fantastic Leadership Conference which ran for three days over last weekend.

Everything started for me with the projects team at 9am on Friday morning (Dec. 4th) and the meeting ran on unexpectedly into the afternoon. We did an excellent review and evaluation of all our projects and sorted out lots of things which certainly needed sorting. The main focus was of course on the critical drought and the need for more wells and other emergency water and food supply mechanisms. We have the bit between our teeth.

Well having worked all day on this I got to the Leadership Conference in time for the opening evening fellowship meal prior to the initial meeting. There were the usual Brazilian hugs all round as everyone arrived. Wonderful! Different ones wanted to tell me this that and the other - just as well I am a walking computer!

Then came the opening service in which the visiting speaker from Fortaleza knocked everyone for six! It was greatly blessed. Fantastic! What ministry about servant leaders! Just what the doctor ordered! Brilliant! In the other two meetings which followed, on the Saturday night and Sunday morning, the messages were equally good. In fact it just got better and better. PTL!

I got to bed the first night at gone 11pm and Liz even later. We were both up before 6am on the Saturday and the marathon (a joyous one) continued. After breakfast I chaired an excellent meeting of the Projects Board of Leaders (see photo below) and this was later followed by another very good meeting of the Churches' Board of Leaders. We just managed to finish in time for lunch and after that we launched into 2 general assemblies - one of all the church leaders and the other of all the Projects people in general. We just managed to squeeze all that in prior to the evening meal!

After eating it was meeting number 2 with great praise and worship, lots more hugs and interaction between the 90 leaders (a total of 130 were there including kids and support team) and then the visiting speaker was off again and this time hit the ball out of the ground! After the service we had a long wonderful meeting with Pastor Wostenes (vice-chairman of the work here) and his wife Gleydice and I got to bed half an hour after midnight with Liz arriving, amidst my snores, two hours later as she had to counsel another leader unexpectedly.

So came Sunday morning and the final great service with more great preaching from my friend Carlos Queiroz which was like winning the World Cup! Absolutely glorious. We all ended up having our final fellowship lunch together and then everyone, after loads more hugs, headed back to their respective churches for the evening service. I managed to post some photos of the event on facebook in the afternoon and made it to the Communion service in Patos in the evening which I lead and preached at. It was a lovely service. So as I said - we ended up exhausted - but inspired! Thanks for your prayers and support.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Best EAB Leadership Conference ever!

The annual EAB/ACEV Leadership Conference has just ended at Green Pastures after 3 days of fantastic meetings. It was definitely the best of such events ever. Thanks for praying and supporting. The blessing of God was intense throughout the event and the visiting speaker from Fortaleza, who is an old friend of mine from decades ago when I was involved with ministry to students in the Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship, was tremendously used of God being challenge and inspiration. PTL! The photo below of the leaders was taken this morning.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Projects Leadership Team

EAB's Projects Leadership Team has met all day today to discuss how to raise more funds and where to drill more wells, take food and water to the needy and extremely poor in this incredible drought in NE Brazil. Thank God for such a dedicated team which works tirelessly to take God's love in practical ways to who needs it most. Please support EAB in this vital ministry.

I am now off to the Leadership Conference proper which in fact  started for me at 9am with these extra emergency meetings. It's been a very good worthwhile day, but very tiring. Please pray.

Long on-going Projects Meeting

The meeting with our projects coordinators is taking longer than expected. It lasted all morning and we have had a lunch break before haaving a second session now this afternoon. Easy life!

Projects Coordinators Meeting

I am just off to an EAB/ACEV Projects Coordinators Meeting prior to the complete start of the Leadership Conference. Hectic days! Please pray. This meeting will last all morning and then it's off to Green Pastures for the Conference.

Last night's Bible Study service went well with lots of prayer and praise and participation as you can see below. PTL!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Bible Study

I completed my sermon preparation for Sunday last night so that was good. I have prepared today for the Bible study tonight and am looking forward to that. 

The EAB English language page on facebook has passed the 1,800 'likes' or followers so that is great.

I went to Green Pastures this morning and had a good walk and look over things in preparation for the start tomorrow of the EAB/ACEV Leadership Conference. All is prepared and under control. Your prayers are valued. Photos taken this morning below. Lovely shots despite the drought.

Please pray for my dear 91 year old Mum there in England who is ill with an intestinal infection.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sermon preparation

I have worked all day on my sermon for this coming Sunday's Communion Service as I need this prepared prior to the Leadership Conference starts on Friday, and I have the Bible study to take tomorrow in between. My sermon is nearly ready and will be "The Attitude is more important than the Amount" concerning the poor widow's couple of coins from Mark 12:41-44.

I have also handled quite a few project issues with Pastor Wostenes and his assistant Flávia. I'm really fully back into the swing of the projects issues again now so that is fine and good.

I have also been sorting out details linked to the Leadership Conference. Liz has been shopping food all afternoon, bless her heart, and is now at Green Pastures with Josinete putting things in their places in the kitchen ready for the event.

Brazilian politics is in uproar with the beginning of an impeachment process against the President. Things are extremely divided and bitter.

I have had some discussions on EAB child sponsorship and also ask for special prayer for EAB finances, with the contingency fund nearly rock bottom being a special cause for concern.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Mobile Phone to the rescue!

I had an hour long meeting about our projects this morning with Pastor Wostenes and his assistant Flávia which was to be via Skype but which didn't function! The mobile phone came to the rescue and the meeting was very helpful and positive. This was in preparation for a meeting with all project coordinators this Friday which will also be in preparation for the general projects assembly we will have during the Leadership Conference. Easy life!

News just in of 5 baptized at Teixeira. PTL!

The #GivingTuesday is pressing ahead. I am doing what I can for EAB and the work. What impact it will have remains to be seen.