Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Lawyer into action against TAP

I had a meeting with our lawyer today to discuss legal action against Portuguese Airlines TAP with reference to our delay in Lisbon when on the way to England between May 9th and 11th. We were delayed 16.5 hours overnight without accomodation or food. The lawyer believes we have a very strong case for compensation although things will not be so generous on our behalf as if we were in Europe. We shall see what evolves. We have given the lawyer all the documents proving what happened and links to press articles, photos and videos of the chaos.

I went to Green Pastures for the first time in 3 weeks yesterday and all is well. With less that an inch of rain in May things are starting to dry up, but things still look pretty good. We are approaching 37 inches of rain this rainy season which is fantastic.

Liz and I have been doing lots of catching up work from our period away.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Field Conference was wonderful

We are home in Patos - exhausted but happy. We got into Patos at 3.40 pm on Sunday afternoon in time to shower and have a cup of tea before leaving for church in Patos at 6pm. The Lord really helped us all with the service which was really good. I don't know where my energy came from!

The Field Conference in João Pessoa was superb. The business meetings were very good on Friday and Saturday and the final celebration on Saturday night was glorious. PTL! Here are the main decisions and information from the Conference:

The work is now divided into 5 administrative areas and no longer 4 / New works have been started this year at Pocinhos, Campina Grande - Novo Horizonte, Mata Redonda, Tavares - Belém, Princesa Isabel - Lagoa de São João / Works were closed at São Paulo and Nova Olinda / Next month Philip will launch ACEV Digital online to improve constant monitoring of our 81 works collectively and individually / This years Youth Conference in November will be held at Princesa Isabel / This year's Leaders Conference in September will be held as usual at Green Pastures and will deal with the following topics: The leader and social networks, depression and the question of gender / Next year's Field Conference (80th) will be held in Patos / This years special 10-day Outreach yielded 5 genuine conversions + another 3 people coming back to God / 4 new Ministers were ordained: Philip (Patos), Matheus (João Pessoa), Rafael (Teixeira) and Lucia (Itaporanga) / A plan for expansion of the work was presented in its initial form and will be further developed over the coming months and years / Weekend special Outreaches will be carried out periodically in addition to the annual 10-day Outreach every January / A Women's Conference will be held in 2018 / A noted improvement in the Action Child Project was reported / The tremendous challenges from drugs and violence were reported in the Desert Flower (Battered wives) Project and much prayer went up / I gave a special message on unity and another on always striving for higher quality in all we do for God / A well drilled in 2017 will be equipped with solar energy as a pilot experiment / Our annual audit was applauded for ethics and transparency. This is so important in corrupt Brazil because if the salt loses its flavor it would be useless.

Thank you for praying for us over the past weeks and especially for the Field Conference.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Pastor's mother dies on morning of Field Conference

Pastor Lindon Carlos was on his way to João Pessoa for the Field Conference this morning when he received a call on his mobile telling him his mother had died suddenly back at Imaculada. He had to turn round and go home of course. Sister Naide was a fine woman from our Imaculada church who pioneered our Action Child programme decades ago. She was 77. 

Please pray as this will bring a touch of sadness to the Conference on top of my Mum's death and that of Pastor Wostenes brother - all in the same month or so. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Beans & Rice!

It had to be beans and rice for lunch today in João Pessoa after 2 weeks in the UK! The flights were as smooth as velvet skies yesterday - not a moment of turbulence - and we even arrived at Recife airport half an hour early! Someone met us at the airport and drove us to João Pessoa where we are staying for the annual Field Conference which starts tomorrow. We aim to be in the Sunday night service in Patos.

Please pray for the Conference which is of great importance for the work. Liz has gone down with a heavy cold unfortunately which won't help her with the Conference. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

We'll soon be on our way back to Brazil

Liz and I are already in London about half hour from Heathrow from where we will fly early tomorrow. We have a long stop over in Lisbon of 6 hours and should arrive late Wednesday night at our hotel in João Pessoa ready for the annual Field Conference which starts at midday on Friday. We have already checked-in for both flights online and will spend tonight with Liz's sister Eunice and her husband Jon in Harrow.

At the weekend we enjoyed the EAB Board meeting at West Wellow and then travelled to High Wycombe to spend time with my sister Joy and her husband Laurence. Then on Sunday morning we enjoyed a lovely service at Millbrook Christian Centre in Southampton where I preached on 'Christian Compassion'. This was followed by a nice lunch and afternoon with Liz's brother David and family.

Back in Brazil we will have 4 meetings of the leadership on Friday afternoon and evening and on Saturday morning and afternoon. Then on Saturday night we will ordain 5 new ministers, including our son Philip, and give probationary ministerial status to one other. I will preach the key note message also that night. We will only travel home to Patos on Sunday morning after the Conference. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Post funeral days in UK

On Saturday we met up with Ben & Miriam Price and had a nice walk and chat with them. On Sunday we visited our child's grave at Gunnersbury cemetery, spent the day after that in Harrow with Jon & Eunice (Liz's sister) and watched the service in the Patos church in Brazil via Facebook. This was very good indeed with an excellently clear transmission.

On Monday we did some shopping back in Basingstoke. Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to a Nature Reserve near Fleet. Tomorrow we will visit Liz's Aunty Rosemary in Dorset, on Saturday we will go to the EAB Board meeting at West Wellow and on Sunday I will be speaking at MCC in Southampton. We go to Harrow next Tuesday ready for an early flight out of nearby Heathrow on Wednesday morning to Recife via Lisbon.

We should get to João Pessoa to sleep late Wednesday night and rest up on Thursday there prior to the start of the Field Conference on Friday (26th). This will end on Saturday night and we will hopefully be home in Patos on Sunday in time for the evening service, We value your prayers.

Our Trip to the UK

We left Patos on Tuesday, May 9th, and caught a flight to Lisbon from Recife Airport which was 2 hours late. It was a sign of things to come!

We flew overnight to Lisbon and arrived on Wednesday (10th) about midday for a 3 pm flight to Heathrow. However our flight was cancelled owing to a fuel pumping problem at the airport and we are told another 62 flights were cancelled. Lisbon airport was utter chaos. The main problem was that TAP airlines gave us no information or help whatsoever. It was a disgrace. No hotel or food was provided even though we had to wait overnight!

We eventually discovered that we had been re-booked for a flight on the Thursday morning so settled down on airport seats for a long unusual night. Our only means of communication was via a coin operated phone box as not even the internet worked!

Gratefully our flight only left half an hour late on the Thursday and we arrived in London late morning (11th) and drove to Basingstoke. Liz and I visited dear Mum's body in the afternoon as Brazilian culture demands, prior to her funeral on the Friday (12th May).

The funeral was at 1pm and we were pleased to see 63 people gather. Thank you very much to all who made the effort to give Mum a good official send off. The service was beautiful. A number of tributes were given, including mine, the hymns were lovely and the minister Ian did great.

After the burial we all gathered back at the church hall for the tradional British refreshments and fellowship, with many we hadn't seen for yonks!All went off very well and we were grateful to God and relieved. Thanks for supporting and praying. Thanks for making it possible for Liz and I to be at my Mum's funeral.

Monday, 8 May 2017

What a mad day!

Oh my word! It has been so ultra hectic today getting everything ready to fly to the UK tomorrow. The thing is that we have to get everything ready for the Field Conference in João Pessoa to which we go before even returning to Patos. The plans are: to travel to airport and fly to UK on 9th - arrive in UK on 10th. Mum's funeral on 12th. Preach at Millbrook Church in Southampton on 21st. Return to Brazil 24th. Field Conference 26-27th. Back to Patos 28th. Easy life!

So I prepared my dear Mum's tribute early this morning. Had my hair cut. Prepared my sermon for the Field Conference and finalized the agenda for it. I also prepared the ordination ceremony for the Conference at which 5 new ministers will be ordained including Philip.

Please pray for Philip leading the Patos church in our absence. Please pray for a smooth trip for us and a good couple of weeks in Blighty.

The Communion service in Patos on Sunday night was great. PTL!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Leadership Meeting

Our fine leadership team met all day today, starting at 9am and finishing at 5.30pm, with lunch on the job. It was a tiring but good productive day as we had a wide-ranging discussion on all sorts of aspects of the work. We prepared the entire agenda for the Field Conference on May 26-27 to be held on the coast in João Pessoa.

Liz and I leave for the UK and my Mum's funeral on Tuesday but need to be back for the Conference at which I will preach. Philip and 4 other your ministers will be ordained at the Conference.

I will be preaching at the Communion service in Patos tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Hectic days preparing for UK flights

I have finalized my sermon preparation for Sunday's Communion service in Patos so that's good. There's so much to do preparing for our departure for the UK next Tuesday. Coats are out of the trunk and a new vest has been bought!

We have brought forward the national leadership's team meeting to this Saturday in preparation for the national Field Confence which we plan to be back for in João Pessoa on May 26-27. It was marked for the following Saturday when we won't be here. 

We appreciate the support of all who can be with us at dear Mum's funeral a week on Friday, May 12th at 1pm. It will be held at Christ Church, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8LT. We thank those who have already let us know to say they will be there.