Monday, 30 July 2018

Organizing preachers

Last night's service went very well. It's funny but I didn't feel I'd communicated as well as I might have done in the sermon but I had more positive feedback from people afterwards than usual! So praise God anyway!

It's been a hectic Monday morning. One church member's father has died in João Pessoa so I've been in contact with him. I have also been sending out the schedule to everyone involved in preaching in Patos in my absence. I have also been in discussions with Adriana who is coordinating the new EAB 'Jobs 'r Us' project helping people get jobs or improving what they already do or helping them getting an idea they have into action. I checked out a new song for the praise and worship group too and so it goes on!

Sunday, 29 July 2018

EAB's church at Conceição reaches 69 years

Yesterday involved Liz and I in a two hour journey west of Patos to Conceição where the EAB/ACEV church had its 69th anniversary service and at which I preached. We arrived early in time for a chat, fellowship and a meal with the local pastor Maésio and his wife Fia and all went off beautifully.

The service was excellent and I preached with great freedom. The church was full. One thing which is lovely at this church is that they have a band which plays worship songs in our regional musical style, which I love, as they were a non-Christian band prior to the entire group coming to Christ. That was a highlight. We had the long drive back late at night afterwards but all was well. Just a bit tired today.

It was nice to see at Conceição Josias Price, Ben & Miriam Price's son, who is in Brazil for a short visit. He sure has grown!

We will be off to the Patos church shortly where I will be preaching on Colossians 3. 

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Hot or Cold

As always happens at this time of year, though this time round the difference is extreme, here in northeast Brazil temperatures are cooler in the low 30s at the moment and in many parts of Europe they are in the high 30s. What is more - our bodies are adjusted to heat, and houses are built for it. In the northern hemisphere it is the opposite. Plenty of cold or very cool showers are vital folks!

On Tuesday our Action School/Child teachers training day went very well. We are in the middle of the school year break with the second semester starting next week.

Yesterday Liz and I had a very good long meeting with Pastor Wostenes (vice-chairman of the leadership Board here) and his wife Gleydice and that was excellent. We discussed a wide range of issues affecting the work here including possible planned expansion of EAB/ACEV to Natal in Rio Grande do Norte State as well as to Recife. Also the church plant at Pocinhos was discussed, plus other outreach and project team matters.

I have agreed to preach at Pastor Wostenes' EAB/ACEV Campina Grande church's 50th anniversary service on November 11th just after returning from the UK.

It is lovely that the Green Pastures Nature Reserve and Christian Conference Centre also serves as a pastors and their family's refuge. This week Pastor Wostenes and his family are spending the week there having a totally relaxing break. It was them that asked us to go for the 3 hour meeting yesterday and not us invading their break. It was lovely fellowship anyway.

Now I must get on with sermon preparation for the weekend at Conceição and Patos and this afternoon I have meetings lined up with our projects coordinator Lindon Carlos, the Christians in Action group leader Dedé and a lawyer helping me to help a couple in the Patos church adopt a baby. So it goes on! Your prayers and support are valued for everything.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

By their fruit you will know them!

I preached at this ex-landless community on Saturday and today Paulo sent me this photo of fresh bananas from one of their EAB Organic Market Garden trees. Paulo is now a servant of the Lord and God is blessing his life in more ways than one!

The run in to our Europe Trip

With just under a month to our trip to Europe life is increasingly more hectic than it always is. As well as umpteen pastoral issues in the local church, overseeing another 82 churches of all shapes, sizes and locations, overseeing countless projects, keeping the Green Pastures Nature Reserve and Christian Conference Centre ticking over (a Baptist Church Sunday School was there at the weekend + university professors doing research + an ACEV/EAB Christian Conference for 100 women on our last weekend before we fly out to Europe), preaching at anniversary services at Conceição (this coming weekend) and at Curral Velho (the weekend after) etc. Help!

I am working flat out with our communications man putting the videos together for our tour of churches in the UK. So far done, apart from the English language sound track, are videos about Wells, Organic Market Gardens, 4 Legs, Evangelism & Church Planting and Community Sanitation Projects. 

The Desert Flower service on Sunday night was incredible! It was a great victory in which Sacha was mightily used of God in ministery in worship as we were in the middle of a massive spiritual battle with every gadget in church imagineable going wrong - but we made it and impact on many lives was wonderful. 5 women from the project turned up in the end plus 2 of their children. It was really positive.

We value your prayers for everything prior to our flight to Lisbon and then Heathrow leaving August 22 and arriving August 23. 

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Jenny Shearing ties the knot!

Congratulations to Jenny Shearing getting married in the Cotswolds I believe today. Her father conducted Liz and I's wedding nearly 49 years ago! Jenny gets married today for the first time in her seventies. Quite a story! Very happy for you Jenny and your lucky husband!

We've had a hectic and blessed week in the work here. I've prepared sermons galore. Tonight I'm preaching on a farm not far from Green Pastures and tomorrow in Patos. Tomorrow is the second service linked to the women of the Desert Flower project but this time few are saying they will go as their spiritist links kick back at us! It is a real spiritual battle this project and the spiritists have organized deliberately a special 'possession session' to coincide with our service. We are pressing ahead anyway and value your prayers.

I had a good meeting with Action Child leaders. Praise God our EAB Action Child Schools are going great again after the reorganization. 

I've also had masses of meetings and discussions with umpteen leaders during the week. Every day brings new challenges and issues to be sorted. Church issues, project issues... so much... but the Lord is with us in it all. Thanks for your prayers and backing.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Excellent Weekend of Ministry

I preached on Friday night at the Outreach weekend in São Mamede County and it was a beautiful meeting. Over the weekend 5 decisions were made for Christ. PTL!

Then on Saturday we travelled to preach at João Pessoa and that went particularly well. A real blessing and good meetings with all the pastors from that region too.

We are now back in Patos, a bit tired, but off to church shortly for the evening service. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

The best team lost!

I predicted France would win the FIFA World Cup final and I was right but... in my view the best team lost. It is a pity. This World Cup has been very good but was spoiled by referee errors in the final match of all times! As so many commentators worldwide are saying France's first goal came from a wrongly given free kick and their penalty was a ridiculous decision as the Croatian player's hand was hit by the ball and in no way was a deliberate hand ball. Hence the score was in fact Croatia 2 x France 2 x Referee 2. Such is football that these things happen, like Maradona's blasphemous hand of God goal and the England goal against Germany years ago which was 3 miles over the line but the referee didn't see it. Sorry France but you were second best on the day, but you are World Champions anyway!

At the end of this World Cup my predictions record is pretty good with a 73.33% correct prediction percentage!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sermons ready to roll!

My sermons are prepared (just finished) - first for this Friday evening at the ex-slave community a few miles from Green Pastures where we will have a team of 30 in the area evangelizing Friday to Sunday. This sermon will be rigorously evangelistic.

Then the second sermon is for the 24th anniversary of the mother church at João Pessoa. EAB now has 7 churches in the area with just over 300 Christian participants. 

Liz is at Green Pastures at the moment having taken food supplies there for the team which moves in there tomorrow for the evangelistic weekend. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018


My predictions for the semi-finals of the World Cup were half right with France in the final but not with England. England missed good chances in the first half and then lost their way with Croatia deserved winners in the end. My prediction for the final is that France will become World Champions on Sunday. In the third place play-off on Saturday I wobble... but I'll predict Belgium for 3rd place.

Please pray for the 3 special outreaches this weekend at Barra de Oitis (ex-slave) + Belém + the Green Pastures area. I will be preaching at the latter on Friday night and at João Pessoa on the coast this Saturday. 

Please also pray for a change we are going to have to make in the Projects leadership team that the Lord might help us to do it right and without causing unnecessary hurt. It's going to have to be done because someone can't cope but it's never easy to handle these matters.

Renew Our World

This Tuesday I was asked by a media team from the Renew Our World Campaign, which is a worldwide campaign amongst churches of all denominations striving for the caring for God's creation, asked me if I would do a filmed interview for them to show our Green Pastures Nature Reserve and Christian Conference Centre as an example of what can be done in the semi-arid north-east of Brazil with no rubbish, no chopping down of trees (to the contrary lots of planting), no hunting and no insecticides. It went very well and they loved it. All glory be to God!

I went to our deaf pastor Luiz Carlos's third graduation ceremony yesterday! The guy is a genius and now a graduate in LIBRAS (Brazilian sign language), Theology and Physical Education. He has now gone on to do post-graduate studies in LIBRAS!

Just a few minutes to go to England's World Cup semi-final. I was right about France winning yesterday so I hope I will be right again today and that it will be an England x France final!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Great service yesterday up in the mountains

This Saturday evening's service at Matureia up in the mountains, near the highest point in the State of Paraíba, was right up there in clouds of blessing. The service was electric! I preached and the Patos band led the praise. The church was packed out with standing room only for many. Afterwards Liz and I stayed till late chatting to local leaders, giving some advice and discussing the work of the Lord. It was sweet fellowship.

Tonight I will be preaching again but this time back down at a lower altitude in Patos. I will be preaching on John 15 where Jesus said, "I am the true vine" - with initial emphasis on the "I am" going on to a second stage regarding the "true vine" to whom Christians must be linked, get pruned, produce grapes (not sour ones!) or else be disposed of.

This Tuesday I am expecting the visit of a Tearfund team at Green Pastures and then I'll be speaking at the ex-landless community not far from there on the Friday and at João Pessoa on the Saturday. May the Lord be glorified in everything and bless you wherever you are this week.

I maintained my 75% Predictions ratio

In the second round of the FIFA World Cup I predicted 6 out of 8 winners correctly (75%) and I kept up the same percentage of correct predictions in the quarter-finals with 3 out of 4 right. I just got Brazil wrong but it was a totally deserved victory by Belgium.

My prediction for the finalists a week today is that the final will be between France and England.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Philip 40

Our son Philip had his 40th birthday yesterday and we had a nice family meal together in the evening to celebrate.

I also sorted out a number of issues at Green Pastures yesterday and had a very long walk which was good.

I had discussions with the ACEV leadership team yesterday on a number of matters. I also had discussions regarding the special outreach in the Green Pastures region to be held from the 13th to 15th this month. I will preach in the first evangelistic service on the Friday, before travelling to preach in João Pessoa on the coast the next day. I will be preaching this Saturday (7th) at Matureia up in the mountains and back in Patos on the Sunday.

I had discussions with the Action Child coordination team yesterday and we will have a training refresher day for all the teachers on July 24th.

I had meetings with the "Drug Free" team yesterday and all is ready for the meeting tonight.

I had meetings with two university professors yesterday - one about trees and the other about butterflies. The latter is jubilant at some rare species being found at Green Pastures. How amazing the results are from God's creation if you just care for it and leave it alone! The tree expert and I discussed aspects of further research to be done. 

75% Approval Ratings!

In the World Cup yesterday my prediction of England's win was right but of Switzerland's win was wrong. So I ended up with 75% correct predictions in the second round. I got 6 right out of 8.

The England match yesterday was absolutely disgusting owing to the cynical behaviour of the Columbian team who very nearly got away with it. As I see it the person who was more guilty of the whole fiasco was the referee who allowed himself to be intimidated by the Columbians. The referee was clearly not briefed as to what South American antics can be like and he got lost. Fortunately England survived but only just.

I predict in the quarter finals that France, Brazil, Croatia and England will win.

Monday, 2 July 2018

More World Cup predictions

My World Cup predictions for today were both correct, taking my percentage of correct predictions up to 83%. I predict for this Tuesday wins for Switzerland and England. 

Weekend of Blessing

The weekend was a blessing with Saturday seeing the youth from Patos join the Christians in Action group at the Ipueira church plant and the service went wonderfully well. PTL!

The weekend was also a retreat weekend for all the people of the Green Pastures area and that was really blessed too. The scientists were out in the nature reserve part at the same time as one thing doesn't interfere with the other. The researchers are ecstatic with the discovery of new species of butterflies for the caatinga region.

In Patos Sunday went beautifully and the communion service was a real blessing.

In the World Cup my prediction success rate has dropped to 75% correct with Russia knocking out Spain - but I was right (even down to my wobble) about Croatia winning.

My predictions for today are that Brazil and Belgium will win. Brazil will stop today till after the match. Banks etc. will only open after the final whistle!