Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year!

Our watchnight service starts in a bit less than 2 hours time and I'm all ready to preach again and conduct communion. Philip will baptize 3.

Last night's third Christmas service was great. The Lord really blessed and some decisions were made for Christ at the end. The dance group was excellent and the Patos church band brought a fantastic song of challenge. All was a real blessing.

So a very happy New Year to one and all. Please pray for EAB's funding which is very tight indeed as we go into 2019. We look to the Lord and ask for special prayer please. Thanks very much to all who supported and prayed for the work throughout 2018.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Sunday sermon ready

I added up how much I have walked this month and it comes to 55.42 km thus far. Thus keeping an average of about 2 km a day which is not bad.

I have prepared my sermon for Sunday - the last Sunday of the year of course - and now have to prepare for Monday night's watchnight service. This Sunday we will have a choreography + a special very challenging song to be brought, with video backing, by the praise & worship band.

I visited the Patos river recuperation project on Thursday, walked along the route covered so far, and then published my report with photos. 

The Butterfly university research team is at Green Pastures again from Thursday to Monday. I saw them there yesterday. Over 90 species registered to date. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2018


Please pray for me urgently as Liz is threatening to beat me up as she is busy cooking the Christmas dinner when someone phones me who has somehow rescued an Armadilo and so I say to him - "bring it here now and when I go to Green Pastures tomorrow I will release it there"! Liz says it will stink the place out (no feelings for poor wild creatures these women!) and she has a carving knife ready for the turkey! Urgent prayer for me and the Armadilo!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Eve Supper & Party Games

We had a lovely Christmas Eve meal together as a family this evening in true Brazilian tradition. This was followed by a few old party games and tricks which are passed on from generation to generation and in this day and age keep everyone away from their mobile phones!

I started with "my wand is resting on who"? demonstrating by amazing magician's skills together with my son Philip! My paternal grandfather used to do this with my Dad and then it was my Dad with me. The magic astounded everyone!

Then we went on to the famous "Squeak Piggy Squeak"! - followed by "Tippet" which the men won 10 x 3!

It was a lovely relaxing evening. Happy Christmas indeed!

Christmas Eve

Last night's service was really great in the Patos church with the place packed out beyond capacity to see my play "Eternal Bethlehem" which tells the Christmas story and applies it to life today. At the end all the children who go to church, either to the morning Sunday School or evening kids service, received their presents. It was a blessed night indeed.

Another blessing last night was half an inch of rain which of course we are thrilled about as the start of ending the annual drought. The forecast for our region this rainy season is not good as the 'El Nino' phenomenon is back.

Tonight the family will gather at our house for the traditional Brazilian Christmas Eve supper and tomorrow we will be British with the traditional Christmas dinner!

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Christmas Hamper Distribution Week

Today we completed the distribution of over 500 Christmas Hampers for the poor with loads of toys for the children. Liz had travelled round some outlying communities in the week doing distribution too. All went off extremely well and was completed this afternoon with a pediatrician attending very poor children at the Care Centre.

Yesterday we held our Christmas service at our Patos School and tomorrow we have our second nativity play in the Patos church which will be presented by the youth and adult drama group. The play I wrote about 30 years ago and is called "Eternal Bethlehem". It has been brought up to date for this performance as it compares the "no room in the inn" theme to modern day things that block out space for Jesus in our lives.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Happy Christmas!

First Nativity Play

We dedicate two Sundays to Christmas and yesterday (16th) was the first with the children and young teenagers presenting a beautiful Nativity Play with great creativity and quality. They had a 'present day' group talking about Christmas (stage right) and the '2,000 years ago' group (stage left) with the traditional nativity scene with kids as sheep, cows and donkeys and Mary and Joseph and Jesus in the manger and the shepherds and the wisemen. A 'human' star even shone from the balcony! The group to the right discussed the true meaning of Christmas as the group to the left demonstrated its original form. Then came the punch line with the present day group deciding to imagine how wonderful the first Christmas must have been - at which point ballet took over in a spectacular example of the glory of the Lord present in Bethlehem. It brought tears to many eyes. 

This Monday Liz is distributing Christmas Hampers to the poor at 2 ex-slave communities at Barra de Oitis and Fonseca together with our social worker Marah Danielle. They won't get back till late tonight. Meanwhile I have been inaugurating a new massive river clean up project in Patos, alongside the Mayor, which I've been campaigning about for years and tonight I'll be with the 'drug free' project team in another night's meeting. Your prayers are valued for all of these things.

Saturday we have the big Christmas Hampers distribution in Patos and on Sunday we have our second Christmas service - this time with the older drama group. Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Drugs Free Project

On Monday we invited a specialist in the field of drug addiction prevention to speak to our team in the 'Drugs Free Project'. It was very good, I enjoyed it and felt it very worthwhile.

Yesterday morning I worked with another group of children at Green Pastures in the morning and in the evening we held our end of year senior church leadership meeting in preparation for our church general assembly at the weekend. It was quite long, but it was necessary to take time thinking through some tricky issues and I felt the Lord helped us.

It is lovely to see the Care Centre going well with so many activities like with the deaf, the food bank, the dentist etc. It is a joy to make God's love tangible to the poor.

It is lovely to see our daughters working with such enthusiasm to collect toys for poor kids for Christmas and I was so thrilled to see my 17-year-old grandson Arthur buy two dresses for two very old and extremely poor ladies in an old people's home in Patos this week after he had heard these were their dreams as presents for Christmas. That is beautiful. May God help us to help others to have a happy Christmas as well as ourselves.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Behold the Lamb of God!

Yesterday's sermon was not the sort of sermon I would normally preach at one of our church's anniversary services, but I felt distinctly led of God all week to preach on John 1:29 - "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" - so that's what I preached. All I will say is that it went fantastically well and at the end, most unusually, the whole church burst out in spontaneous applause to the Lamb of God!

We got back to Patos after midnight exhausted but rejoicing.

Prior to all this I took the top class from our Patos EAB Action School around Green Pastures and that went extremely well too. So in all a great day.

Now it's Bible Day and the work goes on back in Patos.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Children's Outing + Anniversary Service

Thursday's exausting but excellent day went well, visiting 2 new church plants at Belém and Jurema plus inaugurating another well at Serrão which was all made extra interesting as in that region, and not ours, they had two inches of rain the night before. This meant negotiating a long muddy road where the Jeep was in its element!

At Belém the church plant is quite well established with 7 committed Christians about to be baptized and another 8 regularly going to church. We have our own little church building there already too which helps stabilize things further. Please remember this place in your prayers.

At Jurema things are tougher at the end of the first year with just a teenage lad professing faith in Christ to date but another 5 come regularly to church. There has been much Catholic hostility to us at Jurema. The lady who rented us a house for our team was kicked out of her roles that she had in the Catholic church is just one example. Please pray.

At Serrão we then inaugurated another well in this very poor community which was so grateful. A good crowd gathered for the service and after I had spoken I had a surprising experience. For a man came up to me and asked me if I used to have a Gospel radio programme in the 80s? When I said yes he told me that as I started to speak he recognized my voice as he used to listen to my preaching every day! I was amazed and very encouraged. Please pray for him and all this community.

In the morning I will be taking children from the EAB Pastor Frank Dyer School in Patos to Green Pastures for an outing and then in the afternoon will be travelling to Princesa Isabel to speak at their anniversary service in the evening. We value your prayers.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Visits & Ministry

Please pray for us as we leave shortly to visit two new church plants in Tavares County - one newer than the other. First to the older one at Belém and them on to Jurema. Then we will drive on in the jeep on a very rough road to the distant Serrão Community in Princesa Isabel to inaugurate another well. We will travel back to Patos very late tonight.

On Saturday we will be preaching at the Princesa Isabel Church`s anniversary service (sermon ready) in the evening after having taken children from our Patos Pastor Frank Dyer School on an outing to Green Pastures.

Sunday is Bible Day and I will be leading and Pastor Lucena preaching.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Well well well

Our travels and ministry over the past days have gone off safely and blessed. The trip to Miguel Community on Thursday was pretty precarious on a terrible road - but we made it - and were the people thrilled! An extremely poor and needy place right out in the middle of nowhere. How wonderful to have found them water and set the whole system working for them with pump, pipes and tank. To see a 63 year old father of 9 brought to tears having water piped to his house for the first time in his life was priceless!

The next day we moved on to the ex-slave quilombola community of Domingos Ferreira where another well now takes water to 140 families. Fantastic! Beautiful thanksgiving services were held in both inaugurations and the Gospel was preached. These two days were joyous but exhausting, travelling long distances on awful roads.

We got to Caroá to sleep on the Friday night ready to preach on Saturday night so had a good lazy rest day at Caroá on the Saturday. The service in the evening drew a large crowd, including the local Mayor, and Philip and band joined us in great style and blessing. We all headed back to Patos - Kombi + Jeep - on Sunday morning, ready for the Sunday evening service in Patos where the band was ready again for action as was I ready to preach again. Many hands were raised asking for prayer at the end of the last communion service of the year.

It was also wonderful to see Sitonio and his wife at Caroá who are the leaders at the Mandacaru church. You may remember praying for Sitonio about five and a half months ago when he nearly died with severe haemorrhages involving 14 blood transfusions. He is now much better and came to the service on his motorbike, but he still needs to build up his strength. Please remember him still in your prayers.