Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Well well!

We have recently inaugurated two new wells for extremely poor communities with one in Tavares County and the other in Princesa Isabel County. In the former inauguration thanksgiving service it was sweet because a 17 month old little girl insisted on sitting on my lap whilst I spoke to the crowd! The community loved it and so did I.  On the trip to the latter service I travelled with 2 project workers so we made good use of the long journies there and back to discuss a wide range of plans for 2020.

The result of the week of silent evangelism in the Patos supermarket raised 2,054 pounds for well and toilets projects so praise the Lord for that!

I have done 2 recent radio interviews and travelled to preach at the 36th Caroá anniversary service. I went to see grandddaughter Alice in her school choreography concert and she is a star. Amazing! I also watched grandson Lucas get a judo blue belt. He did very well. The Juazeirinho church baptized 3 at Green Pastures on Sunday and had a fellowship day there in the process.

This week is birthday week with grandson Luiz 4 yesterday, his sister Louisa 20 today and daughter Lynn will have her birthday on Saturday. I cut my hair yesterday as I hate it long and tomorrow I will be doing a filmed interview with a university professor Dr Amy Erica Smith (Iowa State University - USA) who somehow found me in the middle of nowhere. She is researching Christians and the environment and the interview will be at Green Pastures.

This Saturday will be our Patos School's Christmas service where I will be speaking. Then we will have 2 Christmas services on the 22nd and 24th in the Patos church. The Christmas Hampers will be distributed on the 21st. 

A very Happy Christmas to you! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Ordering EAB Cards


People are asking if they can buy the cards through bank transfer as they don’t have a cheque book any more. Therefore, please note the following:

ORDERING CARDS
Please post the form to Marian Rashleigh 59, Rosewall Road, Southampton. SO16 5DU
or email a copy to her at missionmr@ntlworld.com.  Her phone number is 02380 345 945

PAYMENT
We now have the facility for people to pay by bank transfer so either take cash or cheque to Lloyds Bank, or use the online facility on the website. Please let Marian know which method of payment you are using so we can trace it.

EAB’s account is at LLOYDS BANK - sort code 30-91-85 - account number 02385564

Monday, 2 December 2019

What a fantastic week at the supermarket!

Yesterday we as the Patos church concluded an amazing week of silent evangelism, silent prayer and fundraising for our projects at a big central supermarket and shopping complex at their invitation! 

That is, the last item was what they invited us to do in recognition of EAB projects, and we added the former evangelism/prayer to the package! 

For an entire week from 7 am to 9pm there were boxes at the check-outs for us to collect customers’ change, so we organized a 100 strong team of volunteers from the church, all wearing the same green church t-shirts, to ask people to contribute to our projects. Our T-shirts spoke the Gospel to people in silence as we evangelized thousands of people throughout the week. We prayed for many in silence too and some actually asked us to pray for them. We had countless contacts for the Gospel. 

It was a fantastic week. Tomorrow we will discover what the check-out change added up to, but the seeds of the Gospel will produce much fruit we are sure anyway!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

An amazing week of silent discreet evangelism

This week all the regular activities of our entire church have been re-directed to a large supermarket in the centre of Patos. Through our daughter Lynn they invited us to collect the loose change from people as they check out of the supermarket so as to help support our social projects! They told us we could bring in folk from the church to encourage people to donate and this we are doing! It is a week of silent evangelism - praying in silence for each one in the supermarket - and our army of workers/church members are all dressed in the same green EAB/ACEV tea shirts! A sea of Evangelical Action green T-shirts greets people as they arrive at the supermarket! What an impact! The supermarket will never be the same again!

Banners are on display around the place and people yesterday (day 1 of 7) were asking us questions. Every shopper is spoken to and given a leaflet at check out. They are prayed for in silence too.

Today the income for the children's play area is also dedicated to our projects as is the income from one session of a film in the group's cinema too. The film "Overcomer" is a Christian film which fitted in perfectly to our week under the providence of God.

On Friday night the supermarket complex has an event area and there we will sing the Gospel! It is a fantastic opportunity for the Gospel this week. Please pray.

Friday, 22 November 2019

50 Years

On Friday (15th) Liz and I had a lovely day celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. It was lovely as each of us tried to surprise the other with little things and by the end of the weekend it was a draw! Let me explain:

I managed to get red roses (very difficult to get here) for Liz to be delivered to our house for her at 6:30 am as that's about the time we always have breakfast and 12 red roses has much significance in our marriage. Well they arrived (only 9 in fact when I counted) but they arrived! Liz loved them... and then came her surprise for me with Liz having managed to get photos of our honeymoon from slides and put them in a little album for me!

We had chicken curry for lunch and then went out for a walk at Green Pastures late afternoon and on the way back I jokingly offered to get something for us to eat as I can manage boiled eggs! However Liz had prepared a surprise meal for us to she was 2 x 1 ahead in surprises!

Then came the big thanksgiving service in church on the Sunday and that was beautiful too and when I equalized! For during the service I surprised Liz with my old wedding ring which I had no longer used as I put on weight and it was impossible. However I managed to get it fixed and expanded with a bit of extra gold and so we ended up a lovely weekend at 2 x 2!

The service was greatly bless of God. We showed the church the video of our wedding in Southampton. Now this Sunday the theme of married couple carries on and I will be preaching especially to them.

God has been and is being good to us. Praise His holy name!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Scotland is here!

This week we've had the joy of Lyndsey Rollo's company visiting the work of EAB. We took her to see a wide range of projects and we will be continuing this tomorrow and Tuesday, as she returns to Scotland on Wednesday. She spoke really well tonight on Worship, in Patos. She is the worship leader at Found Church, Scotland and trained prior to this at Hillsong, Australia. She also is a physiotherapist. It is being a real blessing to have her here with us and I believe she has been blessed around the churches and projects.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

God speaks today

I was studying and praying in my office yesterday when I clearly felt, out of the blue, I should contact somebody who is away from God and hasn't been in church for a long time. So I stopped what I was doing and sent him a message, not knowing that half an hour earlier one of our leaders had bumped into this person and spoken to him too! The result was a series of conversations with the person, confession of sin, and a promise to return to church immediately. Praise God that he does speak today! Please pray for this situation.

Lyndsey Rollo arrived from Found Church, Scotland yesterday and will be playing keyboard with our band on Sunday and preaching on worship too. Lyndsey is a physiotherapist and a graduate from Hillsong, Australia. Today Liz and I are taking her with us on some journies further into the interior to visit churches and projects. I will be preaching tomorrow night at Caroá. We value your prayers.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Small Things

This Sunday I will be preaching on 1 Kings 19:11-18 and talking about how it's not always through the wind and fire that God speaks to us but sometimes it's through His still small voice! I pray that many lives will be blessed in today's communion service.

Thursday's Bible study on the Nazarite Vow went particularly well. The cultural/religious trappings no longer apply to us but the underlying principle of the need for separation from what is not pleasing to God, and the need for consecration to Him, is eternal. 

Very encouraging this week too was the the outreach service on Tuesday night in one of the most notoriously violent and dangerous streets in Patos where murders are common. We had a team of 25 there which is not bad for a Tuesday night! Praise God! The Gospel was preached and the seed was sown as many heard the Gospel.

Our Seniors Project continues to bless many lives. It is lovely to see the joy on the young at heart's faces doing occupational therapy, tucking in to good food and praying together and meeting around God's word. Just the project in itself says so much about Christian care and concern.

On Tuesday we are happy to be receiving Lyndsey Rollo from Scotland for a week's visit. We pray that she will be blessed amongst us and also herself be a blessing. 

Thursday, 31 October 2019

New Edition of EAB's Magazine

EAB's report magazine - edition 92 - for November 2019 is on the way to you by regular mail if you are on the mailing list. If you would like a copy and are not on the list please do let us know.

You can read it now online at:
http://eabrazil.org/2019/10/30/intouch-92/

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Census & Nazarite Vow

I will shortly be off to the Bible study, moving into Numbers tonight, with the 2nd year in the desert census of Israel to start with, and then the Nazarite vow. If you are interested in following our journey through the Bible Key Stories then the schedule we are following is https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/chronological 

Sunday night's service was quite hard going with numbers down owing to public holidays and people away, but with the sermon came the breakthrough for which we praise God.

On Monday I received a series of phone calls from the state-wide TV Paraíba station wanting to do a report on Green Pastures. This I agreed to so the following day I spent the entire morning on this with filming, interviews etc. It should be broadcast in the following days and I will post a link to it here if possible.

The church youth are having a fellowship and fun day at Green Pastures today as it is yet another public holiday here!

This Saturday we will be preaching at the Princesa Isabel church's 79th anniversary service and for Sunday we will be back in Patos. 

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Up in the Mountains

Yesterday I preached the Gospel up in the mountains at the 54th anniversary service of the EAB/ACEV church there, which was founded by Albert Mundy and Frank Dyer in 1965. What a privilege to carry on this work for God!

The service was good with the local pastor a bit in awe of the occasion at first but he then relaxed and the band from our nearby church at Matureia was a real blessing, with much praise with regional rythms which I love. The church seems to be going well there under their new pastor Maesio.

Tonight I will be preaching in Patos at our main weekly service on Psalm 91:1-2. The Lord gave me this word under a tree at Green Pastures a few days ago. If you read the text you might see the connection. 

During this week we ministered to various people on a personal basis. This work in unending. One brother had had a hernia fixed so we visited him and his family. We visited many others too. Deaconess Josinete is well recovered from her motorbike accident.

The Bible study went well as we concluded Leviticus with the Year of Jubilee. What a statement that is of God's concern for social justice, care for the poor and opposition to the accumulation of wealth. In the "Key stories of the Bible" series we have now covered Genesis, Exodus, Job, and Leviticus. Numbers here we come and counting!

Monday, 14 October 2019

Children's Day Special Service

This Sunday we turned our entire main Sunday service into a Children's special service and packed the church out in the bargain! It was wonderful. The thing is that October 12th is Children's Day in Brazil (it is the national patron saint day too but we don't believe in that) so as we have 51 Sundays for adults why not at least one for adults? All our church kids came of course, plus kids from a very poor borough we work in and a coach load of kids from the part of Patos south of the river where we have our school. The kids had the front seats (rows galore) and the adults had to fend for themselves at the back. What was extra good was the fact that many mums came to church for the first time and loved it!

There were lots of children's songs, puppets, Liz spoke and at the end there were snacks for all the kids. Praise God for much good seed sewn in many lives.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Thursday night is Bible Study night

I spent all morning preparing for the Bible study tonight in Leviticus 16 and the Day of Atonement, but before going into this I picked up from last week's Leviticus 11 (with all the rules and regulations about what you can and cannot eat) and prepared a few rounding off thoughts about this as related to all the polemics this generated in the early church. I have Gordon Wenham's commentary on this which is excellent and very helpful.

This afternoon I have spent more time in God's Word - mainly in 1 Corinthians - aided by Gordon Fee's brilliant and long commentary which I also have. I am totally convinced, together with Fee, that the key word "head" in 1 Corinthians 11 means "source" and does not have an hierarchical sense. Thus, verse 3, for example, means "The source of every (Christian) man is Christ, and the source of the woman is man (remember Genesis 2), and the source of Christ is God (the incarnate Jesus)". I also understand the "head covering" references to be culturally relevant matters two millenniums ago which are not relevant today. This is an extremely complex text so I refer you to Fee if you have difficulties with it. 

I must just say that it is so refreshing to spend a whole day in God's Word and recommend to all young people going into Christian ministry and work that they build up a personal library of at least one good scholarly evangelical commentary for each book of the Bible, as well as having the single volume New Bible Commentary for briefer, but good, quick checks and reference for the entire Bible. If you're going to end up, like us, in the middle of nowhere working for God you will need such reference books. 

Now it's time for prayer, a shower, something to eat, and then off to the Bible study.

Monday, 7 October 2019

EAB 81st Celebration went well

Thanks to the 59 people that went to EAB's 81st Annual Celebration despite the "British weather"! I have been told by different people how moving Marian Rashleigh's message was. It was especially appropriate that she was the speaker as a Board member and having just got back to the UK 2 days before the service having spent 2 weeks with us in the work here. So thanks to all who went and who support the work of God here in the interior of north-east Brazil.

Liz and I sent a video message with Marian to the service as we were preaching at a village called São Vicente do Seridó that night. The service was a terrific blessing. 

We ask your prayers for a serious problem we are facing again but which I can't mention here. Those of you that have known us for some time might be able to imagine what it is as we often asked prayer for this dangerous issue in churches in the UK before. Please pray for us. 

We have been busy counselling different ones and preaching the Gospel. Last night's sermon entitled: "Love is a matter of life or death" (based on 1 John 3) was clearly a blessing to many. In the midweek Bible studies we are plowing on through Leviticus which is not the easiest of books and certainly not everyone's cup of tea!

Last week I felt led of God to go and minister to some people in jail so this I did. It was moving to be hugged by one guy after I had shared from God's Word and prayed for him. I ministered to another person as well but I can't give details, but it would make your hair stand on end if I could! Thank you for your prayers and support.

This Saturday is Children's Day in Brazil so on the Sunday the main service will be entirely for children. Watch it online if you can. I reckon the church will be at bursting point!

Thursday, 26 September 2019

It's a Dog's Life!

Taking our UK Board Member Marian Rashleigh to the Fonseca ex-slave community was certainly different last Thursday and had her barking up the wrong tree! We went to the top of the community at 846 metres where an EAB water tank receives the water from our well from down in the valley below and then we showed Marian different projects and the church. It was when we got to a very poor house where EAB is helping folk to improve their pig rearing (so as to help the poor help themselves) - that Marian was bitten by a dog quite nastily and left her hand bleeding profusely. Dog bites demand anti-rabies treatment straight away so we had to take Marian for treatment at the nearest hospital at Princesa Isabel. She had to have a further injection 3 days later in Patos. 

In the afternoon we laid the foundation stone of the new little village church at Travessia where EAB has just bought some land for this purpose. At night we spoke at the Manaira church and then went to sleep at Caroá.

On the Friday we visited 5 communities during the day and then spoke at the Caroá church at night. On the Saturday we visited the Gloria church in Imaculada County and then the Pastor Frank Dyer School in Patos on the way home. At night we went to a wedding.

On Sunday we travelled to João Pessoa where we spoke at the Boa Esperança church which is EAB/ACEV's 3rd church in the city and we stayed in João Pessoa till yesterday when we took Marian to the airport in Recife. 

Now it's an EAB UK Board meeting for us tomorrow via Skype and ministry in the village of São Vicente do Seridó on Saturday and back in Patos on Sunday.

In the UK the 81st EAB annual celebration will be this Saturday for which we sent a video message with Marian.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Catching Up

Sorry for the delay in writing this blog but life has been so hectic that it got left on the low burner till now! So here I go with a flying catch up:

I last wrote on Liz's birthday (September 8th) and the evening communion service was beautiful with a lovely slot of special congratulations to Liz for her birthday.

We travelled to Recife on the Tuesday (10th) and arrived at the airport at 9.06 pm with Marian Rashleigh's flight landing at 9.07 pm! She was through customs quickly and we had something to eat at the airport before going to sleep at a hotel. We drove to Patos the next day and arrived around 5 pm. 

On the Thursday morning I took Marian for a long walk round parts of Green Pastures to blow any cobwebs away she still had from the flight. I gave the Bible study in the Patos church at night and finished the 10 commandments and even got through the first chapter of Leviticus as we press on though 'Key Stories of the Bible', from A to Z, in chronological order. We have now done Genesis, Job and Exodus and we press on now through Leviticus which is probably not everyone's cup of tea and nobody's favourite book of the Bible - but it is Bible and we will study it!

The following morning was the start of the Leaders Conference and our leadership team kicked off at 10 am, grabbed a quick half hour lunch at 1 pm, and finished that day's session at 6 pm. What a dedicated team we have with nobody complaining about the non-stop work load! In the evening we had the first main opening service with a workshop combating 'violence against women'. It was superb and riled some of our male chauvinist pastors a bit, but praise the Lord for that!

Saturday morning was free time for most, but for the leadership team it was more slog for another 4 hours. In the afternoon we had 2 general assemblies - one concerning our projects and another concerning our churches. By the end of all this we had cracked a lot of hard nuts, had taken some important decisions and all with unanimity! Praise be to God!

The evening session was an incredible service with our granddaughter Louisa and her university colleague Rayla leading a Bible packed tirade of teaching against pornography showing statistically that evangelical pastors were NOT immune. They spoke for 90 minutes. It was WOW!

The following morning (Sunday) was the final session of Leaders Conference and it was then that God's Spirit moved mightily in our midst. It was probably one of the most beautiful services we have ever had at such a Conference, as I ministered from Psalm 51. There was a real spiritual breakthrough in many lives as we lived out Jesus' words in Matthew 5:3-4. 

We got back to Patos for the evening service and again God blessed us (despite our tiredness) with Marian speaking on the 'Violin from the Titanic', interpreted by Sacha. 3 decisions were made for Christ at the end. PTL! 

On Monday (16th) I took Marian to visit an ex-landless community where we have a church, a well and a market garden project in full flow.

Yesterday we took Marian to visit Vazante and Barra de Oitis (ex-slave community) and she saw another 2 toilet/shower complexes being built to add the 17 already up and running + 6 productive garden projects and so on. We also saw a little boy who has literally been snatched from death's door with hunger. What a joy it was to see him standing up and plumpish. Thank you Jesus! Now we are off to Princesa Isabel. The work presses on! Thanks for your prayers and support. 

In the middle of all this work and travelling I have managed to get our annual report off to the UK Board of Trustees and done much else. But above all I have prayed. That is the most important. I have prayed. More important than all the above is prayer, hearing God's voice and receiving His guidance. 

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Liz's Birthday!

It's Liz's birthday today and we have lots to praise God for. The celebrations started on Friday because Philip had to go to Europe on business yesterday (Holland, Belgium and Poland) and will be away for a fortnight. So we went out for a pizza on Friday night with a 100% turn out of 4 kids + 9 grandkids + 2 son-in-laws + 1 daughter-in-law + 1 daughter-of-the-heart (as we call Nenem who is sort of adopted by Sacha). It was a lovely evening.

I have posted loads of photos of Liz on Facebook from birth to the present. Today she has received a breakfast sent by someone from the church and in church tonight there will be cake and soft drinks for all after the service. I will be preaching at the communion service tonight. 

Marian Rashleigh will be with us for 2 weeks as from Tuesday so that will be nice. We will meet her at Recife airport. She will be with us for the annual Leadership Conference at Green Pastures and we are working flat out preparing for this. Marian will return just in time for the annual EAB Celebration on September 28th, so will be able to speak at that almost hopping off the plane and into the church near Southampton! Please be there! Marian will have bang up to date news, photos, reports and videos!

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

On top of the UK!

HERE IS THE FINAL REPORT FROM THE TEAM CLIMBING THE 3 HIGHEST PEAKS IN THE UK FOR EAB: "We’re done! Ben Nevis completed today before the worst of the weather set in - reached summit at 11. Much nicer climb than yesterday though of course still a very cold wet grey photo at the top 😆 not many people climbing Ben today but a handy man appeared just at the right time to get a picture of us all. At the top today we prayed for the social action works that EAB does - things such as building wells and toilets, working with vulnerable women, teaching sign language etc etc etc (there’s a very long list of great things EAB does!). We’ve got one more night of particularly wet camping before we head home. Few of us will still be sleeping in the van. We all really enjoyed Ben today (highest point in the UK) - thank you for all your good wishes for better weather after yesterday’s very difficult climb  we do need to make a disclosure about yesterday - a few hours after we posted yesterday’s update, we realised that we hadn’t actually made it quite to the peak of Scafell Pike. At what we thought was the top, we couldn’t see any further and we couldn’t get our phones to work in the freezing wet so were unable to check the GPS location. We still put in a gallant effort yesterday - was genuinely dangerous and we only saw around 10 other people on the mountain all day. However we felt as a group that we needed to make this info known 😊
There will be plenty more photos up soon. Thank you all for following along our journey, we really appreciate the support, and most importantly we are so glad that we can support such a good charity - people full of integrity that genuinely want to make a difference in the world. THANK YOU for all your donations. Over £1000 so far which is amazing" 😍🇧🇷
https://www.justgiving.com/EAB-3peaks
 

50 Years!

I preached on Saturday at the rural church of Cedro in Princesa Isabel County which was celebrating its 50th anniversary. It went great. Sunday back in Patos was good too as we always celebrate 'Missions Day' here on the nearest Sunday to September 2nd which was the date in 1938 when EAB's founders arrived in Brazil. It was a lovely service. This was celebrated around all our churches.

Yesterday I had a relax day with lots of prayer and good reading now in volume 2 of Roger Forster's 'God's Strategy in Human History' - 'reconsidering key Biblical ideas'. Both volumes I find spiritually invigorating! 

This coming Sunday is Liz's 70th birthday so we will be celebrating this eating a pizza as a family on the Friday night because Philip has to travel to Europe on Saturday on business. On Sunday we will celebrate all together with the church family. It will also be communion service and I will be preaching on Matthew 5:4. Please pray.

Reaching for the Top!

Today is the final day for the team, from Lighthouse Community Church near Southampton, doing the 3 Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the work of EAB. On Sunday they climbed Snowdon in Wales (1,085 metres), on Monday they climbed Scafell in England (978 metres) and today takes them to the highest point in the UK - Ben Nevis in Scotland (1,344 metres). This is a fantastic effort by this group and we eagerly await news from the top of the tops! Please support NOW this climb and the work of EAB at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eab-3peaks?fbclid=IwAR1gpbrGCjjrTB0yHd3Q0uKZe2PNCooN77I9W7KTIT5H_9uJqVqjE4ExBgo

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Arthur's 18th Birthday

This is birthday season in our family and they come thick and fast at this time of year! Today is our grandson, fine Christian and student of law at university (top of the class) - Arthur's 18th birthday - so as he's a vegetarian we will all be eating macaroni cheese this evening in celebration! May the Lord continue to bless this lovely lad - son of our eldest daughter Deborah.

Since I last had time to write this blog we have held umpteen counselling session with different folk and the Lord had helped us in it all. I too have had some precious prayer times with God both in my office and out in the bush at Green Pastures. People who already thought I was crazy are now convinced, as they see and hear me on the way to Green Pastures at 6 am with Matt Redman blasting out from my jeep, and me with one hand on the steering wheel and one raised to God!

In the Bible study we progressed well as we travel through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation but we're still in Egypt (nearly out though!) having reached Exodus 12:30. On Saturday we travelled to preach at Conceição and that went well. This Saturday I'm preaching at the rural church of Cedro in Princesa Isabel County. The Sunday service went well in Patos and I sang a song which I had translated during the week. It was Dottie Rambo's "In the valley he restoreth my soul". All was blessed by the Lord.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Sacha's Birthday

Our youngest daughter in 33 today. We will be having a simple meal together this evening as a family in celebration.

Sunday's service was wonderful. PTL! I preached on Matthew 5:3 which went well. The P&W was terrific.

Patos has today had yet another Mayor resign! Unbelievable! The town is in political meltdown basically because of corruption. 

Brazil in general is in environmental meltdown. What the current government is doing is hard to believe. They are attacking their own environmental agencies, authorizing more and more pesticides thus wiping out bees, destroying the amazon forest to the extent that the smoke from fires there turned São Paulo dark in the daytime yesterday despite it being over 1,500 miles away!!! May God please help us!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Amazing Encounters!

This week Liz and I travelled to Serra Talhada in the State of Pernambuco where I had been invited to speak at an interdenominational Conference for leaders. I spoke on the training and teaching of pastors and leaders. My slot was in the afternoon and later on I also was asked lots of questions by those present. It all went very well.

Liz and I arrived early in the morning to get the feel of the event prior to my afternoon speaking. We had only just arrived when Sister Dunalva, who was one of the organisers of the event, came up to warmly welcome us and thank us for going. I knew her already and she told me that she had got married since we last met to a brother from Luxembourg! I immediately reacted: "From WHERE?" She confirmed Luxembourg and told me her husband had been converted at the Portuguese speaking church there! By this time tears had filled my eyes and I told her that 50 years last month I preached my first sermon ever in Portuguese in a tent evangelistic campaign with IBTI which led to the planting of the church where her husband was converted! She then told me her husband was there and whisked me out to chat to him. It was quite an encounter! "God's Word never returns to Him void" and how encouraging it was to see this indirect fruit of the day I had to first find Portuguese immigrants to go to the service and then lead it, sing and preach as the only Portuguese speaker in the team. My Portuguese was awful right at the beginning of my learning the language - but when we are weak the Lord is strong and does miracles!

But that wasn't the end of the eventful morning! Back in the service after the morning speaker had finished, everyone was asked to go to the front for the official photograph. There a brother came up to me and asked me if I had been in Aracaju State, about 500 km from Patos, leading an inter-varsity camp for Christian students about 40 years ago? I answered yes, and he said that he had seen me walk in and he thought it was me who had led the camp that changed his life! He is a Baptist pastor today. "God's Word never returns to Him void". It had been quite a morning. Thank you Lord! What encouragement!

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Still in Egypt

We're still very much in Egypt in the midweek Bible Studies but we have now progressed through to Exodus 4:17 as we journey through the principal Bible stories. Also midweek fellowship group meetings work with one for men, another for women, another 2 for youth, one for the deaf, and another for a mixed group. There is also the weekly seniors gathering which is always blessed of the Lord too. Thanks for your prayers for all these activities. 

Father's Day

Brazil's Father's Day is on the second Sunday in August but we celebrated it on the Saturday as Sundays are too hectic. We slept at Green Pastures on the Friday night and spent Saturday there with a lovely family day. I walked 16 km including a night trek encountering a killer Coral snake which was fantastic, as I managed to photograph it and film it.

The Sunday Father's Day service was out of this world. God spoke to me in the week for the service to be less festive, than these occasions tend to be, and more spiritual. Thus the Lord blessed abundantly. I preached on "The Greatest Commandment" from Mark 12 and it was well... wow! Praise God!

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Please pray

Please pray for Keith Dyer, who is EAB's chairman of the Board of Trustees Roy Dyer's 83 year old father, who fell down a ladder yesterday and broke some bones. It seems to have been quite a nasty fall and Keith certainly needs our prayers.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Lay in

Liz and I had a lay in bed till 6 am today after a busy and blessed Sunday. I had a shower and a short walk and then we had breakfast together. As we chatted we felt that we should visit Sister Aina, her sister Lourdes (both active participants of our seniors project) and Aina's daughter Solange. 

Later on Liz phoned Aina to see if they would be in at 4 pm and she replied: "I am all goose bumps! I prayed very early this morning and told the Lord I needed to see my pastors"! 

To visit these trophies of God's grace was a blessing to us as we look back on what the Lord has done in their lives. Our church is a "hospital church" so best to stay away if you're perfect! God's love heals wounds and God's power changes lives. I can say no more. Thank you Jesus for the power of the Gospel and blood of Jesus!

Yesterday's communion service was blessed too. The church was full and the service was lovely. Thanks for your prayers always.

Please pray for EAB which is facing especially challenging financial times. Now, on top of the lowest exchange rate on the pound in 28 months, the government is trying to rip us off adding 4% charges insinuating EAB (81 years old!) is not worthy of exemption from this tax as previously. So we are now battling this out legally and tightening our belts whilst we wait for a solution. Prayer changes things. Please pray! 

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Old Cow Pen

Great service last night at Curral Velho where we preached the Gospel. We had a lovely meeting with the couple that lead the church there before the meeting and had a nice meal with them too. Two hours to get there and two to drive home late at night but the Holy Spirit filled the car all the way home as Liz and I worshipped God with the help of Matt Redman. The car floated home and can't possibly of used any petrol!

On Tuesday night all the youth were at our house to do a surprise party for Alice on the eve of her 12th birthday. It was quite a shock for her as they were all hidden behind the front garden wall and when she opened the gate bang! It was lovely!

The Bible study in Exodus 1-2 went well on Thursday.  This week we'll move on to chapters 3-5. Tonight is the monthly Communion service in Patos.

Some of the youth went up the mountain to Teixeira to visit the church there last night whilst Liz and I went to Curral Velho. Thanks for all your prayers.

I finished reading 'God's Strategy in Human History - Volume 1 - God's Path to Victory' this week. A great book and a real blessing. 

Monday, 29 July 2019

More babies!

I had the pleasure of dedicating another baby this Sunday and then today Liz and I visited a new born babe and family. All part of the job.

On Saturday evening I led the evangelistic service on the south of the River Espinharas in Patos in the borough of Jatobá. It went very well. This coming Saturday Liz and I will be travelling to the small town of Curral Velho, about a two and a bit hours journey west of Patos. I will be preaching at our church there's 29th anniversary service.

This Sunday night's service in Patos was really good and the sermon on 2 Timothy 2:1-7 went great. There has been considerable positive repercussion which is encouraging and the Men's Fellowship has decided to continue discussion of the text in their meeting tomorrow evening.

On Thursday in the Bible study we will now move on from Job to Exodus chapters 1 to 5. We have covered Genesis 1 to 3, 12, 15 and 22 and Job 1 to 3 plus 38 to 42. So now today, so as to link up Genesis 22 to Exodus 1, I have studied and done a resume of chapters 23 to 50 of Genesis, chapter by chapter, to use prior to going into Exodus 1. 

This Wednesday (July 31st) is our granddaughter Alice's 12th birthday. As we always say - how time flies! It doesn't seem that long since she was a minute premature baby held in one hand! She has now grown to the extent that she looks like 15 or 16 and not 12. God is good.

On Wednesday night I've got a meeting lined up with some of the youth leaders about work evangelizing in colleges and universities. I hope sharing my experience with them in this field may be helpful to them.

This morning I had a lovely meeting with a couple who are Roman Catholic leaders. It was very precious. A RC group may well be going to hold a two-day seminar at Green Pastures later in the year. They also expressed their desire for me to have a meeting for a chat with the RC bishop and which I gladly accepted. The ball's in their court. "The times they are a changing"! That's for sure! Please pray with us on all this.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Counselling

Sunday's sermon on 'Suffering' went well and the service was good. This week I have a baby to dedicate and my sermon is 50% prepared on "Be strong in Grace" (2 Timothy 2:1-13). 

I walked 5,5 km on Tuesday having done a lot of theological reading on Monday. Then yesterday Liz and I had a long counselling session which was quite difficult involving complicated deep rooted problems. As usual it has to be "no names no pack drill" as the world is too small today to be able to mention anything. On the Monday I forgot to mention that we had another extremely difficult counselling session. We live in a very sick world and the wounded lie strewn everywhere! May God keep us always being a 'hospital' church, which loves and cares for the sinner, but which rejects the sin. 

We had another fine shower yesterday so the showers are adding up which is unusual and welcome for the month of July. The total for the month adds up to about an inch of rain. This makes no difference to the drying up process in the fields as the rain is not enough for that and the heat soon evaporates small quantities of rain, but nevertheless the rain is warmly welcome. These showers we are getting are the sort of left overs from the strong coastal rains which fall there at this time of year and in Recife there was severe flash flooding with sadly over a dozen people killed.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Man on the Moon Day!

If you had been born then where were you 50 years ago today when man landed on the moon? I was with John Wildrianne, Jean-Jaques Zbinden and some fellow students from IBTI, including Claude Bonjour, working on an evangelistic tent campaign in Luxembourg, and I watched the landing in a café there. Miraculously a Portuguese speaking church was planted there from amongst migrants from Portugal. Liz and I visited the church on furlough from Brazil in 1976.

This week I have read the book of Job and prayed and meditated a lot about human suffering and its causes, and we studied Job chapters 1-3 on Thursday in the Bible Study. Tomorrow I will be preaching on "Why is there so much suffering in the world?"

Yesterday I walked at Green Pastures where the Deaf Fellowship's annual conference started and tonight Liz, myself and others will be back there for the one public service for us non-sign language speakers. The entire conference is organized and run by the deaf led by our deaf pastor Luiz Carlos and tonight's service will be no different apart from the fact that the service will be translated to Portuguese for the hearers' benefit. Deaf pastor Luiz Carlos will lead and another deaf speaker will preach entirely in Brazilian sign language (LIBRAS) as well as all the praise, prayer and worship in sign language. Every year I shed tears, as the service for us is very emotional. It is absolutely amazing what God is doing amongst the deaf! They can't hear my voice but they can hear God's voice loud and clear. PTL!

5 of our young folk, including granddaughter Louisa, are on a long coach journey to the most southern State of NE Brazil called Bahia, for a week long Inter-Varsity training conference to train students from all round the northeast to evangelize their colleagues in universities. They left Patos yesterday afternoon and joined other Christian students to fill up a coach in João Pessoa to get there. In the night the coach had an accident with a drunk driver hitting the coach but all are well. The coach had to be changed which lost further time and this was made worse in Maceió when the replacement coach had to have repairs. Quite where they are now I don't know. Please pray that God will mightily bless the event.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Wow! What a Weekend!

A weekend of ministry over the weekend at the coast was full of happenings, near accidents, long tiring journeys, but much blessing too. 

We left on Saturday morning and had some very near accidents arriving in João Pessoa on the coast owing to wreckless drivers changing lanes like they were in Formula one! We made it in one piece and rested up a bit before going to preach at our main church there's 25th anniversary service. My message was especially appreciated and blessed. PTL! To our great surprise a young mother turned up at church who we had not seen for 20 years and it was a very emotional encounter for both Liz and I. She had been involved in the work here but marriage problems caused her to leave and we lost contact. It was amazing how we were able to minister to her after the service till half an hour before midnight! 

On the Sunday we travelled down the coast to Recife where we ministered at the new church plant there. We arrived early so as to be able to chat to the couple who lead the work there and it was not easy as I was so tired from all the activities the previous day. Added to this we had a stressful journey in the rain, as it is the rainy season in Recife, and had another, even worse, very near accident, but the Lord kept us through it all. Somehow I managed to gather strength to conduct communion and preach and I actually felt stronger as the service progressed. The people were so pleased we had gone there. We managed to get to bed earlier on Sunday night after all this!

Yesterday, Monday, we drove back to Patos, arriving home at 5pm having driven about 1,000 km over the weekend with much ministry in between. God is good!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Off to the Seaside!

Liz and I leave shortly to preach at the coastal city and capital of Paraíba State - João Pessoa - where it is EAB/ACEV's 25th anniversary service. It is about a 4 and half hour drive to get there from Patos. We will sleep there tonight.

Tomorrow we will travel down from there to Recife to preach at the EAB/ACEV church plant in the borough of Cordeiro in that big city. I will conduct the communion service for the few there too. We will sleep there and travel back to Patos on Monday (DV). Your prayers are valued.

The Bible study in Patos went well on Thursday and we finished Abraham and Isaac up to Genesis 22. We now go on to Job next week as we are doing the central stories of the Bible in chronological order.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Prayer changes things!

I shared some thoughts around this fact with EAB's Board of Trustees earlier as EAB passes through difficult times financially. I make an appeal for everyone to please PRAY more because prayer changes things. Prayer makes a difference! For we are in a spiritual battle and the evil one will use many methods to try and hinder God's work, but we need to unite in prayer, clothed with God's armour, so as to win the battle and take the Gospel to the lost.

Paul says in Romans 8:28 that "In all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good". What a privilege to work together with God in prayer. Prayer changes things! Please pray for EAB and for us always!

Prayer is not just an exercise in obedience, but makes a difference, as we intercede on behalf of people or situations. Prayer changes things more than this world dreams of! 

Ex-landless community now have place reserved in heaven!

Last night's mid-week service saw a great crowd gather right out in the sticks at the ex-landless Community of Aparecida where I had the joy of preaching the Gospel. What a difference the Gospel is making in this place for the poorest of the poor. Many have come to Christ and the well project, market garden project and 4-legs project have brought real hope and love to the people here and now with a home in glory reserved for each one in Christ one day. It is so encouraging to see God moving and blessing in this place. Thank you for praying and supporting.

I will be off shortly to conduct the Thursday night Bible study as we move on with Abraham from Genesis chapters 16 to 22 - and then Isaac too - as we work through the key stories of the Bible in chronological order. Next in line will be Job next week if we get through these chapters today.

Monday, 8 July 2019

God is blessing

I have been so busy that I did not get round to blogging for a few days. However here I am with an update.

The last 2 main Sunday services were especially blessed. Many hands were raised at the end of last night's service - I would guess around 15 as I lost count - with some making first commitments to Christ and others responding to the sermon on Deuteronomy 30:11-20. This is a very challenging text. If I would be able to preach like Moses did here, at 120 years old, I would be well pleased!

The Bible Study midweek was also really good and we progressed in Genesis to chapter 15. The Men's ministry was really blessed too midweek at a farmstead and at Juazeirinho a special weekend evangelistic outreach was held and 4 decisions were made for Christ. PTL!

I did an hour long interview on the Catholic radio station on Friday! Times have changed! I also fitted in some good reading time with Roger Forster last week which is being a real blessing to my life. I had some good prayer times too at Green Pastures which is a great place to pray as it's silence in the middle of God's creation, with background music from the birds, so that I can talk freely to the Lord and hear his voice. 

On Mondays I try to rest up a bit but will be visiting one family with Liz this afternoon as a new baby has arrived. This Wednesday I will be preaching at the ex-landless settlement in São Mamede County and on Saturday we will have a group going to the town of São Mamede to re-start our church plant in the town. However I will be preaching at João Pessoa on the Saturday and in Recife at the new church plant there on the Sunday. We value your prayers for the long journies involved and for all the ministry of God's Word and for the Lord's provision for all the petrol to get to all the places we minister at.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Fellowship in the Light

I have prepared this Sunday's sermon on Fellowship in Christ's light from 1 John 1:1-10 and I've sent the order of service to our visuals man so all ready for our main Sunday service.

On Thursday I led the Bible study in Genesis 12 as having covered the creation and the fall we are now into Abraham and Isaac as we follow though a series right through the Bible focusing on its main stories.

Yesterday Liz and I had a further meeting with our deaf pastor Luis Carlos, with the help of interpreter Geralda, preparing for the Deaf Conference at Green Pastures from July 19th-21st. 

I have also be handling a variety of issues this week trying to sort out a problem between two of our church leaders at one of our churches, discussing possible ministry from one of our Bible School students at another church, managing some difficult issues with a complicated person in another church and dealing with some tense family problems that another of our church leaders has. I can't go into details with these matters as the world is too small today! However please pray on these matters as God knows the details. Things like the above crop up all the time but God helps us in these times.

Tonight we will be supporting the Youth in their church planting endevours in the Jatobá borough of Patos where we have our school. It was interesting how this week the school got out church Firefighter Romildo to go and give a talk to the kids' parents on how to avoid accidents with the children in the home and on what to do if they happen.

Please pray for us as we prepare for ministry in a couple of week's time in João Pessoa on the coast and with the church plant in Recife also on the coast. 

Friday, 28 June 2019

Stay cool in Europe!

We hear on the news of the extremely hot weather being experienced at present in Europe, so here are a few basic suggestions to help:

1. Stay OUT of the sun.
2. Take AT LEAST 3 cold showers a day.
3. Drink lots of cold water from the fridge all day long.
4. Wear light tops, shorts and sandals.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Youth Conference approaches final meal together

The EAB/ACEV 16th annual Youth Conference is at this moment in its final service and then everyone will have their final meal together before returning to all their different towns and churches. From all we saw and have heard it is being a great blessing and we await everyone's return to Patos to get the full picture and report. Liz has just left for Green Pastures to transport a visiting speaker from João Pessoa to catch a coach home. I am working here in my office and will have to heat my own lunch up in the microwave! I value your prayers!

Last night's service in Patos went very well despite very low numbers. This was due to 3 factors. First of all the Youth Conference has all our youth there of course plus others from the Patos church working in the kitchen at Green Pastures. Secondly because last night was the main annual bonfire night creating lots of smoke in the streets plus street parties which made it difficult or impossible for some to get to church. Thirdly because today is St. John's day and as everything in Brazil is celebrated on the eve of whatever day it is - plus the fact that St. John's day is the biggest day (like Christmas Day in the UK) for Brazil's north-east, this meant that some people felt the cultural pull more than the Christian one! That is, they sort of preferred John to Jesus, which I am perhaps a bit harsh in saying, but that's what happened with some. 

Nevertheless we had a good blessed service with Sacha alone on vocals and just brother Temistocles on guitar as all the rest of the worship band was away at the Conference. However the worship went really well despite this. My sermon on Genesis 3 went very well too. In fact I am already getting requests for me to preach the sermon again in a month or so's time when we have everyone there! So I probably will do this.

We value your prayers for all the activities during this week in the work here. We value your financial support too. May God bless you this week!

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Youth Conference in progress

The 16th annual EAB/ACEV Youth Conference started on Saturday morning at Green Pastures and Liz and I joined them for the afternoon and evening. There must be about 200 present although I don't have the exact figures yet from the leaders. It is lovely too see such a fine number and body of enthusiastic Christian youth, which speaks well for the present and the future.

The leaders are formed by a team including our granddaughter Louisa and her fellow law student Rayla + journalist Ray. The overall leader is Philip. Also in a support role are Dilma, Bia, Brenda and João Filho + the kitchen/cleaner team + the 2-man basic Green Pastures regulars of Tarcísio & Francisco + Liz of course! The whole team has worked extremely hard for the success of the Conference.

On the Saturday afternoon I was asked to lead a guided tour of the nature reserve and teach on the way that caring for God's creation is a very basic and essential part of the mission of the church. If you don't emphasize this fact in your church perhaps you might try reading the Bible! Please start with Genesis 1:28 and 2:15 and read God's first ever "job description" for mankind which must make it somewhat important! I also taught how walking alone in the woods is a great place for prayer and excellent to combat anxiety and depression.

We then had a meal together and stayed for a lovely service when they ran out of chairs with so many there. It was a blessing. This was followed by an after-service fun time round the pool area, with live regional Christian music, and all sorts of games like fishing from the pool, hoops etc. plus lots of food made from maize which is tradition here in June + toffee apples and candy floss and coffee of course! It was all beautifully well organised and lovely fellowship. Liz and I got home to bed though at 1 am! Ugh!

I will be preaching and leading the service in Patos tonight. I will be preaching on "What a mess the serpent made"! (Genesis 3) I value your prayers. The Patos church will run as normal whilst the Youth Conference continues at Green Pastures. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

11 baptized in Campina Grande

Our 1st Campina Grande Church baptized 11 on Sunday. PTL! Both our churches in that city are thriving both spiritually and numerically. Please keep praying and supporting.

Last night one decision for Christ was made on a farmstead near Green Pastures when 11 men from our Men's fellowship went there to preach the Gospel. 

I photographed and filmed a beautiful Coral snake yesterday at Green Pastures. This 'Michrurus ibiboboca' is lethally venomous. The biologists are thrilled with my daylight registers of this species more commonly only seen at night. 


Monday, 17 June 2019

Visiting the Flock

Liz and I visited one of our senior ladies today. She has had 3 husbands who all died. She has 2 sons, one of which is very problematic and has been in jail twice. We listened to her, talked things over and prayed with her.

We then went to visit a man from the Patos church who went down with sudden deafness in one ear some months ago giving him noises in the ear all the time. He has just been operated on for the third time. We prayed with him too and for his elderly Mum and sister who cares for her.

I have spent some time reading today. I read 3 more chapters of God's Strategy in Human History and one chapter from Christianity: The Evidence. Both books are by Forster & Marsten and are excellent. 

Liz has been helping the youth sort out what they are going to feed the participants at the Youth Conference this weekend at Green Pastures. Liz has also been counselling someone from church who has severe family problems. We always value your prayers for all aspects of the work of God we are involved in because our battle is definitely not just with "flesh and blood" but is much more sinister than that which meets the eye!

"All things"

I have been blessed reading Roger Forster and Paul Marston - God's Stategy in Human History and found their thoughts on Romans 8:28 very interesting. The question is whether it is 'things' or 'God' who works?

The famous saying that "the translator can be the traitor" is clearly applicable in this verse which has so many Christians understanding that somehow 'things' abstractly or fatalistically control our lives. In fact what is true is that, as the alternative translation in the NIV margin gives it:

"We know that in all things God works together with those who love him". We as Christians are challenged by this verse to be co-workers with God in the spiritual warfare against evil. It is God who works with us in all things! (Mark 16:20, 1 Corinthians 3:9 and 2 Corinthians 6:1) Thus this verse is saying:

"Nevertheless, what any Christian can be sure of is that, whatever disaster may strike and however bad the situation may be, God will be there, wanting to work together with that Christian and with other believers, to bring good into the situation".

Jesus asked: Do you love me?

Last night's service in Patos was really good with much blessing on my sermon which focused on Jesus' questioning of Peter: "Do you love me?" Normally preachers focus on Jesus's commision to Peter to feed his lambs or sheep but I felt a real leading from God to focus on the question! In fact, I was out walking at Green Pastures last Tuesday when God clearly asked me just that! "Do YOU love me?"

How true it is that one always needs to know God Himself better and love HIM more!

Sunday, 16 June 2019

A lad called Lazarus

A lad of 11 called Lazarus wandered into the Care Centre this week as he'd heard about it from his mates. He's very timid and self conscious of his teeth which are all over the place as a result of a fall earlier in his life which removed one tooth and everything else started moving out of place from then onwards.

Normally we have appointments for the kids to see the dentist as things need to be organized to not have the dentist sitting and waiting etc. However we soon realized Lazarus was a special case and we needed to fit him in somehow.

His father was murdered soon after getting out of jail some years back and his mother dumped him and has run off never again to be seen. Lazarus is brought up by his very poor grandmother who herself is ill with elephantiasis which is caused by parasitic worm infections which cause enormously swollen legs and other body areas. 

Lazarus was attended and will be with us for some time having a series of teeth fillings prior to doing what is possible with a brace to straighten his teeth as far as is now possible. Please pray. 

North-eastern Brazil's traditional festival period

June is the traditional time for regional music and street country dancing festivals in northeast Brazil built around the catholic saints of St. Anthony (12/13th), St. John (23/24th) and St. Peter (28/29th). I have no problem with these things in their original "barn dancing" form but these have been taken over by vulgar music with immoral words and dances which I detest. For nearly 20 years the united evangelical churches have run a public Christian outreach in this period with good Christian music and this Friday and Saturday was this year's edition.

However, as thing have developed the Christian outreach has slid into simply being shows. On the one hand they are a good getting together of Christians from the region. A sort of "united" show of force and the music is good Christian stuff. On the other hand it has lost any sense of being evangelistic outreach and is simply a social gathering of the evangelicals with food to sell from make-shift snack bars. It is impossible to worship God eating a hot dog at the same time! 

It goes on till very late and Liz and I stuck out a couple of hours last night, but I will be glad to get into church later to be able to worship and praise God and preach the Gospel.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Busy week

Friday night is here after a long day working on loads of EAB administrative stuff for the second day this week. 

I prepared my sermon for this Sunday earlier in the week and am looking forward to preach on John 21:15-25. This will bring a long series going through this gospel which has been good. The Bible study went well yesterday when I completed the first chapters of Genesis on creation and the fall. Next we move on to Genesis 12 as we are following the key stories of the Bible in chronological order as in the BibleGateway.com Bible reading plan. We move on to Abraham and Isaac now. Then it will be Job. Our mid-week Bible studies are informal with those present free to chip in or ask questions. Derek Kidner's commentary on Genesis is excellent - just in case anyone is interested!

We visited a family which needs your prayers this week. A new baby girl has joined her sister. Her Mum has her hands full. It was lovely to see the Men's Fellowship going out to the rural area of São Mamede County on Tuesday too when they supported our church's work in that County led by Tarcísio from Green Pastures.

Please pray for the Youth Conference at Green Pastures next weekend which will run from Saturday (22) to Monday (24) which will be a public holiday. We look to the Lord for much blessing. 

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Pentecost Sunday

I have just got home after preaching on this Pentecost Sunday. The service was really blessed. Last Sunday was also really blessed too when I also preached the Word as well. God is good and has really been blessing. 

On the Saturday we preached at Itaporanga and that was a blessing too, but getting there was a headache owing to a priest, in a town you have to go through to get to Itaporanga, blocking all the through-traffic in homage of his Saint Anthony! It is unbelievable that this medieval way of carrying on is still strong in these parts. He was throwing "holy water" on all the vehicles bringing everything to a standstill! We arrived late at the service in Itaporanga but we made it and we preached Christ!

We have been dealing with a complicated leadership problem this week too between 2 of our church leaders a long way from Patos. I can't give details but ask for your prayers. So there is always so much to do in the work but God is our strength!

Bitten by Bat

Our eldest grandson Felipe is on an anti-rabies drip in the outpatients department of Patos General Hospital right now having been bitten by a bat. It is obligatory to have such a drip as vampire bats are transmitters of rabies. Of course many species of bats are not vampire bats, feeding on fruit or insects, but as defining which species of bat is involved is not simple this precaution is always taken. We value your prayers.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Just off to preach in Itaporanga

I will be leaving in a couple of hour's time for Itaporanga to preach at the EAB/ACEV church's 74th anniversary service. I'll watch some of the Champion's League Football final before leaving.

This week has been busy. Liz and I visited Capim Grosso where Albert Mundy and Frank Dyer started a work for God back in the 50's. That eventually ended with people moving away with the droughts, but now it has revived! "His Word will not return to Him void"! The seed was planted and has reemerged! PTL!

We also visited Vazante where the church in that small village has reached 60 strong and is the only Gospel witness in the place. We had a lovely meal with Pastor Nezinho and his wife Sonia and their daughter Nielma who travels every day to Patos to study biology at the university here. Pity Liz can't eat fish but I had lots whilst there they had caught in the lake nearby. Delicious!

We also went to Barra de Oitis where we visited homes where another 8 toilet/shower units had been built. We also spoke in the thanksgiving service which started late afternoon and went into the evening. All was really beautiful. We thank those who support and have given to this project. You can't imagine the difference it is making in unbelievably poor people's lives!

My cousin Andy is with the Lord

I have spoken to my cousin Peter via Messenger following the death of his brother Andy, aged 78, who went to be with the Lord in New Zealand this week. Our prayers and thoughts are with cousin Peter (Weston Super Mare) and his sister Faith (Ledbury). All three are the children of my Mum's sister Gladys and their Father Fred who were a wonderful Christian Aunt and Uncle whom I remember fondly from my childhood and youth. 

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Just leaving for Barra de Oitis & Vazante

Liz and I are just about to leave for Barra de Oitis where we are to officially hand over 8 toilet/shower kits and hold a community thanksgiving service where we will preach the Gospel. Please pray for us. 

On the way, in a round about way, we will be visiting Vazante where we also have a church.

Monday, 27 May 2019

The main decisions taken & announcements made at our Annual General Conference

We now have 88 churches (up 5) including large, medium and small. Christians in our churches total 3,171 (up 151). We have 36 of these people doing theology courses by distance or presential Colleges. Our annual Leadership Conference will be from September 13th to 15th this year at Green Pastures. The annual Youth Conference will also be there next month.

We plan to construct new church buildings at Barra de Oitis and Travessia. We decided to improve our monitoring methods so as to keep in touch better with the growing number of churches. The Annual General Conference next year will be at Princesa Isabel. At Princesa Isabel their church plant in the borough of Maia was moved up in status to be recognised as a fully established church.

It was decided to tighten our safety measures with the transportation of people at our annual 10-day outreaches and any other Mission activities. Whilst it is good fun with a big crowd of young people on top of a lorry singing praises to God along the way - such travelling is both dangerous and illegal. 

This year's theme for all our churches is: "My Goal is Christ" (i.e. His full stature as stated in Efesians 4:11-16).

We have 5 regular radio programmes continuing from radio stations at Imaculada, São Vicente do Seridó, Campina Grande, Juru and Teixeira. 

We heard special reports on church plants at Pocinhos, Belem, Jurema, Travessia, Campina Grande Novo Horizonte, Lagoa de São João and Bahia. Of special concern for prayer was the awful persecution our family of workers at Belem are suffering with their 6 year old son even being subjected to considerable bullying at primary school because he is an evangelical Christian!

It was decided to create an online distance theology and practical Christianity course in Integral Mission. 

Annual General Conference

The EAB/ACEV Annual General Conference is always in the month of May and this year was held at our second church in Campina Grande in the borough of Presidente Médici. Liz and I left Patos at 9 am and drove the two and a half hour journey going straight to the church for the 12 noon fellowship lunch together which started the event. Philip travelled separately with some young folk.

Straight after lunch we got into our first General Assembly at 2 pm and this ended at gone 6 pm. We then had our evening meal all together and were off again into our second general assembly by 7.30 pm. For the Conference our leaders gather from all our churches in the 5 north-eastern States we have work in: Paraíba, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará and Bahia. Liz and I got to bed on the Friday night at gone midnight!

We restarted with the third general assembly which lasted from 9 am to 1 pm and then all had lunch together. Everyone had another meal together at 6 pm and at 7.30 pm we commenced our final celebration service which ended 2 hours later. The whole event was very tiring of course, but very good and really blessed by the Lord. The general assemblies saw, as usual, all our decisions taken unanimously and the celebration, at which I preached and ordained one new minister, was beautiful. We got to bed at midnight and drove back to Patos on Sunday morning so as to be back in good time to lead the evening service. Thank you for praying.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Doors that God opens

I have long prayed for a greater opening in São Mamede County where Green Pastures is. It is true that some years back I was given the 'Freedom of the County' title but, though this was good, it was a formal one-off thing. However as the Green Pastures Christian Camp, Conference Centre and Nature Reserve has become increasingly well known so the County Council finally decided for the first time to appoint a Secretary for the Environment. He has been to Green Pastures twice, has asked me for my thoughts on a number of issues and today invited me to speak at 2 schools on International Biodiversity Day. I really feel we are seeing a breakthrough for God's Kingdom in the County as a whole at last. The talks I gave went particularly well. PTL!

In São Mamede County EAB has its church and school at Green Pastures plus other smaller works including the one at the ex-landless community there. God is moving by His Spirit! God is speaking to people through our concern and pratical care of His creation. God's creation has always been a means of glorifying the Lord!

Monday, 20 May 2019

Prayer stops school!

At EAB's Action Schools for poor kids the children are naturally taught to say grace before meals. Today in one little boy's regular school he was horrified when snack time came and the teacher wasn't going to pray first! So he caused such a scene that the teacher had to halt everything prior to praying and he only calmed down and would let everyone eat after a proper prayer was said and the teacher promised to do this everyday from now on! It just goes to show the importance of teaching children simple things concerning the ways of the Lord.

Over the weekend the Christians in Action group were really blessed in Onça community in Patos County and the youth and deaf fellowship groups went well too. In Recife 14 from our João Pessoa main church travelled to help do evangelism in the area where the church plant is. This is just getting going and will take a long time but the Recife folk are sticking to the task and we value your prayers for this.

We had another half an inch of rain at Green Pastures as the rains dwindle to an end. This takes us up to 35.5 inches so just 4.5 inches to go to out target for this year we've been praying for. At Green Pastures we identified another species of Lizard about half a meter in length called 'Ameiva ameiva'. It is particularly beautiful and takes the number of Lizard species identified there to 15. We have also identified 13 species of snakes and 18 species of frogs and toads.

We travel to Campina Grande on Friday for the annual EAB/ACEV Churches Conference and value your prayers. We plan to be back in Patos for Sunday's evening service. 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

EAB Board Meeting

EAB’s UK Board of Trustees met at West Wellow in Hampshire today and I took part via Skype. It was a very good meeting which heard an up-to-date report on the work in northeast Brazil and the importance of increasing support for the Mission from individuals, churches and special events.

The importance of support for EAB’s Action Schools was stressed and it was also encouraging to learn of a group of young folk who will be climbing the highest peaks in England, Scotland & Wales for EAB! It was also decided that I will preach, via live link, at EAB’s 81st Celebration on September 28th.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

We didn't see that coming!

In the early hours of today a good rain started to fall which was not forecast and totally unexpected, but MOST welcome! We had 2 inches of rain at Green Pastures and the dam started overflowing again. This takes us up to 35 inches for the year and so leaves just 5 inches that we need to reach our target of 40 inches. (A good rainy season in the first half of the year needs to be around 40 inches) It doesn't rain here in the second half of the year so it is good when we receive water enough to get us through till the following year. It needs to be remembered that it also gets increasingly hot as the year goes on and that accelerates the evaporation of water in the reservoirs. 

So thank you for praying and please don't stop!

Monday, 13 May 2019

Annual EAB Charity Concert at Chineham

My sister Jean is one of the best music teachers around and this year had total success with all of her pupils passing their exams. Every year she organizes a charity concert at her church, to raise funds for EAB, in which her pupils perform. We are very grateful to Jean and all the young musicians who always make the afternoon a very enjoyable one. We also thank the parents who bake cakes or savoury pastries for the interval and which makes the concert even more enjoyable!

This year's concert will be held on Saturday, July 6th at 3 pm and all money raised for tickets and refreshments will be to support EAB's projects in northeast Brazil. The address to go to is:

Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8LT. 

Please do support this event if you live in Hampshire and may God bless all who perform and go to the event.

Hospital Church

EAB's Patos church is a hospital church! By that I mean that we are a church which cares with God's love for the broken hearted and for those who are needy in all sorts of ways. We receive people in the Name of Jesus and seek to love them like God loves us - and no - we don't push aside Biblical principals in the process.

I say this because we have just held a Patos church leadership meeting in which we have decided unanimously to accept 2 new people into fellowship as it is a joy to see how God is blessing them and ministering to them in their needs. I cannot give any details here about the cases - nor would I - but it is wonderful to see the Gospel of God's healing love working in people's lives and healing deep wounds and scars. Thank you Jesus!

Mother's Day

Mother's Day in Brazil is on the second Sunday in May - yesterday. We had a good special service in which I preached on the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). It was a lovely service in which we also dedicated two children and received another 2 new members into fellowship. The church was really full.

On Saturday the Patos church band travelled to Juazeirinho for the service there and this was really blessed too. The youth held a Bible study at the Jatobá church plant, where our school is in Patos. The Christians in Action group held a service in São Mamede County after a service on the Friday at Ipueira in Rio Grande do Norte State.

We have been distributing more goats as part of EAB's 4 Legs Project. The Gospel is being preached in so many places and it's being practiced in so many ways for the glory of God.

100 not out!

Veteran EAB supporter Ivy Yoakley reached her century last week at Ledbury in England. Well done Ivy! I must confess that I find it difficult to call her 'Ivy' as she was always 'Mrs Yoakley' - and woe betide anyone that called people by their first name in those old days at Peniel Chapel which was my first church in Notting Hill when I was a child! Her husband went to glory years ago but she has never lost contact with us. We praise God for her faithfulness to the Mission. I was glad to hear that her son Richard was over from New Zealand for her birthday. He was who gave me the 'Blue Grass' monkey when I was a teenager which he smuggled into the country as he was in the Merchant Navy and brought it back from Africa! But that's another long eventful story! Another interesting link with Ivy is the fact that Liz's parents stayed at her house just off Ladbroke Grove for their honeymoon in 1948! Exotic honeymoon locations were the order of the day then!

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Men's Fellowship

12 in the Men's Fellowship group tonight which is not bad for a Tuesday evening. Tomorrow is the Women's Fellowship group. Small groups are an important part of church life for fellowship, edification and evangelism.

I have had talks with a number of our church leaders today. Contact is always important sharing about different issues that affect each one. 

Liz visited a young woman called Jane who has had a hysterectomy and is recovering well. She told Liz how blessed she was watching the Sunday night service via Internet. We prayed for her recovery in the service and she was particularly thrilled because when I congratulated those who had had birthdays last week, as we do every week, I looked to where she sits as it had been her birthday. Just the fact that I knew where she always sits made her so happy! It just goes to show how details in church life can be so important.

Monday, 6 May 2019

A War of Loves

I have just read the book by David Bennett called 'A War of Loves: The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus' with the foreword written by N.T.Wright. It is an excellent book which was a blessing to read. Very well written, a wonderful and moving story which expresses the same Christian position on the field as I share. 

Yesterday in Patos I preached on 'The Presence of Jesus changes everything' based on John 21:1-14. To God be the glory for the great impact the sermon had on so many people.

On Saturday we had a 7-hour leadership meeting preparing for our national conference later this month to be held at Campina Grande. The 10-person leadership team gathered in Patos on Saturday from Manaira, Itaporanga, Imaculada, Patos, Campina Grande and João Pessoa. The meeting was excellent and took some important unanimous decisions.

Yesterday Kira Taylor ran the Southampton Half Marathon to raise over 500 pounds for EAB's work and projects. We thank Kira and all who sponsored her. It is encouraging to see a young person getting involved with the Mission in this way.

A decision for Christ has been reported in Teixeira and another in the rural area of Juazeirinho. PTL!

We'll be inaugurating a number of new toilet/shower facilities at Barra de Oitis later this month.