Saturday, 30 March 2019

Rains have continued this week

Thankfully the rains have continued this week, and with the further inch last night we have now passed the 21 inch mark, which means we are just over half way to our target of 40 inches. The problem still remains that we are not accumulating rain in the reservoirs and lakes as the rains are all night fine rains and what we now need are some big fast heavy downpours. We pray on. 

Yesterday we visited our very faithful veteran couple of leaders: Elder Pedro Guedes (aged 87) and his wife and Deaconess Beatriz (aged 82). They have just lost a grandson who commited suicide and are naturally devastated. He was a Christian who was a member of an AOG church and had a history of depression and the likes. Please pray for this family.

I gave the Bible study on Thursday in the latter part of Philipians 3, and into 4, and it went well with 20 present.

I did all my routine blood tests this week and my cholesterol is perfect, glucose under control etc. so well pleased. 

In the general oversight of EAB/ACEV's 86 churches the work is busy and Pastor Maésio and family moved to Teixeira from Conceição yesterday and their induction service is next Saturday. Please pray for these churches in times of transition which is never easy. 

Tomorrow, Sunday, I'll be preaching in Patos again so must get on with my preparation. We value your prayers always.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Rain at last!

After a long period with little rain we had a good rain at Green Pastures last night of around 2 inches, taking us up to 18 inches overall this year out of the 40 inches needed in the rainy season to see us through to 2020. We hope and pray that it will continue in the coming days and weeks.

Last night's service in Patos was lovely. It really was a blessing.

On the Saturday we travelled to Juazeirinho to induct the new pastor there and the service went very well. Please pray for this young pastor Rafael.

There have been lots of time consuming challenges around the churches in recent weeks. Please pray. Slowly we are dealing with one thing after another. We have started investing in a church plant in Recife in a bigger way so there has been a lot of sorting to do with this. We had made a timid start but now we have rented a house in a good location in the borough of Cordeiro in Recife and have 3 families in the city. Please pray. Our strategic plan has long been to establish churches in the capital of Pernambuco State, which is Recife, to be able from there to expand inland in this the neighbouring state to the south of our headquarters State of Paraíba - and to then establish a church in Natal which is the capital of Rio Grande do Norte State to the north, and expand from there inland. The latter is yet to start. Please pray for all this. May God provide the resources and open doors of service and ministry.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Bring a Friend

This Sunday's evangelistic "bring a friend" service was fantastic. To start with the church members brought lots of friends which nearly had the church at bursting point. The service was electric, the praise and worship beautiful, and Philip's sermon was superb. It was the straightest frankest evangelistic sermon I've heard in a long time full of Scripture, very clear on sin and then wonderfully presenting Jesus as the solution to it. There were 12 decisions for Christ at the end.

The well inauguration last Thursday was wonderful too. I think all the community showed up and it was great to preach the Gospel to them. The road there was rough and in the area they had rain the night before and all around the well location during the service. We got away as soon as possible after the inauguration because we knew we had a river to cross which could be complicated with rain falling up river. And so it was! When we reached the river we met a lot of school buses stopped and unable to cross but I just switched in to 4-wheel drive and went for it and I'm here to tell the story!

I have a radio interview on Friday to do and then induct the new pastor at Juazerinho on Saturday and preach on Sunday in Patos. Your prayers and support are valued.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Just off to inaugurate new well

I will be leaving in an hour's time going to inaugurate a new well in Manaíra County. We will hold the normal thanksgiving service around the well or near it. It is always a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel with the community. Please pray.

I gave a lecture at a university last night on sustainable development. Another great opportunity to share Biblical principals and show a church which cares about God's creation.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Ministerial decisions - please pray!

I have been spending hours every week for a long time now, trying to sort out some leadership issues. The challenges are very complex involving a permanent leader for the new church at Juazeirinho plus leaders for Teixeira and Conceição. It's the domino effect of moving one pastor somewhere else and then who fills his place etc. Please pray. 

These are the nitty gritty time consuming challenges of being in the leadership of 86 churches of all shapes and sizes but who all need the Gospel and pastoral care and teaching. We have a leadership team of 10 but I need to discuss with one and then with the other potential leaders to be switched and all that, and then take it all to the leadership team for discussion and approval or not. There is also the challenge of supporting different leaders as some churches stand on their own feet but some not yet. 

I dispatched the EAB monthly Diary Update yesterday which is an email copy of this blog's texts. All is set for the Communion service later too. I am also working on In Touch photos and EAB UK groups to visit the work here in the last quarter of 2019. We value your prayers and support in all this. 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

That was quite a Camp!

EAB's 40th Carnival Camp was outstanding. As Getiane Mota, our Matureia Church pastor's wife posted on my Facebook page: "The Green Pastures Camps are always marvellous... but this one was unexplainable... amazing"! It truly was a blessed time together in God's presence and went extremely well for the 220 participants.

The theme was "Connected to Christ", based on John 15, and sought to work through, in the 7 services and sermons, what makes us in this day and age disconnect from Christ and what helps us connect. Thus on the opening Saturday night (March 2nd) young pastor Rafael from Teixeira spoke on 'desconnecting so that you can connect'. He focussed on the dangers of thinking being hyper active in church can replace one's devotional life; becoming accustomed to sin and being egoistical in church life.

In the build up to this Camp I felt the Lord guiding me to bring in young people to minister and this I feel was the key to the Camp's extraordainary success. Thus in the preparatory meetings which I organized I asked the youth leaders what they felt disconnected the youth from Christ and they said 'Digital Media' by which they meant not just social media but also series on Netflix which I had never heard of etc.

So I took the plunge and handed the Sunday over to the youth and two young men, Ray (journalist) and Mailson (Radio sound operator), spoke in the morning, and two young women who are both law students, Louisa (our granddaughter) and Rayla, in the evening. Oh boy - it was fantastic! Mind blowing. Ray did the positive side of how digital media can be used for good and for God. Then the others launched into very tough stuff like Satanist and witchcraft series on Netflix and the lasses launched into the sending of nude photos, cheating on one's wife or husband virtually, gossip, pornography & bullying. They combatted all this with Scripture and it was all an education for most of the older generation and a graphic insight into the world in which our youth is involved. We certainly all need to be connected to Christ and full of His Spirit!

On the Monday a pastor, woman bank worker and woman social worker presented the vitamins B & P as the only solutions for all heard the previous day. B (Bible) + P (Prayer) were shown to be essential for spiritual survival in this evil world. The devotional life with Christ was a major focus point of the whole camp.

Then on the Tuesday (March 5th) morning I spoke on being connected to Christ in our relationships and covered such subjects as feminism, male chauvanism, homosexuality, marriage, courtship etc. At night Philip preached on being connected to Christ in Mission which was really good too.

I should also mention and praise God for the tremendous visit of the Holy Spirit in a beautiful way in the worship time on the Tuesday morning. It was quite extraordainary. 

So thank you all for your prayers and support for this 40th Carnival Camp. It was a beautiful time of renewal with God. PTL!

I nearly forgot to mention that we, on top of all the spiritual rain at the Camp, had some light rains on the Saturday (3 mm), Sunday (8 mm) and Monday (13 mm) bringing our total rainfall at Green Pastures to nearly 15½ inches in 2019 with our target at 40 inches. Please pray for one or two really big deluges of rain in March and April as to accumulate water in the lake and underground. This accumulation has not occurred yet as the ground was baked hard and dry and evaporation is a constant competitor. 

Friday, 1 March 2019

All ready for our 40th Carnival Camp

The stage is set for EAB's 40th Carnival Camp at Green Pastures which starts this Saturday (2nd) and ends on Wednesday (6th). The beds are made - the hammocks are swinging - the food is bought - the cooks are already in place - the preachers are fired up as is the band! Please pray for us!