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


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.