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" 😍🇧🇷

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