Hello beloved beloveds,
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! We've hit our monthly giving goal to be able to stay in Brazil, are mightily relieved, and grateful to Jesus for his care for us through all of you.
A relationship I've developed with some local guys who started a green business co-op in my neighborhood has really blossomed. The Brotherhood of Man men's ministry now used their space monthly. Deacon Evandro and I have organized a Reformation Day/All Saints' Day celebration this Sunday the 31st that will also take place there, with the kids getting lots of candy and dressing up as saints of old. Actually, the grown-ups will be dressing up too. I'm going as Boniface, and Evandro and I suspect that a woman of our church, a high school teacher, will be coming as Dietrich Bonhoeffer!
Some of you might have seen photos of George and Little Joffre planting a garden on top of a shipping container. That was taken at the Petropolis Green Park, as it's called. Please pray for our relationship with the guys there. They're not Christians, and there's a range to how the five (!) partners respond to us, but we're liked, and they are engaging with our activities and asking lots of questions.
Our Bible study on the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven has only two more sessions this year. We'll then take a break before resuming with a new theme that I think will be enthusiastically greeted by the saints here, and will serve as an evangelistic opportunity as well. It will actually be a book study, of Douglas Wilson's Reforming Marriage, which already exists in a translation into Portuguese. That will begin toward the end of summer vacation, in February.
During the break I will offer a seminar on T. S. Eliot's Choruses From The Rock. It will be an opportunity to connect with literary and university types in a discussion of what the Church of Jesus Christ is.
English is beginning to open more doors, and I feel that being here a year has really made a difference in the quality of our contacts here. Besides Choruses From The Rock, which will be almost completely in Portuguese, I am planning some English-language events as well.
Our English-language service has hit a bit of a delay as we sort out some logistics, but those should be sorted soon.
1. If you do not yet support us financially, please consider doing so, and pray we would gain more supporters. Although we've reached our goal to stay in Brazil, we would like to have some financial flexibility added. It would be wonderful to have more funds to spend on ministry, to save for a car, and for another reason dear to my heart: although we've been in Brazil for a year, we have not yet visited my family in Minas Gerais. My grandmother has not met three of our kids, and none of them remember her. I am considering going up with one or two of the children during the summer break, but we currently can't afford to take all seven of us up there.
2. The couple in our church and Bible study who travel two hours each way to be there. The husband is not a Christian, and while he seems very interested in our Bible teaching, he is not ready to bow to the Gospel. He asks extremely engaged questions and is respectful, but sometimes simply can't stand it anymore and gets up to pace in the background as he processes what's been taught. There is emotion involved. They are both historians, with a focus on local industry and scientific development. We met at a Faith and Science seminar offered by L'Abri Brasil here in Porto Alegre. I am now their English teacher (we began classes this week) and she is singing psalms with our kids every other week. Interesting side note: the husband (again, a historian) is fascinated by the romantic figure of Stonewall Jackson and we've had several conversations about him. Stonewall's trust in Jesus might very well reach out from beyond the grave and make one more convert. :-D
3. Our relationship and proclamation of the Gospel at Petropolis Green Park.
4. Isaac and Evandro, studying to be pastors.
5. Our family.
6. Roberta, who is far away from home, and needs a church home here. She is hiding from Jesus.
7. Pastor Todd, my former overseer at OMI and a dear friend. He has recently had a severe health crisis that he is currently recovering from. He may not be able to go to the Philippines after all.
Christ be with you,
Joffre, Kimberly, et al.