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Archive for May, 2011

Some months ago I posted about how the disappearance of our cat allowed for another mother cat and two kittens to take up residence in the rafters of our house. I posed a question. Do you have someone watching over your spiritual life to make sure that  undesirable things don’t creep into your life? Those were honest thoughts from one who has often “gone it alone” as a missionary. Either for fear of showing favoritism or fear of too much vulnerability a missionary might hesitate to take those steps. But I felt it was time to get over those excuses. I was helped along this path in a most unlooked-for place.

Last year when we were on Home Ministries there was not a day that went by that we were not looking forward to our return to Brazil. I often wondered what was taking so long. Well, of course as I look back I can see God’s hand orchestrating everything. One such instance was when we were passing through Michigan on one of our last weeks (we hoped)  in the U.S., still waiting for the okay to buy airline tickets.  We stopped in at my sister’s house in Spring Arbor. Unbeknownst to us they had a particular need. They wondered if we could stay a few extra days to watch their teenage boys while they took a short trip. Knowing that this would be the last time we would see our nephews for a long time we agreed to do it.  Although I loved being with my nephews I chafed at not being back in Brazil.  I went to the university church that morning with less than worshipful thoughts.  “Are you ever going to send us back to Brazil, Jesus?” I asked

 That Sunday I heard a sermon that challenged me and has changed the direction of my spiritual walk.  Had Jesus brought me there just so I could understand His heart better and see gaping my need? Of course he did.

The pastor spoke that October Sunday on John Wesley’s timeless plan for maintaining spiritual vitality. Yes, John Wesley established the Societies and the Class meetings but he also developed bands, where 3 or 4 people met weekly to ask some hard questions, such as:

  •  In what ways have you sinned this week?
  • In what ways have you been tempted?
  •  How were you victorious?
  •  What have you done that you are not sure if it was a sin or not? 

These are the kinds of questions that keep one honest, humble and advancing in holiness of heart and life. Would I find some other Brazilian ladies who craved the same thing? Yes!

Since our first November meeting we have seen amazing answers to prayer and a spiritual hardiness that only comes from confession and frank discussions. I know that I have these women who pray for my specific needs.  I am comforted that there are at least 2 ladies who know me with all my faults and still like me.

Marlene, Grace and Rosimeire

I would encourage you to pray and find some kindred spirits who want to walk this road with you and who will eagerly help you up when you fall and rejoice when small advances are made.   So may be it is time you joined a band.

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We have enjoyed having a work team which consisted of 3 people from Michigan and Ohio these past 10 days. They offered their energies to help get the seminary property shaped up. They cleared gutters, cut grass, fixed mowers and helped clear out a  huge shed which has been a holding place for rusted barrels, (yes, old missionary barrels), broken freezers, washing machines and more.

We did manage to get in some fun activities like  a trip to a nearby ice cream stand to cool down after a hot day in the tropics. The best flavor,  in my opinion,  is their chocolate with bits of a special Brazilian chocolate bon-bon mixed in. But the team tried the very popular green corn flavor which tastes a lot like creamed corn on a popsicle stick.

 Their openness to try new things was just one of the reasons this team was so effective in all they did.  They left behind them so many vivid reminders of their willingness to serve anywhere they were needed.  Betsy, one of the team, will stay on for another couple of weeks to lend a  hand in quite a few areas of need. 

We are so blessed by teams such as this one who come with a heart prepared to give of themselves so completely to see the work of the Lord advance.  And that truly leaves behind such a sweet taste in our mouths and leaves us wanting more!  We will have 3 other teams this summer and we are expectant that God will use them in fresh new ways.   

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Old Testament 101

My dream came true a couple of weeks ago. I had majored in speech communications in college and in Old Testament studies in seminary. When I came to Brazil to teach in the Wesleyan Bible college I was given all the communication classes to teach. I do enjoy teaching preaching and speech class but my heart always yearned to tackle an Old Testament class. In April,  after 17 years at the Bible college, I was finally given the chance.

I can’t think of a more delightful way to spend ones life than to be able to study the Word most of the day and then to be able to teach it most of the night! (The intensive class schedule is 5 days a week  for two weeks with classes running from 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. nightly.)

What I loved the most was hearing how the Word spoke to my students. How the books of the Israelite kings grabbed them like never before. How Malachi’s prophetic message still was touching hearts and bringing conviction to not neglect family or a personal relationship with Jesus for the sake of a form of worship.

Now that I had a practice run, I hope I get to do it again!      Grace

Making a model of the Tabernacle

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