July 12, 2018
We are in the middle of the Winter Season in Brazil and students receive a month break between school semesters. So, our children are enjoying it as best as possible, despite the cold. We praise the Lord for their first semester grades as it reflects their dedication and hard work at school. Everyone is in good health, except for Benjamin (10 yrs). He has a dry cough that is lasting several months and doctors have not found the cause or solution. Melissa (6 yrs) lost two of her baby teeth last week. Everyone will go to the dentist this month for routine dental check-up.
The three homes where we meet weekly with folks are doing well. The home church concept is sinking in well with the new believers. The “need” for a temple is still something most struggle with, especially those with a strong Catholic background. There is always some rotation of people, but as a rule those who are maturing in their faith are increasingly engaged and reaching out to friends and family. I am currently counseling four couples and am encouraged that they have reached out for help. I have one-on-one discipleship with six men that are in preparation to assist in leading their home church. We are currently going through the book of Philippians. Look at what we developed:
30 Action Principles to Live an Extraordinary Life in the Eyes of God. (Extracted from Philippians 1)
- Greet and treat people gracefully.
- When you think of a person, break out in exclamations of thanksgiving to God.
- Make each exclamation a trigger to pray for them.
- Pray with a glad heart.
- Bless and encourage people to flourish.
- Express and demonstrate gratitude to those who assist you through tough times.
- Love people like Christ does – love much, love well, love sincerely & love intelligently.
- Live a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul. Live a circumspect and exemplary life.
- Make Jesus Christ attractive to all – be contagious!
- Allow hardship to have the opposite of its intended effect.
- Glow & shine, Jesus’ message does prosper.
- Pique people’s curiosity by living joyfully, especially when in hardship.
- Speak fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
- Don’t be jealous of those who seek the spotlight, even if they think they are taking advantage of you.
- Cheer people on, even if they have ulterior motives for speaking of Jesus.
- Rejoice, keep celebrating; for we know how this life on earth finishes.
- Pray faithfully and respond generously.
- Trust that everything the Lord wants to do in and through you will be done.
- Don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least.
- Continue the course, live for Jesus.
- Hardship shouldn’t shut you up, it should be your pulpit.
- Make Philippians 1.21 your life verse: “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is truly gain”.
- Consistently benefit others, more than benefiting yourself.
- Be a great companion. Look forward to being with people, to praise Christ and enjoy each other.
- Influence people in such a way that it becomes a credit to the Message of Christ.
- Maintain a righteous conduct, whether someone important is looking, or not.
- Stand united with your brothers and sisters, contending for people’s trust in the Message.
- Don’t be frightened in the slightest by the opposition.
- Be courageous and focused, the power of God is with you. There is victory in Jesus!
- Trust in Christ and suffer for Him. Suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.
TRUCKERS’ CHAOTIC PROTEST
On Wednesday (May 23rd) at 6pm, the kids and I drove onto the São Paulo beltway to attend my birthday party at another part of town. This 15-minute drive on the expressway turned into lengthy nightmare. We found ourselves stuck in traffic for over 3 hours in a stretch only 4 miles long. Truck drivers were protesting at the exit we needed. There was no access to make a U-turn and try a different route. It was “stop and go” on the four lanes headed south. Truckers were upset at the diesel fuel price increase and were blocking the roads. I was able to make a U-turn 4 miles past the protest, but due to blockades on other roads my only option was to drive back into the main protest. It was faster on the way back as the Military Police were had arrived at the scene. Well, we missed the party and returned home. I sang “Happy Birthday” with the kids and ate cake upon arriving at the house. Raquel was already at the location we were trying to get to. She returned home the next morning.
On Thursday, school bus drivers and motorcycle delivery drivers announced they would also join the protests. Chaos was everywhere in São Paulo. The truckers’ strike lasted over a week. Distribution of all products came to a halt. Ten days into the protests oil refinery workers nationwide announced they would go on strike for 72 hrs. Gas stations went almost a week without fuel. Before running out, some stations were charging up to US$12.00/gallon. When the gas station in our neighborhood received fuel after midnight, little did they know that by 7am a line would form that was over 2 miles long. Each person limited to 5 liters. By 4pm, they sold out. The grocer next door to the station said there were multiple fights throughout the day.
Most schools were closed for at least 4 days. There were several riots and tire burning blockades by protesters on main roads and highways during this time. Grocery stores had no produce and hardly any meat. We were stuck at home for 6 days.
Despite the chaos, the population in general were in favor of the strike against the diesel fuel tax increase.
- For Benjamin to recover from his dry cough.
- For our children to have a fun and safe winter break.
- For our family’s safety.
- For Evangelism, discipleship and leadership development.
- For new host homes.
Thank you for your love and support.