Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ministry in 2006

In reflecting over the last year, I found that it has been full of blessings and challenges.

As the year began, I taught several classes of church planting to students in the Baptist seminary. We recently got an email from André, one my former students who is currently starting a church in the nearby city of Gravataí. He says, “Thank you for teaching me about how to plant churches! You know, every time that I am at our church plant, the Spirit of God has reminded me about our classes. I think that I will be able to graduate next year, and my senior project will be the following: ‘Is it possible to plant churches with almost zero financial investment?’ I intend to use our actual church plant as the example and foundation for my senior project. I’m counting on you to help teach me. By the way, I have a colleague from the seminary who did not take the Church Planting Movements class, and I am passing on to him everything that I know and we want to start a Church Planting Movement in the city of Guaíba, where he lives.”

While the door to teaching at the seminary has closed under difficult circumstances, we rejoice at what God is continuing to do as a result of our short time there. Please pray that God will continue to give us opportunities to influence pastors, students, and laypeople to start new churches.

I also taught several laypeople in a decentralized training institute. I am pleased to report that these four students will be graduating this coming Sunday, and that two of them are already planting a new church in a slum area in the nearby city of Novo Hamburgo. We rejoice for the fruit that God is bringing through them and pray that God will continue to give us opportunities to be involved in training future leaders and church planters.

As you know, we have already handed off the church planting work in São Leopoldo, which was a tremendous challenge, a learning experience, a time to be humbled, and a blessing.

As we look back over the year, we thank God for the blessings that He has given us. We thank Him for the privilege of serving Him here in Brazil, and we thank Him for the many Southern Baptists who help us to be here through their generous giving, as well as for the faithful prayer warrior from many different denominations that intercede on our behalf. As we look towards next year, we are both excited about the possibilities for future ministry, and sobered by the immense need that the 3.5 million gauchos in Metropolitan PoA have to meet the Savior whose birth we now celebrate.

Please pray that:

1. God will give us clear direction for our ministry in 2007.

2. That God will place on the hearts of Southern Baptists to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering so that we and 5,500 other IMB missionaries can continue their ministries.

3. That God will move on the hearts of Gauchos to turn to Christ and be saved.

No comments: