Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Unexpected encouragement and discouragement

Last Wednesday, we took our 7-year old son Blake to his first sleepover camp. He spent five days at Palavra da Vida (Word of Life) camp in a beautiful rural area about an hour from where we live. A missionary kid from another organization whom Blake had met briefly, but didn't know well was also there. As I was talking with Shane (the MK's father), he mentioned to me that the three kids who had come with his children were the fruit of André's ministry. André was one of my church planting students at the Baptist seminary a year ago when we first came to Porto Alegre (POA). Under Shane's supervision, he has been planting a house church in Gravataí (about 45 minutes from POA) using many of the principles of ministry that I taught him. It was such an encouragement and blessing to meet three people in a totally unexpected place, that in some very small way, we helped to bring to faith.

On Saturday night, we went to a fifteenth birthday party for Simão and Marta's daughter in São Leopoldo. It was the first time that we had been there since November, when we handed the work off to the hands of the nationals with whom we had been working. Apparently, the work has largely stopped since we handed it off. Alexandre, the promising young pastor in whom we have invested much, declared that he didn't want the responsibility, none of the other leaders have stepped up, and the pastor of the mother church who so desperately wanted to assert his authority appears to have done nothing since then. We will be meeting with Alexandre and his wife Tatiane on Friday to see if we can encourage them to step up and assume the leadership that they were saying last year that God was leading them to. Please pray that God will not allow the progress that was made to be wasted, that the new believers who were won would be discipled, that more people would be won, and that a strong church would be established despite this setback.

So...it was a week of church planting encouragement and discouragement. Here's to praying that we'll have a lot more encouragement than discouragement from now on!

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