One moment we were dining with our friends on furlough in Illinois, and the next moment we were back along the Amazon River in Santarém, ministering with Evangelist Reinhard Bonke at the 2012 Congresso da Paz. We were barely off the airplane before going to the stadium for our yearly Evangelistic event — in fact it wasn’t until after the Congresso that we unpacked! But it was so wonderful being a part of an event that had 1,016 people come to the Lord Jesus! And what a great way to be welcomed back to ministry and life in Brazil!
Since the Congresso, we have been getting back into the groove of things. We meet weekly with each couple we disciple at a marked time to hear their hearts, their challenges, their defeats and victories, and encourage them, counsel them, train them, and pray for them. It is so rewarding to see disciples grow into what God has for them, and it is a key part of the growth that PAZ is experiencing — something that is desperately lacking in the North-American Church. There are also weekly meetings at church geared for the leaders of our cell groups, which currently number around 7,200! That’s a lot of leaders! To God’s glory, the PAZ church in Santarém has over 60,000 in attendance and has become a powerful force in church-planting and disciple-making. It is continually expanding it’s efforts locally, nationally, and even internationally! We continue to pray for God’s grace and guidance in handling the tremendous growth and the unique challenges it presents. Each day our need for God’s presence and guiding becomes more and more evident and necessary.
At the end of October, leaders from all over Brazil and several other countries come to Santarém to learn about our methods of cells groups and discipleship. The amazing speakers include Ruth’s dad and mom, her uncle Abe Huber, and several other key pastors in the PAZ church, as well as the pastor of one of the largest churches in the world. With over 200,000 members and over 10,000 cell groups, Seok-Jeon Yoon is the pastor of Yonsei Central Baptist Church in South Korea and will be with us to share his wisdom and experience.
Our worship team is in a time of preparation, prayer, fasting and rehearsing as we will be leading worship at the conference and premiering our new CD, Adoração com Propósito (or “Worship with Purpose”). The CD is full of original songs from our church that have at their heart our worship team’s vision: that worship exists not just only as a vehicle for intimacy with God, but also so that God can pour into us His purposes of making disciples of all the nations and covering the earth with His glory. I am busy now producing and finishing the CD so that it will be ready in time for the MDA Conference.
Rebecca and Anna grow more each day, saying and doing more things. Their newest activities include washing dishes (which then need to be re-washed), making food and cake (out of pretend blocks), washing clothes (let’s call it a “pre-wash”) and helping with washing the car. Really, anything and everything having to do with water is a worthy pastime. They also love to visit dad in the studio and play the keyboard and strum the guitar, and they just have to touch all the knobs and lights. They certainly got their dad’s genes!
The girls also enjoyed another first: a boat ride on the river! We went out on the Tapajós River to go camping on the beach with our dear friends who were visiting from Canada. The girls just loved playing in the sand and water. They especially loved sleeping in a tent with mom & dad!
We thank you so much for your faithful prayer and support, and our great desire is to be fruitful for God’s Kingdom — that it may grow and prosper through our lives and ministries. We covet your prayers in this time that we are raising up new leaders and moving towards multiplying our cell groups. This is a work that only God can do in people’s lives, and prayer makes all the difference in seeing that happening. As parents desire to see their own children grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted and successful people, we desire the same thing for our spiritual children — to see them develop their own passion for God, their families and for the lost. Pray along with us for this. Also pray for the successful completion of the CD and powerful times of praise in worship in God’s presence as we humbly lead the church to God’s throne. We love you and thank you!
Nate, for Ruth, Rebecca and Anna