Rainy Season for Sure
We have been getting drenched here, as the rainy season is in full swing. Boats look like they’re parked on the riverfront streets. It rains so much each night, that all kinds of debris and even decent sized rocks are washed out into the roads. Deep and serious potholes form from the massive amounts of rain and driving is not only an adventure, but something to be taken seriously if you don’t want to destroy your car! We had a Toyota Camry in the states and really liked it, so we bought a used Toyota Corolla down here. We’ve learned something: what works well in the States sure doesn’t work the same in the Amazon. We are constantly bottoming out in the car, jostling to and fro. We’ve already had it into the shop a number of times just to keep it running! At least the air conditioner works well. 🙂 Trucks and SUVs are super expensive here (about twice that of what they cost in the States), so we want to start saving up so that our next vehicle can be appropriate for the crazy conditions we find ourselves driving in.
The Biggest Project in the Amazon
The cell groups we’re a part of aren’t the only ones experiencing lots of growth – the whole church is. Central Church’s goal is to raise up 70,000 disciples – disciples, not converts, but whole hearted followers of Jesus! Our base’s goal is 120,000 disciples. These disciples will be sent out all over Brazil to win people for Christ, make disciples and plant churches. The work is just exploding in size and scope, and in the next few years we will see things the likes of which have never happened before in the Amazon. You see, abundant rain is falling in the Amazon.
Central church in Santarém has begun a fusion with several other PAZ churches in town in order to handle all the people coming to Christ through cell groups and discipleship. Central church has over 3,000 cell groups functioning at this time. A conservative average of people attending each group is 10, meaning our current church attendance is around 30,000 people! 30,000 people! We have 17 church services each Sunday at 6 different locations to try to accommodate everyone. We are literally bursting at the seams and are being hindered in further growth due to building size. Hence the project: A Catedral do Amor – or the “Cathedral of Love.”
The Cathedral has been in planning for years, and the church has been busy buying land, preparing the project and making plans. This last Friday the church held a dinner to officially launch the project “Friends of Nehemiah.” We’re moving into the construction phase! We saw the amazing plans for the building and we’re super excited about its implications. It will be one of the largest, if not the largest, construction projects of it’s type in all of the Amazon. It will stand as a city on a hill, a bright light for all of the Amazon to see and know the Truth. We are so excited to be a part of this project and help win the Amazon in this way.
That about does it for this update. We so appreciate your prayers, support and the emails, letters and notes we often receive. I look forward to sharing with you all the “other” work I’ve been up to. What other work? Let’s just say it involves musical instruments and a computer, and we’ll leave it at that. Be praying for our cell groups – that they would continue to grow, reach the lost and make disciples. Pray that we would have wisdom in leading these groups. Pray that we and our disciples continue to grow in the Lord as we seek to please Him. Until next time!