We are halfway through our furlough, enjoying our moments here in the States. We have been driving all over the central and eastern U.S., stopping often to shop and play on playgrounds. Just to clarify: our daughters play on the playgrounds while we supervise and stretch. We have been eating well, whether it has been visiting friends and family or hitting our favorite places to eat. We have helped marry off Ruth’s sister Debbie to her new husband Ben Block, have been to a couple different family reunions (Huber and Reutter) as well as standing in our brother Jed’s wedding in Washington D.C.! And we still have a month left.
Three weeks and counting until our furlough in the US. We are currently in “get everything done” mode before we head out, which keeps us busy! But, we wanted to send out a quick update letting everyone know an overview of our schedule so that we can see as many of you as possible during our two months.
April 25 — Arrive in the USA and headed to the Quad Cities.
April 29 — First Free Church, Moline
May 6 — Geneseo Free Church, Geneseo
May 19 — Ruth’s sister’s wedding, Michigan
May 28 — Nate’s brother’s wedding, Washingon, DC
June 10 — Crosspoint Community Church, Eureka (Nate’s preaching)
June 17 — New Life Church, Morton
June 24 — First Free Church, Moline (Nate and Ruth sharing)
July 3 — Head back to Brazil
Once we get to the states and get a cell number, we’ll post it on facebook, and if you’d like to get together with us, give us a call! We’d love to see you. Another piece of good news is that we have a car lined up for our time in the States! God is good, and we’re looking forward to our time in the States! See you soon!
Nate and Ruth
Praise the Lord, this year we have an extra day in our year. While celebrating Jack’s one-year birthday (my cousin Debbie’s son, and he’s actually been on earth for 4 years), we have some big plans for this extra 24 hours of time given to us. Here’s what we’ll be up to:
The Elijah Prayer Chain
Our local church has an awesome and challenging goal this year: for each and every one of our nearly 7,000 cell groups to multiply. To do that, each group needs to be effectively inviting, winning, integrating new people and training up new leaders. That puts pressure on each cell group leader to develop a healthy cell group that will multiply. Ruth and I lead a cell group every Wednesday at 7:30 as well as oversee 7 other groups. Our goal is to have 16 groups by the end of the year! God is the only one who can give those kinds of results, so we just recently called our disciples and sector (our 8 cell groups) to a 7-week period of prayer and fasting leading up to Easter. Based on 1 Kings 18:41-44, we’re calling the time “The Elijah Prayer Chain.” Elijah had God’s Word that it would rain after 3 1/2 years of being dry, but even so, he had to take hold of that promise through prayer. Seven times (for us weeks) he prayed until his servant told him that a little cloud was coming and it was about to rain. Pray with us as we seek the Lord during this time, to see Him do the amazing work in and through us to see more people won, discipled and raised up as next generation leaders!
2nd Paz Church CD
Our 2nd church CD is underway, and all the songs have been approved for production! The first CD was quite successful, selling nearly 10,000 copies (quite good considering the rampant piracy here)
The clock was about to strike midnight. The place was packed for a very unique New Year’s Celebration — the tradition of bringing in the New Years on our knees, as a church, seeking the Lord and thanking Him for the previous year of provision, growth and blessing. As we gave the first moments of the year to the Lord, we are thrilled at the thought of what He is going to do this year. His promise in Proverbs 3:9 —
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
As we entered the New Year with excitement, we thought about God’s grace in 2011. Just this last year in Santarém we
- Planted over 60 churches
- Grew to over 6,800 cell groups
- Won over 7,000 for the Lord
We also recently hosted a very special team from my brother’s church, Crossroads Baptist, in Fort Myers FL. We had a great time with them as we spent a week putting up the roof and a brand new PAZ church along the Amazon river! Then Jed stayed on for Christmas after the team left and his girlfriend Susan and our sister Hannah came down to spend time with us. During that time, we planned a special outing up the mountain in Alter do Chão where Jed pulled out a diamond ring and asked “Will You Marry Me?!” Oh yeah, it happened! Nice work Jed.
So, what’s in store for 2012? Just off the top of my head:
- Production of the church’s 2nd worship CD
- Multiplication of our cell groups and discipleship of their leaders
- A visit near you May/June
- Traveling and ministering in Brazil
- More movie productions for PAZ and projectamazon.org!
If you have a mini-van/SUV that you would be willing to lend us during our 2-months in the States, we would very much appreciate it. We will be doing a good amount of driving in the Midwest and some on the East Coast. Just shoot us an email, contact us or reply to this post.
We praise God for your involvement with us and wish God’s best for you in 2012. Now check out the pictures from our exciting year end: a baptism of nearly 1,500 people, a week-long river trip to build a church, and fun time with family! Oh yes, and the girls wheeling their way on their little bikes. Click the first picture to start the slideshow or click any picture to see it full size.
In less than a month, the girls will turn 2 years old! It’s hard to imagine how fast they are growing up: walking, running, even conversing in English/Portuguese/Babiese, not to mention how much fun they’ve become. Wherever we are, they draw a crowd. The other day we were in a local children’s store, and they asked to put our kids on a billboard for children’s day (a big Brazilian holiday). I (Nate) am traveling quite a bit with our worship team, and everywhere I go I get to share about our twin daughters and how God is faithful! God is using their story to impact others to trust in God — praise the Lord! You’ve got to check out this little video we’ve put together of some recent highlights, including a new trick of Becca’s. What’s the trick? You have to watch and see! (Some of you have seen part of this video on facebook, however there is new stuff right at the beginning you don’t want to miss!)
Our missionary life is filled with diverse activities. Recently we had a missions team from New Life Christian Church come down and help build a new church. We spent nearly a week out on the Amazon River helping to put the roof and rafters on and prepare the floor to be poured. It was a great week of ministry. Check out this short video of the highlights and see what it was like — including some very exciting and lively piranha fishing! They were practically jumping out of the water, into the boat!
Now don’t you just want to come down and visit?! Teams are lining up for next year, and now’s the perfect time to start planning a team of 6-12 for 1-2 weeks of unforgettable ministry in Brazil! Each team brings Christ to a community in a whole new way.
And things just don’t slow down in our local church involvement. Besides our ever growing cell groups and disciples, our worship team is actively preparing for a 2nd CD. The CD will be filled with original songs from over 300 + people serving in the worship ministries at church. There are 51 services each Sunday for our ministry to lead — services held in buildings and campuses all across town. Right now we are gearing up for the 11th Annual MDA Conference, where pastor and leaders from all over Brazil and even other countries come to Santarém to learn all about how we do missions, cell ministry and one on one discipleship. It’s always a great and busy time.
Soon after, my brother will be bringing a team down from his church in Southern Florida. We can’t wait to have him down here and go out to impact another community! He is then staying over for Christmas and my sister Hannah is coming down. Many of Ruth’s siblings are also coming into town for Christmas, so we’re already looking forward to a great holiday time with family.
Once again we thank you so much for all your prayers and support — all of which fuel the great work God is doing in and through us! May God bless you richly!