Well friends, I have some great news to share with you. Nate and I are expecting! Yippee! Needless to say, we are very excited and so are our parents. I haven’t been to the doctor’s yet, but have an appointment marked for this week. At my last appointment, the doctor stated that it would probably take me a while to conceive, and that I didn’t need to come back until I was pregnant. My mom just looked at him and said, “OK, we’ll be back next month!”
Well, God is so faithful and we are so thankful for his care and provision during this time. I am feeling wonderful – except for a little nausea here and there. I’m a little over 4 weeks along and the due date is the end of November. Nate and I are hoping to go to the US this summer, but we need to wait and talk it all over with the doctor since I’m considered high risk. So, we are praying that God’s perfect will be done.
Cell group had ended at their house, and Renato and Claudete were standing out front, enjoying chit chat with fellow cell group members when a woman and her adolescent daughter came quickly up to them in a panic. Through her wheezing she said “Would you take me to the health post?!” Claudete sensed in her spirit that she should pray for her to be healed. Out loud, she began praying for the lady and her wheezing went away! Then Renato began preaching the gospel and invited her to pray with him. Her daughter was so amazed that she prayed the prayer as well!
Renato and Claudete are two of our disciples and are a part of the cell group that multiplied from our cell group last October. This cell group, led by fellow missionaries and disciples of ours Edson and Kelly Lee, has been winning people left and right through the amazing work of several of the cell group members, including Renato and Claudete. Now it is ready to multiply- into three different cell groups! You see, they just keep winning people. Last Saturday, when we visited the cell group to supervise (Ruth and I are over this cell group that multiplied from ours), another woman accepted Christ as her savior.
Abundant rain is falling in the Amazon, soaking the hearts of people with God’s love and opening the way for his Word. The week before at cell group, Leo, another one of our disciples, shared the Word. People were so touched by the Word being preached, that they were crying, and even before he could give the invitation, someone said that they wanted to accept Christ as their savior! He then invited other people to do the same, and 4 more people raised their hands!
God is moving in our cell group as well. Although we haven’t grown the same amount as the cell group that multiplied from ours, just the other day, as I was leading worship at church, I looked down at the end of the service and saw Juarez, a man who started attending our cell group, had gone forward to accept the Lord! Hallelujah! God is doing an amazing work!
Click on Page 2 to see what happens to a road when it gets too much rain and hear about the largest PAZ church construction project ever!
We have a great update for you – the youth retreat in Rio Branco went wonderful! Thank you for all your prayers, for a great retreat, safe travels, and a good time: they were sure answered powerfully. Now come with us and see what our trip was like!
Don’t forget, you can click any one of these photos to see them in a larger slideshow window.
Traveling Through the Amazon
We left super early Thursday, Feb 19 – a 2 am flight from here to Manaus, a large city of several million people situated another 500 miles up the Amazon River. This is our preferred entrance point when coming from the States, as it cuts several thousand miles and many hours off of a trip that otherwise goes way far south to São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.
We arrived in Manaus around 3:30 AM and were graciously picked up by fellow missionaries Grant & Regina Cail and Jim & Julie Benson (actually just Grant and Jim came to the airport!). We crashed at their house and got a few hours of sleep before getting up and touring the new houses they’re building. It’s a beautiful plot of land in a good area of town. The Cails and Benson just recently moved to Manaus from Santarém to help the base develop their medical and church planting program.
They live very close to the PAZ campground in Manaus, so we also went there to visit and see around as well. The campground is a nice piece of property in the middle of Manaus, although you wouldn’t be able to tell because the grounds are surrounded by jungle. They also were preparing for their big youth camp. There were lots of great plants and flowers to photograph, so I had a particularly good time!
That afternoon we left to go to Porto Velho (“Old Port”), where we had a one day layover! Porto Velho is one home to one of our PAZ bases; a city of over a half a million people. It is also capital of the small Brazilian state of Rodônia. We stayed with Pastor Jango and his family. There, we were thrilled to go to a real shopping mall and have real mall food! That may not sound great, but when you’re away from it for over a year, it tastes great! 🙂 We staked out the deals so that when we came back through Porto Velho, we could take advantage and do some necessary shopping.
So, what did we do after having 3 conferences in a row? We went to a 4-day family conference with speakers Jeff & Becky Hrubik (Ruth’s parents)! That’s right, 4 conferences in a row- for the most part the whole month of January was conferences. Conferences are great, but now we’re thankful that our next conference isn’t until Feb 20. The only difference with this conference compared to the others: Ruth and I are the speakers!! It’s a youth conference at our PAZ base in Rio Branco, located in the Amazon Basin near the border of Bolivia and Peru.
It’s thrilling and scary to think that we’ll not only be preparing around 10 sessions of material, but we will be teaching it Portuguese! That’s no big deal for Ruth, but for me it will be a huge stretch. We certainly covet your prayers for the conference. PAZ churches hold youth camps and retreats all over the Amazon during the weekend of Carnival to provide a good alternative to the otherwise spiritually destructive weekend. We have plenty of great things to say, so it’ll be a matter of putting it all together and presenting it well.
Not only we will be speaking at this conference, but the Saturday before this (Feb 14 or Valentine’s Day in the states), I will be speaking at a local PAZ church to the worship teams about developing their worship ministries. All of these opportunities have come up since the recent PAZ Missionary Conference, where the speaker Pastor Harold told me that I had a gift of teaching and that I should develop it alongside my other gifts. Ruth had also been praying God would give her opportunities to use her gifts more, so when these came up, even though it’s a huge, HUGE stretch, we said “yes!” We don’t want to be the people who say “no” to the LORD just because we feel in over our heads. Anything that the LORD calls us to do will be bigger than us and stretch us beyond our “limits.” We better get used to being stretched!
Remember Moses’ response to the LORD’s call at the burning bush? He said “LORD, but I am slow of speech.” I sure identified with Moses this last week, but I know that if I say no, the LORD will respect that, and find someone else to do His will. I want to be the person who does His will – His “yes” person! The LORD just continues to grow us, challenge us and use us. We feel like this is also the start of a new chapter in our lives here, as the LORD so obviously has opened up the doors in this area.
In the meantime, I am a bachelor until Saturday, Feb 7, as Ruth is traveling with a medical team and helping to translate. In addition, we, the staff of Project AmaZon, are seeking more of the Lord in a corporate 21-day Daniel fast that started last Thursday. A Daniel fast is basically a fast of just fruits and vegetables – forget any meats, animal products, soda, etc.! I always thought being a vegetarian would not be any fun, and especially a vegetarian on a vegan diet. Now I can confirm it is true. I am certainly a meat and potatoes kind of guy. But there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give up to walk more closely with the Lord. (If something is standing in your way, it’s called idolatry and it’s pretty serious in the LORD’s Book). I think I will be ready for a meat-lovers pizza once the fast ends! Now if only we had a Pizza Hut here. Please lift us up in prayer as we prepare and participate in these upcoming events. God bless you!
We just got done with a marathon of conferences, and we have come out more challenged then ever in the great task of reaching the Amazon Basin, Brazil and South America. Ruth came out of it exhausted and a little sick, as she was very involved in the planning and implementation of the two conferences.
Our speaker for our last 2 conferences was Pastor Harold Weitsz of Little Falls Christian Center in South Africa. He and his wife Maude blessed and wowed us with their presence. Over the last 2 weeks we have learned so much about how to be a victorious Christian. Pastor Harold and Maude have plenty of room to talk about that area, being some of the largest, modern-day spiritual giants I know.
Pastor Harold told us about how, when he got serious about God, he thoroughly studied the Bible – going through New Testament 6 times in the first month of his studies – not just reading, but studying!