Sorry all for the long delay in an update. We have had a very busy December with what ended up a nice Christmas. We returned from Sao Paulo right before Christmas and rushed into Paraguay to do our shopping. Thanks to parents, grandparents, aunts and some friends for making presents for the kids possible.
I’m happy to report that the work at the boys prison, Ciade is going well. We had been meeting in a small room with 2 to 3 groups every Friday. Early in December rain had forced them to move some projects into that room. They provided us a speaker and microphones and we preached from a courtyard in front of the cells. It was a huge breakthrough. Instead of being in a room with boys they normally only see in passing they were in their cells with their normal cell mates, they paid a lot more attention. Also boys that had been choosing not to come got the chance to hear the gospel. After that we changed to this method every week. These are hard boys, who have seen death, even caused death. They have been listening to the gospel for a few months and asking good questions. Praise God Heitor and I received a present on Christmas eve. Marcos Santana a very pleasant young man of around 16 told us he really began to believe as I shared that day. God is so good. It really isn’t difficult to get people who have grown up in a highly religious Catholic culture to repeat a prayer, so we really have just been preaching and sharing truth without asking them to do that. It was so encouraging to have one of the boys share unprompted that he is becoming a believer.
Our time in SP went fairly well. God provided a financial gift that covered most of the expense for going and paying for Alannah’s passport, birth certificate, and a document we hope satisfies the federal police in our application for residency. Pray that goes well as we have reached the end of our allotted time with a tourist visa. We had a good time catching up with our friends Junior and Vania and though we are sad we aren’t working with them, we know we are where God has us. Melissa and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary there. We had a good time but would have had a better time had someone told us before we went out that there are now 4 or 5 Outback’s in Sao Paulo. Next time.
Christmas was good. Here the main event is dinner on the 24th. Our friends Ramses' and Jackie invited us to spend it with their family. He is Brazilian but from Lebanese decent and she is Columbian. They have 3 daughters, 20, 15, 13 I think, we had a very good time. We ate at about 9:30pm and came home around 12:30. He made pork loin, ham, turkey breast, pork back strap, an Arabic rice, salad, garlic sauce, spicy garlic sauce, pineapple sauce, wine sauce and much more. I made a chicken and stuffing. None of them tried the stuffing until after their oldest daughter Vanessa tried it and liked it. We have noticed Brazilians are very slow to try new foods.
We are also becoming better friends with Clem and Lynda, southern Baptist missionaries here. They work with a seminary here and a few other things. It is good to get to know more missionaries and learn how to target groups of people. They have 4 kids as well and our kids get along well with theirs.
Pray for us as we apply for residency, continue to try and get established financially and learn the language. I am doing fairly well but Melissa and the kids need to practice more. Pray we have wisdom about putting the kids in school. Pray we have wisdom of how to minister here.