Monday, January 31, 2011


Clarity can be difficult both in seeking “God’s will” for your life and in communication with people. Especially with friends and family 7000 miles plus away. Last week the main point of our blog was learning that seeking God is both about the here and now. Blessing those around you. As well as being purposeful about preparations for the future. It came to my attention I wrote things that could be taken to mean more then they do.

I just returned from Sao Paulo, getting what we hope are the last papers we need to get residency for a while. During my time there I walked in a rougher part of the inner city while waiting for my bus. How do they manage to put bus stations in the worst parts of town globally. It was a great reminder that there is no end to the need in this world. For us there is a growing heart for the less reached of this world.

The truth is looking at all the street people in Sao Paulo my heart broke for them, but they could walk into one of the many churches in the area. They have probably had someone share the gospel with them at some point. We have a responsibility as Christians to work with the less fortunate around us where ever we are. All of us in some way need to be touched with compassion and show the love of Christ to those around us. One striking image that haunts me from my walk, a baby doll. I walked under the train tracks by some stairs up to the station. There were half a dozen make shift beds or camps. All empty, except for a baby doll laying next to a ratty, dirty, bug infested blanket. I didn’t get to see the little girl or I may have fought whatever parent she was with to bring her home with me.

I returned home, not 8 hours after I arrived I got another chance to experience the broken heart of God for his lost children. A lady 8 months pregnant or more came to our door with another lady and some kids. She was Guarani, one of the tribes here, covered in dirt and had the most empty eyes. Unlike the street people in Sao Paulo I know she has far less of a chance to hear the Gospel. She doesn’t speak Portuguese, Spanish, English and we don’t speak Guarani. Who is she going to interact with that can be Jesus to her and much more tell her about Him. We often interact with tribal people, their need is immense as well.

Like the street people in Sao Paulo or my upper middle class neighbors the food I give them when they regularly come to our house is only a temporary hope. Hope lies in the gospel. Hope is only found in Heaven. We all die, and all face one judgment, did we believe Christ to be the savior of the world and surrender our whole beings to Him?

What we are realizing these things mean for us.

  • We need to be equipped to love people that have less hope of meeting Jesus. This means, most likely, a school of frontier missions with YWAM most likely here in Brazil and most likely in Portuguese. With an emphasis on tribal missions
  • The next three months with our paper work at a good hold stage, we focus very heavily on the language. Especially since we want to go to a school that will be in Portuguese.
  • We plan to make a trip to Porto Velho in the north of Brazil, hopeful when my parents are here if they are able to come. That is the location of 2 or 3 different schools that could help with reaching cultures that are oral, don’t have language schools, and we are currently interacting with.
  • It may mean moving to the north of Brazil where there are less Christians, and potentially less opportunity for the people to hear the gospel.

We have always had curiosity about whether God might use us being in Brazil to impact Africa. Especially since there are several African Portuguese speaking nations and Brazilian culture is influenced by Africa. This could be going on outreaches with Brazilians, sending Brazilians and maybe in the distant future we could go ourselves. Because of this, Ben, is thinking of a trip to Guinea Bissau in the next two years, maybe even late this year or next. This is in the dream stage, unlike the trip to the north and the school which are in the plan stage. We are not planning to move to any other country any time soon.

Be praying for Clayton, and his family. I have gotten to know him. He works at a restaurant owned by his in-laws. His whole family eats there, hangs out there. Aunts, cousins, his sister in law is the same age as Moriah and helps wait tables there, for fun, her name is Gabriele. What an opportunity to impact a family. They know of God but I don’t think any of them are Christians. The restaurant is 4 blocks from our house. We plan to spend time there learning language and hopefully demonstrating the gospel. Also, Luis, the owner or a pizza place even closer. He is a nice man, sort of catholic in his words, and we like to spend time there as well. This is our best way to practice language and build relationships with non Christians.

Also pray as the Pastor, Tim, wants us to help do a soup kitchen type feed at the church to help build the churches heart for the hurting around us. We tried an outreach at Christmas but it didn’t come together well. As we learn to meet needs we see we know God wants us to teach that to the Christians around us.




The Lyon Family.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I am beginning to change goals with our blog. Instead of constant ministry updates, there will still be highlights, I want to open our lives up to you. The changes God is making in us to prepare us for the things he has for us. I will become increasingly open and honest about things, hopefully people like this.

One reality I am being confronted with now is how much of “ME” I want in the equation. Often as we raise support, go to the field, plan we look at our gifts and abilities and how God might use them. We communicate with people passions, interests and ideas we think God might use to reach people. At least for me, I am realizing we are often looking not at what God can do, or desires but what we can do. By no means do we intend to do this. I came desiring to mix wood working skills, passion for the poor, ability to teach God’s word. I had ideas of how God can use it, but I am afraid, even more than I realize, what I wanted was to justify the calling. It leads you to be in a hurry to accomplish things rather then resting in God’s purpose. I do believe those ideas are from God, or at least some of them. God doesn’t waste things and abilities he places in your life. Those things will come.

The problem is when you are concerned with what you bring verses God, not only are you limiting an infinite God to your very finite abilities. You become in a hurry to continue to justify what you are doing verses being patient and waiting on the Lord. We need to plan and look forward. God expects us to be a part of the equation. However, it’s in His place and His time. For me this led to assuming everywhere we have gone is where God wants us to put down roots and begin the work He has for us. I remember talking to my friend Adam a couple months ago. Saying “lets just start, you have to get going sometime. Let’s get money together, start a school for the poor, get busy”. Thankfully God loves me. After that He began to reveal to us, I believe, His desire to use the local churches here, Brazilian Christians He desires to give dreams and passions. Eyes he wants to open to the need around them.

For us, He began to show us there are many places in the world with far fewer Christians. We see many tribal people here, we thought and it may still be, that we need to get busy with them here and we do. We feed, love, and pray for them. However there are many people in this area beginning to notice them, trying to reach them. What about those people who still live beyond civilization. Who will go where no one else wants to live. Maybe we have to be willing to go where we can not possibly be the big part of the equation. Where no one will notice us, where a trade school and a discipleship center exists in total obscurity. The point isn’t to get ahead of the Lord and run towards something. The point is to see God is always moving us towards something. All of us. We don’t know where this will end but are beginning to pray about doing a school of frontier missions, as we shared with many of you we might. We are beginning to plan a trip to the north of Brazil and possibly one for me(Ben) to Africa to Guinea Bissau. We believe God is calling us to the less reached of the world, I don’t know if there is a country on earth without a missionary. We don’t know what all this means but we know it means our main priority is to prepare. To learn language, to love Jesus, to love those around us. I never believed I could learn a tribal language. I thought I would really have a difficult time learning Portuguese. I am learning quickly, having fun, and have studied very little. I think I could learn a tribal language and I am looking forward to trying. In fact the school we are thinking of doing later this year or next teaches you to learn a language with no structure. Good for me because I hate grammar and hate rules.

Like us, look at your life. What is God preparing you for. Sharing with a neighbor. Adopting a foster kid. Serving at a nursing home. We have the privilege of a call to full time foreign missions. This means we get to use all our time to read, grow, work with people, but we are no more full time Christians then you. A friend commented to me that he wished it was easy and clear for him like us. It isn’t easy, it is hard, I no more know what God has for me tomorrow or even today then you. God is a great, he is a mystery. I highly recommend a book, Radical, taking back the church from the American dream by David Platt. It is one of the best books I have ever read to expose our cultural assumptions to the truth of the gospel and God’s word. It is blessing my life and opening my eyes to the bigger picture of the body being involve in God’s mission for the world.

We are not more a part of God’s plan to glorify himself then any other Christian. God has intended for all time to create the earth. For man to fall. For the flood. To raise up Abraham. To give the law through Moses. To expose the world to His glory through Israel's constant captivity and redemption. Ultimately through the redemption of people to Himself through Jesus. Amazingly by using us to love others showing His glory to the planet. All of us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I sat down today and began to review the pages of our blog. What our 2-5 year plan says, what we are currently doing, all that. When I got to our page laying out our Mission, I was amazed.

Lately we have been feeling God “redirecting us”  towards the unreached, the truly lost. What we didn’t realize is we weren’t being redirected we had begun to wander. We, in our lack of language ability had been spending the bulk of our time helping with things at church and getting to know people there. Not bad, it is good to help at church and encourage believers. The last month we have been hearing God speak to us to be more involved with our neighborhood, the tribal people, perhaps get to know the Arab community. This seemed like a redirection from what we were beginning to do, serve the church. Again that is a good thing. The problem is that isn’t who God has asked or gifted us to be. When I looked at our mission it was clear. God has asked us before we came to work with the unreached not the reached.

I changed a few things on the other pages, but found I couldn’t change one thing under our mission. It is so good to know God keeps it simple. I need to review this more often, as we schedule our time this needs to be at the forefront. What has God asked us to do. We have been studying Abraham as a family. Reading a little bit every day. Daniel always asks for more, though that may be to avoid school. God asked Abraham to leave his home and go wherever God led. When I tried to review the 2-5 year plan I wanted to delete everything and say “see Genesis”.

God has given us a simple vision that can be acted on anywhere He wants. For now that is Brazil and it probably will be for some time. We cannot assume that is the end. We can’t let our desire to have roots push us into creating a ministry here in this city. God has called us to learn, language, culture, how to live as missionaries. He has called us to love hurting, broken people, the poor, the condemned, we can do this without language, without a car, without knowing if we will live here in a year.

I wonder if Abraham thought he would live everywhere he stopped for the rest of his life. If God had to take that security away from him every time or if he just accepted God may never say stay. God asked him to hold onto promises that wouldn’t be fulfilled for generations. What if God is using us to prepare our kids for something great and we remain simple our whole lives? Are God’s promises enough for me? Is His glory the reason we are here or is it for mine?

We appreciate you all so much, your prayers, your love, your support. Keep praying for us. We are learning this is a very formative time. We are learning what it means to be missionaries. We are learning skills that will help us wherever we go. We are learning God’s heart is for those who have not heard. I don’t know where this will end but I know if we hadn’t came to Brazil we wouldn’t be as close to each other, wouldn’t be as willing to do anything, wouldn’t be content just obeying God.

Love you,


Ben and Family

kids 004 (2)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to live life and still pursue God

I have found the seasons of change and unrest to be the times full of excitement and belief that God is big. I have also found times of normalcy to be an opportunity to get complacent and forget why we are here. How do you live in an exciting vibrant relationship with your creator in the midst of normal. We can’t always create change and unrest to give us that feeling of dependency on God. In fact it isn’t even dependency on God if the part that excites us is the uncertainty itself. That is simply adrenaline. What comprises true dependency on our creator? What does true trust look like? I can’t answer that for you, but I think I am beginning to get the idea for me. Satisfaction in being where He has asked me to be with a willingness to be anywhere else.
Satisfied getting up, helping the kids with school. Cooking, trying to figure out when stores are open. Taking the baby to the doctor, walking a few miles. Trying to learn more of the language communicating with the immunization nurse. Satisfied just getting up for the normal every day.
Willing. Not falling so in love with being here that I wouldn’t go anywhere else. Not being convinced I am indispensible where I am at. Willing to stay even when I don’t think I am needed. Looking to hear from the Lord any time He wants to speak. In His word and in prayer constantly. Open to correction, change, moving, staying, discipline. Being more concerned with receiving from Jesus than what I have to say to Him or others. Willing to be a student of language and culture. Willing to not have an answer to “what are you doing in Brazil” other than “learning” “obeying” “loving”
What has God called us too, why are we here. The same reason you are.
1Corth 15:58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
2Corth 5:16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sina for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Eph 1:3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5hec predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And hed made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11In him we were also chosen,e having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. 15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spiritf of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Our purpose is the same here as it was in Albany. It is the same purpose of all Christians, reconcile the world to Christ. Our inheritance is shared with Christ. Our inheritance is people. We need to live every day with the expectance that God might use us to reconcile someone else to Him. God is in the business of healing our hurts so that we might better help heal others.
Our purpose is to glorify God with our lives by pointing others to Him. God has chosen me, the weakest, most unlovely creature to glorify him. To use me to point others to him. Not by a big ministry, or fancy words  but by living every day for His glory.
Dwell on that before you leave your house. Dwell on that when you are doing the mundane. Every action or inaction is an opportunity to give God glory that He may use to show His character and love to another. Open yourself up, like I must, to what God may want to do with you each day. We must find our satisfaction and wiliness in glorifying God not in the action He is asking us to do.
I am encouraged today. I find I can see Jesus in front of me again. I hope it encourages you. God loves us. He wants us to know that love. He wants to reconcile us to Him that we might point the way to others. All of us. Not just missionaries, not just pastors but the Church.
2Pet 2:9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We are all pastors, missionaries, ambassadors of our Father, all of us.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New year

We have been very busy doing paper work to get our residency. It should be done now though. Tomorrow we go to turn everything in. We should receive our protocol number then, this is the number that will be on our green card when it is finished being processed. With this expense behind us as well as all the running around I think I will have time and money to enroll in language school. We are praying about buying a car on payments or waiting until we have money. Not having a car really limits us in ministry. It takes so long just to go to the grocery store, get paper work done, whatever that it is hard to get out and do some of the things we want to do.



We were encouraged last week by some Southern Baptist missionaries we became friends with to feel free with the first year. Learn the language, settle in, get comfortable with our situation as a family. They pointed to long term success being more important than the pressure for immediate results. They said you feel pressure from your self to satisfy supporters, to be busy for God, etc... They said there is nothing more important than to be a full time language learner.

We really have been learning a lot about the culture and the spiritual state of the nation. For us we are beginning to learn we have to be focused on a specific group of people. The middle class of Brazil has a strong Christian base. Certainly God will still use and is using the fact we are Americans living in Brazil to reach more people. That gets attention that a Brazilian would have a hard time getting. However we are finding our desire grows to reach the poor, who tend to be more prayed upon by prosperity doctrine movements than reached by the gospel and by people who desire to help. We take for granted the salvation army and union gospel mission. When you are somewhere the church hasn't grown to understand its responsibility you realize the health that is still present in the American church when it comes to fulfilling our responsibility as Christians. For us we are realizing our place within the church here is to disciple people to meet that need, to take on that responsibility. We also are have a growing interest to work with Muslims here. The community is huge. This is very much in line with what we were telling people before we came. The funny thing is reaching the Muslims and working with the poor seemed distant from each other as the Muslims are the upper middle class here. We have learned from people who are here working with them the importance of being able to say you do something else. You can't say to a Lebanese restaurant owner I am a missionary to the Muslims. Working with the poor we can say we came to Brazil to work with at risk kids or in the favelas. This disarms them a bit and allows you to build relationships. I think it is likely in the day time we will be doing ministry within the favelas and at night building friendships with Islamic families. If we want to satisfy our missionary hearts we can’t focus on middle class Brazil any more than we could have stayed in Albany and worked in a local church. We need to focus on group of people that is essentially unreached. That is our desire, that is the passion God placed in our hearts.

Pray for us as we learn language, learn culture, learn about our family and pursue God.