There is no doubt both me and my dad are just a couple of country boys lost in the big city. It can be overwhelming, stressful and begin to eat away at your confidence and desire to live. It can also be exciting, adventurous and a real joy. You have your days at the Zoo with a Lion roaring in your face and you have your days stuck in 2.5 hours of traffic because some *%*# started a fire in the middle of the freeway to protest something.
The funny thing is watching my father struggle in such similar ways. For those of you who don’t know we have been able to partner with my parents here in Rio. We wont be doing all of the same things but we have rented the two apartments in an upstairs downstairs duplex.
The thing is God has made it abundantly clear that this is where He has called us. The last few years we have done soccer ministry, food ministry, visited people door to door, given out clothes, home bible studies and much more. We have seen fruit but as many of you who read this blog know I have felt more and more called to take more responsibility for the long term discipleship of the people we are working with.
2 years ago when we were getting ready to perhaps leave Foz one of the options had been to look for a building to move the ministry we had been doing with kids and families from the favela into our own location. To grow these and hopefully see them turn into a church. The timing didn’t feel right even though the people and the pieces seemed there. As it turned out a few months after we moved to Corumba the Government moved all the people and leveled the favela. The ministry would have halted. God knew that wasn’t the location or the timing to see social ministry and discipleship incorporated into a body life.
Our time in Corumba was filled with physical and health challenges but much great ministry. We miss deeply the kids from soccer. People from the orphanage, people from the churches. As we ministered there my heart just became more burdened not to leave people to go find a church but to take responsibility for them. We began to pray how to take steps forward, were we to “plant a church" how would that be connected to a work in Brazil?
At that time Pastor Alex of Calvary Rio began to again ask us to consider moving to the greater Rio area and minister here in the district of Xerem. We came and looked and even though this country boy didn’t want to live here eventually God changed his heart.
Where we are now. The same or similar necessity of social ministry exists. People need food, kids need something productive to do, families need counseling it is all here. We have a small house we are preparing for ministry. We have a local church that will cover the work with the desire to see it become a church.
I am nervous and struggling with the realities of living in this city. It is expensive, consumes time, energy and much more. I know I need to be more disciplined, have a clear schedule for study, for communication, for prayer, for ministry, for fun. It demands a step forward personally.
We don’t have a lot of ministry to report so far but we have connected with the family that owns the house we will minister in. The owners are a stable successful business owning family. They have blessed us tremendously. Her sister who lives near us and her husband are sick. She has chronic arthritis and can’t work, her husband is a truck driver who has aids and can’t find work anymore, they have a 15 year old daughter and 20 year old son. We have begun a bible study with them that various others come too.
We have begun to connect with the young couple across the street. They have just opened a shop to work on motorcycles. It is starting slow and they often just sit out front. What an opportunity to just do something simple like take them cookies or invite them to have lunch here.
I have been working to build relationship with a guy who is a community leader. Works, has a little restaurant, building something for his family.
Also very importantly we are part of the leadership at Calvary Rio. A small church that is growing. As the leaders of the ministry here and leaders with youth in the church we are part of a team that looks to grow our impact on the overall city. We are teaching a youth class, helping with a home church close to us and leading the ministry here.
We are just getting going but everything we have done the last 3 years seams to have built towards this opportunity to bring it al together. To see what we are good at result in something needed. New body for new believers.
We appreciate your continued prayers, we couldn’t be here alone.
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