Well, it’s been another busy month, and it´s gotten a lot hotter here. The mosquitos have almost
disappeared and ants have come in their place. In other news, the police found a hand in front of the base. I sometimes forgotten that here can be dangerous or that there are problems with drugs traffickers here. It now feels like the time is just disappearing. This might be because I have spent most of this week in bed with a nasty cold which makes breathing hard and has robbed me of my energy. Pedro had it the week before and then passed it on to me. Thank you God that I am feeling a lot better now.
On the last weekend of September the base as a whole went to run a missionary conference in the home town of one of our staff members. The town in question, Teofilo Otoni, was the hottest place I have ever been. It is in the inland part of Minas Gerais and at the bottom of a vale meaning no cooling breeze could enter. The aim of the conference was about the church using the arts and drama to evangelism. Therefore the role of me and Pedro was minimal. There was also an element of world mission, we had some really interesting conversations about the needs for missionaries within Brazil aswell as sharing our plans to go to Nepal next year. Mid morning on the Sunday Ceifa (the performing arts group) did a presentation in the city square. Me, Pedro, and another staff member called Monica ran the Sunday school, which was hectic but good. We did a small sketch about Solomon´s wisdom, did some drawing and colouring to remember the story, ate cake, and had lovely conversations about what it means to be a missionary. It was lovely to spend time and encourage a church to see the importance of worldwide and local missions.
In a few days me and Pedro will start our journey to YWAM Sertao. I want to start by saying thank you. Our friends and supporters in England gave us £150. We raised another R$400 here in Brazil. This was done mainly through selling t-shirts and a generous donation. We are so grateful to everyone who has partnered with us in prayer and financially. We now have very little left to rais
e and just need to cover the cost of the return coach from Salvador to Porto Seguro. We now know more of our plans:
– We leave for Salvador this Tuesday, where we are staying with a friend from JOCUM, Railton. He will be showing us around Salvador, but we will also be visiting the church plant of Pedro’s home church, Embaixadores de Cristo where Pedro will preach.
– Then we will go to more or less directly to Crato, where the YWAM base is. Well not directly as such, we will be passing Fortaleza and Juzeiro do Norte but we won’t be stopping for any real length of time.
-YWAM Sertao I will then be teaching for a week in the English course. As it is the final week for the students I have prepared stuff that will hopefully prepare them for the mission field. We will be also visiting various churches to preach during the evenings. One of the pastors has asked that I preach in English and that someone will translate, which could be interesting.
-The next week we are spending with YWAM Sertao again with a week long outreach during an event of the city in Juzeiro do Norte.
– Next we are returning to Fortaleza but this time we will stop there for 10 days. Veri, who is one of the leaders from our base is from Fortaleza and has kindly organised for us to stay with a family member there. Pedro will preach at another church plant of Embaixadores de Cristo. We are also in the process of organising visiting a `casa de recuperação´(recuperation house for drug addicts) but also we are trying to organise more things to do. As much as we want to see Fortaleza, we also want to visit other churches and do some evangelism.-
-And then we return to our home in Cabralia close to Porto Seguro.
The English class have been going well, the English class at the base have been continuing. There are few students within the beginners class who are particularly dedicated, it´s really nice to see how well they are coming along. It´s only really the students who feels they need to know English in order to fulfil what God has told for. For example, one couple plan on going to America in the future, they are really driven to learn. They always do the homework, pay attention in class, and are always trying to better themselves. About a third of base and the majority who are taking my English class have been travelling for the majority of October. And so I have merged the two classes, instead of teaching something in a traditional manner; we have been doing various activities, learning Bible verses, songs, the Lord´s prayer. We also started a new class in the indigenous village near us called Nova Coroa. It is great to be able to spend more time in the village. The class has a very different feel to it. It is a lot more relaxed and we have left the very basics yet but everyone is very determined. We spent a long time last weekly slowly saying the alphabet comparing my accent to the Brazilians. It was interesting to see such attention to detail.
Pedro has been busy making yet more videos, he has been making a video for Espaço Porto das
ondas (the community project) and has been filming the various different aspects, which vary from guitars and drum classes, to dance, circus skills, acrobatics, origami . Pedro also make a devotional
video about something that God has been speaking to us about a lot which is that Jesus invested time in people and we should too. I was hoping to be more a part of community project but for various reasons it hasn´t worked out. Although I did help at a girls’ day last week. It was really lovely, we had a picnic, talked about the meaning of beauty and looked at bit at the Bible. Then, we took pictures of all the girls with flowers in their hair. It was lovely to see them encourage each other.
The thing that has probably taken up the most of our time is working with the local church. There are two main churches that we have been going to and helping with. The local church is something we are really passionate about, and know that aiding them to do local evangelism is really valuable. Pedro has been preaching a lot! I still haven´t preached yet but have given words during services. I am quite nervous to preach in Portuguese as I find speaking in public in Portuguese probably the hardest part of speaking another language. But it is something that God has explicitly challenged me on and has said it is something I need to improve. I have a feeling that in this trip to the sertao I will have to.
I realised I haven´t given an update on my visa in ages. Normally, no news is good news, but in this case it isn´t. At long last the cartorio i.e. register office stopped their strike, only to inform us that our proof of address isn´t valid and therefore cannot get the final document that we need. The YWAM base here has no legal documents and have been waiting for them to arrive for over two months. Bureaucracy in Brazil is notoriously slow. We have managed to get together a proof of address but it will only arrive on the 15th of November. We then have about 3 weeks to get this final document and then get my visa. If we don´t get this document, I can very easily apply in Sao Paulo, where we are going on the 8th of December. However, to get my visa there, there is a 30-90 day wait to get your passport back. Which would mean we can´t go back to England for Christmas. It is an option for me to get my visa in England. However, there are a whole other set of requirements and seeing as Pedro is not a British resident, some of them are really difficult to fulfil or are not really possible to fulfil. In the event of me not being able to get my visa in England because I had to renew my tourist visa I would not be able to reenter Brazil for another 6 months. As you can this is quite a dilemma.
The trip to the Sertao.
-Safely, health etc as we will be travelling a lot.
-For each `stop´ that we are doing, that God would use us in Salvador, Crato, Juzeiro do Norte and Fortaleza. In particular, that we would find more opportunities in Fortaleza as well.
-That we would be able to raise the final bit of money that we need to return.
Health in general
-Both me and Pedro have had various illness since we arrived in Bahia, now we are both recovering from a bad cold just as we are abouts to travel isn´t ideal.
Relationships within the local community and church
-That we won´t be forgotten nor our work undone because we won´t have been there for over month.
– That we would have deeper and deeper relationships particularly within Nova Coroa
-That there would be more opportunities to
-Just pray that it works out.