Thank you for praying for us this last weekend!
As we mentioned in a recent newsletter and some follow up prayer requests, we traveled to the town of Varginha about 4 hrs. south of here on April 19-21 to help a young church with its very first mission conference. We wanted to let you know that your prayers were answered, and the conference was very successful.
We left early Saturday morning, and got back about 7pm on Monday evening. It was a ton of work to prepare our materials, but after speaking 5 times and spending a lot of time with the pastor and church members we can see it was really worth the effort. The church is only about a year old, and what started with 8 members in a Bible study now has about 80 members, its own building, its own new church plant in a nearby town, and a cell group started in another town far to the north of our state. Something is happening in this church, that's for sure! The pastor invited us to plan and be the resource speakers for the church's first ever mission conference because he wanted it to start out focused on mission and not on itself.
We have included a couple of photos to give you a flavor of the event. There are of course lots more, but we'll spare you the whole slide show!
This has turned out to be our month for travel, and this
weekend we travel to the town of Ipatinga (about 4 hrs. to the east -- there
must be something about being 4 hrs. away) to do Sunday School and preach at 3,
maybe 4 services. Asa will come along again (what a trooper!), and this
time he has asked if he could share about "missionary kids" and
culture shock during our Sunday School lesson. “Of course you can, Asa!” Sometimes our son amazes us.
We'll leave Saturday because a group from our church here in Belo is interested in forming a mission committee to get folks informed, motivated, and participating in mission, so they will travel with us to get to know Igreja Batista Shalom in Ipatinga. This is another amazing church: about 12 years old, now it now has 800 members and 8 "congregations" in other parts of the city. They are very involved in local mission outreach (they have a daycare center, a seminary, a sports center, and a drug and alcohol recovery home) and international mission (the church supports 14 missionaries, 4 of them fully). We're hoping this visit will rub off on some of our own church members and they will be a good infection back home.
So please thank the Lord for traveling mercies and a successful conference this last weekend. And please pray for our visit to Ipatinga this weekend.
We are grateful to God that you are there "holding the rope" for us!
Bruce and Ann (and Asa, too!)