Dear family and friends,
The happy family news is that our son, Richard, and Emma are expecting a baby in March. We are planning our visit to England to coincide with the birth. As we await a birth so we were sad/happy to bury Phyllis Dunning last month with whom we have had such refreshing fellowship out here. What an example she was to so many during her 47 years out here. She will be missed by the Christians and her community. Her walk with God stands out as proof of God’s grace.
Evangelistic studies Diogo and Josmar Iara Diogo, the languages student whom we mentioned in our last letter, told us some weeks back of his decision to trust in the Lord. For some time we could see the impact of the studies on him. With Simon, he has been visiting a young man, Josmar in hospital, who is paraylsed and they have been sharing the Gospel with him.
Likewise Iara, a science student, told Simon just 3 weeks ago that she asked for God’s mercy at home alone one evening. The real work begins now of helping them to see more clearly what it is to walk in God’s grace and shine for Him.
Our neighbour, Adrianna, has been impressed with the behaviour of the students who visit us and who lived here while we were in the UK, and especially impressed with Arthur, who has been giving her son Nicholas (12 years) guitar lessons. She and Nicholas then came to our local students’ weekend camp. The next day she came to thank us and broke down as she told us how lovely it was to see young people enjoying themselves in such a healthy way, how much she appreciated the way they had welcomed her and Nicholas and how wonderful it was to hear them speaking of their real faith. She asked if we would do some Bible studies with her and we start tomorrow.
Another neighbour, Roseangela, has also asked to join us (her son uses our parking place under the building). Perhaps Adrianna’s mother will also join in. We sense that Adrianna is thirsty to know the God who makes these students so different from other young people. Although we have done these studies many times we still feel in need of prayer and God’s enabling to make the Gospel real and relevant.
Bible Interpretation Studies Simon has recently started with a fresh group of 4 students, Eliza, Rodrigo, Eduardo and Cleverlaine (who helps Judy with the Monday lunchtime English Bible Study on the Campus). We meet up on Saturday afternoons in our flat. We finished just last Sunday doing the studies with the young adults group in our local church; it took nearly 5 months. We sense it has made many rethink how they read and interpret the Bible; this is indeed the aim of the studies. There is a lot of interpreting the Bible out of context in Brazil and the result is wrong thinking and therefore wrong living. As has been said “a text out of context is a con”, and that certainly is often the case here.
Training In September we held a mini camp in Carangola to give some training on how to interpret the Bible, how to conduct evangelistic bible studies and learning to listen to people with needs. The feedback was better than we imagined and we were encouraged by the participants to run more sessions for others. We decided to repeat the camp this month but the because of insufficient interest we had to cancel. Perhaps the date was not a good one. We shall try again in May.
The elders asked Simon to give some training on how he conducts his personal evangelism with students and in the community. This is good news and a healthy sign of a desire to be involved with people rather than wait for them to come to our hall. The attendance has been much better than we imagined, about 12-15 people come along to the training on Monday evenings: we do the 4th session of 6 next week. We feel strongly that we should continue to be more involved in training and equipping others than in doing the teaching and evangelism ourselves.
We are looking for more doors to open up, especially as a few people have suggested that we do regional training. Perhaps you could join us in prayer about this. UK visit We hope to be back in England from the 6 February to the 30 April. We shall be staying at the missionary home in 34 Water Lane, Seven Kings, IG3 9HN.
You can contact us by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Every blessing, Simon and Judy