22 December 2014
Dear family and friends,
We hope that you have a meaningful Christmas that will lead into 2015 as a year when the Lord becomes more real and more Lord. We shall spend Christmas with our friends, Warren and Linda Brown in Franca in the neighbouring state of Sao Paulo. You may recall that Linda is partially paraylised.
Our main news is that after several months of prayer we sense we should remain in the UK for the time being when we return on the 15 January. Our mothers are now in their 90’s and are frail. Simon’s mother leaves alone and now needs more support. This has been a difficult decision as we have an open door in our work with students and have only been out here for just over 4 years. Neither of our mothers have asked us to return; this is our decision. Judy’s mum has been a constant encouragement to us and has supported our time out here in an impressive way bearing in mind her disabilities.
It has been a great privilege to walk with many students both doing the course on “how to interpret the Bible better”, evangelistic studies and evangelism training.
We have just finished 3 different evangelistic studies this month. In the study with Igor, Heider and Lu ( all three are doing an Art degree) we sense that Lu now more clearly understands the Gospel and made it clear during the last session that she knows that only faith in Christ is the ground of forgiveness. Heider made it clear that after 2 periods of near atheism he is now trusting in the Lord. It was an encouragement for Simon when he asked a question that showed that he wants to live for the Lord. Igor had previously said that he had trusted in the Lord and the studies served as a clarification of the Gospel; we think that he needed that.
In the 2 other studies, with Jailson and Rai (Economics and Engineering) we sense that Jailson has come close to responding whereas Rai still has not grasped the urgency of the situation. Rai wants to come to our Church on Sunday 28 December to find out more. Something to pray about.
In these last few months we have been giving several students the experience of going out and entering into direct conversation with students on the campus during the dinner break. Four students, Arthur (Sociology), Leandra (Medicine), Liz(Pharmacy) and Uzziel (Geography) have seen the importance of this and intend to continue with it in the new student year starting in March ( the academic year runs from March to December).
Something else to pray about
As we mentioned in October Marco and Fabricia told us that they had believed in the Lord. Due to their nursing shifts we have only been able to do a few discipleship studies with them but the response has been encouraging. Marco admits how proud he was before coming to the Lord and his work colleagues have commented on the change. Fabricia speaks of being so much calmer which has helped their marriage. Salvation not only changes our eternal destiny but life here and now.
The “how to interpret the Bible better” course was according to the feedback a real help to a Church in Tres Rios. Simon spent 4 Sundays straddling October and November taking them through the principles. At the beginning of December he spent a weekend at Niteroi near Rio de Janeiro and again the feedback was encouraging. Our aim has been to give believers the tools to read the Bible instead of just simply giving the meaning of the passage.
As yet we do not know what our future in the UK holds in respect of what we will do or where we will live. It would be nice to remain with our home Church who have been so good to us but we realise that that may not be possible. We need the Lord’s leading
Thank you for receiving our newsletters and having the interest to read this far. For those who have prayed, written and given we are very grateful. We realise your reward lies elsewhere
A meaningful Christmas and a Christ Centred 2015
Simon and Judy