Monday, October 29, 2018

The Tribes of Jampa



Hi everybody!

This is Ronã. Long time, no see! I feel better writing the blog now, since I know who all of you are.

I wish you guys could visit us and see our new city. We definitely love our new place. It’s completely different from my small hometown in the middle of the Amazon. They speak with a different accent and use different expressions. The sun here rises much earlier, the roads are better, and the ocean isn’t far!

Sunset in Jampa (Nickname for João Pessoa)


 
 
Since we arrived here, we have been having church every Sunday at the Snell’s. We are a small group of around four families. Once a month, instead of having a service, we go out and pray for people on the streets.

Some of our church family
 

We also try to connect with the people around us in our daily life.

Allison has been doing the hair of practically every women of our building, and two of our neighbors asked if we could teach English for their kids. The kids are Natan and Sophia. They are very smart and are learning very fast. We feel good that we can bless our neighbors. Especially for those 2 kids that don’t have a present father.

Teaching the kids in our building

One of my favorite places in my new city is this studio at the Cultural Center.

Studio Made in PB


It’s called "Studio made in PB". I have drawing classes here every Monday and I have met some very interesting people. I call them the comic tribe. They take comics, cartoons, and super-hero movies very seriously. Don’t dare say anything bad about Batman or Thor in front of them! Many pop culture artist in the city studied here. I had the pleasure to meet some of them, and their art is just stunning!

 
 João's Digital Paintings


My teacher is named João. He was also a student at "Studio made in PB" before becoming the teacher. He is a great teacher. He has taught me many things and also motivated me to publish my first comic story . João will be a father next month. His wife is eight months pregnant with a baby boy!

João and I at the Cultural Center
 
"Studio made in PB" has allowed me to use their space to do an Alpha course. We are just waiting for the right moment to start. The Alpha will be an opportunity to tell the story of the super-hero of the real life, Jesus Christ. We are also talking about the possibility of me teaching English classes there. They are supposed to offer classes for free for students from the public school, but they lack teachers. Join us in prayer for how God wants to use us in this place.

The other tribe I have been connecting with is the ‘no pad football’ tribe. Yeah, you read that right; they play american football with no protection at the beach! There are about 8 teams in their league. The Carcarás, The Bolados, The Devils, The Jaws, The Punishers, and The Vikings are just a few.   There are even The Witches, a team of women who love football. They all have the dream of being the second full pad football team in the city. They are inspired by the João Pessoa Espectros, the city team, which were the Brazilian champions few years ago.

No Pad football players
Espectros Football Team (Black and Red)


Don’t you worry, I don’t plan to play with them in the league! However, it has been a good experience helping them out with the football materials that some of you guys donated to us.

Before saying good bye, I'd like to let you know that I also started a new quarter in VI. This time I picked the course Biblical Meta-narrative by Bill Jackson. It's a course I've always been interested in taking. It goes into the details of the Bible, considering the cultural context in which it was written as well as revealing the big picture story of the Bible. I’m learning a lot.



Prayers requests:

-That we be witnesses of God among the people we are meeting and building relationships with;

-Financial Support: Our support went significantly down last month and the exchange rate is currently dropping here in Brazil. We also want to raise a fund to pay for Ollie’s studies next year;

-Our family and marriage

-Brazil's current political situation: We are in the middle of an economic crisis, the country is polarized, and the future president will have a lot to do.

We love you all so much and we thank you for absolutely everything you have done for us.

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Lots of Love!
The Moura Family

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fighting the Good Fight

Hello Everyone!

As always, I pray that you are all well and really experiencing the life God has for you. This life may not be a life always filled with riches and success and peace and happiness, but the life we live in the presence of God is always a life with purpose. We discover everyday a little more of what it means to be his children and what it means to be loved by him in all our seasons of life.

Cancer

For many of us, this has not been an easy season. As many of you know, last year we lost a close and beautiful friend, Tania Leigh, to cancer. She was only 40 years old, and everyday, her family and friends try to figure out life without her.
Tania and Ola on their wedding day

More recently, we lost our dear friend, Marilyn King, to cancer. Marilyn had shown her support to us as missionaries in numerous ways over the past few years. Her encouragement helped to remind us just how loved we are even though we are so far away from home. We were so blessed to see through Facebook how all of you honored her and her family by giving her a beautiful goodbye celebration. She, too, leaves behind a family who are just beginning to comprehend what life will be like without her. We pray that each day, they can experience the Lord's comfort and the support of their church family.
Marilyn and her family
Here in Brazil, we have also recently lost another very special woman to cancer. Milton and Erika Lucas are the national directors of the Vineyard in Brazil, and Erika just passed away a few weeks ago. Their family is very beloved here and the whole movement is grieving for her. Erika was also only 45, and they have 3 children who are going to miss her terribly. Please, pray for them as they take steps in moving forward.
The Lucas Family
Larry Crabb states in his book, Finding God, that, "Life itself is a trauma, an unpredictable drama that breeds terror."
We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and we cannot prepare ourselves for all the possibilities, even though we exhaust ourselves with trying. We are in the hands and at the mercy of a fallen and broken-down world, but praise be to God, that world is in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is truly bigger than our brokenness, bigger than our failures and tragedies. The only sure place for our feet to stand is on him. He is our hope that, one day, all things will be set straight. One day, we will see our loved ones again. One day, we will not wrestle with constant fear and pain. One day, our freedom will be complete in his arms.
In the meantime, we are here, and we keep fighting. We fight with prayer and sacrifice and grace. We fight to bring about good whenever possible and in every situation.

Work and Hobbies

I have noticed over the years a tendency among Christians to put their lives into categories. We have our work life, our family life, our leisure life, and our church life, and often times, like food on a plate, we don't like it when anything is "touching". We compartmentalize. We are all guilty of it on some level. But as we read the Bible, we see that God would prefer that we just mix it all together into one big heap. He wants our lives to be integrated.
As Ronã and I have started here in a new city as church planters, this is a concept we have taken very seriously. We want who we are--all of who we are--to be expressed in every area of our lives. Our approach to this has been fairly simple: Take the things you love to do and do them with other people. One of the things that I have enjoyed doing for a long time is hair styling. I don't have any professional experience, I have just picked up some things over the years. So, since we are in a new place and we are trying to meet new people, I decided to sign up for a professional hairstylist course! I have been going for about a month now, once a week, and I love it! And beyond enjoying what I am learning, I am trying to be very intentional about building relationships with my colleagues.
My Teacher and a few of my classmates

We often underestimate the amount of influence we have over the people around us, but our attitudes and actions have the power to change the atmosphere of a place. We can bring love and grace and integrity into an environment that is full of competition and gossip and back-biting. We can be a trusted friend in a place where no one trusts anyone else. We can make decisions to do the right thing in a situation where cheating has become the norm. We can pay attention and notice when someone is hurting or going through a difficult time. We can be a source of encouragement and hope.
As Kingdom people, we are called to use our sphere of influence to bring about Godly change through our service to others. We are not all called to be pastors or church planters or missionaries. Many of us are called to be cashiers, engineers, teachers, computer techs, delivery persons, sales persons, real estate agents, food servers, and yes, even, hairstylists. Our work or our hobbies can and should be our ministries, the place where we bring the influence of the Kingdom of God in whatever capacity we have. 
Please, pray for me as I continue to just love on and grow closer to these beautiful women. Pray that God opens my eyes to who I can help and how I can help them.

We thank you again for your constant support and encouragement to us as a family. We hope that you feel like you are truly apart of our work here. We need your prayers that God would guide us daily and use our lives to bring about the realities of his kingdom here on the earth as it is in heaven!

We love you!
The Moura Family

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fitting Right In

Hello Everybody!

I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to the fall season coming ahead, although some of you probably have some mixed feelings about summer ending. Where we are, the seasons change from hot to not-so-hot, and I often miss the changes that take place with 4 seasons!

We are really settling in well here into our new lives. João Pessoa is a lovely city. We feel very privileged and blessed to be here. If you remember in our last blog, I told everyone that we were trying to sell our car in Altamira. And thank God, we did! AND, we already bought another one here! It is small and cute and we like it a lot.

It's smiling at you!



Another ministry that Jen and Phil were able to start before we came here is helping at a place called Mission Restoration. It is a foster home for girls run by a Brazilian couple. The Snells met with them and began brainstorming on how they could help by serving these girls. They started doing a program called Alpha with them once a week. Alpha is a great program that helps introduce the basic message of the Bible in a very practical and open way, allowing people to ask questions and express opinions in a group setting. The Snells were also fortunate enough to receive the help of a local group of believers called Ezekiel 47. During the Alpha program, there is a retreat with a focus on the Holy Spirit. All of us together worked to create a very special weekend for these girls. We played games and ate together. We worshiped together and several of us gave our testimonies of how God had moved in our lives. Throughout the weekend, we saw the girls open up even more and share their own stories and struggles. We were able to pray for them and just love on them. It was an awesome time. The Alpha course will be ending soon, but we are already meeting to talk about ways that we can keep supporting and investing in the lives of these girls. Please join us in praying for them.

Us with a few of the girls

Being generously served by the Ezekiel 47 Team

Playing a treasure hunt game

A few weeks ago, we also had the privilege of receiving a visit from Michael Hansen, the senior pastor of VCDC. We had a great time showing him around and introducing him to several of the ministries we are working on. He preached at our church, and Ronã translated from him. We were so glad that he got a chance to meet with our team.

Ronã trying to explain one of Michael's jokes...lol


Michael with a few from of church planting team from Recife

Once a month, we put up a tent on the beach to invite the women on the streets that we pray for to take a break and enjoy a little sanctuary. We offer them a few yummy treats, as well as a moment to connect with God. This time, I gave my testimony and a few of the women said they felt touched by my story.

Our Beach "Sanctuary"



Jen and I praying for one of our friends who works on the street

As I said before, we feel so privileged to be able to do this kind of work in a place like this. And to every person we serve and share the love of Christ with, you are right there with us serving and sharing as well. You are on our team, and we are grateful for all of your support and the many ways that you have given it.

Prayer Request:
-A clear and direct vision for our church planting team for the future of Vineyard Jampa, as well as unity and intimacy among our team members
-Strength in our marriage and family as we grow in grace and love for one another
-New ideas and open doors for ministry opportunities
-Pray for the girls at Mission Restoration
-Pray for the women working in prostitution to find healing and job opportunities

We love you all and thank you so much!

Love, the Moura Family

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

The View From Here

Hello Everyone!

I have so much to tell you! The last month of our lives have been filled with transition. We spent our last 3 weeks in Altamira selling the rest of our furniture and packing up the things that we would be bringing with us to our new city. We said goodbye to the many people we have come to love and are sad to leave behind.
On June 28, we finally arrived in João Pessoa and our new leaders, Phil and Jen Snell, picked us up at the airport. We spent the next few weeks staying at their house while we began our search for a new place to live and all the stuff we would need to furnish it. We had a lot of fun spending time with them, and Oliver had a lot of fun playing with their dog, Lincoln.




We were lucky enough to find a great apartment not too far from the Snells. It has 3 bedrooms and an office! Perfect for visitors! It gets an incredible breeze, so it is never too hot. We are loving it already, and we are finally feeling like we can start to settle down. We have been waiting for that for a long time.


The view from our window
Even while we were in the process of getting settled, we still made some time to start exploring how we can be involved in ministry. I'm amazed at what Phil and Jen have been able to accomplish here on their own in just a short year and a half.
They have been having church in their house for about a month. It has been very organic in how it has all come together. There is a Vineyard pastor in Recife (a city about 1&1/2 hours away), and he expressed a lot of interest in helping with the new church plant here. He also knew of a youth pastor and his family living in João Pessoa who had been praying about being apart of a Vineyard church plant as well. As of now, we are all in the beginning stages to getting to know each other and work out together how we see God forming the church here. It is an exciting time for all of us as our ideas and hopes are mixing together to create a vision for Vineyard Jampa.


I have also been working closely with Jen and Phil as they minister to the prostitutes who work near the beach. We have been going about twice a week to pray for them, as well as having a "tent meeting" for them once a month. We set up a white tent on the beach in order to create a different environment for the girls away from the streets. We serve them treats and offer a short moment for them to connect with God. It is a wonderful opportunity to share on a more personal level the love that Jesus has for them.
Phil and Jen have been connecting more closely with one of the girls for the past year. Her name is Maevia. She has been in and out of prostitution, as well as battling a crack addiction. They have been visiting with her and her family, getting to know them better and trying to figure out how they can help her get her life on track.

Maevia with her daugther
After asking around, Phil and Jen learned of a rehab center just outside the city that helps women with drug addictions. Maevia told them that she desperately wanted help, so just a few weeks ago, we all went together to the center. It is an amazing place that is beautiful and serene and led by some very dedicated and sincere people. The center is even in the process of trying to add some educational courses to the program, so that they can give the women a chance to have a job once they complete the treatment. I couldn't imagine a better place to go in order to try and start over.

The Rehab Center, Missão Resgate
Yesterday, we went back to visit Maevia and see how she was doing. We brought her a copy of the picture of her and her daughter, and when she saw it, she broke down in tears. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to leave her daughter behind (with her grandmother), but Jen encouraged her that everything she was doing for that little girl. A chance to be the mother she needs. Maevia continued to tell us about all of her challenges and victories in her short time at the center. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us.
This afternoon, Jen got a call from the center saying that Maevia had decided to leave. We were all shocked. We wondered if our visit did more harm than good. Jen tried to encourage her to stay, but she insisted that she needed to be with her family. As you can imagine, we are all very sad and disappointed by this. We know all too well what will probably happen if Maevia goes home right now.
Please, pray for her. We want to keep trying to help her in whatever way she will let us. The journey out of addiction is often a long one with many bumps along the way. Please pray that God breaks the power of the enemy in her life and sets her free.
On a positive note, we are very happy to have learned about Missão Resgate, as we believe we will be able to work with them again in the future as we continue to try and help more women like Maevia.

This is a very exciting time for Ronã and I as we embark on this new adventure as a family. We are praying everyday that God will show us more how he plans to use us here. We are also just trying to figure out day-to-day life in a new and foreign place. At least this time, I already speak the language!
Please, pray for our family during this time as we step out into this new world.

Prayer Request:
We were unable to sell our car before we left Altamira, so it is still there now. Please pray that we are able to sell it soon, so that we can buy another car here. Thanks!

Thank you all for your support and love and for being on our team! We love you and miss you and are so grateful to you! Please, let us know if you have any questions about what we are doing, and as always, we love to hear you comments and encouragements.

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Love, the Moura Family





Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Trip I'll Never Forget

Hi everybody! This is Ronã.

We are finally back home after one week of traveling. But all this trouble with the airline company didn’t damage the great experience I had with you guys. That was definitely the best trip I've ever had.
When I was denied for my tourist visa the first time, I felt so disappointed. I had prayed so much for the visa, and God knew I really wanted to visit the U.S. What I didn’t know at that time was that He was preparing a greater experience. He wanted me to enjoy the U.S. and Canada with my son.

Some people asked me what was the best experience in the trip. The answer is hard to tell because I had several great experiences.
I loved getting to know Allison’s family. They were so good to us all the time.

Family in North Carolina

My mother-in-law, Mona

Family in Columbus
Family in Montreal
           
Family in NYC





Visiting Allison’s home church and the other churches that have being supporting us was also a great experience.                                                                                
                                                                           
Morrow County Vineyard 
VIneyard Tuttle Crossing
Alive Vineyard in Neward
Northside Vineyard
VCDC
I enjoyed having meals with our friends and supporters. So many stories and paths that connected to us because of Jesus.          
                                               

Home group of Jim and Jo Ann McCann

The Lovely LaVerne
The Helsers
And all the adventures I had were very pleasing and exciting.    
     

Climbing Stone Mountain in Atlanta with my mom-in-law
                                 


Going to the spring OSU football game

Seeing Niagara Falls

Going Ice Skating

Seeing the snow for the first time
NYC blew my mind!
Visiting the Columbus Zoo
Oly and his cousins
I want to mention here how proud I am of Oliver. He did so well on this trip. He’s definitely a blessing. With all these travels, we expected him to be very upset, but instead, he was spreading his joy everywhere he went. Allison also put a lot of work into planning this trip. I'm so grateful for the wife I have.
Now is the part when I tell you what I took away from America. I know that you guys have your own issues, but I never felt so safe and never saw so many opportunities and high quality of life as I did in America. You guys share of what we wish we had. And when I see that almost all the missionaries that I know are from the U.S. or Canada, and how the churches in North America has being supporting churches all over the world, I understand why God blessed you all.
In a few days we’ll start our new mission in João Pessoa (Jampa). We want to honor your prayers and support. Pray that God uses us in many ways.
I also want to ask for your prayers for one of our supporters. His name is Steve Kocher. He recently had a heart attack, followed by triple bypass surgery. Let’s pray for his healing and recovery.

Steve Kocher
                                                       
As you can see from Ronã's pictures and comments, our trip was truly a blessing in so many ways. I want to thank you for welcoming our family with open arms into your homes and hearts. Your generosity and faithfulness through prayer and support allow to do this amazing work God has put before us here in Brazil. Thank you!


Love, 
The Moura Family


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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Memories for a Lifetime

Hello Everyone!

Our time here is beginning to come to an end as we will be leaving to go back to Brazil on June 1st. I can't say enough about what this trip has meant for our family. It will be an experience that we will hold onto for many years into the future.
Since our last update, we had the privilege of taking a 2 week road trip up through New York and Canada to visit family and friends. What an adventure!
I have a cousin on my mother's side who lives in Brooklyn, NY, so we spent a few days there doing some sightseeing.



Ground Zero Memorial

A stroll through Central Park

Time Square
 In Canada, we visited family in both Montréal and Toronto.

Family in Montréal

Family in Toronto



Oliver playing with cousins!


We also had the pleasure of spending a few days with our very good friends and mentors, Art and Cyndi Rae. Art and Cyndi have been on sabbatical for the past year in Cambridge, Ontario, and they will be headed back to Brazil in August to continue training leaders in the Living Waters program. We had missed them so much!


Since coming back from our road trip, we have started meeting with our supporters again to reconnect and making some new connections. This week, we had the pleasure of visiting the Schoppelrei family who are apart of the Morrow County Vineyard.

Out to dinner with the Schoppelrei family

Financial Goals:

We believe we are about $500-$700 away from our monthly goal! This is amazing! So many of you have already signed up to donate monthly, which has been so encouraging. Your desire and commitment to support us has confirmed even deeper the calling that God has on us for our new mission in João Pessoa. We know that we truly have a great team backing us as we move our lives and our family to this new work. Thank you!
If you have already signed up to support us monthly, it would be really helpful if you would send us an email to let us know how much you have committed to. This will help us to know exactly where we are at and how much more we need to raise.
allison.rupert@xingu.org

If we have not met with you already, we still have a little bit of time available. We would love just to catch up with you and answer any questions you have about our work in Brazil. Let us know.

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Love, the Moura Family