Always a pleasure to be writing to all of you about the exciting things happening here in Portel. I understand that the Spring is finally starting to show its face again, and I am sure that this is pure refreshment to all of you!
This month, I have been enjoying the company of my new roommate, Manoela! She arrived about 2 weeks ago, accompanied by Christopher and Denise Meyer. It was so great to see them and spend some time with them. Manoela has already started teaching the Kid's class, and we are adjusting to each other at home. So far, she is a great roommate who has relieved me of the terrible burden of dishes! It's great to have someone to talk to and eat meals with. She is a true blessing to me.
As you can imagine, along with my classes and getting Manoela settled in, I have been pretty busy. It can be quite the challenge to be teacher, administer, and accountant. But of course, these are just the normal challenges that go along with, essentially, starting a small business. They are challenges that I know are worth it, and I am glad to have them.
I recently finished with my Vineyard Institute class, "Ministry to the Poor". It was a great class in part for its relevance to my current situation. The effects of poverty are multifaceted, and what better way to explore those effects than being in the mist of it. The class highlighted for me how the Bible speaks time and time again about God's concern and compassion for the poor. It also pointed out the many different ways that the people of God can be proactive in confronting these issues in everyday life. It helped me to often reconsider what and how I do things so that my ministry choices might provide the maximum benefit for those around me. The English school, I believe, is just one of the many ways that can help lead our community out of the claws of poverty.
This class also marks the end of my classes required to complete the VI Program. I am very excited about that, of course, because now it is behind me. But I also must say, the learning experience I gained through the program was extremely valuable to me. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in furthering their understanding of the Bible, as well as how to put its message into practice.
Over the past few months, I have also had the privilege to disciple a few women in our church. The women had expressed an interest in going deeper in their relationship with God and also having a deeper understanding of the Bible. As the time has past, it has been wonderful to see the ladies growing in their understanding of who God is, as well as personally grow closer to them. What I have tried to do with the women has been two-fold. I am taking them on a journey through the Bible as a story. I believe that if they can see the big picture of the Biblical story, the smaller parts will make sense in relationship to the whole. If they can see God's overall plan for history, then they will be able to understand how each part fits into the ultimate plan. They will also be able to see how their individual lives have a part to play in the story. The other side that I am teaching them is how to hear the voice of God for themselves, and how to rely on the Holy Spirit for strength and wisdom in their daily lives.
Please pray for these women. Pray that the power of God comes over them, and that they would experience the love of Christ in the deep reaches of their hearts.
Last week, my students took their first test. I was very proud of how they did. The day after the test, I taught them a song in English called, "Set a Fire" by Will Reagan and United Pursuit. I will post the video below of them singing it.
Please, pray for them as well. Many of the people in this region are not accustomed to studying so a course like this one can feel overwhelming to them. Many of the schools in this part of Brazil do not really teach the students how to learn. They need courage, strength, and perseverance to continue. Please pray that God gives this to them supernaturally.
Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement. Though I have said it many times before, I want to remind you that we are doing this together. You are just as much a part of this as I am. Your prayers, your thoughts, and your financial sacrifices all make this possible. God bless you and your family!