Thursday, July 14, 2016

In God's Hands

Hello To My Faithful Supporters and Friends!

How I miss all of you! I miss your faces, your hugs, your smiles, and caring conversations. As the years pass by, my definition of home is always changing, but you all have a special place in my heart that says "home".
As you may remember, Ronã and I have moved again--back to Altamira--my first home in Brazil! Once again, our lives are going through a transition. That is the life of a missionary. Home becomes something you carry with you rather than a physical place. Home becomes memories, people, and moments. The landscape is always changing.
Traveling with our friend from Portel to Breves

And typical of this Brazilian life, the transitions are never easy. Everything is always an adventure, but not always the kind of adventure you wanted! Our latest adventure came with our move from Portel to Altamira.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to go from Portel to Altamira. There is no road that connects the two places, so you have to travel by boat. And not just one boat.

Typical boats on the River

We had made arrangements to travel from Portel to a nearby city called Breves. From there, we would take another boat to Vitoria, which is about an hour drive from Altamira. Last Friday morning, we left Portel and headed to Breves. The next boat, the Gabriela, was suppose to arrive early the next morning to pick us up with all of our things. After spending the night in Breves, we dutifully loaded all of our possessions onto the dock, and waited for the boat. Not too long after, we saw the Gabriela coming, and began to get excited, but our excitement soon turned into dismay as we realized that it was not stopping. The boat passed us by. We tried to send a small boat after it, but it refused to turn around, claiming that it didn't have enough space for our stuff!
Ronã quickly went into action trying to find another option for us. Luckily, we found another boat that would take us to a city called Gurupá, which is about the half way point of our trip. However, the boat would not leave for another 2 days. We would have to wait. We loaded our stuff onto this new boat, got a hotel, and waited.
Monday finally arrived, and we set out on the Mundial for Gurupá. We were grateful to be at least on the move, but frustrated with all the set backs. Little did we know that God had planned to use this set back to do his work.
The Beautiful River Sunset

I had sensed the Lord suggesting that I offer to do a Bible study while aboard the Mundial. I was nervous about it, so I had been praying that God would pave a way for it to happen. During dinner, Ronã had struck up a conversation with a family staying next to us. They were Christians, and were even familiar with some of the leaders from a Vineyard church in their area. I suggested to them the idea of doing the Bible study, and they accepted. So, I started going around to the people on the boat, both upstairs and downstairs, and inviting them. Many people were interested, and started going upstairs. However, one woman said that she would love to join, but she couldn't walk upstairs because she had just had surgery. I told her that we could do the Bible study upstairs and then come and do one downstairs as well.
Once upstairs again, we all sat down and read the passage in John about the woman caught in adultery. I explained that even though this woman was a sinner, Jesus had accepted and loved her. I explained that this same acceptance was available to all those present. I asked people if they had ever experienced the presence of God. Two woman said that they had, but it had been a long time since then. We prayed for both of them to experience, again, the presence of God. Each woman also prayed to rededicate their life to Christ.
Another older woman there said that she had never experienced the presence of God. I asked her if she wanted to, and she said yes. As we began to pray for her, her hand started to tremble, then she began to cry. It was clear that the Holy Spirit was touching her. I asked her if she would like to give her life to Christ, and she said yes! She gave her life to Christ that night!

The "Upstairs" Bible Study

Soon, we went downstairs to have another Bible study. I taught the same message, and we prayed for a man who had had a few encounters with God in the past. Then, I felt lead to pray for the woman with the surgery. As soon as I started praying for her, I could see in her face a lot of emotional pain. After praying, I asked her about the surgery. It had been a cesarean to remove the remains of a lost pregnancy. She could, now, never have children again because of the nature of the pregnancy. She was heartbroken. She explained how encouraged she had felt when we came to do the Bible study with her, and when we prayed for her. She felt the comfort of the Lord.
After all of this, both Ronã and I were so thankful for how God had used us. We could see so clearly how he had used our detour to bless others.
The next morning, we arrived in Gurupá, and quickly boarded another boat to take us to Vitoria. On Wednesday morning, we finally arrived with all our things. A moving truck brought us the rest of the way to Altamira. Now, we are staying at the mission until we find a house or apartment.
It is easy for us all to be so preoccupied by our own plans that we can miss what God is doing right in front of us. Please pray for us that we become more aware, leaving our own agendas to the side, in order to obey Christ. What a blessing it is!
Thank you all for your love and support and prayers. Now that we are a married couple both living as missionaries, our expenses have increased. Please prayerfully consider supporting us financially. Truly, any amount that you choose to give will make a difference. What is most helpful is consistent, monthly support that allows us to plan for the future. You can donate at church to the Xingu Mission: Allison Rupert, or you can donate online at the link below.

We love you all! Take care.