Answering the Call
Dec 29, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
As new retirees, my wife and I have felt a call to missions in Brazil, which is her home country. Earlier this year, we left for a nine-month stint in Hortolandia, Sao Paulo. The Lord led us in May to a small, fledgling church that was struggling. The facilities were in disrepair, the average weekly attendance on Sunday was 6-7 and the midweek prayer meeting was 3-4. And no longer were Sunday School classes being taught.
The church is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Hortolandia. Praying every step of the way, we began by cleaning up the facility, making needed repairs and starting a new addition. To attract people to the church, English classes and drumming lessons (primarily for youth) are being offered on Saturday afternoon, followed by healthy dinner snacks for those who attend. In the evening, we are holding a service for the youth.
My wife is discipling young, single mothers by holding Bible studies in their homes – something she does very well. Every time I turn around, I see her counseling, teaching, administrating or praying with someone ... and loving every minute of it!
The Lord led us to a Christian lady named Lene who runs a safe house right in the middle of a very poor, crime-ridden, prostitution and drug-infested neighborhood. Most (if not all) the kids she helps come from single parent, dysfunctional homes. If there is a father, he is usually on drugs or in prison. In many cases, their mothers are either prostitutes or on drugs – or both! Lene has reached out to our church for help. She needs resources in order to provide security and stability for the 12-15 kids she is trying to protect. And as a way of reaching out to the parents of these kids, we are holding a Tuesday evening Bible study at Lene’s house.
My wife and I have a dream of establishing a children’s home. Our efforts with these children is helping to establish a track record of working with at risk youth, something that is needed in order to get authorization from the city for fulfilling that dream! We have been able to make some good contacts with city officials that we hope will be helpful in founding such a home – and also a home for the elderly, another part of our dream.
How has God been answering our prayers? In just a few months, our weekly attendance has grown to an average of 35-45 for our Sunday service and 19-20 at the midweek prayer meeting. Sunday School has been restarted. The gentleman who was serving as interim pastor has been elected and installed as lead pastor. The church now also has an associate pastor and a board of officers.
Most of the facility repairs and expansion are complete. As a result, the church’s street view is now much more inviting. There is more space available for church services and Sunday School. And we have a fully equipped kitchen that is being put to great use, and two more bathrooms where before there was just one.
How we praise God for what has been accomplished in a very short time! To Him be all the glory! We have not done anything extraordinary nor do we have special skills, abilities and talents. Our success is due more to consistent effort and just being available to do whatever is needed. This includes a lot of practical things like cleaning, organizing, teaching, coordinating and administrating. God has powerfully demonstrated that He has and always will use people who make themselves available to Him! As the Lord powerfully answers our prayers daily, our hearts overflow with rejoicing!
Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord
may spread rapidly and be honored….
2 Thessalonians 3:1
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