Dear friends (finally),
They weren’t “perfect storms”, but sure have been awfully good. We obviously aren’t talking about weather, but stirring days in our lives.
It started Oct. 18, when we flew south for the annual Fiel Publishing House’s Bible Conference. As usual, it exceeded expectations for all 1,500 of us assembled from all over Brazil. A special highlight for Mavis was the ministry of Martha Peace in 4 afternoon messages. She’s one of Mavis’s favorite Christian authors.
The 22nd, we back in the sky, down to Rio Grande do Sul State. There, we once again rejoiced in 2 days of fellowship with dear Brother Willard Stull. At 92, his body has slowed considerably. But praise the Lord, his mind surely hasn’t.
We enjoyed a new feature to this travel extension. Two hours of bus travel took us into the Gaucho Mountains. We were challenged over the ministries of new missionaries Marcus Vinícius and Ana Carolina.
They’re from Hope Baptist in Salvador, and have been in Farroupilha since May. The town sounds much like Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
But this young couple has a positive attitude about developing ministries there. These probably will be in their home at first.
The return flight to Salvador surely made this “storm” less than perfect. Dick had flown 30 years taking an aircraft receiver in his carry-on baggage. The Porto Alegre security folks said it was illegal, and would have to go as checked luggage. Back we went to the airline counter. Under extreme time pressure, we dispatched all the contents of that bag. These sadly included our laptop. Even Macs weren’t built to travel in baggage holds. That misrouting destroyed our notebook’s monitor. It’s been in “intensive care” 3 weeks. For clarification, Dick checked with the 2 major aviation agencies in Brasília and was told there’s no restriction on carrying such a radio aboard. So, do we sue the Government? Not. This damage and delayed repairs made this newsletter so late.
After a 24-hour breather, we were back at Salvador’s airport twice the next day. First, to pick up daughter Ester from São Paulo. Later, to receive longtime missionary friend Agnes Haik and traveling companion Kathy, of Lakeland, FL. Ester stayed 5 days, the ladies 3. Other missionaries shared hosting of the U.S. visitors.
Ester was our fulltime guest. She’d come for more than just tourism.
For on Friday, the 29th, she, her mother and more than 100 churchfolk pulled off a major surprise on Dick. It was his 75th birthday.
Brazilians really know how to throw parties. This one was no exception. It even included daughter Debbie and son-in-law James vis Skype from Ann Arbor, MI. Dick isn’t often speechless, but this well-orchestrated trick left him virtually that way.
Having Ester in Church Sunday brought an extra treat. She sang a lovely song in each of the 2 services. Monday and Tuesday were “family” days. They included lunch with our various missionary colleagues each day. Ester flew home late Tuesday night. We’d ask you to pray with us for her. She soon will be jobless. The Willow Creek office for which she’d worked a number of years is closing its Brazilian operation. Being the talented translator she is, Ester should be able to find work in São Paulo. She’s looking to the Lord to help her make the right connections.
The afternoon of the 4th, we went into high gear again. Back at the airport, we received Pastor Adil Reis from Fortaleza. The Aratu Church’s pastoral candidate came for 4 days. Busy for him and us.
That evening, he spoke to a combined meeting of the Men’s, Women’s and Youth Departments. He took Friday off to spend with his family.
Saturday morning, he, Dick and 2 other men drove 90 minutes to Feira de Santana for a monthly pastors’ breakfast. Pastor Adil preached.
He took the afternoon off. Mavis directed Dick and 23 others in preparing for the Christmas cantata. That evening, she attended a baby shower. Pastor Adil was interviewed by the Church Board. He preached again Sunday morning and evening. After the a.m. service, the Church got better acquainted with him in a town-hall forum. All went well. The candidate flew home shortly after noon Monday.
His “official” candidacy is scheduled in January, when he’ll come with his family. But this brief visit provided contact for the Church to have an ample basis on which to extend him a call right now. We’re not going to press that, leaving it up to the Lord’s timing. We don’t want to be presumptuous. But we suspect he’d get at least a 90% call.
Whether he’d accept it or not is something else. This obviously is a major prayer item.
This weekend, we were just hearers at a wonderful, 3-day couples’retreat. It was staged mainly by talented leaders from the Aratu Church.
But many are burned out after 6 years of that ministry, so have retired. We pray that the new directors can carry the ball effectively.
So, we’re in another calm-between trough. But here’s what’s in our near forecast:
Saturday, Aratu will host a State Women’s Assn. Mini-Congress which could bring up to 300 ladies. That evening, we celebrate Thanksgiving with the American Community. We have 3 other invitations that day, but it’s only 24 hours long.
Sunday, Dick will preach for the only time this month. And not again till Dec. 11.
Nov. 26 to 28, the Church will celebrate its 37th anniversary. As we said, Brazilians know how to throw parties. This will be no exception. It’ll include several baptisms. We will host the speaker and his wife, coming from Ceará State.
Three days later, that’ll be our destination. We will travel there to attend the Cariri Bible College’s graduation. A young lady from Aratu and the daughter of our pastoral colleague in Barreiras are among the graduates.
On the way back, we’ll visit dear friends in Petrolina, on the San Francisco River.
If the first weekend of December comes, can Christmas and New Year’s be far behind?
We praise our Lord for the true “Joy in serving Jesus”. Thank you for your part in making that possible. May He be blessing in all He sends your way.
Rejoicing in Christ,
Dick & Mavis Buck