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Jerry and Lynda Neuman serving in Fortaleza, Ceara since 2002, with ABWE in Brazil since 1984
Dear Prayer Warrior,
We come to you with a special request for prayer for our daughter, Lydia. Yesterday, after giving an English lesson at our church, she got off the bus near our apartment complex, and was rounding the last corner when two fellow on a motorized bike stopped her and took her backpack at gunpoint. We praise the Lord that they did nothing else to her and she is doing well. The backpack contained resource books she uses for her English classes, a small amount of money and her computer. The worst loss is that the computer contained all her University work from the last two years, a TEFL course she just completed, and all her English teaching plans. This amounts to many hours of work and is unrecuperable. Sadly, though we had purchased a hard drive for back-up purposes, we hadn’t yet done the back-up. She has had to cancel classes for this week in order to try to put together plans for them.
Our request for your prayers would be along these lines:
1. That the police might be able to recover the computer. It will only be good for parts since it can only be used with a password or finger print.
2. That Lydia might be able to remember the things she had already planned for her classes this week and that she would be able to work quickly in making these up.
3. That we would have wisdom to make adjustments in route and routine to be more safe, especially when she and Lynda have to travel by bus.
Thank you so much for laboring with us in prayer for these matters.
Jerry, Lynda, and Lydia Neuman
Pray for us today. Last week we eliminated one of the possible church plant sights from the top 4 and this week we have a meeting with people in the town at the top of out list. We could know where we will be working next very soon. It really all depends on if we feel God is leading us this way or telling us to stay away. We recently had a team from Woodland CA help us with some work in this town and they fell in love with the opportunities there. While we like the potential, we also know that there are a few people who could make it a very long hard ministry. With all the wonderful opportunities around we would rather not get “stuck in the mud.”
Today’s meeting will be our family and another ABWE Australia family setting down and talking with the people about how much they want to grow and the necessary change that will bring. We are excited, and we are also aware that some in the area are very reluctant to trust American church planters and pastors. If we can win their trust we can launch forward quickly. Pray that they will trust, and that they will not obstruct, or join in only to drag things along slowly.
Family is doing well. Amy just finished school and two weeks ago officially graduated from year 12. She still has “placement” type tests in every subject over the next few weeks. Pray that she will be motivated to do a good job on each test as it comes along. Luke is enjoying spring. He has one more ten week term of year 9. We have already told him that he will be changing schools next year as we get into a new church plant. He is not excited about that at all. Barb had a birthday last week, and we had our 25th anniversary. We also had my parents down from Michigan over the last three weeks. It was good to spend time with them. We celebrated their 51st Anniversary last Sunday.
Thanks for all your support. Your prayers are more valuable than we could ever express!
In His service,
Matt & Barb Douglas & family
Mission accomplished. But not as expected. We’d asked you to pray for an unhappy task Dick and part of the Aratu Church’s Board of Directors had weekend before last. Their duty: To give the Pastor of a rural congregation a chance to resign. Or, failing that, to let him know he was being released.
The travelers met 3 hours Saturday evening with the man and his wife. Our news came as a shock. They asked for “a stay of execution,” pleading that their children’s school year would run through December. A move now would disrupt that terribly. This appeal obviously was reasonable.
A 2nd step in the visit was to hear the local churchfolks the next morning. That meeting was highly electrical. If the Pastor and wife had been shocked by our news the previous evening, the congregants were totally stunned. But not into silence.
One after one, they gave glowing, grateful testimonies of how their Pastor’s ministry had been such a blessing. Several did so amidst abundant tears. After at least 15 had spoken, we were stunned. Not one had a negative word to say about this man. Yet we’d heard so many negative things about him. But only from a loud minority. Unfortunately, we’d acted on incomplete information.
In directing the meeting, Dick was impressed at the group’s frustrations with the Mother Church, plus the overwhelming support for their laborer. So, he made a bold proposal: “The First Baptist Church of Brazil was founded with 5 members. You’re a group of 31. Why not transform this enthusiasm into something concrete? Form yourselves into a Church.”
After some calmer discussion, a vote was taken. Twenty-eight voted in favor of taking that step by November. Only 3 felt they should wait until next year. No one voted against.
We clearly pointed out the implications to them–especially regarding finances. They’re taking their task seriously. In a phone call this Monday, the Pastor told Dick work already was advanced on the Constiutuion and Bylaws. Happily, the Church has the eager counsel of a retired Pastor who’s wise in such matters.
To put the ribbon on the package, the Aratu group held a special business meeting this past Sunday. Debate went much longer than expected. But when the matter was put to a vote, only one was against.
Please join us in praying for this about-to-be-“married” daughter. We’re looking forward to the “wedding” in January.
Thank you, Lord, for the exciting surprise and the lessons that accompanied it. Help us do a better job of gathering information if a situation like this comes up again. Better still, please spare us of that if You will.
Humbly serving the Savior,
Dick & Mavis Buck
PS–Another urgent prayer request involves Adil, a highly recommended pre-candidate for the Aratu pastorate. He has set a deadline of Oct. 5 to let the Church know whether he’ll be coming. If he doesn’t, back to Square One.
Jerry and Lynda Neuman serving in Fortaleza since 2002, with ABWE in Brazil since 1984
Dear Praying Friend,
God blessed us with a wonderful furlough and provided enough of our support need so that we could return to Brazil Aug. 13. Praise His wonderful name!! Our support level is at 99.41%, the highest is has been in a long time. The only thing not included was a monthly amount towards trips for the Brazilian mission. O we of little faith! May we share with you some of the ways God blessed during these past months?
We were able to report to all the churches we needed to, save one. Our reception was warm as supporters rejoiced with us over what God has been doing in Northeast Brazil and beyond. We had a number of support increases making up nearly all that we were lacking. With God’s wonderful provision, we will not need to return later this year to raise more support!! We want to specially thank our churches (and individual supporters) for the opportunity to share with you and for your generous offerings, through which our furlough expenses were paid with even some surplus.
Though we had plans to fund several projects with that surplus, God knew we would need it for major car repairs. A number of issues have arisen on our 10 yr old car since returning. We’re grateful we had the funds to make these repairs and pray that the constant stream of visits to the repair shop have stopped! We’re trusting God to provide in His time for the projects that had to be set aside: shelves for Jerry’s SIBIMA office, passage to visit MMM missionaries next spring and replacing our very old a/c and microwave units.
Within a week of our return, we received good friends Al & Kim Yoder as houseguests for the Biblical Counseling conference at SIBIMA which they helped to teach. What an overabundant amount of blessings were enjoyed that week! Three other teachers were involved, two counseling tracks taught with over 90 students participating! With the Brazilian version of NANC now involved, we look forward to having yearly training modules to equip pastors and lay leaders in ministering the application of God’s Word to folks in their churches. Kim and I also had the treat of attending a Ladies retreat that weekend where she was one of the speakers.
We are back into the swing of our ministries, even though not caught up with all the loose ends left behind due to traveling for four months. Pray for efficient use of our time and strength to keep going as we attempt to catch up with financial accounting, back correspondence, and website revamping in the midst of ongoing ministry. Jerry still has some final revisions on his thesis. His office at the Bible school needs shelves and organization so that he can retrieve books loaned out during furlough 6 years ago.
Besides teaching at the Bible school and my discipleship studies, there are a variety of other ministries in which we have been involved since returning. I had the privilege of speaking to the women’s group at our church on our motivations, by looking at the lives of Jacob’s wives, Rachel and Lia. Our church has started an English service on Sunday mornings before Sunday School for which Jerry is bringing the message. A special cross-cultural blessing was our involvement in the German/Brazilian wedding of friends on September 4. Another cross-cultural couple recently engaged asked us to do their pre-marital counseling, which has already been a blessing. Their wedding will be November 20 in a town 5 hours interior.
The Maranatha Mission has had various meetings finishing up their Principles and Practices. The meeting for final approval will be this Saturday morning, as well as for official recognition of our missionaries to Guyana. Friday night is the annual mission banquet which has the goal of paying off the vehicle for our dentist, Carlos Heron, who with his family will be ministering in the Gambia. As Jerry’s responsibility on the MMM board involves caring for our missionaries on the field, it is our desire to make a trip in the spring to Cape Verde and Portugual, encouraging them in their work. Please pray with us for God to provide the funds for this trip and to work out the timing and other details involved in such a trip.
In our church’s annual mission conference this week, we have been talking with a missionary family on the field each evening by Skype. It has been encouraging both for the congregation and our missionaries. Perhaps you’d like to take advantage of today’s technological advances in this way. Should you decide to give us a call, our Skype name is Neumansinbrazil and is based on email@example.com .
You all are our life-line as you take our needs before the Father and thank Him for the marvelous way He has been providing and working in and through our lives here. It is difficult to find words to express our gratitude for you as you carry out this vital link in our ministry. Many of you ministered to us in one way or another while we were in the US as well. Please except our heartfelt thanks for your ministry to us in whatever way God has prompted you to be involved.
Rejoicing in God’s care,
R. Pereira de Miranda, 1155 Apt. 304 Bl. 02, Papicu, Fortaleza, Ceará 60.175-045 Brazil
Phone: 011-55-85-3278-2973 Jerry’s cell: 85-8707-0029 Lynda’s cell: 85-8681-7484
FOCUS FROM FAYE
September 15, 2010
I have caught up on answering my e-mails as well as putting some time in on necessary paperwork. I spent some time with Raquel and also with Blanquita (Blanca P´s daughter) today, as well as washing some clothes and doing some yardwork. Since Mexico is celebrating her Bicentennial, I also took some time off today.
Lola, Gaby, and Ale have finished the Basic Bible study and confessed Christ as their Savior. Marichuy also appears to be progressing toward that step. (Xavier has not done well this month with his alcohol and drug usage and so Marichuy is struggling because of his instability and lack of commitment.) Raquel M. has been sitting up in her wheelchair for a few hours daily for the last two weeks. She wants to begin learning to walk again at the end of the month. Moni G. & son Diego are moving this week and we prayed for their peace and safety in the new place, free from the influence of any evil forces.
We were commenting last Thursday on the change in the church. Four years ago we only had one older man attending family group and Sunday services. In these past Sundays at least nine men have attended, although some of them sporadically. We are praising God for this increase. Men of Valor meet on Monday evenings and the time is used for training. So, we are excited to watch them grow spiritually.
Thanks for your prayers for a place for the church to rent for our services. A small building has been found, the initial deposit was paid and now it´s time for all of us to pitch in and put the building into shape so that we can start meeting there soon.
Thanks so much for your participation in prayer and financial support of Avant´s work here in Guadalajara. As you can read, the work is growing. I appreciate your support and always love to hear from you personally too.
Encouraged by spiritual growth in believers,
Col. Independencia, Guadalajara
Jalisco C.P. 44340 México
From U.S. & Canada 1-530-231-3953
Outside North America 52.33.3609.4295
10000 North Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64155
September 17, 2010
Dear Friends on the Net,
We returned to Hong Kong from the United States during the last week of August. As we reflect on the summer, we realize that it was all about God’s grace. As James says, “For he gives more grace . . .” (James 4:6)
While in the States . . .
During our home assignment in the United States we experienced the grace of God in so many ways:
Back in Hong Kong . . .
We returned to Hong Kong at the end of August, and we have hit the ground running:
Praise and Prayer
Thank you again for your prayers and faithful support.
Yours in Christ,
Dave & Peggy Pardini
Dick & Mavis Buck – September 14, 2010
Sunday was a long–sometimes-trying–day. Things started strangely during prayer time before the Aratu morning service. Nivaldo, a Bible-college graduate, came prepared to preach. Dick, the Interim Pastor, came prepared to preach. What’s going on here? The Church has a monthly bulletin. For some reason, Nivaldo indeed was listed to preach therein. Dick hadn’t noticed, because in the portion of the bulletin that he’d prepared, his name was listed, and not Nivaldo’s. Dick is not possessive of the pulpit. So, he was glad to give Nivaldo the privilege of preaching. He did a fine job.
We’d prayed fervently for the monthly business meeting which followed. That’s how often they do those here. Several potentially hot items were on the agenda. Our people like to talk and talk at these meetings, with lots of repetition. Dick suggested that the Church adopt a 15-minute limit on discussions about any subject. “Otherwise,” he said, “we could be here till 1:30.” Much to his joy, the item passed without even a minute of discussion.
One tough item involved releasing a teenage boy from Church discipline. It passed with tears of joy and a prepared, thankful speech by him thanking the Lord and the congregation for loving him. We weren’t sure how the vote would go. Praise the Lord, it was unanimous.
Far more difficult was a proposal to ask the Pastor of a daughter rural work to resign. If not, he’d be removed by the Mother Church. There were several ramifications, and this was a time where the 15-minute limit really paid off. Others wanted to talk, but respected the self-imposed norm. More on this below. Even with the limitations, the session went nearly till noon. But it ended joyfully, with no evident hard feelings. Thank you, Lord.
At 3 in the afternoon, we met with a couple working at another of the 6 branch ministries. Dick went directly with them to a 5 o’clock meeting with the deacons. During this, the couple repeated what they’d told us: That the behavior of an adult couple regarding “appearance of evil” was causing problems in their ministries. The girlfriend lives in Aratu, the man in the rural village. She’s a frequent visitor. Therein lie the problems. More on this below, too.
The bulletin said Dick was going to preach in the evening service. So, he did. But some other neat things happened before that. For one thing, despite earlier rain and the threat of more, the house was full. We thrilled also to the debut of a singing group consisting of 6 teenage boys, plus 2 playing instruments. The congregation sang joyfully with them. Dick congratulated the Church for its vision in having invested in the instruments and sound system to make this participation possible.
Exciting reports were heard from the interior missionaries–both in their 70’s. And about a State ladies’ prayer congress held the day before in a town 45 minutes away. Over 200 attended. Mavis had the privilege of being their speaker. The Aratu women invited the group to its next get-together in November. Our goal is to assemble 300.
After the service, Dick and the deacons met with the girlfiriend mentioned above. Things were tense at first. She was belligerent. Dick once again was thankful for the wisdom of the men with whom he serves. The lady’s spirits were calmed, and she accepted the rationale offered. Thus, she agreed not to visit the town until after their December wedding.
With all that done, we headed for Salvador, arriving around 11. We should’ve been wiped out. But once more, by God’s grace, we weren’t. Oh, sure, sleep came quickly. But this in the midst of much “joy in serving Jesus”.
THANKLESS TASK–The weekend ahead is going to be TOUGH. Dick and 9 members of the Church Board will travel 3 hours Saturday afternoon to Itaberaba. Upon arrival, we’ll meet with the Pastor and his wife and communicate the Church’s decision (above). Our 2 hyper-efficient lady treasurers will be on hand to explain the severance package for him. We have no idea what his reactions will be.
Sunday morning, we’ll meet with the churchfolks, detailing the action taken and plans for the near and more-distant future. Dick will remain to preach at the evening service, whereas the others will head back after lunch. He’ll return on a Monday-morning bus. Mavis won’t be going.
Please, please, join us in prayer. Why this drastic action? To put it briefly, when this Pastor took over 7 years ago, he inherited a strong, sizable group. It’s now down to a dozen or so. His often-strange practices drove away virtually all the solid folks over the years. Aratu should’ve acted sooner. But now, it concluded that things can’t go any farther.
It isn’t always easy. But it is the Lord’s work. And we thank Him for the privilege of being His servants, be the moments glad or sad. May He bless and equip you for all He has for you to do.
Energized by and for Christ,
Dick & Mavis Buck
Douglas Family – September 6, 2010
Gal. 5:5-6 “through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”
Life in Christ is fabulous. Sure things can be hard some times, and sometimes we are unsure what way God is directing. However, life with God is fabulous.
Our life is changing. Our daughter Amy now has her driver’s licence, she turns 18 this week and graduates from high school the end of this month. WOW! We are excited for her, and staggered by the changes in life all at the same time. (We are sure some of you can relate.) She is a good girl. We had some good fun last night helping her pick a favourite picture of herself aged under 5 years old. Sure does not seem that long ago. It helped us put many things in perspective.
Luke is doing well at his year 9 studies. He goes to camp this week. Like any boy that age he looks forward most to having no homework and being able to be with his friends all day and night. Physically he is getting tall and is now within about an inch of overtaking his father; that is definitely one of his goals in life. We see him a changed young man for having gone on the Soccer World Cup witnessing trip. It was a life-shaping experience.
Our husband and wife relationship is so strong. Many of you know we just celebrated 25 years of marriage (though the official date of that is Oct. 5 we needed to take our trip when it would fit the schedule.) We so enjoy serving God side by side, and yea the rest of life is quite wonderful too. We know changes are coming to our lives, but we are eager to watch the Lord do His work in us and through us!
Ministry is progressing. Barb has had some wonderful results from scripture classes (including helping a teacher get a Bible of her own) and Matt’s ESL classes are progressing the work of ministering the Word while meeting a need within the life of the students. Our ministry to others, our ministry to the local fellowshipping churches, and our research towards the next church plant are also worthy of the calling we have received. Next week Matt will be filling in for another missionary who has to return to the USA for a funeral. This is likely to include his ESL classes and his Scripture classes in Glenwood Public High School. One of the fun parts of this ministry is the time we get to encourage and challenge individuals in their walk with God. Again this week Matt is meeting with a couple of men one of whom needs to consider the step up to full time ministry, and one who needs to be restored after leaving the ministry and church.
We appreciate all your prayers for direction on church planting! We are as eager as anyone to know where God will station us for the next church plant! We are trying not to be so eager we get ahead of God, but … the waiting is getting hard. We have been working at this more and more. We are trying to definitively “rank” the known opportunities, potential, and the known & unknown complications for each of the top four or five areas. Yes, we depend on the Spirit. Yes, it is Christ who said, “I will build my church…” And yes there is always risk involved, but the reason the last church plant was done in half the “normal” time is because we first took note of where God was leading and working, and then we got ourselves involved in church planting there. We hope to have more exciting news for you on this front by November this year.
In His service,
Matt & Barb Douglas
Dick & Mavis Buck – August 27, 2010
One year. Already? This was our reaction to the fact we’ve just completed that period serving as Interim Pastor and wife in the Aratu Church. They were good times, though not always easy. The Church has renewed its call to us for another year. We hope not to stay that long.
THE CHALLENGES continue to stem mainly from among the Church’s 6 congregations. At one of them, the Pastor has strayed so far from normal practices that his ongoing presence is inviable. Thus, Dick and several deacons will have to visit him next month with a dire proposal: Resign or be removed. Easy for us? No! Easy for him and his family? Certainly not! But he totally seems to have lost sight of Biblical practices. Please pray a lot about this.
In another branch work, the Pastor seems to have lost contact with his Congregation. It’s probably only a matter of time before he resigns. His behavior is fine, but just not synchronized with leaders in that group.
AT THE HOME BASE, members finally are beginning to think seriously about replacing us. And they’re praying often about it, too. They’ve even specified one of 3 pre-candidates for initial contact. Dick has written to him, but he hasn’t responded yet. We feel that any of these could serve the Church’s needs very well.
We continue to rejoice in the willing service of many folks in Aratu. Imagine, for example, that the auditorium is redecorated weekly. Large pieces of colored cloth are hung from the high wall behind the pulpit in artistic designs. Matching flower arrangements are placed on tables in the front. Takes a lot of time. But they enjoy doing it.
On the other hand, the Church is willing to sacrifice its Sunday-evening attendance as a number of folks minister in the congregations. As a Pastor, Dick could be numerically jealous. But he prefers to rejoice in this willingness to serve the Lord wherever He leads.
INTERCÂMBIO is a Portuguese word without easy English translation. Basically, it carries the idea of an exchange between groups. Aratu has been much involved in this lately. The middle weekend of August, 50 of us went Saturday evening to a branch, then 30 absented the Sunday-evening service to return there.
The following Saturday, there was a double exchange. Older young people came from Hope Baptist to fellowship with those of their age in Aratu. At the same time, 12 adolescents were joined by 6 of our adults to worship with the youth of Bethany Baptist. Each trip took half an hour. Few hours later, 10 folks journeyed 3 hours to rejoice with the Itaberaba Congregation in dedicating its critical remodeling project.
Many of the young people never had participated in an event like this. These used to be highly common. Lord willing, they’re going to become normal again. That certainly will be the case if it’s up to the youngsters.
OUR TRAVELS earlier in August to Barreiras (600 miles) and Luís Eduardo (60 beyond) were blessed after a bad beginning. The first bus ride was to have taken 11 hours. It lasted more than 16. An accident on a major highway had happened at 3:30 p.m. When we came through at 10, wreckage still hadn’t been cleared. Fortunately, we were on a comfortable BedBuss.
From then on, things got better. Dick had a good week of ministry teaching a journalism module to 6 students at the Bible College’s new Western Branch. He also had an opportunity to preach in 2 churches in Barreiras. And we enjoyed sweet fellowship with many folks we’ve known for years.
Then we did the quick hop to Luís Eduardo for our 45th honeymoon. Rediscovered the luxurious perks of the 4-star St. Louis Hotel. Weekend rates of $86 a night made that experience even nicer. This visit also gave us contact with a number of dear friends in that City where we ministered 3 years. But our greatest joy came in seeing God’s blessings on Emmanuel Baptist Church. Attendance normally runs around 100! When we left, it was 50. Then it dipped into the 30’s.
But thanks to the ministry of its dynamic, young Pastor and other leaders, it has rebounded and gone well beyond previous levels. To God be the glory! Our remaining travels were tranquil and punctual. We arrived back into Salvador 5 minutes late.
That’s plenty of news for now. Thank you for your prayers through these times. We continue to depend on them constantly. God bless you and yours day by day in every way.
Gladly serving Christ,
Dick & Mavis Buck
FOCUS FROM FAYE
Back to work!
My niece´s outdoor wedding was lovely. We had plenty of set-up and clean up work related to the wedding and reception. The family dug in and everything went well. Sharon, my sister, did an amazing job of organizing wedding details many miles from their home. Amy´s husband seems to be just what she needs. During her hospitalizations earlier this year, he was ¨Johnny on the spot¨.
Mother, Dad & I celebrated Dad´s birthday on Aug. 7th, just before I returned to Guadalajara. The peach season was three weeks late this year, so I got only a taste of the best peaches. I did, however, get some needed R&R as well as writing numerous thank you notes. My how the time flew!
I returned home on August 10th and am now working on getting back into the routine. That first day saw me sleeping after a red-eye flight (2 hours and 45 that left L. A. around 1:00 a.m.), grocery shopping and paying utility bills. After a week, I am nearly back on schedule.
The children of the Sunday school class and others missed me. Raquel M. continues to progress, but has 2 weeks before she might be allowed out of bed. Moni G. and son Diego were glad to see me yesterday as Moni and I started the next discipleship course. Xavier, an alcoholic, jumped off the wagon, but showed up after five days. We´ll have to see how he does as he, Marichuy, Josefina, Jesús and Flor (Marichuy´s mother, fraternal twin and sister) study the Basic with Ev & Jan D.
Without your vital prayer support, the ministry here would not be growing. Both Avant and the team appreciate your prayer and financial support.
Pray for diligence in the work at hand,
Col. Independencia, Guadalajara
Jalisco C.P. 44340 México
From U.S. & Canada 1-530-231-3953
Outside North America 52.33.3609.4295
10000 North Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64155