Tim & Hannah’s newsletter Sept 23

Happy birthday Betel Serra da Torre!
We end up holding special events every couple of months or so in Serra da Torre church, and of these perhaps the biggest event of the year is the church anniversary. The community turn out in large numbers. The church is important to all, not just the 20 or so who attend regularly for Saturday afternoon services.
This year we thanked God for the season of new growth and new life in our church reading Zachariah 10.1: “Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.” May God continue to bring forth a spring of transformed lives in Serra da Torre!
Of course there was cake (4 in fact!), ballet and worship presentations (Hannah led the women’s choir, Rita is in a pink tutu), and it was great that people from the community contributed to a lot of the service.
In the morning we arranged a community day with a pop-up health clinic with a local doctor and 2 nurses, a beauty salon (hair, nails and eyebrows!), a trampoline and ball pit and snacks, while young people from the city centre church did door-to-door evangelism in teams. Sadly Serra da Torre still suffers from a lack of access to health care. Pray that next year the pop up clinic wouldn’t be needed as local politicians would make good on their promise, made 4 years ago, to open a clinic in the community. We’ve previously offered to help with transport and organization if community leaders and members would like to mount a more assertive campaign, holding events in the city and raising regular questions in the council chamber. But this needs to come from tem, not from us, and they are best placed to decide what kind of action is most likely to be effective.

Mobilising missionaries in Custódia
A huge thank you to everyone who prayed for, supported – and received! – the short-term team of 4 from our church in Brazil who spent a month in the UK in August. They spent time with 3 churches, in Egham, Weymouth and Chard. Hannah spent the first week in Egham with them, to help them settle and because Egham is one of our main sending churches. The team preached in English, taught regional dances and served food at a Brazilian night, helped at a holiday club, and took part in a range of regular and evangelistic church activities throughout the month. They were able to encourage and inspire the churches they served in, and some Brazilians who attended the churches they served because of their presence, have continued to attend those churches since the team left.
The team write:
“England, like Brazil, is a country of foreigners… We learned a new language, but were also surprised by the space open to us to be Brazilians, and find others with our language here too! It has been great fun and edifying. We were blessed from beginning to end, and we all learned great lessons in this mission. We leave this wonderful country but it will remain in our hearts. It was a great and unique experience, and we are immensely grateful for everything.”
The team returned with a wider vision of what God is doing in the UK, a wider vision of what mission can be, and challenged to put the lessons they learned into practice locally. One of the team has the opportunity to return to the UK for a longer period of service. Another was touched by the hospitality she received in the UK and has already started find ways of showing hospitality in her community.
2 of the team are taking part in the Perspectives course, which started in Custódia on Monday. Many of you will know, have done or be involved in this course, which came out of the Lausanne Movement and focuses on mobilising churches and individuals for global and local mission. It is fantastic that an internationally recognised course like this that normally takes place in big cities is happening in Custódia, a rural town of only 40,000 people, and with only around 2% evangelical Christians. 23 people have registered so far, over half from our church. Some have been fundraising for weeks to pay the cost of the course. Please pray for at least 12 more to sign up by the end of Monday. Tim has been involved in mobilising for the course and will do it alongside members from our church.

  • Above left : the team at a church event for children and their parents in Egham, where they served chocolate and strawberry pizza – a Brazilian desert!
  • Above right: giving testimonies in Weymouth, together with Brazilian pastor and Latin Link member Lelmer.

Does God decide who wins raffles?(maybe, sometimes!)

Construction work is paused at the moment while we raise enough money for the materials and labour needed for the roof.

We wanted to involve local people first, before asking for donations from international partners, to ensure the local community in Serra da Torre and the city centre church in Custódia had the opportunity to be involved and to have a sense of ownership in the building. This has been successful, with almost R$10.000 raised so far. The highlight has been a raffle, initiated and run by a woman, M, from Serra da Torre. A local business, Tambaú, contributed a huge basket of products. Many people from Serra da Torre bought tickets, and also encouraged their relatives from afar to do so. Some didn’t put their own names on their tickets, but instead the names of others from the community who are in need. And in the end, it was E, a woman whose husband had died in a motorcycle accident only a few days beforehand, who won. She was very surprised as she hadn’t bought a ticket, and it took some explaining for her to understand what had happened! But she was touched by the love her neighbour had shown her by putting her name in, and it was a good excuse to do another visit to her! Like in Acts 1.24-26, we reckon the Holy Spirit was involved in whose lot was chosen! Do pray that she leans on God and on His church in this time.

We need another R$11.000 (just under £2,000) before we can order the materials for the roof. It would be great to finish the roof this year, and plaster and fit out at least 2 of the rooms, as this will enable us to launch a children’s after school club in the building at the beginning of next year. If you can contribute, now would be a great time to do so!

Prayer requests for this month:
Thank God for the short-term team who went to England; pray for His continued blessing in their lives and for guidance as to their futures. Pray that God would continue to strengthen links with the churches involved.

Pray for 12 more sign-ups for the Perspectives course, and that all those taking part would be able to engage fully, see it through to the end, and be challenged and equipped to play their part in God’s mission.

Pray for O’s baptism, due to happen this month, and for a strong witness to his family. Also that D could overcome her shyness to be baptised this time.

Pray for the remaining resources we need to put a roof on the church building in Serra da Torre, and that we’d be able to make enough progress to open the church’s children’s project early next year.

May you know the Lord’s power this month as we have in seeing His Spirit move in providing for O, E and our family in great and unexpected ways.

May you know His goodness and joy in giving us good things, as we’ve seen through the church birthday celebrations.

May you know his equipping and sending Spirit, as we do, and as we encourage others in our town to know through the Perspectives course this month.

Sending love to you all from Brazil,

Tim, Hannah, Rita and Moses

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