We had a good weekend.
On Saturday, we had our Bible club in the park. As usual, we had around 15 kids come. Most of them have come just about every single week this summer.
A lot of times we wonder how much these kids are actually taking in as there are so many distractions. On this occasion, while Sarah was teaching the story of Saul’s conversion, I tried valiantly to make sure the kids were focusing on the lesson. Cars honked, dogs barked, kids poked each others, and almost everybody seemed to be completely tuned out from the story. It seemed like an effort in futility. Finally, we bowed to pray and Sarah gave a simple gospel invitation. One boy, Cristiano, raised his hand. Later, after club had ended I explained the gospel to him, and he prayed to receive Christ. Amazingly God’s Word can penetrate hearts even through the distractions of honking cars, barking dogs, and fidgety kids.
On Sunday, we had our second baptismal service as a church. It was a sweet and joyous afternoon.
Many of you may remember reading about Horacio’s conversion story a few months ago. He continues to grow in his faith and in his understanding of the Bible. He told me, “Last week, at our family lunch, I told my everybody that I was getting baptized. They weren’t very happy, but I have made my decision.” At his baptism, none of his earthly family was present, but he did have his spiritual family. Dr. Quica, the first person to share the gospel with him, was able to come to the service. Pastor Santana, the pastor who led a small Bible study in our town for several years also was able to come as well. Horacio was very touched to see these people who are so special to him.
Florbela, too, didn’t have any family present. Genilson and Meire, one of the core couples in our church, met her about 8 years ago. Their daughter, Deborah, became close friends with Florbela’s daughter, Catarina. Eventually, because of Genilson’s witness, Catarina was saved and began going to church. Florbela became curious and decided to start attending church too. Finally, last November, she understood her need to be saved.
Horacio and Florbela have one interesting thing in common. They both met Christians about 8 years ago. 8 years is a long time, but God used the faithful witness of Dr. Quica and Genilson’s family to finally bring about conversion. Looking into the eyes of Genilson, Meire, and Dr. Quica, I could see the joy they shared in seeing the fruit of their prayer and witness.
How about us? Will we invest in people today even if we only see fruit many years in the future?
She’d come on a 1-week mission trip last year, and this year she offered to come for 6 weeks! Jessica, a college student from Tennessee, offered to give her summer as a missions intern, and what an education she received.
Two different weeks, in two different summer camps, she assisted with everything from serving food to cleaning to counseling. Nothing was too menial or too challenging for Jessica to take on. She showed her servant’s heart by cleaning up bathroom floors when the toilets overflowed. She was also a magnet to young people. She spent many hours talking to the campers who could speak English with her, and even helped a teenager, Ana, accept Christ as her Savior.
The other four weeks, Jessica helped with anything and everything that came up. She cooked for a missions team, washed dishes, sang special music in church, visited in homes of church families, helped with church nursery, made song posters and visual aids for Bible club, and decorated the church for a ladies’ meeting.
She also did a ton of baby-sitting. At home, she played with Laura or fed Samuel his baby food while Sarah prepared lessons. She held Samuel during church and Bible club, so we could teach. As some extra activities came up last month, Jessica was God’s provision of extra help. Almost every night, we said to each other, “What would we have done without Jessica’s help today?”
Jessica saw the needs, did what needed to be done, and never looked for recognition. She was our #1 assistant, our sister in Christ, and a very fun friend to have around.
Jessica, we miss you, and we are grateful God sent you this summer!