"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Sunday was an amazing day. It was a real blessing to all of us who were there.

Our sister, Ivoli, decided she wanted to publicly share her faith in Christ through baptism.  She asked Benay if she would baptize her.

It was a very exciting day.

I decided I'm going to share all the details.  It might be a long blog and I'm okay with that.  If you choose to read it all I feel like you will be blessed by what the Lord did on Sunday.

Here we go:

Since our church family meets in homes, and since we don't have a central building with a place to baptize people, and since our house doesn't have a bathtub, we had to find another place to do it.

These are our neighbors Abelardo, Jane and their granddaughter Eduarda.

They aren't a part of our house church.  Jane has been to house church one time and she and Abelardo both came to our annual Dirty Santa party last year.  I have to say that they are the coolest and best neighbors we've ever had in our 8 years of living here.  They are both nice and funny.  We love being around them.  Anyway, last week I asked if we could borrow their pool for just a few minutes for a baptism.  They graciously agreed.

So everyone got to our house and we all went across the street to Abelardo and Jane's house.

They were waiting for us.  I told them it would be an honor for us if they were part of the baptism.  I don't think I needed to ask because they were already walking back with us to be a part of it.

As we walked back to the pool I thanked both of them for allowing our house church to come over and invade their house on a Sunday morning. Jane looked at me and told me that our group was blessing their house by doing a baptism there.  Wow.

Benay and Ivoli got in the cold water (we are ending our October for you North American readers).

Benay then shared a few things from her heart........

........and then baptized her sister in Christ.  Click here to go to Benay's blog and read her thoughts about Ivoli.

This is one of Benay's favorite pictures from the day that Ansley took of her and Ivoli.

Everyone then loved on their sister.

Even Ivoli's husband, Carlão, came on this special day.  He's only been to house church one time.  We love him and he blesses us anytime he is around. He is a kind man who is so easy to talk to. He is not yet a Christian but we are praying that one day he will make the same decision that his wife and daughter (Grace) have already made. (We were also blessed to be a part of Grace's baptism as Bronwyn and Ansley baptized her at the end of 2007.  You can click here if you want to read what Benay wrote back then.) Benay said that she heard Carlão tell Ivoli how emotional he got during the baptism.  God is working.

We came back over to our house for a time of singing and sharing the Lord's Supper together. It was an encouraging time together.

I love house church.

We then had some Skype time together with different people.  Bronwyn got a chance to share her love with Ivoli.....

......and then we were plugged in to a skype call from our Texas A&M Aggies buddies in College Station.  One of the guys that was here last year with the Aggies for Christ group was asked to preach at his church.  He was going to share some things from his time in Porto Alegre last year and he asked us to join him on skype.  He had his computer set at the front of the church where we could see everything that was going on.  Very cool. Thanks for the invite Chris!  You blessed us.

God also tied in this day with the Aggies.  Not only did we skype them to be a part of their worship but they were also a part of our special day.  They all remember Ivoli from their trip here last year.  I'm sure, being Aggies, they will tell you that heaven celebrated even more on Sunday with Ivoli because she decided to be baptized in an A&M shirt.

We weren't able to stay and hear everything Chris said in his talk because at that time we were also eating lunch together as a house church family and celebrating Grace's birthday which was on Saturday.

She got to listen to 3-4 different happy birthday songs in two different languages.

I could not imagine anything cooler than having Grace's birthday on Saturday and her mom's spiritual birthday the day after.  They shared a very special weekend.

We ask that you pray for Ivoli and her walk with Christ.  For Grace as well.  We also ask that you pray for Carlão and that he will make a decision for Christ soon.

We love this family very much and are blessed to have them in our lives!

I've said before that eight years ago, when we arrived in Brasil, I had no idea what this ministry would look like eight years later. Eight years later I can tell you that there is nothing I would rather be doing and not another group I would rather be sharing our lives with than those that God has given us here.  We have an amazing group of people in the house church that meets in our house. Being a part of this past Sunday was better than anything I could have imagined.

The following is a video from Ivoli's baptism.  I thought of cutting some of it out and also sharing what Benay is saying but then I decided to just let the Spirit touch your hearts as you watch it.  I honestly don't think you have to speak and understand Portuguese to feel what the Spirit was doing at that moment.

Luke 15: 4-10 (verses that Grace read to her mom after the baptism)

"Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, 'Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!' Count on it—there's more joy in heaven over one sinner's rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

"Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbors: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!' Count on it—that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God."


Jewell John and Samantha said...


Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for sharing the video. It was wonderful to see, and I loved hearing Leni's voice. We love you guys and each person in the church. By the way, when do we get to talk to you on Skype???