A letter from Marta Carriker in Brazil
“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of age.” Matthew 28:20, The Message
What does it take to start a new church?
- It takes people who care for those who still do not know that God loves them.
- It takes people who are faithful to go and share this message through word and deed.
- It takes the work of the Holy Spirit of God to empower those who go and to convince those who hear.
- It takes people who are willing to provide the space where it all happens.
We are thankful this year because members of our local church in Florianópolis are such people! This last Saturday we celebrated one year of weekly meetings to share the Good News at a neighborhood called Campeche. Isaías, an elder at the Independent Presbyterian Church of Estreito, had been concerned about starting a preaching point in São José, another area of Florianópolis, but it never materialized. Then he felt that God was leading him to Campeche. He asked D. Marlene, a wonderful woman of God who lives in that area, if they could come to her house, but that was not yet the right location. When he approached Lilian, her daughter, she told us she remembered one of the founding members of our own church, D. Maria d’Ávila, who opened her home every week for children to come and hear Bible stories. Inspired by this memory, Lilian also opened her home to provide the space for the Bible studies. She is so pleased—she says it is like a dream come true. Isaías and his wife, Rose, faithfully lead the group every Tuesday and sometimes on Saturdays as well.
Among those who have been reached in Campeche is Altair, who gave his testimony at the celebration. He said he used to be an alcoholic who thought that he could stop drinking on his own anytime he wanted, but he had to face the fact that he could not the day he had to be taken to the hospital on a gurney and stay there for 12 days to recover. Isaías then showed up to visit him and helped him get to a Christian Rehab Center, where he spent six months. There he gave his life to Christ. He said it made a difference in his life right away, which he could tell because he had no conflict with any of the others at the rehab facility the whole time he was there in spite of his temperament. He is now out and back with his family, who came to listen to him and support him. We are thankful for Altair and for the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.
Other new Christians in Campeche include Carla, who came to the Lord in the midst of a troublesome divorce that included her husband disappearing with her young daughter for five days. Néu and Waleska, who are members at Estreito, were instrumental in leading her. Carla is the director of a school in the slums in one of the hills of Florianópolis where her life is frequently at risk. She bravely continues to bless the children in that community.
Other names are Dani, Atos, Mônica, and André, two couples who come regularly to the meetings at Campeche. Tim is the supervising pastor for this project, so we are privileged to participate with the group in Bible studies.
Thank you for making our presence possible, and we count on your prayers as we continue to serve in Florianópolis. If you would like to see more pictures of our congregation, Tim was also involved in creating a site for our church at www.cristoemmim.com.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Marta and Tim
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 306
The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 27