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A letter from Marta Carriker in Brazil

November 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Dear friends and family,

It is time to celebrate Christmas again.  We want to wish you a time of peace and joy with your families, a time to worship Jesus and thank God for sending him into this world.

May the beauty of Christmas be measured not so much by how much light and color is in the ornaments but by how much light Jesus has produced in our lives as we let his love flow through us.

Tim and Marta Carriker

In the group of women who paint together on Tuesdays we love to turn plain sackcloth into dishtowels with beautiful pictures.  But more important than that is the work of God in the lives of these women.  One of our problems was that sometimes the Christian women were being highly critical of the non-Christians and talking down to them.  After a word of encouragement from our devotional leader, Rosa, the Christian women reconsidered their attitude and now we can see more unity among us.  Rosa told the non-Christian women that God is still at work in each of us and we had been wrong to treat them with condescendence.

May the satisfaction of Christmas come not so much from the great food we will certainly share around our tables but from how much we value each member of our families who can be around the table and also may it be the opportunity to invite somebody else, someone who has no family nearby to join in our celebration.

Missionaries who spend a lot of their time away from family can feel lonely and isolated sometimes.  During our home assignment from March to September many of you made us feel welcome.  I can almost smell the rosemary chicken the pastor of one of our supporting churches cooked for us in September when we came to visit.  She went beyond the call of duty by receiving us into her home.  What can I say about the birthday celebration another missions committee prepared for Tim?  Or the week I spent with a group of women from Florida?  You all made us feel valued and for that we are most thankful.

May the gifts we give this year also be our time and attention to those we have not seen for a while.  And let us “look for a stable,” a place where we can share some of what we have been given to make those we might not even know aware that God has come to live among us.

Comunidade Piolho in Portuguese means "Lice Community", the slums in São Paulo where people were left homeless after a fire.

This year a missionary friend here in Brazil, Hsiung, started a campaign to gather construction materials to help the families whose houses caught fire in one of the slums in São Paulo.  He did not know them before the fire but he was moved to step in and help.  It was God’s love flowing through him as he got involved with them.

And let us share of what we have received freely and sing together with the angels:  “Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

This year Rogério became a Christian.  He has been meeting with Tim and other men from our church on Wednesday mornings for prayer.  This year he will sing about Christmas for the first time.  The angels are singing again.

We take this opportunity to thank you again for welcoming us and supporting us and we look forward to a future of partnership with you all.  May Christmas be full of joy and the New Year be specially blessed,

Much love to all of you,

Tim and Marta Carriker

The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 27
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 37
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