A letter from Farris Goodrum in Brazil
May 17, 2011
When I last wrote, in December, we were preparing for many Christmas activities and looking forward to spending the month of January in the States. My adult choir, children’s choir, bell choirs and piano students performed in Christmas services and programs, and there were Christmas dinners and many end-of-the-year activities. It was a festive and pleasant time. After Christmas we enjoyed a day of sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro before going on to the States, and it was great to reconnect with friends and family throughout the month of January. We enjoyed the winter snow and ice in Georgia, and it took a while to readjust to the extreme summer heat when we returned to Vitória at the end of January. Now, in May, we are enjoying very comfortable weather.
Thelma continues to enjoy working at the offices of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, located in downtown Vitória. At our church she has been teaching Sunday school, the young people’s class, and has presented evangelism workshops at the invitation of another church in the presbytery. She has traveled to Colatina, which is a town about a two-and-a-half hour’s drive from Vitória, for occasional weekends of teaching at our seminary extension there, to prepare the students for the writing of their dissertations. Thelma and I are teaching a course in Worship and Liturgy at the seminary here in Vitória.
The denomination was pleased when Thelma, at the end of last year, requested to be ordained by the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil and was accepted, with great enthusiasm, by the Presbytery of Vitória as a candidate for ordination. She has been very busy studying for the ordination exam and preparing her sermon for the ordination worship service. These activities will take place at the end of this semester.
I continue to enjoy my teaching activities and musical responsibilities in the church. Soon we will decide on a date for a Christian education workshop on creative teaching, which I look forward to leading. I always enjoy teaching about the Spiritual Gifts for Ministry, and I learned that this is one of the subjects that the young adult class wanted to study but didn’t have anyone to teach. I was pleased to be invited to teach about the gifts very soon.
The church where we are members, in a neighborhood called Maruípe, has appreciated us very much, and has made us feel very much at home. This church is very active in ministries including evangelism, visitation and social outreach. The church has plans for a renovation project and has gathered used clothing from the members to sell at low prices to help people who often cannot afford the high prices of new clothes and to help with the cost of the renovation. We were amazed at the number of clothes that were gived, and all in very good condition. Two Saturday bazaars have been held already, and there are still enough clothes for several more. The church has earned well over $1,000 so far, which will be a great help toward the renovation project.
We look forward to receiving a group of 12 young people and adults from First Presbyterian in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, during the last two weeks of July. This group will come to paint a church and to get to know the community with which we live and work. The leaders of the presbytery are helping us to plan the group’s activities, and we are looking forward to having them interact with our friends from the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil. I will send news and pictures about this encounter in our next letter.
Thelma and I appreciate your interest in our ministry and ask for your continued prayers.
In Christ’s service,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 306