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“Then God spoke all these words …” Exod. 20:1

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A letter from Farris Goodrum

December 2011

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Vitória, the beautiful island capital city of the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. Vitória has been decorated for Christmas for a long time now, and beautiful Christmas lights line the avenues all along the beaches.  Blue lights hang in tubes from the trees along the main streets of our neighborhood, and the lights start at the top of these tubes and seem to drip down to the bottom, giving the impression of rain on an icy evening. We are not having icy evenings! but have been having many rainy days, and cool evenings—which is unheard of in December in Brazil. We are enjoying the comfortable weather while it lasts.

Merry Christmas to all from the Goodrums!

Life is interesting here in southeastern Brazil, and Thelma and I are enjoying our activities very much.  In early July Thelma was ordained as a pastor by the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, and she has been very busy with all of the activities that this new responsibility entails. She is serving as an assistant pastor at the church where we are members and is also working in an evangelism project at another church in the presbytery.  She works in the offices of the denomination and teaches at our seminary extension in the town of Colatina, which involves a two-and-a-half to three-hour bus trip each time she goes there for long hours of teaching on occasional weekends.

I am having an especially enjoyable semester, as I began teaching a course on Christian Education at the beginning of this semester, and I am seeing very positive results as the students have learned to prepare lesson plans designed to encourage the participation of the students in a variety of interesting ways, rather than the more typical lecture style of teaching.  It has been interesting to observe their creativity and enthusiasm as they have caught on to a new and stimulating style of teaching.  This semester I taught a course in Sunday school about the spiritual gifts for ministry and look forward to planning other courses and workshops in the future.

An evangelistic service at the Tropical Garden church in Vitória.

I direct the adult and children’s choirs at our church and teach piano lessons to several very talented piano students.  Joel participates in the youth bell choir, which I direct, and Thelma sings in the adult choir.  Recently I have been teaching piano lessons at another church in the presbytery and have started a bell choir at this church also, in which Thelma participates. This newly organized bell group looks forward to playing in church for the first time a couple of weeks from now.

We always enjoy the musical activities during the Christmas season and are preparing to participate in the annual ecumenical Christmas cantata, which will be at our church this year.  Many musical numbers are also being prepared for the worship service at our church on Christmas Day.

Joel, who is now 14 and has just completed the 7th grade, has been enjoying life here in Vitória for the two years that we have been here.  He has lots of friends and is involved in many interesting activities, such as Muay Thai, American football, and skateboarding. We were very pleased when he began playing the guitar for worship services at our church this semester.

We look forward to the arrival of our son Michael, who, at 19, is studying economics at a university in Londrina, in southern Brazil. He is an avid fan of skateboarding and has won either first, second, or third place in the competitions in which he has participated since we left Londrina. It will be wonderful to have the family together during the holidays, and we plan to return to Londrina with Michael at the beginning of February to spend a week visiting the people we got to know during our 13 years in that city. Ever since we left Londrina at the beginning of 2010 many of our friends there have been asking when we plan to return for a visit, so we are glad that this opportunity has finally presented itself.

We wish for you much joy during the Christmas season, and throughout the New Year. We are grateful for your interest in our ministry, and appreciate your prayers.  Thelma joins me in sending special Christmas greetings!

In Christ’s service,
Farris (for the Goodrum family)

The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 306
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 27

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