Perhaps only those who have spent time abroad will truly appreciate how special it is when someone from home comes to visit. We were recently really encouraged and blessed by welcoming not only 1 person, but 3 from Scotland. Our home church Pastor, Mez, his wife, Miriam, and an old friend from Niddrie, Stephen, made a flying visit to Sao Luis. Mez’s work with 20schemes means that he regularly travels and he had just been in Fortaleza doing a conference before the short hop here to Sao Luis, where he and Miriam lived and worked as missionaries for several years until 2007.
Mez spoke over 2 days at another conference here in Sao Luis on Church in Hard Places, but thereafter spent time with us and at the project. The work of 20schemes and ‘Igreja em Lugares Difíceis’ is well explained here for Portuguese speakers.
We also managed to fit in a few get togethers with some faces the McConnells hadn’t seen for 10 years. We were spoiled with a meals out and a suitcase full of goodies from home, including decent chocolate, some things we wanted for ministry and useful family items. Once again, thank you to everyone who sent their love, items, donations of money, etc. We really appreciate receiving all these things and trust the Lord will bless you for your kindness. Antonio was especially thrilled with his toys, books and being the guinea pig for Mum’s first face painting attempt. Think I’ll leave a Brazilian to do it at our next event!
It was great seeing Stephen too. Daniel knows Stephen as a teammate playing in the Niddrie football team. Stephen might not have been very keen to try the local food but he did Scotland proud at the football match on the Saturday!
For us (or maybe me personally), it was good to speak to people who ‘just get it’ and appreciate what the struggles can be here. It can be a lonely and tiring task, especially for Daniel at times, leading the ministry and trying to look after many responsibilities. Mez and Miriam were able to encourage and advise on that front. Please come again soon!
As well as enjoying the teaching from Mez at the Church in Hard Places conference, the following weekend, I (Linsey) was treated to 3 nights at a women’s conference on trauma healing at the Primeira Igreja. The guest speakers were 2 American ladies, so I really have been spoiled recently with quality teaching in my native tongue. The ladies lead a ministry called ElevateHer which aims to empower women by finding freedom and healing in the gospel. The material was practical, which was helpful. Perhaps churches here in Brazil tend not to talk about dark subjects, and in a culture full of prosperity gospel chat, it is not so common to hear things like ‘God doesn’t always heal’ or ‘sometimes it takes a professional to help’ or ‘it’s actually ok for a Christian to say life sucks sometimes’. I think some folk would have been hearing this type of thing clearly for the first time. Personally, it was great to see so many women from Daniel’s family over the 3 days. I think I counted 13 of us at the peak.
There have been 2 more birthdays in the past couple of weeks: Daniel’s niece, Sandya, and a great nephew turned 1. First birthdays are a big deal here and Benjamim had a grand time celebrating.
The work at the project continues and we have seen great positives on the practical and spiritual side, along with the usual dose of challenges. The welding skills improve and the team continues to make metal security gates, chairs etc. It has been exciting to see the young boys from the area coming to church regularly with us too. They are now beginning to apply the bible to their own lives more, even if they are not yet saved. We pray for good relationships with the families too. Some of the boys are from really humble and complicated backgrounds. We pray we can offer stability and support.
Unfortunately, our trainee from the recovery house, Raílson decided to make a rash decision one morning and left the recovery house as he was missing his family. He was close to 5 months in recovery, and 4 of them were with us. Despite our pleadings, at the exact same time we were going to the airport to meet Mez, Raílson made his way home. As expected, he phoned a couple of days later saying how sorry he was and that he wanted another chance. Unfortunately, we can’t accept him as things stand, but we pray he makes good decisions over the next few weeks and perhaps we can re- think one day.
A new venture has started in the church here to try and get all the closeby missionaries together once every 2 weeks so that we can communicate better and promote and share about our causes better. The second meeting of its kind was held at the Instituto Engrenar yesterday.
Pics below from a trip out to a park and Antonio steering the boat that Jonah was in at church!
If you’ve got this far, you’re doing well! Imagine if I included all our news…these are just a few items! As always, feel free to get in touch and we will reply ASAP.