There was a national holiday last week (for another saint, I assumed?) and the men’s prayer group in the church made the most of the day to hold their end of year celebration. It meant getting together at someone’s house for a barbecue, singing, testimonies, prayer and a swimming pool. There was also food after the last leadership training session of the year.
Last Sunday was also the church’s end of year get together for all of the small groups, i.e. the whole church. We all packed into the local seminary which, fortunately, is plenty big enough and had a morning service there where our newly formed small group was introduced and prayed over. There was then the obligatory barbecue, swimming pool, football and volleyball. Antonio enjoyed the kids’ entertainment: a giant trampoline and inflatable slide. It was a really good chance to get to chat more to people.
To complete the church celebrations, we were invited to our first small group’s Christmas meal and Secret Santa or “Invisible Friend” as it’s called here. We enjoyed very good food and fellowship.
We thought we couldn’t take any more food but we’ve also had 4 birthdays in the past week in the family here: Daniel’s, mine, Daniel’s sister Lusione’s and nephew Paulo Ricardo. At the end of the day, we all enjoyed a cake specially made for us, gifts, and lots of food and fun.
Daniel has continued the work in the workshop with Rafael and Mauro. They have finished the welding, cutting and sanding of the columns, which the guys have been learning to do. It can be time consuming training up others but we trust it will all be worthwhile. Iran and our friend, Pedro, from the church also popped along to help out this week which is really encouraging. Pray for Mauro who has had a few struggles in the recovery house. Another connection is helping with the next stage of the structural work which will hope will be speedy.
Daniel has now been preaching and sharing about the project for 3 Sundays in a row. Each time has been encouraging with attendees showing genuine interest and some folk offering donations and various forms of help. We are sure these connections will pay off and Daniel has enjoyed teaching from the bible. Remember, there’s a lot of storytelling here and wishy washy content which doesn’t have much to do with the real message of the bible. Harsh, but true. I continue to have moment of culture shock when we go out and about…one church service was due to start at 6pm so we arrived before 5.30pm to set up the projector. We thought we were in the wrong place as the lady appeared to open the church at 6.10pm! The service didn’t start until nearer 7pm. I guess it’s flexible and a family atmosphere but we were nearly turning back. Alas, it was all blessed in the end.
Sadly, Rafael’s phone went missing from the project site last week so he lost all his contacts and photos (some of Daniel preaching). It is a bit of a mystery and we know there are many spiritual battles going on around us so we pray for encouragement for all.
Next week, we are looking forward to a few days away in Fortaleza, enabled by the help of some air miles (there most be some perks to making such a long journey to get here!). It has been quite a while since we’ve had a real holiday so we hope to rest up and pray that Antonio might sleep later than 5am!!