Oh dear, it has been far too long since I managed to write a post! It is mainly because things have been a bit mad at the project and 2 little people can be quite demanding on one’s time! Here’s a round-up of the Spring Highlights (Spring is actually an alien concept here near the equator. We have a wet season and dry season for 6 months each. Currently, we are coming towards the end of the wet season, which actually hasn’t been too horrific this year).
After around 18 months of sorting paperwork and jumping through administrative hoops, we have finally been recognised as an offical social project and given our CNPJ number (which is a bit like a charity number). It means we can now set up a bank account, provide accredited courses, receive specific help from the government etc. So it’s a big deal Daniel had a lot of running around to achieve this but we can see the hand of God in it all, how He provided Christian lawyers and accountants through church contacts to help, and not least, those people from our church and beyond who agreed to be on the Board of Directors. Let’s see what new opportuntities will appear now.
Curso de Flores
The latest craft course at Instituto Engrenar was ‘Flores EVA’, which involves making all kinds of decorations by heating the foamy paper and using metal moulds of all shapes and sizes to make impressive vases of flowers, favours, and really anything! We are extremely grateful to the teacher, Zelia (pictured below in stripes) who offered her time to do this. Pray for the three ladies who took part and who have heard the gospel several times now. We invited all to a special mothers’ day service at church on Sunday so it would be great to see them.
It has been a both a privilege and a challenge to serve as small group leaders within the church’s ministry. At times we felt overwhelmed and inadequate but God is good and has been teaching us much. As we approach the date to travel to the UK, we were delighted that Josué and Raquel accepted the challenge to take over the group in our absence. Praise God for this couple and we trust the group will continue to grow together and in Christ. The photo is of Pastor Sérgio praying for all involved at Tuesday night leadership training with our trainee leaders and also the overseer of our small group, Pastor Marcelo…speaking of whom…
New Life and New Faces
Anyone who has known anything of the project has been quick to ask what will happen when we go to Scotland in June. We have had our concerns and changes in personnel in our time here, but we are so pleased that God has once again been faithful and provided the right people at the right time. We have known Pastor Marcelo for close to 10 years now and he has also been someone who has supported Instituto Engrenar in many ways. It is a joy that he has agreed to come onboard and help with the spiritual care of those involved with the project, as well as promoting the work amongst churches and beyond. He comes with lots of experience, and an equally talented, wife, Claúdia!
We also have a Fábio working with us in the morning, helping to teach the trainees and a new welder, Wanderson, is doing a full-day. Wanderson is a Christian and will help carry on with the practical teaching. He has been very diligent and efficient so far, and also can provide guitar lessons so a very useful employee.
Junior, one of our apprentices, also became a Christian a few weeks ago. He and his cousin, Tiffany, have joined the English course and even had to join the rest of the group in their first test this week. We hope Junior will continue well in his new faith.
Now a recognisable event at Instituto Engrenar, we held another jumble sale last Saturday. We are always amazed how we manage to gather donations from folk of quality clothing, shoes, household items, etc. It is also a good chance to show off some of the items made by the trainees. The team who helped prepare the workshop, who served on the day and tidied up, cannot be thanked enough. We thought business was maybe a bit slow on the day, but we were amazed when the final total for the day came in over 1000 reias.
Much more has been going on, such as the anniversary celebrations at the Casa de Davi recovery house, a chill out day at a sitio for team who organised the February Youth Camp, training for the new material we will be implementing for the kids club, church members’ meetings, prayer meetings, re-organising the use of the workshop to operate more effectively, kiddie swimming lessons, Stephanie taking tentative first steps and that’s only some of our goings on…..life would be dull if we didn’t do much!