January 30, 2008

Quiet Time

Today I had a CT scan done. I'll get the results in two days. Our best guess is that the cause of my hearing loss is Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Sindrome. I have experienced hearing loss in the past, twice, 10 years ago and 20 years ago. Both times, my hearing returned after a long delay. Hopefully this will happen again.

I am going to challenge myself to learn 1st and 2nd Samuel by heart during my down time.

January 29, 2008


This morning I lost my hearing. I am completely deaf now. This happened to me 10 years ago. I was pastoring a small church in Texas and studying at East Texas Baptist University. If it follows the pattern, I will be deaf for a few months and my hearing will return. If it doesn't well, only God knows.

Right now I am taking lots of medicine and must stay in bed for a couple of weeks. I am going to miss the church retreat and the opportunity to baptize the new believers. They will likely not go to the retreat either, but we'll see.

Loaise and I have to think about this deafness and how it will affect our income and our ability to do our ministry. It's something I didn't expect. God did, so he knows what I should do. I'll spend the next two weeks in the bed praying and searching the scriptures.

God bless.

January 24, 2008

Pressed up against the wall

Yesterday was another very rainy day. I offered to give a ride to the singer's family. I had hoped to finish playing God's Story for them on the CD player. As they got into the car, it was obvious that they were stressed. They argued the entire trip. I just stayed quiet.

After arriving, I went and planned out my visits. I would first go to two of the families across the river, then go to the families on the hill and finish with the families on new street. Across the river... no one home, but I did get an idea. Everytime I cross the river in the afternoon, not far from the bridge there is a group of 8 to 10 retired men that stand around and talk the afternoon away. I believe there could be a storying opportunity there.

Well, I did go up the hill and met with 4 of our group. I told the story of when Jesus cured a woman at the synagogue on the sabbath. The story was short and they were able to tell it easily. I stepped through the story and then we began to think about the story. I had hoped to lead them in a direction of showing that obedience to God can sometimes clash with religious authority. The discussion did not go as well as I had planned. Honestly the problem was me. I kind of preached through it, instead of letting them discover the truths in the story. I only have one more meeting scheduled with them before our retreat. I don't know if they will be willing to be baptized on Feb 3rd. Pray for them. If they are willing, there will be 5 baptisms.

The families on new street were unable to meet yesterday.

To be honest, after such a big day last week, yesterday was a let down. Pray for me too. Things are going well, but I often get anxious.

January 17, 2008

New Storying Groups

Yesterday I went to a family across the river in the neighborhood we used to live in and made arrangements to begin Bible storying with them. We'd tried to incorporate this family in another group, but that group fell apart because of a dispute that Satan brought about. This was a year ago. We will begin with this family and let them invite other families to participate. We won't know how the group will work out until we get started. I will probably tell the story of creation on Friday.

Later I went to visit a family on New street. This family is in spiritual darkness. Different from the cultural catholics, this family has a mixture of beliefs that range from spiritism to worship of ancestors to folk catholicism. The husband told me he has never been interested in reading the Bible, and the wife told me she doesn't believe it. Neither of them know even the basic stories like creation. I discovered that the husband's aversion to the Bible was really an aversion to reading. I told them and their 3 young daughters a Bible story to give an example. They were captivated.

I will begin Chronological Bible Storying with this family right away. I plan to include 2 other families with this group. One family is a Christian and baptized, but go to church infrequently because they have to go to a city an hour away. Another is a traditionally catholic family that is questioning some of the religious traditions. They are interested in learning the Bible. I will organize a day and time on Friday.

Finally the singer's family. This has been a very resistant family, but I've been giving rides to them to and from the big city. During these one-hour car rides, I've talked with them and even told a Bible story. Yesterday, I put my copy of God's Story in the CD player and let it play during the trip. The wife, the most resistant, was excited to be hearing the Bible. "I've never heard this before" she kept saying. This family is closing their store in the city and will be staying together in Tabuleiro beginning in February. I will begin storying with them then. May God save this family.

Salvation on the Hill

Since the last post I've been to the small town twice. On Friday I went to meet with Lu, who had missed our meeting on Wednesday and I told him the stories he missed. I also went and talked to people who have participated in our past Bible studies (both oral and literate) and talked with them about our baptisms on February 3rd.

Yesterday, I returned to the families on the hill. Most were present. No news from the man who left his wife. I told the story of Jesus and Nicodemos from John 3. After I told the story, they asked me to tell it again. This is becoming habit, and in my mind, not a bad thing. We then stepped through the story, in other words, I asked them to tell it back to me in parts and asked questions at the parts they might have had trouble remembering.

Once the story was told I asked them some simple questions. (below they are listed, as I remember them) Once the discussion time was nearly over, I asked the group if they wanted to be born again. They all enthusiasticly said yes. We prayed and they confessed their sins and asked God to forgive them through Jesus. So, now 5 people in the families on the hill have received Jesus. I will continue storying with them leading up to baptism on February 3rd. Pray that Satan be left powerless against this family group.
  • Why do you think Nicodemos went to see Jesus?
  • Why do you think he went at night?
  • What did Jesus guarantee to him was true?
  • Did Nicodemus understand? Do you?
  • How did Jesus explain what it means to be born again?
  • What did he compare it to?
  • Did Nicodemus understand that? Do you?
  • Jesus compared himself to a snake, did you understand that part of the story?
  • (I quickly told that OT story) Now do you understand?
  • How is Jesus like the snake?
  • (I retold John 3:16) Do you understand this verse?
  • What about light and dark, when do people commit more crimes?
  • Who is the light that God sent to the world?
  • What kind of person avoids God's light, who is attracted to it?

January 10, 2008

January 10th, 2008

Last night I went back to the families on the hill for the first time in 3 weeks. I was very anxious to get back to storying with this group and to call one of the young men to begin acompanying me and learning to story. Upon arriving, I noticed this man was not in the home with his wife, and so I asked about him. This young man, during the last 3 weeks, cheated on his wife and left her to be with another woman. The devil has attacked this family network hard.

I told the story of Jesus' miracle at the wedding at Cana and we had a very powerful discusion about the story, though I am not sure that I will write much about it in this post. After the storying session was over and we finished our prayer time, I left the small town and went to the next town about 20 minutes away and found this young man in the house of the other woman. I ask him to come out and take a walk with me. I spent half and hour talking to him and used 3 bible stories to show him how he had sinned and how he can repent, and what will happen if he doesn't. I told him to take a decision and I prayed with him. Then I left. I do not know what happened afterwards.

This has been really disappointing for me and horrible for De and their family. Pray that this young man would repent and turn to God.