Saturday, February 28, 2009


Jaqueline (wearing green) has been studying the Bible with Marta, one of the Brazilian missionaries, for some time. She feels like she needs more information before she makes a decision whether or not to follow Jesus. She recently started bringing her mother, Noémia, to church with her. Noémia has been frequenting another church where she studied the Bible and decided to be baptized to begin her life as a Christian. They told her there that she would not be allowed because she has lived with a man for eight years without every legally marrying him. She asked to speak with Marta and explained her situation. She said she understood that she needed to make some changes in her life and was ready to do so, and she felt that Jesus was just the one to help her with that. She said she has wasted enough of her life and wants to start living for Christ. Marta agreed and her husband, Osmildo (far right), baptized Noémia.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thursday Evenings at the Jewell House

Recently John and I were talking about what to do with all these new converts. It's not our goal to just baptize them and then leave them out to dry (no pun intended). John started out meeting with each one on a weekly basis, but that has become logistically impossible, so we had to come up with a better plan. We decided to start having them over as a group on Thursday evenings for discipleship. We don't really know what that should entail other than sharing with them what we have learned over our twelve short years of Christianity. The idea is that we know at least a little more than they do and want to share it with them. We talk about everything from relationships to integrity and are currently studying the book of Ephesians. The group is composed of various walks of life from the highly educated to those who struggle to read. Some have dark skin and others light. It makes for interesting discussions and everyone agrees it's how the church should be.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Thirty Days of Prayer

Before the new year began, John posed a challenge to the congregation here. He asked each member to find a partner to pray with every day in January. Throughout the month we have heard stories of what God has been doing in people's lives. Perhaps the most obvious result of all this prayer has been the four baptisms we were blessed with.  But it didn't stop there. Heloisa was just baptized on the first day in February.She has been coming to the church for several years and has studied the Bible for most of that time with Marta, Osmildo's wife.  (Osmildo is baptizing Heloisa.)  She has wanted to be baptized before but her mother, who is a spiritist, has not allowed it.  Her mother demanded that she not be baptized until she turned eighteen so that she would have plenty of time to decide between Christianity and spiritism.  Heloisa's grandmother is Catholic and her aunt belongs to the Universal Church, known here for taking advantage of the poor.  They all live together.

Heloisa just turned fifteen and insisted she knows what she wants.  She promised her family that she wouldn't preach to them but said she was ready to become a part of the church with or without her family's blessing.  They actually did come to her baptism but asked to not be introduced.  Luke 14:26 says "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes even his own life-he cannot be my disciple." Heloisa's story is a great illustration of this difficult passage.