Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reinforcing the Foundation

You may remember Maria, but you probably don't remember her like this.
She's due to have her second child--another boy--in March.  I helped her host a baby shower to celebrate.  

 You may be able to tell from the pictures that many of the ladies who attended are Brazilian.  There are lots of Brazilians who live in south Florida--several hundreds of thousands, in fact.  We came here on the premise of starting a Portuguese-speaking church among them.  Maria was especially hopeful for it to be a success, because that's been her dream for years.

  If you've been keeping up with us at all, you know that dream has not come true.  Of everyone who meets with us on a regular basis, Maria is the only Brazilian, and of the four people who John has baptized here, none is Brazilian.  It seems God has something else in mind, and it would be dishonest of me to say we haven't been impatient for Him to reveal what that something else might be.

  We sometimes get caught up in the idea that missional success means a large group of people that meet on Sunday.  I mean, it does look good on a report, but it's not the ultimate goal.  To be clear, the goal is to introduce people to Jesus.  We've considered giving in to the idea of creating a large gathering by renting a building in an effort to look more like the traditional model of church that most people expect from an evangelistic mission.  We even revisited the Brazilian church plant idea with Maria and her husband Terry.  Knowing Maria's desire to be surrounded by like-minded Brazilians during worship, I expected her to jump at the idea.  Instead, I was encouraged to realize that her focus has shifted over the past two years.  She's now much more concerned with putting God's will above her own.  Do you know what He can do with a woman like that? Ruth and Esther come to mind.

  I realized during our conversation that all the hours I might have spent organizing, planning, and executing programs necessary to keep a traditional church running smoothly have been freed up for me to spend simply reading the Bible with the ladies of our little house church.  God has used that time and investment to transform Maria in a way that is undeniably His work, and we are blessed to have been an integral part of it.

  So, what does God have in mind for our ministry in south Florida?  I can never be sure what His plans for the future are, but it seems Maria's transformation has been a big part of the plan these past two years--maybe a reinforcement of a foundation for things to come.  Her husband and sons are blessed to have her and will themselves be strengthened through her dedication to God.


  1. I think you guys are starting to get it! Good stuff!

  2. Hi

    I just wanted to stop by and offer a word of encouragement. I am a Christian living in the UK & I happened to stumble across your blog. You have spoken a word to me today & it's so encouraging to know that there are believers all over the world.

    I pray God continues to encourage & strengthen you.


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. We have a lady that is part of our house church who is also from the UK.