International Ministries

To the US, Brazil … and Beyond! (apologies to Buzz Lightyear)

July 14, 2011 Journal
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In our last ministry update, we shared with you our joys and struggles as we said “good-by for now” to dear friends, valued colleagues and fruitful ministries in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. We have started our home assignment, and will be in the US until we return to Brazil next May to develop two brand new ministries for the National Baptist Convention of Brazil.  We are living what we teach in the “Missionary Life” module for JAMI’s new missionaries in training: that saying hello and good-by with excellence is the rhythm of the missionary life, and that hidden in every good-by there is a new hello.

Home assignment and Asa news

Hello, United States! For the next 9 months we will be based in Bremerton, Washington in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where we grew up. God has been incredibly gracious to us: thanks to generous friends and family members we have a place to live, some furniture and household items, and a car. We are living close to our fathers, other family members and friends. Manette Community Church and Pr. Ron Anderson have graciously re-adopted us.  And Asa has been able to work through his transition to life in the US and the start of college.

Many of you have asked us about Asa’s plans. Thank you for praying for him, because the Lord has also been very gracious to him during this transition. It hasn’t been easy for him to leave his dear friends at Igreja Batista Reviver and find a new direction in the US. He has decided to enroll at Olympic College here in Bremerton, which will allow him to complete his pre-requisites for transfer to the Informatics program at the University of Washington, save on tuition expenses, and live at home while we are here. He has found a new youth/young adult community at Manette Community Church, and he just got his learner’s permit.  Watch out!

Traveling is a big part of the rhythm of our lives during this year in the US. Just after we arrived from Brazil, Bruce left for Thailand and Vietnam to visit missionary colleagues and partners and teach workshops. What an inspiration to see what God is doing in and through these dedicated servants, and see how the Lord may be able to use us on a short-term basis in this region in the future. A few days after Bruce got home Ann was off to the Philadelphia area to begin her Doctor of Ministry program at Palmer Seminary. The focus of the program is “leadership of missional church renewal,” which is her passion and the new focus for our work when we return to Brazil.

We have trips planned to visit supporters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York State, Ohio, Indiana, Washington, Oregon and Florida between now and the end of January. If you are interested in the details, and would like to see when we will be in your area, please let us know.

Return to Brazil in 2012 – and beyond

Next May 2012 we plan to head back to Brazil to serve in an expanded ministry. The National Baptist Convention of Brazil (CBN: the Convenção Batista Nacional do Brasil) has invited us to develop two new national-level ministries: the Secretariat for the Development of Leadership and Ministries, and the Secretariat for Social Responsibility. We will also continue to serve as professors and pastoral counselors at JAMI, equipping Brazilian missionaries for cross-cultural ministry around the world.  This is an extraordinary invitation, and it will allow us to make a major contribution to the CBN in our areas of expertise and passion: mobilizing the local church for integral mission, and leadership training and capacity building in churches and institutions. The CBN leadership told us that it has come in recognition of our investment during the last seven years in developing relationships, learning the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture, and creating significant programs in these very areas.

At the same time, the Lord continues to open up doors for us to be a blessing to many other partners in various countries. God has shown us multiple times in just the last year that what we have learned and developed through our ministries in Ghana, the Philippines, the U.S. and Brazil is valuable and can meet strategic needs identified by many different partners.  Good stewardship calls us to make ourselves available to a wider circle than just where we happen to be living. When we return to Brazil next year we look forward to continuing opportunities to contribute in Haiti, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, India and other countries as the Lord leads. Buzz Lightyear’s cry “To infinity … and beyond!” strangely resonates in our lives right now.

You’re part of all this!

We continue to thank God for you and your loving prayer and financial support, your letters and your work with us.  Please pray with us for:
 * Traveling mercies as we traverse the U.S.
 * Asa as he begins college
 * Pr. Marcelo and Igreja Batista Reviver, our church in Belo Horizonte
 * Our colleagues and students at JAMI, the missionary training center

Com amor em Cristo (with love in Christ)

Bruce, Ann and Asa