This month Pedro and Kessia continued with economic development with focus on a new project of dairy goats. The plan is to raise goats and work with their milk. This project is being done by 4 families in the community. It is in its initial phase with construction of a fence, animal shelter, and milking machine. The initiation of a hydroponics project also continues. Pedro and Kessia also continue to work to serve in the church there providing church services and discipleship. Pedro’s barber who he had been witnessing to for over year began to attend the church. Ari, a community member and a team member who has been serving in the church was voted to become a deacon by the congregation and will begin taking on more responsibilities within the church.
October was marked by joy — our first church service in the new church building in the community of Malhada Vermelha took place. Even though the building is not yet ready, without all the doors and windows, the joy of singing praises to God in this very special place was inexhaustible. People feel part of this place because they helped in the construction, donated cement (even though they did not have so much money), did the first cleaning of the church and for them this brings the feeling of growth because they matured in responsibility during the construction of this place.
We could see the people who have been there since the beginning of 2014 whose lives have been transformed, embracing their families and praising God. We have seen children who have become young women and young men praising loudly, being sure of grace and salvation in their hearts. For us, this is the greatest treasure they can have.
For us, Pedro and Kessia, it is an immense joy to recognize that the Lord’s strong hand has sustained us so far; we have seen that there is not a heart so hard that God cannot break and it has begun in us. We praise God for His wonders! May we continue to cultivate the word our hearts every day.
This is a month that we have seen many things take “form”: the church taking advanced steps in its construction, the irrigation of the pitayas, more lives being reached and our baby Timoteo growing in a healthy way.
Pedro has had help from three local men in the work of the pitayas and construction of the church, these days they have worked to make the salt water irrigation work well. We received help from Robson, our director and pastor, and Kaka, our coach. We have also received help from Miguel and Aldeir; they are experts in agricultural areas and have been cooperating voluntarily in the pitayas project. In addition to working, it was special for us to be together talking for almost 10 days and celebrating at a goat barbecue. The joy in visits was also complete when we received Renato and Ben from (World Challenge) to visit the community, talk about the mission and have the joy of sharing what we are living. It was special.
Our church, the first church in the rural community of Santo André, received its roof and for this work we also got help from people from Morada Nova CE and Fortaleza CE, they came over 8 hours away to serve and for which we felt very blessed.
This month we’ve moved into the first phase of discipleship for new converts and we’ve seen them grow in faith in the Living God, the only one who deserves all the glory. We have taught about our responsibility as disciples in Christ Jesus to be like him: meek, humble, servant, and obedient.
We have seen more people come interested in knowing more about Christ and we believe in a time of soul harvesting for Santo André. May the Lord strengthen us with strength, humility and wisdom to live and work in this great harvest!
This month we had a great scare and almost lost the Baby Timoteó. Because of this we were unable to travel and return home after the meeting in Ceará with the Cassula family and staff. But in our absence, something surprising happened: the local leaders continued with the activities of the pitaya crop, church construction and worship. They took on the preaching, praise and children’s services. They also managed to take care of our senior community member, Dona Francisca. We were able to accompany from afar, giving instructions by telephone. During this time something remarkable happened, they were serving each other without our presence. This has generated us much joy and encouragement in us. Although this month has been full of struggles, we have many more reasons to thankful than to cry.
This month we completed the first stage of the pitayas field in the Malhada Vermelha community, this was made possible thanks to the work of many hands of involved community members and not just us. Now we will continue with the installation of irrigation and implementation of seedlings in soil. Right now, our hearts are full of hope to know that we are so close to completing this work so important and expected by all of us.
We also had the opportunity to be with our team in Aquiraz, CE and we did not come alone. We brought one of the men of our church to meet the team and spend these days of happy fellowship with everyone. These were days of many adventures, fellowship, laughter, encouragement, and joy. We visited the church at Pentecoste, we met the brothers there including Pastor Carlos and his whole family, we visited the Ribeiro family (Ricardo and Ione) in Morada Nova as well as the communities that the Jacob’s Well is working. To be able to hear what has been going on in each local, to see the hand of God operating in all things and the development happening in families gives us immense gratitude. While we are in Ceará the church in Malhada Vermelha continues its meetings to learn more of the word and live the preciousness of being the body of Christ and fellowship with the brothers. We miss our church family in Paraiba.
Construction of the church in Malhada Vermelha is still underway and the brothers are involved providing volunteer labor and working to raise internal resources. We have already imagined the voices praising God gathered in a special place, the Church of Malhada Vermelha.
Well, as for our family… there is another baby on the way and we have discovered that it will be a boy: Timoteo (Timothy)! We are immensely grateful and happy for the Lord’s gift and abundant grace revealed in our day.
Santo André is in the process of being built! This month was spent working for the pitaya crop and in the construction of the community church. For us it is a joy because this city is one of the least evangelized in the country and is about to have its first church in one of its rural communities. In this work we received help from people not only from the church but from the Malhada Vermelha community. We also received cement and manpower from the city. In this work Julio and Adelson were very present serving and assisting Pedro.
In partnership with the local municipality, we installed the well in the Malhada Vermelha community that will serve to irrigate the crops as well as supply the missionary house; we are happy with the commitment and respect that the city leaders had in participating in this project.
In Brazil there is a mobilization during the month of May to work to prevent sexual abuse of children and adolescents; The “May Orange”, as it is called, was mobilized in Santo André also and we from Poço de Jacó were able to participate in a round table discussion on the community radio station where we discussed the difference between child and juvenile sexual abuse and exploitation, in this opportunity we also shared how that our team works in each community to raise awareness not just this month, but year round.
Our church meetings continue to take place at sunset every Sunday and we continue to study the book of Mark. New people have come with the expectation of knowing more about who Jesus. We are also doing weekly visits to homes where we study more about Christ, listen and counsel families. Gradually we see Christ transforming every heart.
The settlement process of Malhada Vermelha is related to the donation of land for colonization by the Dutch in 1669; Santo André started as a farm linked to a small town on the coast, with the same name producing sugar cane. The families of workers grew and gradually each took a place in this area. In 1908, a chapel was built in the region. Later, Father Cícero donated the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the city.
Santo André became a stopping point for lunchbugs and drovers for both trade and rest, they led pack animals and were responsible for supplying the interior of some northeastern states, such as Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte. They sold products such as beans, flour, corn, rice and rapadura. Hence the start of the city fair that still supports families of local merchants.
Santo André’s economy, between 1965 and 75, was on the rise with the so-called white gold. The term refers to the cotton culture, which was of considerable importance in the economic and social context of the northeast region and the basis of agriculture in that period.
In the Malhada Vermelha community, electricity was only available in 2009 and the community remains without running water and basic sanitation.
Families living in the community are born and raised around the municipality of Santo André and Malhada Vermelha represents the second largest community in the region.