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Dear Friends and Family,
I love November. This month people openly share reasons to be thankful. For us, November also brings a shift toward Christmas, the downhill slide toward the end of the school year for our daughters, and a celebration of two years on the mission field.
This year has not gone as we had planned. When we entered 2020, we had many goals on what our year would look like. We anticipated growth in language, acculturation, and relationship-building. But when COVID-19 hit Brazil in March, a lot of our opportunities to grow in those ways came to a halt or slowed considerably. Here in November, we still face many restrictions to interact with others.
Even though our plans for 2020 looked very different from what has transpired, God has taught us that none of this year was a surprise to him.
Earlier this year, a long-term missionary shared with us that when God calls you to a task it is often more about what he wants to do in you than through you. This year has certainly been a testament to this statement. God has been working in our hearts and lives and continues to form us and mold us into the disciples he desires us to be.
We have shared in the past about how our family has a “Wow God” board in our entryway. This board reminds us that there is always a reason to give praise. Whether it is that “we got a piano” or “mom made cookies” or “Babu (grandpa) isn’t in pain anymore,” these little slips of paper testify how God is faithful in all moments of our lives.
One of the more recent “Wow God” moments for our family was just a couple weeks ago. Since the pandemic started, we have desperately missed our church family and worshipping with them. A local pastor who has been streaming his services online decided to try something new by streaming an English service, and he invited Brandon to preach. Our whole family decided to come, as it was our first opportunity to sit in a church building in many months. Even though it was just the five of us, the pastor, and the skeleton crew of people doing worship and online tech in the sanctuary that night, the service was beautiful and emotional. It was so wonderful to be in the house of the Lord. We are thankful for this gift. We pray that soon restrictions will be lifted and we can return to weekly worship at church. In the meantime, we will continue our family study through the book of Acts. And we are thankful that God is present with us.
We have also mentioned in past newsletters about our new partnership between our seminary and Sioux Falls Seminary, allowing us to offer master and doctoral programs. Since advertising this opportunity a while back, we have already heard from quite a few anxious people, waiting for word that they can officially apply to the program! We are excited that by the end of this month we will be accepting applications to launch the pilot group when the seminary reopens after summer break in February.
Our partnership to Sioux Falls Seminary comes with added expenses. In order to keep tuition affordable, we are launching a special project. For $35/month, an individual, women’s group, youth group, or any other group can sponsor a student through their degree program, which is usually two to four years depending on the student and program. A sponsor would receive a picture and profile of their student so that they can know more about them and pray for them. Will you consider sponsoring one of our amazing students through their program? For more information, you can visit our website or the NAB special projects page, or you can email us.
As always, we are so very thankful that God has surrounded us with such a great team of supporters. We could not do our work here without your faithfulness there. God bless you each of you. We are praying for you!
Brandon & Marci Jones
- The launching of the Kairos Project and the future of the seminary.
- The economy of Brazil and the impact that COVID-19 has had here.
- Sponsors for our Kairos students.
- For our continued acculturation to our new language and home.
- We continue to remain healthy during the pandemic.
- The girls are almost done with their school year. They end in mid-December.
- Even in such uncertain times, God has provided the support we need to continue working in Brazil.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 (NLT)
Avenida Cristóvão colombo, 3452/201, Porto Alegre, rs, 90560-002, brasil