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Dear Friends and Family,
August marks nine months in Brazil. We are thankful for God’s grace and his care as we have been adjusting to living here. We are reminded of the words of Solomon when he says there is a time for everything. We have had times of sorrow and times of joy; times of stress and times of relaxing; times of nervousness and times of calm; times of crying and times of laughter. Through all our family’s emotional ups and downs, the one constant that has and will never change is God’s grace. Here are some ways that God has been gracious to our family.
Monica and Olivia have finished half of their school year. Monica is becoming a rock star at reading in Portuguese. Both girls are learning more every day. They recently had a sleep over (what Brazilians call a “pajama party”) with two of their friends. It was a blessing to listen to the girls communicate with each other. Please continue to pray for their complete understanding of this language.
Daniel, who is the only one still on the U.S. school calendar, finished 9th grade in June and started 10th grade on August 5. Please continue to pray that he will develop his language skills and that he will find a group of friends with which he can connect.
All three kids were on winter break during the end of July, so we decided to take our first long period of rest since moving here. We spent almost a week at home, relaxing, and then took our first Brazilian family get away. We went to a city up in the hill country about 2 hours away from the city for a two-night stay. It was a relaxing break from the traffic and bustle of the city. We were able to enjoy the quiet tranquility of nature and it felt like a much needed reset.
Brandon finished his Contemporary Theology class right as the seminary took its winter break. The seminary will reopen soon with a two-week class on chaplaincy taught by visiting professors, Alan and Judy Steier of Bismarck, ND. After their course, normal classes will resume, and this semester Brandon will be teaching Systematic Theology 2, which is one of his favorite courses.
This year the seminary celebrates its 40th anniversary. We are excited that each of you, as our supporters, gets to play a role in the celebrations. It has been a while since a classroom at the seminary has been renovated, and because of that they do not have a multi-media room of their own that they can use. Our NAB mission here in southern Brazil has funded a renovation of a classroom that has everything needed to best serve both the in-class and online students. The classroom was unveiled on August 9 during the seminary’s 40th anniversary party.
As we look into the future and how to best serve the seminary, God has been opening doors for us to expand our degree options as well as make education more accessible for our students through new partnerships. Our prayer is to launch these new programs early next year. Please pray with us, as this could push the seminary into the next level of church leadership development.
Marci continues to teach conversational English to preschool-5th grade students at Colégio Batista, where Monica and Olivia attend. This has opened doors for her to get to know the students, staff, and parents of the school. It is also adorable to walk through the hallways of the school and hear a little student say in English, “Hello, Teacher Marci.”
We were also recently blessed by a short-term mission team led by Dr. Brad Hanstad and his wife Robbyn from Crosspoint Church of McKinney, TX. We are so thankful for the work they did here sharing the love of Jesus. One project they had was at Igreja Batista Níteroi, sharing the love of Jesus in a practical way. They set up an eyeglasses clinic at the Baptist church facility and for 9 hours helped over 100 people with free eye exams and glasses. Many people who attended also welcomed a follow-up visit from the people of the church for prayer and Bible study!
As always, thank you so much for your prayers and your support. Together we are proclaiming God’s Kingdom here in Southern Brazil!