Category Archives: Bible Studies
Two Great Sunday Services in 2015!
Back in October of 2014 we rented a building in which to hold services. The Lord has blessed, but we have really not seen as many people come as we would have liked. We have invited hundreds of people, visited prospects, and prayed. However, the increase was very small compared to what we were expecting. We had one family visit in two months. Health issues, vacations, and even some academic tests have kept our regulars from attending during the past few months.
The past two weeks have been drastically different. Most of our regulars have still not been able to attend for various reasons, but the Lord has blessed the services by sending us visitors. We had eight visitors within the first two Sundays of the year! That is a great way to start out the new year. It was a joy to preach and give the Gospel to these people. Though we previously knew most of these people, only three out of the eight have attended one of our Bible studies.
This past Sunday evening, Tiago, one of the young men that visited, told me that he enjoyed the service and was going to invite a friend of his that he thought would enjoy it also. Another one of our visitors, Nicholas, said he really enjoyed the service and that he would definitely return and invite some of his friends. His sister and her husband are one of our regular families. When we spoke with them about Nicholas coming, they said he seemed to be very excited and enjoyed a service that was not extremely loud. (That should give you some insight on the average church in our area.)
We are excited to see what God will do in the lives of each visitor that has been with us. There is no doubt in my mind that God is working, but sometimes we are impatient and fail to see His hand in the circumstances around us.
This next week we will probably have the largest crowd since the inauguration of the building because the Kokenzies have returned. Some of our regulars will also be back that were not able to attend these past two weeks. Please pray that the Lord will continue to work in hearts and that these people will be truly saved and follow the Lord!
First of all I would like to thank everyone who sent a note telling us specifically that you or your church were praying for us this past weekend. Thank you for participating in prayer and also for letting us know that you were praying. It was a great encouragement to us.
SATURDAY EVENING we had a special prayer meeting at the church. It was an encouraging time to listen to people talk about what they believed God would do. We spent some time reading a passage of Scripture together. Then we talked about sinners coming to know the Lord as Savior and the goals of acquiring this rented facility. We finished the time together with prayer. It was sweet to hear the prayers of the people as they asked the Lord to bless the work and especially bless the inaugural service the following evening.
After a little time of fellowship we set up for Sunday and headed home thanking the Lord for the response of the people.
Front of the Building – Sunday Morning
SUNDAY MORNING began well. Everyone we expected showed up. All of our faithful people were there! A family from a church about three hours away also came to participate in the day’s events. It was a blessing to have them in the service because they are familiar with most of the hymns we sing. They also helped clean chairs and get the details taken care of.
In the morning service, we talked about the preaching of Paul and related it to what we were doing. Several people asked questions or made comments which always helps us know better where people stand.
Sunday Morning Service
God gave us a building with a small room in the back. This allows us to continue the Sunday school class we had for the smaller children. This week we had four children in the class! Most of these children have little practice sitting still in a class. For some, their parents are still learning about discipline and are struggling to teach their children. So, needless to say, Amanda had a challenging time with the children this week!
After the service a few of us men went out inviting people to the evening meeting. Including the flyers passed out earlier in the week, we were able to hand out over 800 invitations to the inaugural service.
SUNDAY EVENING we arrived at the church about 30 minutes before the service began. It was an exciting time as we waited to see who would come. We had 40 chairs, but only about 30 fit in the building comfortably.
Beginning of the Service – Sunday Evening
When we began the service we had a few visitors. By preaching time, we had 27 people in the building! With around 30 chairs set up, there were only a few empty chairs left.
It was thrilling to see who the Lord brought to us. Nine were from a like-minded church several hours away. Another man came from out of town. He was invited by one of the ladies whose house we hold a Bible study in weekly. Two were our neighbors! We did not expect them to come, so it was great to see them drive up. The rest were all people who had participated in our Bible studies in the past. We had personally visited them in the past week. What a blessing!!!
Entire Group – Sunday Evening
I preached a Gospel message asking two questions. 1- Do you know God? 2- Does God know you? All were attentive and listened very well.
Though we did not have any salvation decisions, it was wonderful to hear what the people had to say. One of the ladies spoke to me specifically about her daughter. She said she was going to do her best to bring her daughter to the next service. One of the men present said, “We will come many times from here on out!” That was exciting. We did not have the opportunity to talk to everyone individually before they left, but it was evident that God was working.
PLEASE KEEP PRAYING! This is just the beginning of the story. We will be meeting every Sunday morning and evening from now on out. Though we will need to make some adjustments as time goes on, we are happy to have a place to meet now. The people prayed that this would be a place where God would work to change lives! That is what we expect and what we are looking for God to do.
We will soon start a mid-week Bible study also. We hope to continue the Bible studies we have and get more people involved by meeting in a better location.
Once again, thank you for your prayers!
A New Meeting Location
We are looking forward to meeting in the new building we have just rented for the church. We will begin our services on the 19th of October. We are pushing for a big day and have much to take care of before then.
The Lord has given us a building for less than $300 a month that will fit around 30 people without much trouble at all. This will get us started though and hopefully help us build the core group.
Here is a look at the building the way it looks right now…
A Day in the Ministry
Monday is the day we hold our weekly Bible studies. We always look forward to the Bible study, but at the same time it does require preparation. Each week we work on developing Bible studies and preparing ourselves to teach the Bible lesson. This week we also decided to print a registration card to help us gather a little more information about those who participate in the Bible study.
John and I worked most of the morning on getting the website ready for putting our Bible studies online. We created a few pages, styled them for the lessons and uploaded some of the materials we had.
In the afternoon Amanda wanted to go run a few errands, so we ran around town looking for a few things. Though we did not find any wrapping paper, we did find mini marshmallows! (This really has nothing to do with the subject, but I thought I would throw it in anyhow.)
When we arrived back home, the registration cards needed printed, the lesson needed to be printed and reviewed also before getting ready for the Bible study. The Lord allowed everything to go smoothly until we were about ready to leave for the evening.
I had asked Amanda and the boys to come to the Bible study with me this week. As we were about ready to leave, I sent the boys outside to wait by the car. Shortly after I heard a scream! Judson had fallen down the steps leading to the car and had skinned up his knee pretty good. We brought him inside and started to doctor him up when there was a knock at the gate.
With perfect timing, the neighbors had come to invite us to a birthday party they were having which started in 15 minutes. We obviously declined, but they told us we were welcome to stop by after the Bible study if they were still outside. Needless to say, we were a bit late leaving and still had to go pick up John before going to the Bible study.
When we arrived at the Bible study, the room was buzzing. There were half a dozen or more new faces in the room and others soon arrived. We had a record evening with about 24-25 people there and several faithful people were missing. Because it is the week before Christmas, several have traveled and others were busy with practices at their churches and things like that.
God blessed in a great way in the Bible study. The lesson was on true worship. You could see on people’s faces the concern they had about their means of worship. As always, we spent a good deal of time answering questions when we were done.
We arrived back home around 10pm and noticed that the neighbors were not quite done with their party, so we decided to go say happy birthday. We planned on just saying hello and leaving, but when we arrived, then expanded the circle of chairs to include us, and the husband began chatting with me.
We have been praying for these neighbors since we moved here and have had just a few opportunities to speak to them about the Lord. The husband is a freemason and heavily involved in the lodge. Every Wednesday he takes part in their meeting and often on the weekends they have a get together at the lodge.
The Lord has put a burden on my heart for these neighbors. The opportunities to speak to them are not many because they all work and stay busy with other activities. So, this being said, the opportunity to interact was at hand.
He began to talk small talk. We talked about what we had seen in the news recently, or what he had been doing for the last few days. Then as the people began to leave, he began to open up a bit and talk about an auction he had helped for a hospital that is connected to St. Jude. This opened the door for us to speak about religion, the situation of churches today, true christianity, and a few other things along those lines.
His wife expressed interest in us having a Bible study at their house, and contrary to what anyone expected, he was not opposed to it. The Lord has given us a great opportunity to influence our neighbors for the Lord!
So, how did it all end? Well, at about midnight, we walked back across the street being the last ones to leave the party. We have been invited over for dinner later in the week, and a great door of opportunity is opening before us! Please help us pray for these neighbors. The wife and daughters attend a church, but do not necessarily show evidence of true salvation. We would love to see them trust the Lord as their Savior and watch the Lord do a wonderful work in their home and lives.
The work of the Lord is full of surprises! We are called on in many different circumstances to go out of our way and take the light of the Gospel to many different people. I was tired at 10pm when we came back from the Bible study, but after our visit, I hardly slept a wink thinking about what God was doing in our neighbor’s lives.
We serve a wonderful Lord and Savior who is alive today and working all around us. May we open our eyes and see what God is doing.
God is Working all over Brazil
Years ago we started the Gospel website ConhecendoDeus to spread the Gospel to different areas around the world. This ministry has grown quite a bit with the help of Facebook and a few other tools that we use. Though it is not an enormous ministry, it does take time and effort to keep it going.
It has been several months since we have updated you on this part of our ministry. God has increased our influence over the past few months.
The blessings are many, so I will share just a few…
- Every week we receive a few prayer requests from all over Brazil. These prayer requests vary in subject, but many of these are requesting God to give them back a boyfriend, bless their health, help them find a job, and things of that nature.
- Over 500 people receive a daily posts on Facebook about a passage of Scripture and the application of it in their lives.
- We are in contact with people all over the globe because of this website. Recently I have communicated again with our friends in Pakistan that we met through this website.
- We are able to provide many resources for pastors, Sunday school teachers, and others who want to study the Bible. Every day people access the site through searches on the internet. Most don’t stay for long, but a few stay for over an hour reading and studying through the site.
- Every month we get hits from every state in Brazil as well as hits from other countries around the world. This year alone we have had visits from over 50 different countries.
- Please pray for a man named Erinaldo who has been corresponding with me this week. He was about to end his life when he found our website and wrote asking for prayer. Over the past few days we have corresponded and he wants to be discipled. He related how he had trusted Christ as his Savior about 6 years ago, but was never taken any further. He has a desire to know the Lord and has requested that we teach him and counsel him.
- Another individual recently wrote on the website asking what kind of Bible studies we were giving. He wanted to join the Bible study, but was unsure about the methods used. He wanted to know if it was by correspondence, by internet, or how we conducted the studies. Unfortunately we had to write him and tell him that all of our Bible studies were local and being held in person. We are not yet ready to developing online Bible studies. Yet, it seems as thought he Lord keeps urging us to set up some sort of online study. Dozens of people have requested this. It would require a few hours of work a week to video, edit, and upload the studies. Please help us pray!
- We need more laborers. This area of the ministry takes many hours each week. Others have volunteered their help at times and God has used them to get us where we are today. However, we are constantly adding more content and expanding the website useability.
- We also need wisdom. John Kokenzie and I have both stretched ourselves in the area of technology to try to reach more people. Our knowledge of web design, graphic design, computer programming, photography, audio/video technology, etc… are being used as best we can.
- Our resources are limited. Everything we have done with technology so far has been through open source programs that are free. There are two reasons for this. The first one is because missionaries operate on a limited budget. The second reason is because we want what we do to be reproducible by the national pastor or his people. If he cannot afford what we can, then our tools are useless to him. He will then covet our money, not our God.
- God’s blessing is essential. No matter how much we try, we believe that this ministry will only be used as God blesses it. The real work is done by the Holy Spirit in the heart of those that come to the website. We also believe that the Holy Spirit is the one who leads people to search the website and find the things that this website offers. We pray often that God would lead people to the website that need and want to know who God is.