Tuesday, March 3 was an exciting day! We received the keys and took possession of the land and building purchased for the Lord’s work in this city. On Friday and Saturday, members of the church showed up to clean the building, set up a classroom for children and the auditorium for worship. Since the auditorium is very tall, one of the members, Valdemar, brought his scaffolding, fixed lights and cleaned the ceiling and windows. On Sunday, March 8 we had our first worship service in the building. Jhonatan, a young brother I have been training, preached and encouraged us from God’s Word. Ree taught Bible class to the children and I taught Bible class in our continuation of Revelation.
Throughout the month of March, five brothers (Evandir, Antonio, Jhonatan, Alisson and myself) rotated the preaching. I always say that the preacher learns more from the Word than the congregation does. It encourages me to see these four Brazilian brothers immersing themselves in the Bible, courageously standing before the church and sharing what they have learned. It has accelerated their spiritual growth exponentially. The sisters in the congregation are already setting up a schedule to keep the building clean. An elderly sister provides cleaning materials and keeps the cleaning rags washed each week. Other members prepare the Lord’s Supper and take care of the finances of the congregation. One brother also brings a can each week for extra donations to help additional families go to the Three in One Congress at the Curitiba congregation in September.
I will soon be finishing the New Convert material with the two groups on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Starting next month, we will begin new material for their practical participation in edification and evangelism. My Saturday morning evangelistic study had to take a break this month, because of military service.
This month I wrote a rough draft of the by-laws needed so we can be a legal entity in the city of Guarapuava. These by-laws will allow us to open the doors to the public, put up a sign on the building and kick off more evangelistic outreach. The church will be meeting together in the coming weeks to finalize these by-laws together. Four brothers are also working on getting the building up to code for the Fire department and Mayor’s office. Pray for us in this process, which will take several months.
One of our brothers here, Antonio, who regularly preaches, leads singing and does one on one Bible studies, has developed heart problems. After several exams in Guarapuava, the doctor requested a special exam only available in Curitiba. Ree and I offered to drive him and his wife, Viridiana, to Curitiba, March 12-13. Ree and I took advantage of the trip to visit two women we have shared the Gospel with in the past and pick up some material from the Curitiba congregation. The exam revealed that Antonio has four holes in his heart. He is talking with a surgeon this week to see his options. Pray for Antonio.
We have six teenagers in the Guarapuava congregation. So far, we have not been able to organize them into a weekly group for their spiritual growth, but it is our goal. Ree meets with two teenage women (baptized in 2011) and a child on Wednesday evenings to encourage them, while I teach the adults. She has been helping
them practice their English. We also have a start with two teenage young men, Ataua (15 years old) and his brother Valmir (14 years old). They were baptized in 2014. They do not have a dad, and their single mother, Luci, our sister in Christ, works to provide for her three teenage boys.
Each Thursday evening, these two young men meet with our New Convert Bible study group. I also spend a couple of afternoons a week with them, in several activities. Our time together began, when they would travel with me to visit the Sao Mateus do Sul congregation and stand beside me and read the Scriptures while I preached. Recently, they began memorizing a verse of the Bible each week and I had them quote the verses before the congregation a couple of weeks ago. We have played basketball together, played a Bible memorization game on the Pentateuch, watched movies together and talk about life application from them. Since they do not have a father influence, I have been helping them learn how to respect and obey their mother and learn how to resolve family conflict. Their mother is surprised with the changes in them. Pray for these two young men.
Teenagers in Brazil are not given many opportunities to work, because of the child labor laws here. These two young men want to go to a Youth Retreat in Curitiba next month, but cannot afford to go. I offered to pay their way if they would accept a spiritual growth challenge of memorizing twelve Bible verses, outlining all the Bible classes at the retreat, give me a verbal and written report of what they learned, make two new friends at the retreat and offer to keep the lunchroom clean after meals while they are there. They accepted the challenge.
LAND AND BUILDING FUND FOR THE CHURCH IN GUARAPUAVA, BRAZIL!
Donations for the land and building fund continue to come in. We are so thankful to all of you who are so generous and sacrificial. Each time we receive a new gift, we fall to our knees in thankfulness and praise to God. You amaze us with your love for the Lord and His work around the world. Members of the church in Brazil continue to give and have given $46,340.00 so far. Members of the church in the USA have given $71,653.00. We only lack $24,539.00 to pay off the purchase of this land and building.
Can you help us? If you would like to contribute to the building fund for the Guarapuava church of Christ, you can send your financial gift to the Central church of Christ in Moore, Oklahoma, our sponsoring congregation, earmarked for the Guarapuava building fund. The address is, Central church of Christ, P.O. Box 6300, Moore, OK 73153 - - Phone: 405-794-4493. Your gift, together with the Guarapuava church’s monthly contribution to this fund, is a partnership through which God will produce eternal fruit.
Serving Jesus together with you, Alan and Ree Nalley