Office Internet was out all last week, except Tues. Still out, and the tech people say it’s a problem of theirs that won’t get fixed until maybe Thurs. So I brought the laptop to the office and found somebody’s wifi. So I’m connected, for now, until they decide to switch it off.
Yesterday I spent most of the day in my unconnected state doing planning for next year. I’m going to propose to the SJC saints that we set up a 10-year plan for the Bible school. We have some material written by the former evangelist here, another brother and me, but will have to produce the rest.
BIBLE SCHOOL. One of the great needs here in Brazil is for Bible school material, though the churches are so habituated to having the teacher use the material and nobody else sees it; the teacher is the Authority who brings the word, and the Bible class winds up being a long and tiresome sermon. So when some material is produced, only the teacher will buy it. This is a bad practice I’m not sure how to deal with.
Eddie Cloer has his good material here, Truth for Today, but all of it is geared toward sermons and not Bible classes. People tend not to digest it to convert it into 13-lesson chunks.
DINNER PARTY. So much has happened lately, like the big couples’ dinner at a hotel in Taubate Saturday. Paula put it together to celebrate her and Jorge’s 15th anniversary (above, bad shot, I know). They invited their extended families and the church family from SJC, Taubate and Guará. She wound up inviting even singles from church. Must have been some 70 people there. She’d asked me to speak, so I took about 15 minutes with a light talk (below).
Vicki and I sat at table, by assignment, with veteran missionary couple Bryan and Jacqueline Bost (below), whom Paula had also invited. We enjoyed catching up with them. They’re a bit closer to us now, having moved from the west side of Sao Paulo to the north side.
During the dinner, I had a chance to encourage Rose’s husband Fernando to come back to Christ.We talked at some length about a bad experience he’d had in the congregation where they were converted and that discouraged him from continuing in the faith. Below, a photo of Rose and Fernando with their grandson, daughter-in-law and son.
And I encouraged Claudete’s husband Odilio, with whom we studied some time back, to come to our meetings, which he did Sunday. He’s let his granddaughter become his excuse, but Sunday he brought her with them. These are all Taubate folk.
Below, a photo of sr. Odilio (Jorge’s uncle), with Jorge’s brother Gerson, who lives in Sao Paulo, and his mother, who lives in Guará.
CHURCH MEETINGS. Sunday was a good day, overall, at SJC and Taubate. At the former we had 27 present, and 14 at the latter. Good numbers for this time of year, but many are traveling, so this next Sunday expect our numbers to be way down, as usual. I noted that we have people from here traveling to four different states, besides the other side of Sao Paulo state.
BULLETIN AND STATS. I separated our inhouse information from the bulletin, and inserted it into a resurrected version of our old ImoNet ezine. It was, as far as I know, the first electronic publication of churches of Christ in Brazil. I’ve localized it with our attendance, offering and evangelistic stats, as well as prayer requests. So last Sunday’s edition was #181.
Way back in 1997 ImoNet was a plain-text email; now it’s gone to PDF format, which allows for nice formatting and graphics. (If you’d like to see a copy, buzz me and I’ll send it to you.) Some old issues are on this page.
The regular bulletin, “Voo da fé” (free translation: “Soaring Faith,” in PDF format here) is now even more appropriate for visitors and non-Christians, which perhaps will encourage the saints to use it more in evangelism.
THE FOCUS. That’s going to be my main focus here next year. I’ve drummed up my mission statement for 2010 (personal), changing the one I had for the last several years, and Bible verse for the year, as well as a prayer for the year to go along with those, but I want to hone the former some more before I share the package.