Our hearts are full of both “saudade” and great expectation. Saudade is a beautiful Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English. The closest definition is “a longing for someone or something that one loves.” The last month has been chock-full of 18 despedidas (farewell parties), with from 2 to as many as 450 of our Brazilian family and friends. Each and every one was an opportunity to say excellent goodbyes full of laughter, prayers, stories and tears.
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Now we are looking forward to saying “Hello” to our family and friends in the US, and after that expanding our circle of family and friends in our new assignment in SE Asia. We can testify to the truth of Jesus’ promise that those who leave their house and family “for the sake of the gospel” will receive a hundredfold of new brothers and sisters. (Mark 10:29-30)
In this last ministry update as we leave Brazil after 11 years of service, we wanted to pull back the curtain a bit to show you what is involved when we and other missionaries pull up stakes and move to a new country of service.
A Peek Behind the Scenes
Our preparation for this move began 7 months ago when we talked to our partner Baptist convention’s leadership about our new call to regional ministry in Southeast Asia. The real push came in July when we launched into the following transition activities. We:
- Led a strategic planning initiative with our partner’s national theological seminary (STEB);
- Organized all the files, training materials, and resources for SEDELIM and REDEMI, the national departments for servant leadership development and missional church renewal that we brought to life over the past 3 years;
- Conducted 5 days of intensive orientation for the new coordinators who will continue these ministries;
- Completed about 16 (!) medical exams and lab tests required by IM of all missionaries beginning their U.S./PR Home Assignment. After all the needles, x-rays and specimen bottles, the doctor gave us the "good to go" clearance. Praise God for the gift of healthy bodies!
- Sorted all our “stuff” into piles to give, sell, dump, and take: we sold our furniture and car, and donated our theological library to the national Baptist seminary (tears). We cleaned, painted and got our apartment in better shape than it was in when we moved in 3 years ago. We obtained “no balance due” certificates on our utility accounts. And in the end the apartment passed inspection with flying colors (woohoo!)
- Set up visits with our supporters in 11 states between the months of August and December, bought plane tickets, arranged for lodging and transportation, and prepared our messages, presentations and workshops.
- Please pray for stamina and grace over the next four months of intensive travel as we share the good news of what God is doing through us in Brazil and SE Asia.
We praise God for your partnership in all the ways God used us during 11 fruitful years in Brazil! For the next 4 months we will be living with Bruce’s father in Bremerton, WA. Then it will be on to ministry in SE Asia!
For more info - photos, videos, map, please see our web page.