This epistle has a plea for prayer, but we will put this in chronological order as we need to report on what your prayers for the Neuman ministry have accomplished recently.
We came back from Luke and Danielle's wedding the middle of August, hitting the ground running. Classes at the seminary had started the week before so I needed to catch up on them: Christian Ethics (10 students who tried their professor sorely), Angelology (4 angelic students) and Hebrew II (2 quick learners). Then, to Lynda's chagrin, I volunteered us (including her) to teach an Analysis of the Proverbs class to a Discipleship level class at the seminary - what a challenge that was! We personally learned a lot and our poor students caught what they could - depending on their educational level (from very poor readers to entry college level) and effort. We have some good materials ready now and we are sure we could do a better job next time. During those 5 weeks, our dependence on the Lord for strength and grace were critical, as we were in the midst of moving as well. Praise God we made it through! Classes have ended now and my grades are already handed in: almost unheard of for most of us. The end-of-year activities are next week, including graduation, but I won't be there for reasons explained later here.
Almost immediately upon our arrival, we set out to find quickly an apartment where we could move to as we needed to give up our house to it's owners. Within weeks of looking the Lord led us to a nice apartment, half the size of our house! "This will take some adjusting to." The only way we could do it was to move much of my office (bookshelves, books, file drawers, desks, etc.) to the seminary. We helped the seminary finish off some construction that allowed the use of several classrooms upstairs in exchange for what was a classroom downstairs and will eventually be a faculty room. In the meantime, it is my office and the faculty can use it also. Later, when more funds become available, we will finish off another area upstairs for my office, leaving where I am now for the faculty. After almost three months, we are pretty much settled and finally done with what repairs etc. were needed on the house we had to give back. All of this was possible because of some extra gifts from some of you, for which we are very thankful.
In the middle of moving and seminary classes, I, Jerry, ran off on another Maranatha Multi-cultural Ministries survey trip - this time to British Guyana. We'll save you the time of looking that up, or recalling from the deep recesses of your memory, by telling you it sits to the east of Venezuela and to the west of Surinam and French Guyana. Our trip took us to Brasilia, Manaus and Boa Vista, the latter in the northern state of Roraima, Brazil, before we took our flight into Georgetown. You might recall that Georgetown was the sight of the Jim Jones suicide/massacre years ago. Our MMM missionary candidate, John Souza, helped an independent Baptist missionary there for 8 months in 2008, substituting this family as they went home for a short furlough. Pastor Jenuan (MMM Director & President) and I, as Administrative Director were able to see the spiritual needs there and how our missionary would be a help to this ministry. The trip was full of adventures, including a 45 minute small outboard boat ride in pitch black darkness and the cancelling of our flight out of Guyana, which meant finding another way out: a single engine puddle jumper! One of the biggest highlights was the reception we received from the pastors of the churches in Boa Vista. Both before and after the trip into Guyana we were able to meet with pastors to present our new mission, missionary and our vision for reaching their neighbor to the north for the Lord. One church has already put our missionary on their missions budget and 4 others have committed themselves not only in prayer and financial support but also saying they wanted to be a bastion of support to our MMM missionary.
Just to make sure the moss didn't grow under us, we hosted a Good Soil Seminar in the middle of November. Good Soil is the name of the new Evangelism and Discipleship method that uses the ABWE written books The Story of Hope and The Way of Joy of which we were involved in translating and publishing here in Fortaleza. There was much enthusiasm on the part of the 22 participants in the two day training for using the books. A dozen returned for the third day, which is for future trainers. The teachers were ABWE missionary Dan Cook and our ABWE Brazil Administrator Dave Southwell. Dave brought Ev, his wife, and we had a great time of fellowship for the fews days they were here. They were our first guests in our new apartment..Though we're tighter than before, it worked out well, so "Ya all come now!"
Now for the BIG prayer request: I leave in the wee morning hours of Monday, November 30th, for another MMM trip - this time to Cape Verde and the Gambia of West Africa. I'll be accompanying and translating for our missionaries, Carlos Heron and Ana Laura and their two little daughters. Heron is a dentist and will be serving at the ABWE clinic in the Gambia. This first visit as a family is crucial in that they will be determining support needs, testing their potential in learning English and fitting in with the American missionaries there at the clinic. On our way there and back we will spend several days in Cape Verde with our two missionary families serving there. It will be great to see how God has developed the ministry through their efforts. I will also be counseling in a delicate situation for which I would request your specific prayers.
Another prayer emphasis is our health on this trip. Cape Verde's dengue epidemic has hit international news. It has infected some 1500 people (including our missionary, Pr. Junior, and their Prime Minister) Six people have died and hospitals are overflowing; soRed Cross sent in hundreds of workers and medicines several weeks ago. Dengue, spread by a mosquito, is very debilitating: fever, exhaustion, skin spots, dehidration, etc. A bleeding variety is even more dangerous. In the Gambia we could come in contact with malaria. We have had our Yellow Fever shots so we should not get that, though it is ever present in many parts of the tropics.
Rejoice with us in how the Lord has seen us through these last challenging months and has provided for the extra costs of moving and setting up an office. Praise Him for the success of the Good Soil seminar and continued requests for these new materials (over 3,000 copies sold). We marvel at what the Lord has done in how He has blessed and sustained us. Pray for our travels and my ministry to our MMM missionaries. Pray for Lynda and Lydia as they hold down the fort (in Fortaleza), investigating some health problems which Lydia has had. I will arrive back on the evening of the 20th, just in time for Christmas celebrations.
Pray with us as we seek God's direction concerning when we should come home on furlough to raise the support which we are lacking, both for personal support and for mission travel. MMM has funded both this trip and our trip to Guyana as we did not have the extra amount in our account. We desire to see these funds replaced so as not to take resources that our Brazilian missionaries will need in the future. Our deepest thanks to all who continue to pray and support financially our ministry. God has provided through your prayers and extra gifts to enable us to continue preparing Brazilians for ministry and facilitating their following God's lead to where He wants them to minister.
Your Missionaries, from Brazil to the World,
Jerry, Lynda and Lydia Neuman