|Bill and Sue Spoelhof||
Serving with ABWE
|Caixa Postal 352||
PO Box 8585
|17015-970 Bauru, São Paulo||
“The Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not forsake you.” Dt.4:31 Fall, 2001
We’ve just finished a five-day visit with our South American field administrator Dave Southwell and his wife Ev. Three of those days were spent planning for the future ministry in Bauru and other towns in this region. It was a profitable time giving us better direction as the work progresses. In looking back over the past year, one “landmark” mentioned was the number of people that have been saved through the work.
The group of teens coming to minister in local schools was mentioned in our last Byline. What a ministry they had! They divided into two teams of ten (Alpha & Omega). Dan Branda and I switched off translating for the two groups. Each school was a different experience, but the administrators and student bodies were always receptive to the American teens and their gospel presentation. Every assembly had anywhere from 150 to 300 students present. People responded each time the invitation was given. We estimated that at least 4000 high school students and teachers heard the good news. The youth rally on the last night had about two hundred kids out - that was a controllable number and allowed all the kids a chance to take part in the games. Teammates Tim Blazer and Dave Smallman did a tremendous job with the games, and the kids loved them. The pastor who was along with the group spoke about freedom from sin, and sixteen asked Jesus to enter their lives that night. One guy said that he'd heard the presentation at his school, but that night, he understood his need so clearly that he couldn't resist any longer! The day the group left almost everyone was crying. Somewhere, I read, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
Alfa Center’s Friends' Day was a fantastic day in October! Even the weather cooperated. The service we had that morning went well, and people just kept coming while it was going on. Music and message were well received, and for many who had been invited, it was the first time they had ever seen or heard such things. By lunchtime there were about 160 folks there. The meal was delicious plus we had ice cream later in the day. During the afternoon, some folks went swimming while others played volleyball or soccer and some just spent the time visiting around the tables. When leaving, several commented that they had made new friends today. There were opportunities to share the gospel both through words and actions with many new people. Remember Milton and Patricia? A few months back, they were the first ones that were led to a relationship with Christ through the ministry here. He invited all his employees to come for the day (and won the prize for most friends there - forty!!) He and Patricia wanted all of them to hear about the good news of knowing Jesus. Everyone we talked with said they had a great time. Praise God for the day’s success.
Numbers are increasing in both our home Bible studies and services. By next year the study group will be divided into two or three separate groups on different nights. It looks like one of the Alfa classrooms will be dismantled (they have collapsible walls) to give more auditorium space. New chairs have arrived so we now have seating for 100. We’ve had big trouble with a little church mouse that has been devouring the Word – literally, the covers of some of our new Bibles.
This school year’s ESL classes are coming to an end the last week of November. Learning English has been a tremendous tool for getting to know people in the community, discipling students, sharing the gospel, and bringing folks into our church and Bible studies. Pray for Sue as she works on revamping the program for next year, reevaluating her schedule and ministries as her short-term helper Jennifer is returns to the states.
We continue to learn and grow each day as we serve our Lord. We give Him the glory for all that is being accomplished in the ministries that He’s given here in Bauru. Pray for us and the work here. Also, pray for our kids in the states. We are looking forward to spending the holidays together this year.
As God’s people pray, He answers!
In Christ’s exciting service,
Bill and Sue Spoelhof
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