Dear Friends and Family,
Here in Brazil, “summer vacation” is December and January. All the same, we’ve been busy.
In our last newsletter, we mentioned the Evangelho e Ação Centro de Liderança—in translation, the “Gospel & Action Center for Leadership.” In 2006, Pastor Roberto founded Evangelho e Ação as a non-profit Christian mission organization. To the northeastern state of Piauí, the mission brings the gospel and practical aid. Locally in Goiânia, the mission had the Centro de Liderança, a mobile training center for equipping pastors. In 2007 Roberto was called upon to assume the pastorate at our church in Goiânia, and the following year he discontinued the training center to focus on the needs of the church. Now, Roberto and I are reopening the Center for Leadership (CL). The Gospel & Action CL will serve evangelical pastors within needy churches by equipping them for ministry through training in biblical leadership, and expository preaching.
The first seminar in the CL is on Abiding in Christ from John 15, because apart from Christ, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). While studying this passage myself, I was invited by Pastor Alden Laird, from Visalia Evangelical Free Church to preach via video January 5 for our home church in California.
Sermon on John 15:1-16 (45 min.)
Pastor Roberto also asked me to preach John 15 for our church in Goiânia February 9, while he was in the United States at a conference. Last May, Dr. John Street from the Master’s College & Seminary came through Goiânia and I introduced him to Pastor Roberto. Since then, Roberto has dedicated himself to equipping our church in Goiânia in the area of biblical counseling. Last semester he taught a two-hour lecture each Monday night to a group of 40 members from the church, towards a vision of planting a church-based counseling ministry.
In order to deepen his own understanding and have more to give to his class, Roberto participated in a biblical counseling training conference last week at Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana. A fellow pastor (a graduate of The Master’s Seminary) and his family very hospitably welcomed Roberto into their home during the conference. We are very grateful for the warm reception, because that week in Indiana it reached -30°F—a far cry from our Brazilian summer! Roberto reports that the trip was very profitable; he wants to add a Biblical Counseling module to the Center for Leadership catalog. Roberto even bumped into some old friends, also from Brazil, attending the conference. I am absolutely delighted how God works out details, great and small.
Looking ahead to August, we have invited biblical counselor and author Lou Priolo to Goiânia to give a three-day conference on conflict resolution. Dr. Priolo has just written a new book on the topic, and we are seeking a local publisher to have the book available in Portuguese in time for the conference in August. Goiânia’s First Presbyterian Church has also expressed interest in sharing Dr. Priolo with us. Some of the details are still pending, but the current plan is that Sunday morning he’ll teach at our church, Sunday evening at the Presbyterian Church, and then Monday through Wednesday, August 18-20, we’ll host the conference with Dr. Priolo for the benefit of both churches and for the Gospel & Action Center for Leadership as well.
In March I start teaching two new classes at church. I’ll be teaching Fundamentals of the Faith in Portuguese for new believers on Sunday morning and Monday night. Also, we are going to start an English-language evangelistic Bible study Friday mornings before business hours. Many Brazilians are motivated more than ever before to learn English, especially as they prepare to receive the world on their doorstep for the FIFA World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016. Our strategy is that a believer from the church would bring a non-believing friend or colleague to the English group.
On the home front, Nathanael enjoyed his Brazilian summer vacation and is now back to school and in 2nd grade. Danilo was climbing the walls here at home, so we put him in a free gymnastics class. He gushes about it so much that Nathanael wants to skip school to attend gymnastics. Eliézer just turned three, and spends all his waking hours affectionately smothering a kitten we adopted from the street. Elsiene, my precious bride, heroically keeps all us crazy boys fed, clothed, clean and loved.
Please pray for the relaunch of the Center for Leadership, for the new classes starting in March, and for the counseling conference in August. Please also pray for our family for continued health, gospel witness and effectiveness in ministry.
Our family is grateful beyond measure to God for you—for your prayers, and gifts of support. Without you, we could not be here. Thank you for letting us be an extension of your ministry in Brazil.
Much love in Christ,
Matthew & Elsiene Carroll
Action International Ministries | Brazil
Pastoral Leadership Development