Each year I am on the mission field I learn more and more about my heart. I continue to realize how indeed 'wicked above all things' it is and I have been continually tested about what it means to truly have a servant's heart. A heart that desires to care for others, that is brought low to raise others higher, to be used in order to show others the love and selflessness of Jesus who lives in me. It is not easy to be a servant, but what I found to be even harder, and where the real lesson for me is, is having a JOYFUL servant's heart. I think most people such as missionaries, pastors, Christian leaders/workers, etc., can serve others and do so fairly well from the outside vantage point, but I have noticed with many, and myself included, is that there can be a lack of joy in this service. We can see this exemplified in pastors, the pastor's wife, the missionary, the Christian brother/sister who complains, grumbles or is annoyed by the people the Lord has brought them to serve and love. These are poor examples of what it means to be a servant and what it means to serve others joyfully. If we are honest about our motives are we truly serving others joyfully? Serving them as Christ would...with the kind of love that He displayed on the cross? Or are we doing it out of obedience because we feel as though we have to? The answer for me at times, and probably for others as well, is out of obedience. But there is a better way. As the Lord revealed this to me, and the motives of my own heart in regards to my servanthood, I began to ask, "what good is it trying to learn how to have a servant's heart if I am not joyful?" Truly, the primary challenge is not how to be a servant, but how to be a joyful servant. Many can counsel/pray with others, lead Bible studies, be hospitable to others, prepare meals, wash dishes, clean bathrooms, etc..., but if there is no joy or love in these acts towards the person/people we are serving we have really missed the point in serving as Christ has asked us to. I want to serve others in a way that they leave me knowing they have been loved by Christ. Every day I may fail at this, but some days are better than others. I pray that as I continue to be sanctified in Christ that this lesson of being a joyful servant will become a little bit easier, but until then I will be thankful for the many trials, and lessons in humility that will produce a joyful servant's heart in myself. Ephesians 6:7- Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man.
We continue to thank you all for your prayers and support here in Belem, Para, Brazil. Please continue to pray for our servants hearts as we continue to minister to the individuals in prostitution, the refugees, through our men's and women's discipleship groups, the weekly prayer meetings, church services, and home fellowship. It is quite a blessing to be able to do this work for the Lord! 2018 was a busy and productive year for the new church plant and its ministries, but we look forward to what the Lord has prepared for us for the 2019 year!
Calvary Chapel Belem has a new ministry/church plant launching out from it and this is Calvary Chapel Ananindeua (Ananindeua is a city about 30 mins. from Calvary Chapel Belem). This new church is being led by our faithful brother in Christ, Abraham along with his lovely wife Stella. Please keep them and this new church in your prayers! Calvary Belem has officially been in its new home building for the last 3 months and it has been such a blessing! We are excited to start a couple different projects in the church to reach out to the university students/staff (their campus is located directly in front of the church) as well. We continue to have our Sunday morning church service in the large park in Belem and the Lord continues to use this time to reach the hearts of the lost and wondering. We have met many people through these park services who now also attend our nightly service in the building as well as our prayer and discipleship meetings. We have some US based Calvary teams coming to join us and encourage us in our work here this year and we are very excited! It is always a huge encouragement for us to have our church family from back home visit and serve alongside us for a time. The building still needs some repairs- the ceiling in the back office, the kitchen, and bathrooms need to be replaced. The church itself has needs as well- it needs a pulpit, Bibles, a tithe box, kitchen appliances/utensils, storage shelving, and office furniture (we have used pallets and built some things for it on our own but pallets only go so far:)). If you could pray for the Lord to help provide these things for the church that would be great! If you'd like to donate for any of these things you can do so through our 501 c 3 non-profit at www.diagratia.org/support (all donations are tax deductible).
Proverbs 24:11 continues to grow as we have new volunteers joining our ministry team! We continue to reach out to the individuals involved in prostitution each week on the streets of Belem and continue to develop the relationships with these individuals as we get to know more about them and their lives each time we go. We have reached about 60 individuals through our weekly outreaches this last year. We continue to share the prevention and education work (human trafficking and forced prostitution prevention) in a local girls prison as well as traveling up the rivers here (at the mouth of the Amazon) with the Bible Society Boat, sharing our prevention work to the people living in remote river communities. Our phone hotline is continuing as well for these individuals, but it has been very tough explaining the concept of a hotline (not common here in Brazil), and gaining their trust to want to call us, but we know that in the Lord's timing He will bring those to us and Himself...so until then we continue to pray and wait doing the work He has given us. We are also looking forward to opening a healing home for the women desiring to leave prostitution. We have been in prayer for years for this and feel as though it is time to step out in faith and prepare a place for these women. We have looked at 2 possible properties in the desired area for this home. The price is around $40,000 for the property we would like to purchase, not including the repairs needed to be made. It is a huge step of faith to begin this home, but we know that the Lord desires to have a relationship and care for these women so we will obey His leading in this and take each step as He leads and guides. Please pray for this ministry, our team/volunteers, and this healing home. If the Lord is stirring your heart to donate to this ministry, or the home you can do so through our 501 c 3 non-profit at www.diagratia.org/support (all donations are tax deductible).
The Refugee Ministry just had its first training for all of the volunteers in this ministry. This meeting and training was to educate the team on the refugees we work with (the indigenous Indians, from the Warao tribe, who are refugees from Venezuela), as well as to train our volunteers on how to give the weekly Bible studies that we have with the Warao kids (a Sunday School type lesson). It continues to be a difficult ministry as the work could be compared to working with an unreached people group, as most have never heard the Gospel, or of Jesus. We have the New Testament in their language and we listen to it each week as the Warao women sit and make jewelry with our volunteers. The majority of these refugees speak only their tribal language. The Warao kids, and some Warao adults, are learning Portuguese because they do not intend to return back to Venezuela and are trying, with great difficulty, to adjust to the new culture in which they now live. We have been praying for many months for a new leader in our church to lead and guide this growing ministry and the Lord provided. There will be a young Brazilian missionary joining us beginning this summer, he was our intern from a local seminary all of last year. Lord willing, he will lead, guide, and continue to develop this ministry. Please continue to pray for this new leader and this ministry.
- Please pray for the many supplies and repairs needed for Calvary Chapel Belem.
-Please pray for the healing home for Proverbs 24:11, and for the individuals involved in prostitution that they will begin using the phone hotline, and pray that that our relationship with these individuals would continue to grow.
-Please pray for the Brazilian missionary coming to serve with us and who will lead the Refugee Ministry.
-Please pray for the US teams coming for a short-term mission trip to help/encourage us...that the Lord would provide for all of their needs.
-Please pray for wisdom for us for some big decisions coming up.
-Please pray as we will share at a Calvary Chapel conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil next week.
Thank you all for your love, prayers, support and encouragement!
Kyle, Krista, Aidan, and Liam Fox
Missionaries to Belem, Para, Brazil