We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! We thank you all for your prayers, support, love, and encouragement to our family...you all are instrumental in our work here in Belem, Brazil.
The holidays are always a difficult time for us as missionaries far from home. This will be our 4th holiday season away from 'home', family, and friends, and while some may think that the longer one is gone the easier it becomes, the truth is it's still difficult. For those who sent Christmas cards...a big thank you!! It is such a blessing to get mail from the US! This Christmas was very different for us as we were without one Fox boy, Aidan Oliver. Aidan has returned to the US to finish his last semester of High School there (he studies online) while working to save money for university, which he will begin in the fall (as a foreigner he is unable to work in Brazil as he doesn't have a work visa). He is living with my mom in the beautiful Vail Valley area of Colorado. He has already been accepted into Colorado Christian University and is still awaiting a decision from Wheaton College in Illinois. His desire is to study business. While we are excited and rejoice with Aidan in this big transition and opportunity, we do miss him terribly and we're navigating through what feels a little like grief during this new life transition. Sending our son off to college would have been hard even if we were still living in the same country, but sending him off to another country far from us, knowing that visits will be infrequent and that we will miss many things in his life/future because of the distance and the work we do is heartbreaking. But, we thank the Lord for the call He has placed on our lives, even with the heartbreaks and difficulties, and we are thankful for what the Lord is doing in Aidan's life as well. Please pray for Aidan as he transitions back to the US, and that he would continue to draw close to the Lord as he begins the first step into adulthood. The 'littlest' Fox, Liam, just turned 15 years old in December and just finished his second year in Brazilian school! Liam has been extremely busy this last semester as he is enrolled full-time in Brazilian school and also takes 2 classes online for American high school. He is doing well in both! Please pray for Liam as he continues to navigate through his teenage years and that he would continue to grow and desire to be a young man after God's own heart.
In November, a large ship with OM ministry arrived in the port of Belém, the Logos Hope ship. This ship is the largest floating library and a tool for evangelical work around the world. It has more than 400 full-time, live-aboard missionaries from various countries on it and we were blessed to receive many teams from the ship during their time here. Aidan also served as a full-time volunteer on the ship for the 2 weeks it was in port. The groups that the ship sent to work with us were able to experience every part of our work; they went to the streets with us as we outreached to the individuals in prostitution, they went to the refugee house with us, they experienced church in the park on a Sunday morning, and they visited our church building and attended our Sunday night service. It was great to be able to show them our work and to also be encouraged by them. Just having people visit us is a huge deal and the encouragement these visits/visitors give to us full-time workers in some very dark areas really helps to motivate us in our work. We very much appreciated the Logos Hope groups and the work that they do on board their ship for people around the world.
It has been an extremely busy time at Calvary Belém. In November we had our annual volunteer appreciation lunch. This is a time we like to thank our volunteers for all the help they've been to the church and its ministries. We have help not only from our church, but from individuals in other churches as well. Calvary Belém also had its first women's tea early this December, Krista taught a message on 'Walking in the Way Everlasting' from Psalm 139 and we had over 60 women attend. It was a blessing to see so many different women from different backgrounds participate. Last week, we had an early Christmas service with dinner for our church family and we had Calvary Cidade Nova (a new church plant out of Calvary Belém) join us. It was a great time of fellowship. In February, we will begin a new ministry/outreach, one that is focused on reaching the university students who attend the large university in front of our church. This ministry will be an 'English Club' and will be a free conversational English class to those who want to practice and improve their English. This is a pretty big deal here as English classes are expensive and there are not many native English speakers. As a ministry we of course have our focus on the Lord so while the English gets them in the door we pray that it will be the weekly 'heart' topics that will draw them back for church service and discipleship. We continue to pray about opening a coffee shop in the church so the building can be used every day, provide financial support for the ministries, and jobs for those coming out of difficult life situations. Please join us in prayer for the 'English Club' and the coffee shop as well.
The Proverbs 24:11 Ministry:
We continue to minister in two different areas; one in Belém and the other near our house in Ananindeua. I am thankful that the Lord had prepared me from the beginning that this ministry is starting as a 'sowing' ministry, and we are not promised to see the fruit of this. I feel discouraged sometimes going out week after week, year after year, and spreading the seeds when the hearts are so hard, or even worse, indifferent. But, we continue with the work because we know it's God's desire that none should perish and we don't know who He has called to Himself and is just waiting to hear the Good News. We continue to pray for a home/place for these individuals to be ministered in and it is our desire to have a home for them. We would like to be more equipped to help them leave the streets when it is time, but as of now we don't have the resources or the workers to develop this. Please continue to pray for these individuals we meet each week and for the direction of the ministry and its needs.
The Refugee Ministry:
The last few weeks our teams have gone to work with the Warao tribes people, the conditions in the house and with the people themselves continue to deteriorate. I have noticed a theme emerging from working with these refugees from Venezuela. It seems that around the 6 month mark of arriving their hope and motivation fades, they have no fulfillment in things and then the alcohol, drug use, physical abuse, and a disregard of even simple hygiene begins. I have noticed a steady decline in their mental/emotional/physical health. This would be the third time I have seen this happen in the third refugee house we have worked in almost 2 years. It is understandable given the pain they have endured coupled with so much trauma just to get here through difficult and unimaginable sufferings and loss (it is common to hear stories of how they have left kids back in Venezuela or other Brazilian cities they travel through, and sadly even more common to hear of those kids and family members who died along the way making the journey). After trying to settle into a foreign culture/society, not knowing the language or the way things work they just start to give up...and it always begin with the men and has a ripple effect through the home to the women and then the children. We continue to minister to the women and children as we have always done, but it is heartbreaking having to step over their drunken leader(s) and husbands, to see their 'home' become infested with filth and disease, and to watch once vibrant kids/babies look sick and have skin infections. We continue to pray for the direction of this ministry and are really seeking more men to help in this as we know that when the men in the refugee homes are saved the family follows. Please keep the Warao in your prayers.
-Opening a coffee shop in the church.
-More full-time workers in the field to join us in our work in Belém, Brazil.
-Pray for Aidan as he transitions to the US.
-Pray for both the Proverbs 24:11 and Refugee ministries and for the Lord to guide us in how to be best used for this work.
-Pray for monthly financial supporters to help us continue in this work.
The Fox Family