Hebrews 12: 1-2: "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
In the book of Hebrews it speaks of running the race that is before us with endurance...the author knew that this life (our ministry, our work, our mission, etc.) would be challenging. Any extra weight we add to this race does many things: makes it difficult to continue, makes circumstances seem unbearable, and eventually makes us want to quit. As a person who has tried to be an endurance runner for many years (and still can barely run a few miles), I understand what it means to carry extra weight with me (very literally and figuratively as well), and I know how hard it is to continue to my goal when I have these extra burdens. Spiritually, I also know what it feels like to carry the extra weight of sin and continue in my spiritual race. For me, this extra weight of sin comes in very subtle ways...in the day to day when the busyness takes over and I do not find my joy or rest in the Lord, when I do not guard my mind/tongue, when I have allowed my priorities to be mismanaged, and when I forget that I am here to glorify the Lord and that I am to reflect His love and goodness. When I am burdened with these things, these sins, my spiritual race is stagnant, I am running in place and going nowhere, but this is because I have lost my focus for a moment. Recently, I have felt this race to be too much for me at times. The continued cultural stress/language acquisition, the day to day intense spiritual warfare we are in, the lost souls we are battling for, and the spiritual oppression that comes with working and living in such a spiritually dark place, coupled with some personal life changing events, has added many hurdles to my race. However, as I refocus and "look to Jesus" these weights have lightened, I feel my feet moving ahead (maybe not at a quick joggers pace), but there is movement as I am not in the mud anymore because my heart has again been rekindled for the joy of the Lord. I pray that I will remember this intense lesson going forward. I still feel weak, but I am still in the race! Praise the Lord for His loving kindness, for the rest we get while in His presence and for the discipline and encouragement He gives us to continue on in battle for Him. Please pray for our endurance as we continue to work for the Lord in Belém, Pará, Brazil.
Calvary Belém- Calvary Belém has recently added a mid-week Wednesday service and a new outreach called English Club. English club is a time, twice a week, people can come to the church to practice their conversational English skills. It is free of charge, and even after one week we have seen it full of people excited to talk and share their lives with us. The idea behind English club is to engage the people to think deeper about their lives and spiritual condition, our aim is to create relationships with these people and bring them either back into fellowship with the Lord or for them to know Him for the first time. We see it as another way to engage the community we live in and share Jesus with the broken that we see outside of our church walls. Keeping in line with this view, we are also preparing for our second Calvary Music Fest. This is a time when we have like-minded musicians come and preform...always with glorifying Jesus, but also another way to reach the lost through music (last year we had a full house of individuals in the church listening and wondering about what was going on in our little church that it would be open to everyone). The theme for this Music Fest is 'Connection', it is something we desire the people outside of the church to have with the Lord (there are many, many hurting individuals who have left the churches here and we would love nothing more than to see them connect, or reconnect to Him and have their lives transformed). Our men's and women's discipleship groups, as well as our home fellowship, is continuing and going well. We pray we will have more people who desire to step out of their comfort zones and serve in the different areas of the church especially as the church and its needs grow. This July, Calvary Belém has partnered with the Bible Society of Brazil (BSB) and is having its first Amazon river mission trip. We will travel to different river communities with the BSB boat where we will offer medical/dental/evangelical services to very needy river communities. While the medical and dental aspect of the trip draws the community to us we will also use our time sharing the Proverbs 24:11 ministry's prevention and education program (as forced prostitution and trafficking is very high in these areas) focusing on the vulnerabilities of the broken family, and we as a team will also have many different opportunities for evangelism. This trip is open to our church family in the US and we already have some individuals coming from different churches. There is still room for more workers should the Lord lead you to come serve with us on this trip. Please pray for this upcoming mission trip and if you have a desire to join us please email Kyle@diagratia.org.
Proverbs 24:11- The Proverbs Ministry has been in a transition period. We had taken some time to pause and reflect on the work we are doing with the individuals in prostitution/human trafficking and spent time praying and waiting on the Lord to guide our next steps. After 2 years of ministering/outreaching to the same area in the center of Belem we have noticed a drastic decline in the number of individuals involved in prostitution there. We have been ministering to two different areas (one in Belem and the other in a different city near our home in Ananindeua); however, after this month we will stop outreaching in the Belem area and focus on the streets in Ananindeua where there is more of a need. This will be our last month on the streets in Belém (at least in this particular area) so we are saying our goodbyes and preparing the individuals for our departure and will host a lunch at our church the beginning of April for them, their friends, and their family. We pray this lunch will be the start of a continued relationship with them after 2 years of ministering to them in the dark streets of Belem. On our outreach last night, we learned another one of the individuals involved in prostitution, Cibele, had been killed. We have met and ministered to this individual many, many times and at the beginning she was very distant and guarded, but after more time she began to listen to what we had to say (even if it was from the outside of our circle), and would sometimes pray with us. We ask for you to pray for Cebile's family and friends. We continue to pray for a healing home or day center/house focused on discipleship, therapeutic healing, vocational training, and life-skills help for those individuals desiring to change their lives. Please continue to pray with us for this ministry and the people we minister to.
The Refugee Ministry- Our volunteer team continues to minister to the Warao refugees (indigenous Indians from Venezuela) every week. The conditions in the refugee house where they live and where we minister continues to deteriorate (physically, emotionally, and psychologically). As we've seen happen every 6 months with other groups of Warao refugees, we see their hope is fading, they are lacking fulfillment and are turning to drugs, alcohol, and there is abuse occurring. The blessing in this particular house, different from other 'houses' we worked in before, is that this particular area/house is provided to them from the government, and they have teachers there for their children. This is a huge blessing and change from the other houses and we are happy to see a little progress in this area. We continue to minister to the women through bead/jewelry making and have the New Testament in their tribal language on an audible device so they listen as we work. The kids continue to learn Bible stories and songs as well as some practical educational tools. We have been wanting to start working with the men in the house, but haven't had enough volunteers to see this come to fruition, but we pray more men will join us and will minister to the needs of the Warao men because we believe once the men get saved and lead their families everything will change for them. We are in need of a leader for this ministry as well as more workers to help with this work.
Kyle continues to be busy leading our church, counseling/discipling other men and marriages as well as occasionally teaching at the Calvary Chapel Discipleship school in the southern part of Brazil. Recently, we all traveled about 18 hours up the river to a city called Portel where Kyle was asked to share the message for Vineyard Portel's 6th anniversary. It was a blessing to meet and visit with the church there and get to know and spend time with the missionary family who started that church as well as ministered to the river communities for over 20 years! Krista continues to be busy with discipleship and counseling, as well as leading the Proverbs Ministry, continuing in the administration roles for the church and Dia Gratia, and has scaled back on some other things in order to enjoy more time at home being a mom to the last Fox boy left. Aidan is doing extremely well readjusting back to the US where he works 40 hours a week while finishing high school (online). He lives with his grandma in the beautiful mountains of Colorado and is preparing for University in the fall. Liam is doing great as well...he is now considered fluent enough, by his Brazilian school, in his Portuguese to not need the extra help from his teachers and the school staff (although he quite liked the extra help) so he is being treated like a normal student now...this is a huge accomplishment as it has only been 2 years since he started in this school that is solely taught in Portuguese. We are extremely proud of each of our Fox boys and are excited to see how God is shaping them to be young men after His own heart.
A HUGE thank you to the Calvary Church in Aurora, CO for the incredible outpouring of encouraging messages we received. We had more than 500 emails from you all telling us you loved us, that you were praying for us, and that you were encouraging us from back home. We had tears of joy reading through all the different emails/texts, etc. You will never know how important or special it is for us missionaries to hear from our church family back home. A big hug from all of us here in Brazil to you guys!
For our endurance in this race and for the ability to take a rest when needed.
The July river mission trip.
Calvary Music Fest
More like-minded co-laborers
Committed financial supporters
We need to purchase airfare for the boys to return to the US/Brazil this summer and airfare for Kyle and I to be able to return to the US briefly in order to take Aidan to college in the fall. Right now flights are about $3000.00 (for 4 round trip tickets).
$800.00 for home repairs.
A new car as our current one continues to have issues and is very near the end of its life.
Funds to purchase items for the church so it is more functional (oven, refrigerator, etc.)
Donations can be made through our non-profit 501c3 (and are tax deductible) at https://www.diagratia.org/support or mailed to:
Dia Gratia, Inc
c/o Kitty George
48 Hawks Leap Rd.
We thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support!
Kyle, Krista, Aidan and Liam Fox