Who could have imagined the changes that have taken place in the world, our homes and families, and our ministries these last 6 months since the Covid-19 pandemic? It has been a time of change for everyone. I've talked with many people during these last few months about this and for some, they say that there was little impact on their lives as homeschooling and/or working from home was already the norm, and for others it upended every sense of norm they could have imagined...regardless of where we all fall on this spectrum, these last 6 months have made everyone re-evaluate how they 'do' their lives. It has been no different for us.
We continue to pray and be flexible and led by the Lord in our lives and ministry work here in Belem, Brazil. With everything changing around us it would be foolish for us not to take this time and see what the Lord is doing in us and through us, particularly in the church, Calvary Belém, and its ministries. We feel extremely grateful for this time the Lord has given us to re-evaluate the work we are doing here for Him. We don't want to be a church or missionaries that always do things the same way day after day, year after year just because that may have been the way the Lord first guided. So often, churches and ministries get trapped in 'doing church' a particular way that they go on auto-pilot. The prayer meetings about vision and guidance from the Lord become a little less of a priority and soon the busyness of 'dong church' gets in the way of actually being effective and making disciples. I suppose those would be known as the 'lukewarm' churches that Jesus refers to in Revelations. This is such an easy thing to do...easing into the comfortable ministry life. However, I know this is not the heart of God. So, we fight against this and choose to stand with our hands and hearts open to His leading open to whatever He may have for us and His church and its ministries. This is a very uncomfortable place to be. Naturally, we want to work and continue in things as we had before because there is familiarity in this and things were going well; however, we know it could be even better, and we're excited to see the Lord continue to demonstrate His faithfulness in lead us in this changing season.
Calvary Belém began meeting again in person the beginning of July, following the state mandated rules for church services. It was a blessing to be rejoined with our church family after so many months apart and online. The beginning of July we also had two men get baptized! It is always so amazing to be part of peoples lives and their walk with the Lord, and to have the privilege to share in their baptism day always blesses our hearts. Kyle also hosted a men's BBQ in July and the men had a great time of eating and fellowshipping together. Since re-opening, we have seen many new people coming to church. We seem to have most of our socially distanced chairs full for our Sunday services. As we step into this new season of church we felt that it was more important than ever to have the church really feel like a family and for the building to really feel like a home. With this in mind, we are going to start having family style Sunday meals together at the building after church service. For this to happen, we need to get the church's kitchen in working order (mostly fixing the broken ceiling...see above picture), as well as purchasing appliances for this. We are also beginning to pray about starting a children's ministry program and this kitchen area would double as an area for the kids to be ministered in when repaired. Two of our biggest prayer requests for the church continue to be starting a coffee shop in the building as well as being able to purchase the church building. The owner has made us an offer to sell, but we are yet to be in a position to purchase.
The Proverbs 24:11 Ministry continues to be paused as we wait on the Lord to guide us. The last 3 years we have faithfully ministered to the individuals involved in prostitution on the streets in Belém Thursday and Friday evenings. It was a hard and dangerous work, but we loved it. We saw our relationships develop more each work with these individuals as we saw many of them week after week. We heard their stories, prayed with them and loved them. We have brought our developed prevention/education work to the juvenile female jails, and up the river to the river communities, and we have created a phone hotline for these individuals should they want to reach out. But now, we feel like it is time to continue in prayer and not just continue in these as we had been doing, but wait for the Lord to direct our feet. If the Lord desires us to continue on as we had, praise the Lord, if He has us change our locations priase the Lord, whatever He chooses to do with this ministry we will praise the Lord. Our desire for this ministry is to continue working the streets, but to expand into the brothels for Bible studies as well. Until the Lord gives us direction we will continue in prayer for this and ask you to join us in praying as well.
The Refugee Ministry continues to be paused as well. At the beginning of the pandemic the local government opened a very large shelter for the Warao refugees and it currently houses over 200 refugees. The government also put a new decree in place which was for 180 days stating there could be no visitors, ministry or social workers in these shelters during this time. We petitioned the overseeing government authorities asking for permission to continue our work with the Warao. They were very encouraged by our work and commitment to the Warao and have asked us to re-petition when the decree lifts. In the mean time, we have been staying in contact with one of the Warao leaders in the shelter and have been making contact with the refugee families who are not in the shelter. Please pray for us to have freedom to work in this shelter as it would be far-reaching with so many refugees in one place.
We as a family are going through a new season as well. Aidan is now a college man! We were blessed to be able to have some time in the US this summer where we spent a lot of time as a family before bringing Aidan to Calvary Chapel Bible College (CCBC) in CA. Aidan is really enjoying CCBC and we pray that this will be an amazing year of him knowing and experiencing the Lord. Liam has had quite an interesting few months as well. He had his first job at a horse stable as a junior wrangler for the summer in CO. He worked hard all summer with the horses and guests all while continuing to complete work in 2 different schools (and languages) online (his American online school as well as finishing his Brazilian school quarter). He was quite busy until the first of August when he had a planned surgery at Children's hospital in CO. He had a severe hand injury (to both hands) when he was younger and the surgery in August was to correct a deformity in his finger. He had a knuckle removed and a pin inserted into his finger. He has since healed and is recovered. Kyle has some big news as well...he is 4 weeks away from finishing his degree in Biblical Studies! It hasn't been easy as he started this process new to a foreign country, while learning a new language and culture, planted a church and a million other things that go into being foreign ministries all while earning his degree. He is praying about continuing on to seminary. Krista is also doing well. She continues to have her women's Bible studies online for the women of the church, and is enjoying the slower pace of praying and waiting on the Lord as she waits to get back into leading the Proverbs and Refugee ministries.
-Pray for vision and direction for the church and its ministries.
-To open a coffee shop in the building.
-Provision for fixing the church and for funds to purchase the building.
-A new car
-Pray for the legalization process of the church in Belem to be completed soon.
-The possibility of a children's ministry.
-Continued financial support.
-Provision for Aidan's Bible College tuition.
Thank you all for your support, love and encouragement!
Kyle, Krista, Aidan, and Liam Fox