Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Our Son's Name

Choosing a name for your child is a really special and important decision. The names we chose for our first two daughters have unique significance and stories behind them.
(Read about Sophia here and Jessie here). 

Our newborn son's name also holds great meaning for us personally.  
When we first found out we were pregnant, we began thinking of potential names right away for both a boy or a girl. Past names we loved, in other seasons of our lives, were surprising pushed aside as newer names emerged at the top of our list. 

The name that won for our boy was:
Josiah Samuel Matias
And there is a sweet story behind his name...

During our furlough/support raising trip to the USA in 2015, God began doing a special work in Felipe´s heart.  Felipe spent literally hours daily reading the Bible and growing in relationship with the Lord.  God was renewing Felipe´s hunger and desire to study, read, and live the Word of God, and it was the story of King Josiah that sparked this reawakening!

If you are not familiar with the story of Josiah, I encourage you to read it for yourself in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35.

Josiah became king of Judah at eight years of age and began seriously seeking God by age 16.  King Josiah had a great desire to honor God and to cleanse his kingdom of idol worship.  He worked hard to tear down the alters, high places and idols from the land.

Josiah is described in the following way in the book of 2 Kings,
 "...he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left."
~ 2 Kings 22:2 ~

Later, when King Josiah was 26 years old, something happened that powerfully impacted Josiah´s life! A priest found a lost and forgotten book in the temple, the Book of the Law of the Lord (given through Moses).  This book was taken to King Josiah and read to him.

When Josiah heard the Word of the Lord, his heart was tremendously burdened, as Josiah came to the revelation that he (and many kings for many generations) had not followed the law of the Lord.  He had not fully followed the law out of his own lack of knowledge of what it said. This grieved Josiah´s heart greatly!  He responded by weeping before the Lord, tearing his clothes, and then reestablishing a covenant before the Lord.

God was pleased with Josiah´s humble and submissive heart and spoke this to King Josiah,
"...because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you..."
~ 2 Kings 22:19 ~

Felipe personally related so much to King Josiah in this story.  God was teaching and showing Felipe how important the Word of God is.  How vital it is that we meditate on the Word, know it, live it and obey it.

God was showing Felipe that many times, we can be seeking God, but yet still sinning in our ignorance to what the Word of God actually says to be true.  It is extremely important that we read and seek to know the Word well so that we will not sin against the Lord or dishonor Him in any way.  God desires for us to obey His Word, for our  own good and His glory.  As Jesus says in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep my commandments..."

As was custom in the Bible times,  names would be given to a child reflecting what God was doing in the lives of the family.  As this story of Josiah has greatly impacted Felipe´s life during the past years, we felt it fitting to name our son, Josiah.  

The middle name we chose for our son is Samuel.  The story of the prophet Samuel is also a significant one to me.  As Hannah gave her son to the Lord for His service, that is my prayer as a mother.  Our son belongs to the Lord, and we surrender his life into the Lord´s hands and unto His will and purposes.

The meaning of Josiah is: "Jehovah has healed."
The meaning of Samuel is: "God has heard."

Together these two names declare that our Jehovah God has healed and heard.
These names declare that God is present, personal, and powerful!

Our prayer for our son is that he grows to be a strong man of God (as both Josiah and Samuel were), and that his life would make an impact for the kingdom, bringing all glory and honor to our One, true God!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Felipe's Ministry Trip!

Soon Felipe will be leaving for a ten day ministry trip, traveling around Brazil!  
Together with a few other ACTION missionaries, Felipe will be visiting various Action International ministry locations to film and photograph.  The material he captures will be used to share about what God is doing through ACTION in Brazil, and also to raise awareness, financial support, and invite workers (both short-term and long-term) to serve on the field here.

Please pray for Felipe as he travels to the following cities:
Various locations in the city/state of Sao Paulo
Rio Grande do Sul (The southern most state in Brazil.)

May God use this trip in Felipe's life in a special way, and may Felipe be a blessing everywhere that he goes. 

Also pray for me, for grace and strength, as I care for our newborn and two daughers at home while Felipe is traveling. I am thankful for dear friends and wonderful neighbors who will be a support to me during these ten days.

We are excited about this unique opportunity for Felipe to serve the Lord through his gifts and talents.
Stay tuned for more news about this ministry trip!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Children's Day Celebration!

October 12th is Children's Day in Brazil, and it is a big deal here!

It just so happens that this special day falls on a national holiday (a Catholic holiday), therefore kids even have this day off from school.  Today lots of kids from various ABBA ministries (the local Brazilian mission we serve with) came together at the ABBA headquarters for a fun Children's Day celebration!

Around fifty kids who participate at Casa Semear were bused to the ABBA headquarters this morning.  There they enjoyed a wonderful fun-packed program organized by many volunteers. All of this was done to celebrate the lives of these precious children and to share God's message of love with them.  The kids had a blast and could enjoy simply being kids!

Here are a few photos from the Children's Day celebration!

Both Jessie and Sophia LOVED  the Children's Day celebration! They were proud of their face paintings too! 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Camp for the Little Kids!

Last weekend the Casa Semear team ran a fun weekend camp for the little kids (ages 6-8) who participate regularly at the ministry programs.  The camp actually took place at the home of Casa Semear's awesome leaders - Robert and Silvana Meikle. 

The kids enjoyed playing outside in nature, feeding chickens, picking berries, potting plants, eating yummy Brazilian barbecue, playing games, singing songs, learning from the Word of God, and having a fun sleepover! 

Check out these photos from the camp!