Monday, November 4, 2019

Prayer & Photos - September & October 2019

September and October were months full of fun! 
Enjoy seeing recent photos of our life in Brazil, and read our prayer requests below.
Our sweet Jessie turned seven! 

Felipe took Jessie on a special daddy-daughter birthday outing to the circus and captured this shot.

Josiah turned three! The theme of his birthday was his and Felipe's favorite Brazilian soccer team - São Paulo Futebol Clube.

Photos of Felipe at work at Casa Semear.

Felipe has taught the kids a fun game called "ga-ga ball," which we learned exactly two years ago when we went on a fall retreat with Westminster Presbyterian Church of Charleston, SC.   This game has been a hit with the kids! 

Felipe took some kids from his Bible study group to get ice cream.   This is a reward for memorization work they have completed as they are learning the basics of the Christian faith.

Christmas Portraits
See these beautiful portaits below?  Felipe is in the middle of taking photos of each and every child/teen who participates in the ministry programs at Casa Semear.  

Each Christmas season he takes these photos which are then used to help find Christmas sponsors for each child.  We throw a BIG Christmas party, and the sponsors send gifts and much needed clothing.  These special Christmas contributions are some of the main presents these under priveledged kids get for Christmas.  We feel super blessed to be a part of making their Christmas special.  More photos of this event coming in December!

Children's Day at Casa Semear
It was recently Children's day, which is widely celebrated here in Brazil.  Casa Semear held a special afternoon of fun and games for the kids from the nearby slum community.

Discipleship Training
We recently participated in an afternoon of discipleship training at our local church here in São Paulo.  Laura is soon starting a small discipleship group with two ladies, using the discipleship material presented on this day.

Photography at School
Felipe is using his photography skills to take photos of various events at our girls´school, Pan American Christian Academy.

 We are grateful for this opportunity for Felipe to use his photography skills, serve and bless the school with professional photography, and also we receive a tuition discount as payment for his work.  God provides for our needs in creative ways, and this is one of them!

Felipe took photos of the school Walkathon (to raise money for a school building project), capturing our girls participating for the cause!

Our girls enjoyed dressing up as book characters for their annual school reading contest!

Sophia made a cat house for our beloved kitty, Mittens.
Jessie was super sick, actually our whole family got sick (except for Laura & Annabelle) during the last 2 weeks of October. Thankfully everyone is healthy now!

Sophia calls herself a "book worm."  Recently she is really enjoying reading!

Jessie was in a special skit at school.  She was a pink dinosaur. 

Our sweet baby Annabelle Joy is already 4 months old! She brings such joy to our hearts and is a super content baby.  She continues to stay healthy, and is growing and developing well.  We are so thankful for her life!

As we are approaching our Brazilian summer, the tempertures are warming up.  Josiah is enjoying  laying in the hammock reading books, and all the kids are having fun playing with water in our little pool in the backyard. We are extremely thankful for a home with a more spacious backyard area (for the city of Sao Paulo), though humble it may be. 


Pray for continued grace and wisdom in managing our time and finances. 
Please pray for us to make the best decision concerning our next support raising trip to the USA, whether that be sooner in 2020 or later in 2021.

Pray for Felipe as he completes this current semester of seminary, and pray for Laura as she continues to work with our kids in various areas: school work, potty training, discipline, and healthy sleeping routine/habits. 

Casa Semear will be taking the teenagers on a special camp weekend on November 15-17.  Please pray God will prepare the hearts of those attending the camp, and that lives would be forever impacted by the gospel message.  
Also pray for Felipe and the missionaries leading the camp- protection, wisdom, senstivitiy to the Holy Spirit, gospel conversations, and boldness to speak the truth.

Christmas Party
In December, Casa Semear will throw a special Christmas party blessing the kids and teens who attend the ministry programs.  Through local sponsors the kids and families will receive gifts and much needed clothing and shoes. Pray for this annual ministry event and for God to be glorified through it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fall Newsletter 2019

The Task At Hand

In recent years the Lord has been doing a new work in our lives, highlighting repeatedly to us the vital importance of the Bible, living the truths from it’s pages, and lining up everything in our lives with the Word of God.

As we have worked with at-risk children who come from Brazilian slums, we have clearly seen that although the kids proclaim they believe in God, they do not know the God of the Bible.  Many of the children have a very distorted view of who God is.

They may have heard phrases like “Jesus Loves You” or “God bless you,” or believe God is most concerned with everyone living moral lives and doing good things. The kids and families who attend churches in the slums are unfortunately often learning unbiblical teachings about how God wants to make them rich and/or famous, or give them whatever they desire (a job, a car, a spouse).

These are some of the things the kids who attend Casa Semear think and know about God. From our years of working in slum communities, I (Felipe) can say with confidence that a good understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ is lacking in the slums of Brazil. As we consider the context of life in the slums, we have come to understand that we have a specific and extremely important task in our work.

And what is that task?
To teach the gospel of Jesus of Christ, and to make disciples, teaching them to obey everything God has commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20)

How do we accomplish this task?
On a weekly basis at Casa Semear (every Tuesday), we have a time of specifically teaching from the Bible, preaching the gospel, and making God known through the scriptures.

To become better equipped for this task, Felipe decided to pursue his seminary degree.  Felipe desires to teach the Bible faithfully, correctly handling the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15). I (Laura) also desire to grow in my understanding and knowledge of the Word to better know and serve the Lord. I just began Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) here in São Paulo, and I am studying the book of Acts along with many Christian sisters.

We need you!
We can not do the work alone. We need your prayers and the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of the kids who participate at Casa Semear.  Please pray for Felipe as he teaches from the Bible each Tuesday morning and afternoon, and most importantly pray for the children to have receptive hearts.

May God’s truth go forth and accomplish what He purposes it to do, and may the children who attend Casa Semear get a crystal clear understanding of the gospel and who our good God is!

A Possible Trip to the USA
We are praying about visiting the USA during the summer of 2020.  It would be wonderful to see family and friends, visit supporting churches, and spend time raising more financial support. Honestly, we would need a BIG miracle financially for this trip. If we don’t have the funds to go in 2020, we will hopefully make the trip in 2021. We are looking at our options/finances, and praying for God’s will and timing.

Please pray with us.  If you would like to contribute towards making this trip possible for our family of six, you can send tax-deductible donations to the address below. Thank you!

Our New Baby Girl!
If you have not heard the news, our sweet Annabelle Joy was born on June 27th. We praise God that the transition to having four children has been so smooth. She brings such joy to our family and thankfully has been a very laidback baby. Thank you for praying for us during this special season.

Prayer Requests

Pray for Felipe as he manages his busy schedule and responsibilities at home, Casa Semear, church (facilitating a Sunday school class), and seminary studies.  Pray for Laura as she serves our family and supports Felipe.

Pray for the missionaries serving at Casa Semear as they present the message of the gospel and teach from the Word of God each week. Pray for receptive hearts.

Pray for us as we lead a community group at our church.  We see this as an opportunity to serve and bless our local church, and a way for us to grow in precious community with other believers.

Pray for Josiah’s health to strengthen.  He continues to battle respiratory problems.

Pray for our finances.  We are EXTREMELY grateful for those who partner with us financially.  We praise God for His provision for our needs through your faithful gifts.  However, we are in need of raising more funds each month to save towards a future trip to the USA, and to help meet various unexpected costs that keep popping up (recently it was expensive car repairs).  We need more wiggle room financially, and we are working towards getting our overall budget/finances in a better place.

Brazilian Evangelistic Association is a 501(C)(3) Organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Make checks payable to: BEA Ministries (in the Memo Line write "Matias Project")
P.O. Box 808, Xenia, OH 45385-0808       Tel. 937-249-0657

Monday, September 2, 2019

Prayer & Photos - July & August 2019

The past two months have been intense, but oh so wonderful! 
 Enjoy seeing these photos of our August and July, and please read our prayer requests below.
If you did not read our most recent online newsletter, Annabelle Joy was born on June 27th at 9:27 p.m., weighing exactly 7 pounds (3.165 kilograms) and measuring 19.09 inches (48.5 cm). 

 Although Felipe and I are a little sleep deprived, we feel extrememly blessed to be a family of six now. Having a new life in our home is such a joy!
 The past two months have been so sweet getting to know our Annabelle. She is definitely the calmest and easiest baby of our four kids.  We are thankful for her easy-going disposition.

We are still adapting to life with a baby, a toddler, and two elementary age kiddos. We are looking to and leaning on the Lord for His much-needed wisdom, strength and grace for this season.  Our two girls adore their baby sister, and big brother is still adjusting to all the changes.
First day of school photo! Jessie is in 1st grade and Sophia is in 3rd grade.
Family dance party!
My mom came to visit us in July and stayed for a month.  It was a great help to have her here!  We made sweet memories and she was such a blessing - helping our girls with homework and serving our family by doing practical tasks around our home.
We scheduled for my mom to come during Felipe’s travels in August.  Felipe spent a week away from home at his seminary’s campus.  Each semester he participates in one week of intense classes, with class starting early morning and going until late evening.
Felipe always thoroughly enjoys these special class times.
Felipe together with his seminary professor Franklin Ferreira.

Every August we always have lots of celebrations!  Felipe and I both celebrate birthdays and our wedding anniversary.  This year we celebrated 10 years of marriage!
 We even had a date night, with baby Annabelle in tow! 

Here are a few recent photos of time spent serving at Casa Semear!
 The children who participate in the ministry all come from a slum community located near the ministry center. Through time spent with these kids and teens, the Casa Semear team is consistently sharing the Word of God, praying for, and loving these precious ones. 

Passing out clothing that came from donations given to Casa Semear. Practical needs such as these are often met through the ministry to bless the children and their families.

Felipe goofing off with some of the girls!

Felipe is always helping with various renovation projects to improve the ministry center.
Our friend Jai, a former Casa Semear missionary, recently got married.  Felipe was her wedding photographer. She was a beautiful bride!

For you photography lovers out there, Felipe did some night photography recently and this is one of his best photos from the evening. 

Please continue to pray for our family as we adapt to having four children.  We need God’s strength, wisdom, and grace in this sweet season as parents.  Pray for us as we work on practical things such as developing good sleep habits/schedules, potty training, helping our girls with homework, Felipe's seminary studies, and managing our time as a family - all for the glory of God!

Pray for the daily work of Casa Semear as Felipe and the other missionaries work with children and teens coming from at-risk situations.  Felipe is now independently teaching a group of kids ages 9-12, since our missionary friend who got married moved away.  He faithfully leads Bible study and worship times each week at Casa Semear.

Please pray for us as we serve at our local church, Calvary International Church.  Felipe is facilitating a weekly Sunday School class about Systematic Theology that runs until December.   We also are leading a community group that meets once a month. We see our involvement and service in our local church as an important part of our ministry here in Brazil. We desire to be a blessing to this country and the people God places in our lives here.
From our family to yours, thank you for being a part of our lives and our journey in missions. We deeply appreciate your love, support, and prayers for our family and work.  Obrigado!