October Surprises!

As the Portuguese expression goes, this month has been running! One surprise after another has had us up when the sun rises to let a contractor on our property to sundown when we can't see what we're doing anymore. This month has been full of plenty of surprises. For example, the tile we ordered for our bathroom wall, SURPRISE! our order was cancelled, and we had to reorder it about three times. We hosted our event for Children's Day, SURPRISE! 83 IN ATTENDANCE! We elect to sit down and enjoy a few hours of rest, SURPRISE! our order of sod is on its way and needs to be planted! We wait for the rain to clear so I can paint the house, SURPRISE! No rain in the forecast! LET'S PAINT THE WHOLE HOUSE IN A DAY! It seems like the weather is always a surprise here in Caxias do Sul. Not only is winter in summer and summer in winter but the rain we were supposed to have all winter has arrived just in time for spring. I've learned to understand when the weather app says there is a 100% chance of rain, there's a 100% chance that it MIGHT rain. Oh, and by the way, SURPIRSE! my colt that I was supposed to get in January has just been delivered to our property this week! Along with his mother! This month has been running, AND IT WAS ALL GOOD THINGS! Praise the Lord for His incredible blessings and miracles! But oh boy, are we exhausted.

Let me explain these surprises in a little bit more detail. I couldn't start painting the interior of our house until our drywall ceiling was put in place. As soon as the contractor was done, we had to wait for the rain to clear up. It seemed a bit counterintuitive to wait for the rain to stop to paint inside our house, but that contractor and the experts at our local paint store said that we CANNOT paint even inside our home until there are at least four clear and sunny days. Not only that, we have no windows or doors. Caxias do Sul has the most fog that I have seen anywhere in my life. That haze and mist that comes with fog will hold itself inside the concrete and the drywall and make an unpaintable surface that will peel and fall quickly. And like I said, all of winter's rain decided to show up in these first two months of spring. Finally, even though the weather apps all said it was supposed to rain, we had sunshine for four days in a row! We rented the paint sprayer, and in a single day, I painted the entire interior of our house! It was a huge step that we were concerned would have us waiting until the beginning of Summer in December! But God opened the door for us to get our painting done.

I also mentioned some trouble we have had with our order of tile. We have learned one store that we should definitely never order tile from again. Of the five types of tile we have ordered, we have had trouble with four… One order was canceled, one was uncuttable, another broke before it arrived, and another was discontinued TWO WEEKS AFTER we ordered it! We almost have this sorted out now and only lack one final part of the order. It has now been a two-month drama…

Now the sod. I finished connecting the house to our plumbing, and we had an excavator come and dig out the line and hole for our new septic tank. Since we had created a new hill and a huge mess, we wanted to get an estimate for sod. Apparently, the store missed the word "estimate" and ordered three pallets of sod for us! It was very reasonably priced and a huge blessing since we have been trudging through mud and rough hills around our house for months. But we weren't quite ready for it since we still had to add the pipes for our plumbing and bury them. All of this happened very quickly, and now the hill around our house looks AMAZING! The only steps we have left are putting the tile on two bathroom walls and installing the windows and doors! These last few steps have been long and exhausting.

I mentioned Children's Day. This holiday in Brazil is as big if not bigger than Christmas! In the United States, we have Father's Day and Mother's Day. Here in Brazil, they also have Children's Day. It is a massive nationwide holiday where the stores are packed, traffic is horrible, gifts are given, and it is all about the children. The Yelle's have hosted a Children's Day event at our church each year, and the numbers have grown. This year, we had about 83 in attendance! It was an amazing blessing to have so many people in our building to hear the gospel! I also learned something about the culture of Brazil that somewhat shocked me. Christmas' true meaning is about the birth of Christ. Children's Day is actually the national holiday for the Lady of the Apparition, the patron saint of Brazil: Black Mary. This national deity is a version of Mary that is mixed with demonic African religions. It has been commercialized with Children's Day, and as I said, it is possibly even bigger than Christmas. It is sad to see such a holiday for a demonic deity made equal with Jesus Christ. How many people know about this? I'm not entirely sure, I would have to ask. But we use these types of cultural events to reach as many people as possible with the gospel.

The last big surprise: my foal arriving on the property with his mother. Last month in our blog, I made mention of the miracle of the foal I have received for free! God provided a way for the colt to stay with his mother until January, when the four months of weaning are complete. Well, now we get the foal and his mother on our property until March, THE IDEAL FULL SIX-MONTH WEANING PERIOD! Another miracle!!! The mare's owner had a falling-out with the property owner where he was keeping my foal and its mother. While searching for solutions, the wild idea came to him to see if we could keep them on our property! We were very excited and knew that it was exactly what needed to happen. But we weren't quite ready…after all, we have a massive four-meter open hole on our property now… So we had two days to prepare our property to be safe enough for a two-month-old foal. We also made a deal with the mar's owner to not charge him anything to keep and feed his mare as long as we get to keep her until the weaning was complete. He happily agreed and knew his mare would be in caring hands for the next four months. SO MANY MIRACLES AND BLESSINGS!

Our discipleship with Lucas and Fernanda has gone off to an amazing start. Joneia has done an excellent job translating our discipleship material. We have been thoroughly discussing the Bible, the nature of God, and other important questions they have had. Over this past month, we have already seen growth and understanding in their lives.

We also hosted our first-ever Marriage Retreat this last month. With five of our church's married couples, we met at the Yelle's house and had a full day of lessons, activities, and discussions encouraging and refreshing our marriages. We had a lot of fun bonding with couples' archery! The husband held the bow while the wife pulled the string, and together, they aimed at targets…there was a LOT of application even just in that game. It also encouraged closeness between the spouses, an added bonus! Anyway. The retreat was a HUGE success, and we look forward already to next year's retreat.

Like I said, a running month. We are exhausted, both physically and mentally, and a little bit emotionally. We did not anticipate our home renovation taking this long, and it has been a draining process yearning for our house. I've said it for the last three months now…we are so close. Please pray for our endurance as we learn to roll with this new life that God has brought us into. With springtime comes property maintenance, another daunting task since we have about five acres to maintain. Joneia and I are doing well and have not had any major illnesses since July! Thank you so much for your prayers for our health.

Another huge prayer request that I have for these next two months: the Yelle's will be heading to the United States for six weeks. Their parents have been in and out of the hospital frequently this year, and they are going to help care for them. Please pray that this will be an opportunity for John to witness to his parents. I also ask for prayer for us because I barely have a grasp on the Portuguese language. We have some men in our church who will help with the preaching, and everything is in place for us to have a successful two months. I am excited about the opportunity but feel inadequate for the task. I thank God for reminding me that I am nothing and can do nothing without Him. Pray that this will be an opportunity for me to stretch and exercise my Portuguese. Pray that God will lead the men of our church and me as we study and fill the pulpit. Please pray that both Joneia and I can keep track of the things that need to be done both in our church and on our property while the Yelle's are away. God has brought us here right on time and in His timing to be ready for this time. It is all in His hands.

October has rushed on past, and now we are in Thankless November! (By that, I mean Brazil doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving). Pray for God's continued working hand in our lives, our church members' lives, and the lives of the people we still need to find here in Caxias do Sul.


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Sending Church:

Worth Baptist Church
Pastor Tyler Gillit

4900 Campus Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76119

+1 (817) 534-0787


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Independent Baptist Fellowship International (IBFI)

PO Box 151259
Fort Worth, TX 76108

+1 (817) 367-3422