God has blessed us with a hospitable heritage. Growing up hospitality was really high on my father’s list of what he wanted his family to be. You see, he had been blessed many times along his life by people who opened their homes and hearts to bless him and his family. He also encountered the direct opposite of that which showed him how not to be. In short, Pai and the Lar Batista family worked hard to be a hospitable ministry. I am glad I got to make that a huge part of my own home and family and it only gets better when we get to receive and host Pai, who has always taught me so much.
After spending three and a half month doing ministry in Brazil, we got to bring Pai to the US for a few weeks and to allow him to experience hospitality for a little while. It was a joy to cook for him and spoil him a little. He said he needed a little rest, but he also wanted to work and meet people and raise awareness and funds for the ministry there in Brazil. If you know Pai at all, you know he rested little and networked a whole lot. I was impressed at his disposition to keep going and being ready for one more meeting, one more event, one more video call. I am sure he was ready to rest when he got back to Lar. He certainly did not do much of that here.
Pai does not travel alone anymore and this time we were glad to extend the invitation to his first born and my oldest brother, Luis, who escorted Pai and blessed us with his presence and beautiful voice as he sang at a couple of events here in the US.
We could never have guessed what God had in store for us. Pai got to share so many times and was kindly welcomed by Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, from a whole day of ministry, starting with Sunday Schools, lunch with the Hughes, who took very good care of us, followed by a blessed chapel service, where Luis had a chance to sing and to close the day a wonderful meal with all the team members who visited Lar in 2014 at the lovely home of Walter and Marilyn Hughes. At the chapel service Luis sang, Pai preached and I, Grace interpreted, it was a wonderful experience to use our different gifts to serve as a family here in the USA. We are forever thankful for all the love and hospitality we received from CUMC.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” became very real to us during Pai’s stay here. Among the many things God had prepared Pai also got to visit a friend in hospice, right before he entered the presence of the Lord and be there to comfort his family. We got visit of the Souza family who came from Florida to be with us and enjoy Pai’s company. Sergio’s father went to Seminary with Pai, so it was a blessing to be together here again. Pai got to meet with a group of Brazilians who were homesick and needed a fatherly, or grandfatherly presence in their lives as well and bless them greatly. It is just like our God to reveal to us the many ways He chooses to use us.
On his last week here we got to visit with our friends in Ft. Worth, TX and discuss plans for the school and the future of Lar Batista. We met with Stephanie and Philip Colwell, a young couple we love. Stephanie has been to Lar Batista a few times and her husband was so excited to help! They are both architects and helped us revamp the plans for the building and we are looking forward to getting started as soon as the Lord allows us.
We had great time to brainstorm and pray over the direction and plans for the school. The excitement was so huge that we could almost walk through the school, if we just closed our eyes. You can dream with us as well as you picture a 10 thousand square foot building which holds classrooms, a computer lab, a language lab, music room, a kitchen for cooking classes, an amphitheater, a library among other things. Picture also, online classes, after school program to reach hundreds of children as well as adult education. We also plan to offer Bible classes, week long seminar on family issues, forming youth leaders and twice a year, camps for children as well as the best education money can buy, however, at ZERO cost to the children from the neediest parts of town.
The vision is to bring beauty from ashes and leadership with values and great hope for a brighter future with God, even from the most destitute parts of our town in Brazil.
Pai and Luis returned to Brazil and we were left with the challenge to make this dream of a vision a reality. We understand we cannot do this alone and we pray that you join us in prayers and also with your input and resources so that many children can be blessed.
Remember I said Pai had little or no rest since he got here? When he landed in Sao Paulo, he had an invitation to preach at one of his sending churches. His friend, pastor Jose Cristovao, already retired, came out to see him and in a very humble attitude, Pai asked his blessing before he could preach at what had been pastor Cristovao’s pulpit for over 40 years. 40 years is also how long pai had longed for that opportunity. God did it again. A blessing from beginning to end!
Please keep us in your prayers.
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