Well, this was our last day in Brazil. The girls just finished their last concert and did a fantastic job. God has so blessed their ministry here in Brazil, provided, protected and answered prayers in so many way. We are sad to leave, but excited to tell all of you at home what God has done!
Some of the girls took advantage of some of the local services offered for good prices: hair and nails.
Here I am with Nega, the full-time cook for the Arca Bible Camp. She works tirelessly from early in the morning til late at night. She has been doing it since before the first time I came 10 years ago! (and her cooking is amazing!)
Here is Pastor Paul and Asher enjoying some ice cream together.
Here is the camp director, Yara, saying, "I miss you Sarah!"
This is the first church that Pastor Paul and Becky planted here in Curtitiba.
Liz Furrow sharing her testimony!
Heather McNeil sharing her testimony!
Sierra McNeil sharing her testimony!
Asher fellowshiping with the locals.
The banner outside the church announcing the concert tonight!
The rest of these are pictures on the bus as we drove the 90 minutes back to the Arca for the last time.
As I write this, it is almost noon here but the day is just starting back home. This morning has been a tine of serving and help around the Arca Camp in preparation for a weekend of ministry. In the afternoon, we will be going to a church in Campo Largo (about 20 minutes away) and doing the Purity Seminars for the girls and guys. Luke will again teach the guys and Summer will teach the girls with the aid of skits and testimonies from the choir.
After the seminars, the girls will be doing a full concert at the church. This is the church that the Abel's daughters and their husbands attend and serve at.
The Abel's daughter teaches an English school here in Campo Largo and they have arranged an "Adopt An American" program tonight after the concert. So some of the girls will be "adopted" for the night to interact with a Brazilian family and be brought back Sunday morning.
Continue to pray for each of the girls and the mission here! Paul and Becky give of themselves in so many ways continually in the work down here. The choir has been a big hit and encouragement but also a heavy logistical load because of all the planning that is required for a group of this size. Becky is constantly working on transportation, lodging and food. She has been amazing!
As of now there are only two programs left but it seems like every time the girls do a program, they are invited to sing somewhere else. Pray that the girls will be a blessing to Paul and Becky as they have blessed us so greatly.
Grace sharing her testimony.
Kathryn sharing her testimony with Paul and Becky's daughter, Joanna translating.
Playing card games with English students at the Arca after the program.
Many of the girls stayed in host homes last night because the Abels daughter works with an English school and they did something called "adopt an American". The families were very excited to have this experience to practice their English and ask questions. All the girls had a great time.
When they brought the girls back this morning, there was a program at the camp here with games, American food, conversations, etc.
Everyone had a great time!
Many helped in the kitchen to feed over 150 people!
Lacey wraps her foot as she continues to deal with a sprained ankle. :(
It was so fun to have a day to be at the Arca Bible Camp and experience all the vision and creativity of Pastor Paul as he has developed it into an amazing place! A full gym, a volleyball court, a soccer field, a zip line, a climbing wall, etc! Here are some pictures of the waterslide into a pool!
In the evening, we had the incredible privilege of participating in a very special service. Pastor Paul's father, Pastor John and Ruby Abel, started the work in Brazil over 40 years ago. They drove their young family in a station wagon down from the United States through Central and South America to Brazil and began to work in what was then the edge of the jungle. His visionary leadership was what God used to found a Bible School, Seminary, Orphanage, a beautiful Bible Camp and many churches. He as continued to return to Brazil year after year to lead evangelistic campaigns in spite of being 85 years old and in declining health. This year, he spent some time in the hospital here and came to the conclusion that this would be the last time he was able to come to this place that he has invested so much of his life into. The service was an attempt to honor the ways that God has used his life and to praise God for his faithfulness in the work here in Brazil. Many pastors and leaders came from long distances to be here, some driving 6-7 hours to come and then turning around and driving that long home afterward. The girls sang a number of songs and ended the night with "Any Road, Any Cost" which was such an appropriate description of the investment of his life.
Pastor John Abel giving the closing words.
Friday was a long day of travel from Foz de Iguacu to Bateias near Curtitiba. We got a later start than anticipated because the bus suspension was not working correctly when we were ready to load. Thankfully, when a repair man was called, it was a quick fix.
We had a time of worship and devotions in this pavilion while we waited for the bus to be fixed.
Asher taking his turn at the wheel with Pastor Paul.
At our bathroom break, one of the statues was having a wardrobe malfunction so I helped it out.
For the 10+ hour bus ride, we had every person on the bus stand up and share about themselves : what they have been learning, a favorite memory, etc. It was lots of fun.
Asher did not enjoy 10 hours in the carseat so he was happiest while sleeping.
Winter telling a hilarious memory.
Pastor Paul sharing about the beginning of the mission in Brazil.
We arrived at the Arca Camp at about 9pm and ate supper, moved in and got settled. It is a beautiful camp that is at the home of Pastor Paul and Becky Abel. There have been even more improvements and changes since the last time I was here and it is beautiful - a tremendous setting for ministry!