Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Adventures during our long trip through South America

Ana* called us in panic: “The whole camp is underwater, everything is soaked, pray for the rain to stop and please come and help us!”



Ana is a young doctor who is a refugee from Venezuela, together with her 2 children, 3 sisters, 2 brothers-in-law and 5 nephews and nieces. They have now lived for 6 months in the city of Boa Vista in northern Brazil, where thousands of refugees have fled into UN camps.

But all the official camps were full when they arrived. The only option was to invade an old abandoned country club where they made some temporary shelters with tarps and sheets of plywood. Together with 400 other refugees, they took up this challenge—it was their only viable option.


Leading a refugee camp together with 4 Indian chiefs
It is a very mixed group, because in addition to a group of Venezuelans, there are also indigenous people from 4 different tribes that were among the first groups to flee Venezuela. Ana is a leader of the camp, together with the four tribal chiefs. Next to the entrance gates, in an attempt to maintain law and order, they posted a sign that says: “Welcome, but here drugs and alcohol are forbidden, and after 10:00 it should be quiet, etc.”

In contrast to the refugees in the regular UN camps, they don´t receive food, clothing or electricity…. They must fend for themselves.

During our time in Boa Vista we and our students have been able to help in two non-UN camps, through practical assistance and children’s programs. Both camps have a population of about 400 adults and 150 children.


Assisting in Ana´s camp was more complicated, as the refugees not only spoke Spanish, but also the four different tribal languages. Each of the 5 groups had taken possession of a separate part of the former country club. Using tents, tarps and discarded construction materials, each claimed their territory.

Ana’s family of 6 adults and 7 children slept on the floor of an improvised cabin that had only three walls made of tarps. The front was totally open. During the hot dry season with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), this worked reasonably well, but now the rainy season has started!

A tropical rainstorm
“All our clothes are soaked and there is a river gushing through our cabin!” Ana cried on the phone.


Together with our students we made an emergency plan, and within a few hours we were able to help. Equipped with hammers, shovels, cords, tarps and garbage bags, we went to work. The family had already raised the floor of their cabin with some sand, and quickly our handy students helped them stretch out a big blue tarp in front of the cabin to fend off the worst of the rain.


Two of the tribal groups hadn´t suffered too much from the rain, as they had been able to camp under the roof of the old structure. But most hadn´t been so lucky. One of the tribes had put up their hammocks without any tarps covering them from the rain. For them and some of the other worst-hit families, we were able to put up some tarps for protection. Of course, it was only a temporary solution, but it was touching to see how grateful they were for our effort. And when we came back a few days later to do a program for the children, we were received with open arms.


150 children in groups on the floor
A program for the children in an open space with no tables, no chairs and kids that speak 5 different languages—how do you do that? Well, it is always amazing to see the flexibility of our students😊.


Eight big tablecloths were bought for the kids to sit on, and when they arrived, each received a sticky label with their name and age. They were divided into 6 age groups, with the oldest kids divided into boy’s and girl’s groups. Then the program could begin!


Johan and I had already been teaching the students for a few weeks, and they had prepared a wonderful attractive program adapted for different age groups. It was great to see how easily the kids from 5 different ethnic backgrounds mixed. Time flew and before we knew it, three hours had passed.


The students were enthused and inspired:
“I didn’t know it could be so much fun! I always thought that a program for children consisted of loud singing and jumping around with a whole big group. But dividing the children in small groups is so much nicer—I even got to learn all the names of the children in my group!”


The YWAM base in Boa Vista is just starting. They have a strong commitment to work with tribal peoples and with refugees. It was a great privilege to be able to conduct a seminar there for a whole month.

170 students in our Children at Risk Seminar
We were also invited by the YWAM base in São Luis, a big city in the poor northeast of Brazil, to give a seminar. They have lots of contacts with local churches, and when they sent out the invitation, 170 students showed up to learn more about working with vulnerable children. It was wonderful to be able to teach such a big group of eager students on how to reach out to children and families who are the poorest of the poor.


After nine weeks on the road teaching in 5 different cities, we are finally back in Belo Horizonte for some quality time with our daughter Michele and her family before we travel to Peru next week for a seminar in Lima. The remainder of the year, we will be busy teaching in different cities around Brazil.

Next year: Children at Risk School in the Philippines
In the meantime, preparations are in full swing for the three-month Children at Risk School (taught in English) we will be giving in Cebu in the Philippines next year from April through June. Two years ago, we gave a two-week seminar there at the YWAM base.


If you know young people who would like to learn how to start a ministry for children in need, including the “why” and important issues for transformation, then please click here to receive more info and application forms. The cost of this school including room and board is US$1,500.00 for the three-month lecture phase.


Grateful
Thanks to those of you who have stood with us through all these years. Your prayers have carried us, your encouragement has motivated us, and your gifts have sustained us in our needs. We are so thankful that we can reach out together with you to needy children and their families. We remember you in our prayers and wish you God´s richest blessings,

Much love from Johan and Jeannette
*Ana’s name has been changed to protect her identity.


Prayer points
  • Let us pray for the millions of Venezuelans who have fled their country. Pray that the churches in neighboring countries will not look the other way but reach out with helping hands.
  • Pray for those two refugee camps in Boa Vista that are not under UN control, where there is great need.
  • Pray for Ana and her family. That her doctor’s certificate will be recognized in Brazil and that she and the adult members of her family will be able to find good jobs and housing.
  • Pray for the classes we will be giving throughout 2019 in Peru and Brazil.
  • Pray for preparations for the Children at Risk School next year in the Philippines.
  • Give thanks for sustained health.
  • Give thanks for the students we’ve been able to train and motivate for work with vulnerable children.
  • Please pray for my sister and her family. My brother-in-law passed away very recently.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Short news update - June

Here is a short news update from us, about a little of our work with the refugee camps close to the border of Venezuela.


We were invited by the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base here in the city of Boa Vista. During the mornings we teach sessions for the YWAM staff right on the veranda of the ministry house. In the evenings, we give lectures in a hired classroom for people from churches, other mission organizations, and schools that are already working with refugee children and want to learn more about it.


On some afternoons and Saturday mornings we take our students on outreach to some of the refugee camps to put in practice several of the classes we have been teaching; for example: “How to organize a children program for the children of the refugees?”


There are thirteen camps in the city, eleven are under the administration of the UN. There the refugees have at least some kind of roof above their heads and three meals a day. However, the other two camps were formed informally because the UN camps were full. So, some refugees invaded a piece of empty land and some buildings to make temporary shelters. We have directed most of our activities to these two informal camps.

In these camps there is lack of just about everything: food, shelter, mattresses, dry clothing, (it is rainy season here), electricity …


But it is beautiful to see the flexibility of our students and the love they have for the children. One of these camps is called “Criança Feliz” (Happy Child). For a few afternoons we were able to transform the sad and hopeless situations into an atmosphere of love and hope in the Lord Jesus.


Here is a picture from us at the beautiful river that cuts through the city of Boa Vista. Next weekend we plan to travel to the city of Manaus for another seminar on how to work with children in need.

Thanks to all who are standing with us and we wish you God´s richest blessings!
  • Please pray for the families that have fled from their country and are still passing through great difficulties. Especially for the families that live in the camps with so few facilities.
  • Pray for the people who are taking the seminars. That this will result in the transformation of many children, teenagers, young people, and families.
  • Pray for the last few days and classes here in Boa Vista, and for the seminar next week in Manaus. That the Lord may use us to encourage many.
  • Pray for my brother-in-law who is still very sick. For grace for my sister and their family.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

While we are (still) in Brasil...

Somewhere close to the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, there is a walled neighborhood with only one entrance. Across that street lies a big, heavy log. If you want to enter this place, you need to negotiate permission with the gang in charge. Armed teenagers stand next to the log and will drag it away with thick iron chains if you have permission to enter or leave. Even if you want to enter this community on foot, you must be invited by someone living there, who will then meet you at the log and walk with you through the neighborhood. If you go inside without a member of the community, you run the risk of being shot…

A few years ago, we were invited to visit this community. YWAM had worked there in the past, but the work had stopped. Would it be possible for our students from the Children at Risk School to revive this work?
 
The Children at Risk School in Rio de Janeiro

The good guys

A pastor who had been leading a church in the middle of this neighborhood for over 20 years, invited and met us at the “logged” entrance. The distance from the log to the YWAM house can be covered in about 5 minutes, but it took us 45 minutes that first time. He stopped at every street corner and took time to introduce us to all the local gang members, emphasizing that we were “good guys”.

We walked through small alleys and through some wider, nicely swept streets. I saw some characteristic slum sheds, but also some big mansions with walls around them. One even had a huge circular waterslide sticking out above the wall—it splashed into a private swimming pool. Cars were parked on the side of the road, in contrast with the rest of Brazil where cars are put in garages to avoid being stolen overnight. “In this neighborhood, nothing gets stolen”, the pastor explained, “even though the police aren’t allowed to enter this neighborhood. The local gang maintains ‘justice’ here!”

War

Many people who live here were born and have lived all their lives here. But life expectation is far lower than in the rest of Brazil. Last year, a bloody war was fought with the gang from another neighborhood. Many young people died. But now there is peace again, as all the drug-selling locations have come under the control of just one gang.
 
Another slum in Rio de Janeiro where YWAM has a wonderful ministry 

Christian drug dealers?

I was so surprised to see painting and writing on the walls in happy yellows, pinks, purples and greens, with big clear Bible verses. Yes, they told me, the leaders of this gang are Christians… They claimed that God was on their side, so whoever would turn against them, “would fight against God”, according to their theology. It seems to work. They are holding the people in their power with an unhealthy fear of God. What a strange, twisted world, right in the middle of a world-class city like Rio de Janeiro!

The long haul


A group of our students restarted the work with the children and teenagers in that community, and last month we were able to visit them to see how they are doing. How do you explain to children in such an environment what it means to be a true Christian? Who God really is? That a whole other real world exists outside those walls? Our former students, now staff with YWAM, had beautiful stories about the kids who had participated in their camps, who were deeply touched by the Lord. But work like this is really for the long haul. We were so happy to see the hearts these missionaries have for this community, for the children and their families.
 
On the YWAM base in Fortaleza

300 teenagers in Fortaleza

After coming home from Rio, I started building a website for International Children at Risk Schools, while Johan traveled to Fortaleza. The YWAM base there is doing a great job discipling more than 300 adolescents through sports ministry. In August, the Fortaleza base is planning to run their first Children at Risk school, so more staff and students can be trained in working with children and teens.
 
An adventure with God awaits: Children at Risk School!

Street children in Recife

After this, Johan will go to Recife. Our good friends Mati and Julie Gali are leading the YWAM base there. They got to know each other some 25 years ago on the base here in Belo Horizonte. I wrote about Mati in my book “A Cry from the Streets”, about how he was abducted by the police, tortured and almost killed because they thought he was the leader of a street kids’ gang.
 
Julie and Mati, the leaders of the YWAM base in Recife

Mati and Julie have led the base in Recife for many years, and the Children at Risk school has been running there for more than 20 years to train staff and students. The base has a large, beautiful location. Besides lecture halls and apartments for staff and students, it has a reintegration house for ex-street children, plus a preschool/primary school for children of the surrounding communities. Johan will teach in the current Children at Risk School. While there, he will have the joy of processing new plans and dreams with staff, students and other ministry leaders.
 
Staff and students from the YWAM base in Recife

Soon after this trip, we will start our long trip to the very north of Brazil, close to the border with Venezuela, where we will work with refugees and conduct some seminars. We will cover that in our next newsletter😊.

Our kids will live in 4 different countries

When we took the difficult decision to obey God and become missionaries 40 years ago, one of the hardest things was leaving behind friends and family. For our parents, brothers, sisters and friends it was equally difficult, and of course, we did miss each other a lot.

Now we have lived in Brazil for 35 years—in Belo Horizonte, the city where our kids grew up and which we call “home”.

We find ourselves in the same position our did parents so many years ago, with our kids not just leaving home, but also the country where they grew up… Pieter, our oldest son, is on the verge of moving with his family to the USA. Dilma lives in Holland, while Johanneke and her family live in England. Michele is the only one of our kids who still lives in Brazil with her family, and Davi, our youngest, also lives in Holland.

A bit complicated? Certainly! 

We haven´t been able to all be together as a family since 2011. I hope and pray that we will be able to gather with our entire family sometime in the near future! When we are in Brazil, we miss those who live in other countries, and when we are in Holland it is the same! Besides that, we ourselves travel for months at a time to different countries around the world to teach.

Even so, we have been able to spend some quality time with each of our kids almost every year. Sometimes it’s very brief and it doesn’t happen as often as we would like, but God is faithful! Nowadays we have the great advantage of the internet with WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, emails and all, to stay in touch with each other. Still, it’s not the same as seeing each other face to face and hugging one another! Maybe I do suffer from a bit of the empty nest syndrome? 😊
 

Thank God, Johan and I enjoy being together very much, serving the Lord together. We know God is faithful in His care for all of us, including our kids, family and friends, whether they are close or far away.

We want to thank all of you who have been in touch through WhatsApp or email, who have prayed for us or financially supported us. We are so grateful! We wish you all God’s richest blessings!

Prayer points:
  • Please pray for the work among the children in Rio, Fortaleza and Recife. That God will guide the leaders and staff with the right strategies and provide the needed staff, volunteers and finances for all these initiatives.
  • Pray for all the lectures we are planning to give during the trip to the northeast and north of Brazil. That it will be a blessing and encouragement for all those students.
  • Pray for us, our kids and grandkids. That God will help us to find time to be together even though we may not be an average family and live far apart.
  • Please continue to pray for my sister and brother-in-law Sieb who is very sick. Also, for their children and grandchildren, that they will experience God’s presence in a very special way during this difficult time.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Quick short update




Last week we lectured in Rio de Janeiro about Biblical principles in working with children at risk.
   

It was great to meet some of the students and staff from the Children at Risk School we led in 2016 and celebrate a little get together with some of them over an ice cold coconut drink at the beach of Copacabana! :)


We´re so proud of those ex staff and students who continue to listen to God and to obey Him.


The previous week was the famous carnival festival in Brazil. In Belo Horizonte literally millions of people were dancing and drinking in the streets. The teams from the local YWAM base seized the opportunity to proclaim the gospel in many creative ways.


What a privilege to be able to work with young people and be involved in training them!


"I´ll go down, if you hold the cord,” said William Carey to his friend in England when he left as one of the first missionaries to India. That friend became responsible for raising prayer and financial support, while Carey was on the field.


To all who are holding our rope, a big thank you, and we wish you God´s richest blessings!


Prayer points


Please pray for my sister Carla and my brother in law, Sieb. He is very sick. In February we were able to visit them for 3 weeks in Holland. That was very nice, but saying good bye was extremely difficult. Please continue to uphold them and their family in prayer.

Pray for the people in the very criminal slums in Rio de Janeiro where control is in the hands of te drug cartels. Pray for hope in often hopeless situations and for real justice and peace instead of the false peace these factions offer.

Pray for the different trips we are planning this year to 9 different YWAM locations in South America. Pray that the classes and seminars will be of great encouragement tot the local people and will result in help for many children at risk.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

What do these nine cities in South America have in common?

Last week there was a great tragedy as a dam broke, spilling toxic waste from an iron mine, close to the location that our daughter Michele and son-in-law Romeu use for Lamalma Children’s Camps (discipleship and adventure camps for underprivileged children), some 25 miles from Belo Horizonte.
 

When the dam broke during lunch hour it poured a big brown mud stream over the dining facility where hundreds of employees of the mine were eating and continued in the direction of a neighboring town called Brumadinho. In some places the mudslide was as thick as 15 meters. It carried away cars, busses, a few houses and a hotel. There are already dozens of people confirmed dead, with hundreds still missing who have less chance to survive as time passes.
 

Bringing consolation

A team from the YWAM base in Belo Horizonte is traveling daily to the city of Brumadinho, where almost every inhabitant has lost a friend or family member. The team is helping local churches with burial of the bodies. At the center where families wait to hear news of those who are missing, the team members listen to their stories, try to bring consolation, pray with people if appropriate and simply help by being there for people. 
 

In the midst of this terrible tragedy, they try to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And they intercede for the hundreds of policemen and fire fighters who continue to search for the ones who have disappeared.

Not the first time

Three years ago, a similar dam broke in another city in our state and 19 people died. In addition, innumerous fish died in the river where 50 million tons of toxic waste were spilled. It is considered one of the biggest ecological disasters ever. There are another 200 of these dams considered not secure and at risk to collapse. This creates a lot of fear and insecurity. 
 

Most of these mines are exploited by one of the biggest iron ore producers in the world called “Vale”. Brazil is such a beautiful country with so many natural resources, but it faces gigantic problems like this. Please pray for the families that have suffered these losses, and also for just decisions to be made that will guarantee the safety of the dams.

2019 Plans for teachings and seminars to equip workers with children at risk
We have been back in Belo Horizonte since September 2018, and during 2019, we plan to teach in at least 9 cities around Brazil and in Peru. 
 
With the staff of the YWAM base in Belo Horizonte

The Children at Risk School that we started in 1989 here in Belo Horizonte with the goal to equip our own staff to work with at-risk children, has multiplied to several other cities. The school is also an accredited course with YWAM’s University of the Nations.

It is a modular school of three months, and many YWAM bases would like to have this school on their campus. Of course, it is our pleasure to help with this 😊. So this is the plan for 2019:

Fortaleza – Johan will teach a seminar there in April. The Fortaleza base is also planning to do a complete Children at Risk School later this year.

Recife – For more than 20 years, the school has run in Recife regularly, and we plan to teach there the end of April.

Sao Luis – There is not a full school there yet, but we are going to give the first Children at Risk seminar in May.  
 
In a refugee camp in Boa Vista

Boa Vista – This city is close to the border of Venezuela and has 13 shelters/ camps for refugees. In May and June, we´ll be there for 5 weeks to teach an evening seminar for workers from organizations and churches that are already reaching out to the refugees. During the day we´re planning to reach out to the refugees themselves in these shelters, teaching them skills, doing Bible study and kids’ clubs, as well as helping them deal with trauma.
 

Manaus – In this city, the base has been working with vulnerable children for a long time. Over the last two years, a number of their staff did the Children at Risk school in Belo Horizonte. They would like to start the school there soon, and we plan to go teach there in June.

Rio de Janeiro – In 2016 we gave the school there for the first time. As a result, teams stayed on to work in 4 different poor communities. We are planning to visit and teach there in July or August.

Belo Horizonte – The city where we live, founded the base and started the school so many years ago. The base has teams doing a wonderful job in community centers in two huge slums. The Rescue House team continues reaching out to teenagers and adults living on the streets and in juvenile prisons. We´ll teach in the Children at Risk School in August.
 

Lausanne, Switserland – Johan plans to go to the University of the Nations meeting in Switzerland in September.

Belo Horizonte – Coming back from Switzerland, there is more teaching to do—this time in the Discipleship Training School (DTS).

Lima, Peru - Jordi and Ria, a Dutch couple working with YWAM in Lima, would like to start the Children at Risk school. We are planning to give a seminar there in October and hope that in 2020 they will be able to start a full school.

Curitiba – The school has already been running at this base for a good number of years, and they run a very effective community center for a poor community right next door. We are going there to teach in November. This is the ninth city in South America where we are planning to teach this year, where there are many children in need and where motivated young people are eager to be trained to reach these vulnerable and underprivileged children.

Ermelo – The village where we live when in the Netherlands. We plan to get there just before Christmas to be with some of our kids and grandkids who live in the Netherlands.
 

2020

At the beginning of 2020, we have already planned a trip to Angola for teaching and seminars, and soon after that we will go to the Philippines to start the first Children at Risk School in that nation. We’ll tell you more about those plans in future newsletters.

Downsizing

We enjoy being in Belo Horizonte between teaching trips. We just moved into a smaller downstairs apartment (in our house) that we’ve remodeled over the last few months. In the meantime, we got rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff we had accumulated over the last 35 years. Simplifying and downsizing—it just sounds like a modern trend 😊. Michele and Romeu, who lived for 5 years with their two kids in this small apartment, were ready for more space. They moved upstairs to the bigger apartment and everybody’s happy!
 

Johan has put his handyman skills to good use adapting kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, making tables and shelves. Our apartment is becoming really cozy! We like it so much and of course, are very grateful to have Michele and Romeu and their children living so close by. In our “spare” time, we are continuing to work on different forms of communication, developing a website, and preparing teachings.

We are a team

We would like to thank all who have supported us through messages, encouragement, finances and especially prayer. We are so aware we could not operate without that. When we are teaching, equipping others to reach out to more children and families with the love and grace of God, we know that we have a whole team of family, friends and supporters standing with us. We can do all of this because you have our back. Thank you so much!

Prayer points

  • Please pray for our brother-in-law Sieb. He is very sick. We´ll go to Holland for three weeks this February to be with him and my sister. Our expat missionary insurance will cover our travel expenses for this. 
  • Pray for the families that lost loved ones in the mudslide in Brumadinho. May the Holy Spirit bring consolation, and may they feel the arms of God carrying them. 
  • Pray that right and just decisions will be made for the security of the dams, that the companies will not just go for fast money but will take human lives and environmental issues into serious consideration. Pray for the right legislation to be passed. 
  • Pray for our trips to so many YWAM locations, that the lectures and seminars will serve as an encouragement to the workers and will result in many more children and families being reached. 
  • Thank the Lord for our house in Belo Horizonte. 
  • We are thankful for sustained health. 
  • So thankful for all who support us.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Listen, obey and never give up!

“What is the secret of your leadership? And what were your main strategies?” These are some of the questions Loren and Darlene, the founders of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), often hear.
  

Over a span of almost 60 years, this mission movement has grown to become one of the biggest worldwide in number of missionaries. Between 5 and 6 million young people have done a DTS (Discipleship Training School), which is the entry course to join YWAM, and around 30,000 fulltime missionaries work worldwide in Evangelism, Training and Mercy ministries.

”Loren and Darlene, how did you accomplish all this?”
 

We are together with some 350, mainly Brazilian youth, at a conference where Loren and Darlene, the international founders of YWAM, personally take two weeks of their time to teach and encourage the younger generations.

“The answer really is quite simple,” Darlene replies, “it is just 4 words: “listen, obey and never quit! We listen to God, He is the leader, He tells us which is the next step to take. We obey, and even when things become difficult, we don´t give up!”
 

“This is really the basis of what we teach all the DTS students,” smiles Loren, “it is not a lot of strategies that I came up with, what the world would call ‘leadership qualities’, but it is submitting to the leadership of Jesus, listening to Him, then obeying and never, ever giving up.”

Darlene throws her hands up in the air and adds enthusiastically: “We say ´YES´ to the Lord, even before we know what He will ask from us! Lord, here we are, use us!”

The words stick in my mind. I am so thankful for leaders who obey the Lord and do not try to gain honor for themselves, but give all the glory to the Lord Jesus. They remind us that we should always have Jesus in first place in our lives, then follow Him whatever it costs, through love and servanthood to the people around us.
 

During the conference, we were asked to give some workshops about working with children at risk, and how to help refugees and children with trauma. It was wonderful to be able to teach and encourage young people to use their gifts and talents in service to God and for children who are so often in very difficult situations.

Dinosaurs with a Mission
Loren is 83 years old and Darlene just a few years younger, but you would not believe it, as they have plenty of energy. Of course, we ourselves are also not as young as we used to be 😊. Sometimes people look at us a bit strangely when we tell them we work with Youth With A Mission. Youth? Well, the overwhelming majority of our co-workers are young people between 18 and 30 years old, but there are also some “fathers and mothers” with graying hair. The missionaries from our generation are sometimes lovingly called “Dinosaurs with a Mission!”

During the conference and the previous week, we gathered with leaders from various bases around Brazil. We have maintained a friendship with some of them for more than 30 years. It was wonderful to be together with such a group of Dinosaurs! 😊
 

First national meeting of leaders and staff from the Children at Risk Schools in Brazil
Last week, for the first time ever, we gathered a group of leaders and staff from the different Children at Risk Schools that are offered regularly in different cities around Brazil.

We held a similar meeting in 2017 in Costa Rica with leaders from schools in different countries, but for Brazil this was the first time. It is very important for the school leaders to be on the same page, understand the curriculum well, and continue to meet the requirements of University of the Nations. (The Children at Risk School is an accredited course of the University of the Nations, a YWAM institution based in Kona, Hawaii.) But even more important is to worship God together, listen to Him and to each other.
 

It was wonderful to hear plans for multiplying the school over the next 2 years to Brazilian cities like Manaus, Boa Vista and Salvador, as well as to other countries like Chili, Peru and the Philippines! More Children at Risk Schools means that more young people will know how to start ministry projects with needy children, improve their ministries and reach more children with the love of God. That, of course, makes us very happy.

Finances
We thank all those who have helped us financially. We are so thankful for those who believe in our work, pray for us and support us in many ways. We would like to give you all a big warm hug, a real one, but since that is not possible because of the distance, we will have to “make do” with a digital hug… not as nice, but given with love!
 

Christmas baby!?
Davi, our adopted son, was born with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida on Christmas Day 32 years ago. A Christmas baby. This most probably saved his life, as the neurologist who treated him decided to give him a Christmas present: a special shunt he had just received from the US. It was a very expensive piece of equipment in those days and was not yet widely available in Brazil. But because it was Christmas, the doctor decided to bless this baby and implanted the shunt.
 

We are so thankful for this very special Christmas present! But, of course, we are even more thankful for the greatest Christmas gift of all, Jesus, the Son of God. God who created everything and is infinitely great, was born as a small tangible baby--Immanuel, God with us.

John writes in his gospel (1:14, Message Translation): “The word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”

We pray that in the years to come, many more people, families and children, refugees and kids in need, may see Him and acknowledge His Lordship.

We wish you all a holiday season of great significance, and His rich blessings for the year to come!

Much love from Johan and Jeannette
 

Prayer points
  • Thank the Lord for leaders like Loren and Darlene, who go before us, show us a great example and are a great encouragement.
  • Pray that we will continue to always listen to God, obey Him, and learn to never give up but persevere.
  • Pray that we will always be willing to say ´Yes` to the Lord, even before we know what He will ask from us!
  • Give thanks for all the seminars and classes we are able to give about Children at Risk. 
  • Pray that many more young people will be equipped through these schools and seminars so they may reach out to many more children in need.
  • Pray for God´s blessing and leading in the multiplication process of these schools in other cities and countries.
  • Give thanks to the Lord for the greatest Christmas gift of all: His Son!