South American Missionary Conference
In January we went to the missionary conference in Belo Horizonte. It was a great conference with the main speakers being Dr. and Mrs. Lowry. Dr. Lowry is the President of Lipscomb and he invited our family to come and see if Nashville would be right for us when we move back to the States. We learned many good things about reconciliation and spiritual formation. And the Hatchers from Santiago Chile brought their two precious boys who were about the same ages as our two girls. The four children became fast friends and had the best time together. Aubry still asks about Caleb.
Youth Back to School Party
January and February and the beginning of March our church continued to meet in our home on Sunday mornings for worship. We also had several meetings there including a back to school party in mid February. We had many more students than what we had planned for and had to scramble to make more food but it was a great problem to have. Including all the adults and a few younger children who came as well we had about 60 total. We gave school supplies as prizes and had a devotional on Jesus being the key to all truth and knowledge. The kids took home key chains with the memory verse inside that they had painted.
The children's ministry also had a back to school party during Sunday school and they asked the whole church to collect school supplies for 4 needy children that we knew.
Church Family Care Plan
When our church transitioned from having a building to meeting in our home, we no longer had a place for our Rice and Beans kitchen - our Free Saturday Friendship Lunches for the community. As our church faced a time of tough transitions, we felt it a good idea for the benevolence ministry to focus, for a time, more on taking care of each other. So two people per month recieve church money in order to bless another brother or sister at ICOS. There are many in need at our church but also all of us needed to get to know each other and get to know one another's needs better. So whether it is buying someone flowers on their birthday or buying beans and rice for someone who has recently lost a loved one or can't find work to support their family, our church is learning to take care of each other. Through this and meeting in our home, our church has become more of a family.
Announcing Our Family's Move To the United States
In February, when the Porter family got back from furlough, we began meeting with church members to tell them of our family's plans. This was and is a big deal for our baby church plant and we knew that with most people, we needed to sit down and talk about it. This took two almost three weeks of intense ministry at the end of February and beginning of March.
A New Temporary Meeting Place for the Church
Also during this time of announcing our family's move, our church was moving from our house to another temporary location - the Porter's apartment's party room. This has worked out well since we needed to put our house back together before furlough in order to begin packing, cleaning out and moving some things stateside during our big 2 month trip. The church met for 5 Sundays and we even had some new visitors from their apartment building! Praise God!
Anniversary Service - Celebrating 5 Years At ICOS
The fourth Sunday at the Porter's Apartment Building, April 3rd was our Anniversary Sunday. We had devotional singing during Sunday school and a wonderful service where members and frequenters wrote down memories at our church and posted them on the wall and the church prayed over our family's trip, our daughter's sicknesses and Matt's MCAT test. We had a great pot-luck lunch with a beautiful cake to celebrate, and to top it all off we had a baptism! Genivalda was baptized into Christ on the 5th anniversary of our church! It was an incredible day to say the least and afterwards the children and teens had pool time.
Pneumonia and Bronchitis
Paisley and Aubry both had bronchitis. Paisley had pneumonia also and Aubry had a UTI as well - all at the same time and four days before our furlough trip. The trip itself was rough with all the extra luggage, ticketing problems, lay-overs and two very sick little girls. In fact, Aubry threw up all over Mom so much at one point that I had to wear the stewardesses pants home. But, after 24 hours of travel, we are here in the States now safe and sound with Matt's family in Missouri. The girls are doing much better, still on antibiotics and recovering. They were very glad to see Grandma and Grandpa as were Matt and I. Thanks for continued prayers for our travels and Matt's big test. Grace and Peace to you!