January 2019 Update
The Mission and Volunteer Center is getting ready to host a large group for Carnival. Now before you wonder why we are celebrating Carnival let me assure we are not. Churches in Brazil use this prolonged holiday to go on retreats. The goal is to remove young people from the temptations that can be overwhelming in the very "carnal" celebrations in the cities. They often use this retreat as a time to invite seekers to enjoy Christian fellowship. We will be receiving our first group in February for this holiday.
However, we have already received several church groups. The largest was June of 2017 when the first mission team stayed and worked from the Farm. We filled up every corner with a group of about 50. We have also hosted a church who does an annual retreat for spiritual renewal and evangelism. It was exciting to hear how lives are changed so drastically through this ministry. One man had almost checked out of society all together. Today he is an integral member of the congregation. Another group stayed with us while they were conducting a mission conference for a local congregation. The food served from our kitchen was fabulous.
We are excited to see what other ministries will be encouraged and enhanced on the FARM of ENCOURAGEMENT in 2019.
These days, in September and October 2018, the Mission Center has become the hub of activity for English classes. Of course we are always asked if we will give English classes. And, it happens to be one of Wanda's passions. So during these months we are experimenting to see what we can offer to those in the Corumba and Ladario region.
We began with our mission team on September 8. Six of our team members were gracious enough to be conversation leaders during our American Coffee Break on a Saturday afternoon. Brazilians were given the opportunity to hear various American accents and to test their ability to converse and listen. The Americans were also given the opportunity to share their favorite Bible verse and maybe a little bit about why they had come to Brazil. The event was so well received that we feel that it may become a key feature for future trips.
That even has led several students to Wanda and she is offering some groups and private classes. The participants are asked to make a donation to the Farm of Encouragement. It is a great beginning for using English as a ministry avenue on the Farm of Encouragement. We are working in conjunction with local churches and local English schools.