Facebook post written by a camper who spent the Carnaval holiday in Brazil at the ARCA Bible Camp. The day camp finished he wrote this testimony for all his facebook friends to read.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matt.6:33
I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to go to a church camp during the Carnaval holiday because I learned great things and God did great things in my life. I found out about new opportunities, I met new people, I made new plans. It was so much fun and so joyful, and I’m so happy to be in the presence of God, working for His kingdom.
Besides getting to know new people, I heard their life stories and what God has done and is doing in their lives. Hearing other people’s stories led me to reflect on how my problems and sadnesses are nothing in comparison to what they have been through. I also realized that bad times come to an end – “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Ps 30:5
Matthew 10:34-38 says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her daugther-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” The kingdom of God is now. These verses do not mean that we are to stir up discord in our families or with other people, but no matter which person is with us, which could be our mother or father or any person, if they are saying things that are not from God or causing us to draw away from God or to abandon God in some way, we should always be strong to fight against them. Even if it is necessary to draw away from these people, we should always follow God and be a part of His kingdom, because there is nothing better.
The kingdom of God is not eating or drinking or parties or any of those things, but the kingdom of God is love, peace, joy and all of the best things for our life. Those who know Jesus know of this great joy and that we don’t need to worry about anything else because God knows exactly what we need. There are people who think they are part of the kingdom, however they are not able to let go of the things that hold them to the world. There is no way to be in both worlds at the same time; there is no “middle of the road.” May God enlighten each mind helping each one to see and make a decision about the kingdom of God. The happiness that comes from being at a party ends quickly while the happiness that comes from being a part of God’s kingdom is eternal.
God sent His Son Jesus to wash us clean of our sins and bring the kingdom of God to this world. And what have you done for Him? What are you doing now? Matthew 7:22-23 says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Don’t let evil control your thoughts, your heart. Don’t let yourself be influenced by the world; instead, influence your world with the Word of God, with the kingdom of God. If we cannot let go of something for God it’s because we love that thing more than we love God, and even if we say we love Him we are lying against the Father, sinning even more, and we are not a part of the Kingdom of God. Think about your actions, your attitudes and all you have done on earth. If Jesus would come back today what would He say? Where would He find you? Think about your life and consider where you are – are you really a part of the Kingdom, or do you just say that you are? Do the best thing for yourself – choose God’s kingdom!
I grew so much during this camp. I learned so much that has eternal value and eternal joy. How about you? What have you done during this holiday? Did you have fun at parties that last for a week and then everything is over? Think about what is really important for your life, that which is really worthwhile, because for many there will be no tomorrow, and then it will be too late. I learned all this and so much more at camp, and I want to practice this in my life. May this flame never go out in my heart, and may we all be ambassadors for Christ and take His kingdom to others. My heart is full of thanksgiving to God!
Pray for Youth Camp in Brazil Feb. 21-25
Pray for Matthew and Ednay as they seek direction for a location to begin the Free Lutheran church plant in Paraguay
Pray for Pastor Tom and his congregation as they begin a new ministry to drug addicts and alcoholics
Pray for our furlough travels, that the Lord would use us to encourage people to be involved in missions in their own backyard and across the seas.
Thanks for gift to help build the parsonage in Brazil for Brazilian pastor and family. Pray for more gifts to complete the project.
Pray for the John Lee family as they continue to adjust to life on the mission field.
Pray for our Brazilian churches and their ministries and pastors.
Pray for Pastor Augusto and his family as they minister in Switzerland.
Pray for the World Missions Committee as they seek to make decisions about present and future ministries abroad.
Pray for discernment for us in deciding how to best use our time and talents.
Pray for boldness in addressing issues in a godly manner that will lead to godly changes.
Happy NewYear! We enjoyed wonderful times with U.S. family in November and December. It was a joy to take in Christmas concerts and have a white Christmas for a change! We also had a good meeting with the World Missions Committee in December. We want to share in this letter about some of the fun things we’ve done and let you know of our plans for the remainder of our furlough. Plus, a little glance at what’s happening in Brazil.
Abel Family reunion Our family time at the ARC over Thanksgiving was all we dreamed it would be. After almost 16 years all seven Abel siblings were reunited with Mom and Dad. We had a total of 31 of us together; we still were missing 40! What special moments we shared reminiscing, singing, and praying together. 2016 marks 40 years since the Abel family cut an LP which has blessed many people through the years. We sang many of the same songs at our birthday program. We have a rich Christian heritage and are so thankful for John and Ruby and their selfless love and ministry all through the years
More Family Time We had a great time when our daughter Christina and her little boy, Tommy, made a trip to the U.S. in December. Although we live so near each other in Brazil we often don’t have much time together there, so this was a treat! At Christmas all of Becky’s family was together at her parent’s home in Northfield, MN. Yes, we are making the most of these opportunities to be with our parents and siblings and children while we can. These are some of the blessings of furlough!
Supporters and Schedules While we are in the U.S. we are constantly making contacts with our supporters. We have decided to visit only the supporting churches we were unable to visit in 2013. We have enjoyed a few days now and then at the Mission Home in Osceola, WI – a wonderful place to call “home” when we are in the U.S. The next-door neighbors, the Hills, (right) always welcome us royally and bless us in so many ways.