“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58.
God has a way of showing His servants that their labor in the Lord is not futile. Many times as ministers we look out over the flock that the Lord has entrusted to us and wonder what impact are we having in these lives. God opened my eyes this past week and showed me indeed that what He has called us to do is not in vain.
Sunday afternoon I was siting in the church as people were preparing the building for the upcoming services. I was siting next to dear brother Alberto. He and his family have come to know the Lord in the last year and a half. They are faithful in our services. They are hungry for the Word. They are growing in the Lord. In short, this family is a blessing in the Jacumã congregation.
I mentioned to him how he was first invited to church by another brother in Christ and how we are so thankful that his family is with us. Alberto corrected me by saying:
“You are incorrect, Pastor. Adriano was not the first to invite me to church. You were. You just don’t remember. You were handing out tracks and inviting people to church. I was drunk inside a bar on Main Street and you came up to me and gave me a track and invited me to church. When you invited me to church I told you I would come.”
I had completely forgotten, but Alberto never forgot the promise he made to visit the church. Eventually, Alberto did come and, if I am not mistaken, it was on a Wednesday night. Alberto heard the Gospel and came to Christ. The Lord called him from a life of alcoholism by His marvelous grace. Alberto’s family as well has come to Christ.
Please pray for the continued spiritual growth of Alberto and Cibelli his wife. Pray for their children: João, José, and baby Maria. These kids are adorable. They listen well in their Sunday School class and in Kids Church. This dear family has reminded me in the last few days that our “labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Last prayer letter we talked about the youth program in the Jacumã Congregation. We have since done a complete makeover to that ministry adding Thiago and his wife Camila as youth counselors. This couple has already added so much to the program. We have an hour long service at the beginning of the evening which consists of music, Bible skill training and a message on the series “The Armor of God”.
In rewiring our youth program we have placed a greater emphasis on the teaching of the Word, though sports are also a large part of the program. Pray for the salvation of many unsaved youth that faithfully come.
Since I began the writing of this letter my dear cousin Doug Reiner has been promoted to be forever with his Savior. Doug and Renate Reiner were faithful missionaries in Brazil for nearly 30 years. This past year Doug has been battling cancer, a battle he lost last night with his family by his side. The family feels this incredible loss, but the family rejoices knowing that Doug is finally and forever cured. Please pray for God’s peace in the lives of his wife Renate and his children Alex and Candice.
Jeff and Ivana Reiner… for the girls
Dear praying friends,
Young people are a tough group to work with in the church. The temptations of this world and the desire to fit in at school constantly bombard the youth here in the Jacumã congregation. These truths are universal at home and on the mission field. Out of the 45 or so teens that come faithfully to our teen program every Saturday night, only about 15 know the Lord as their Savior and about a third of this latter group are on fire for the Lord.
That is what makes the youth program so important here in Jacumã. “A great door and effectual is opened” to us as every week we have the opportunity to share Christ with so many young people. It is not, however, without its times of discouragement as weekly we preach Christ and see that the world holds incredible sway over many of these lives. However, we are not here to break hearts, only to share the Gospel and pray that the Holy Spirit will do the convicting.
Yet, our hearts rejoice with the handful of teens that are on fire and serving in the church. Anatoly leads services. Gabriel, his brother, plays the guitar. Jessica and Israeli sing backup for our song leaders and watch over toddlers in the nursery. Carol and Clara are two sisters that run audio and video for the services. David helps out around the church wherever needed and soon Juliana will join Gabriel playing a second guitar. She can also play the keyboard which will free up my Ivana to serve in other areas during services. But wait, there’s more… Ryan, Herbert, Rafael, Julio, Luiza, Jaine and Brenda sing in the choir. I may be forgetting some.
So these bring joy and remind us that the Lord is blessing the youth here and the Lord is bringing up a new generation of servants in His church. We remain, however, burdened for the larger part that still does not know the Lord. Pray that we will see more teens coming to the Lord.
Pastoring the Jacumã church has been a blessing for me (Jeff). I have seen growth in so many lives and I am praying that the church will be able to soon stand on it’s own. This would mean that the church can support it’s own Brazilian pastor and handle all of it’s ministry expenses. This also would mean that the church has doctrinal maturity to withstand “every wind” of false doctrine.
Out at camp the crew continues to put the final touches on our three big buildings (see the pictures on our blog reiners2brazil.wordpress.com). We have had some limited events out there and we see the potential of the new camp. Soon we will be ready to house and feed roughly 100 campers. It is an intimidating project, but God continues to provide and He will see us through. After the three buildings are complete we will take a breather from large projects at the camp and wait for the camp investments to yield funds for our next big project… the swimming pool!
As for our family, we are well. Thank you so much for your prayers for us. Thank you for giving in order to keep us out in the field. God bless each one of you.
Jeff and Ivana Reiner (Nicole and Emilie too)
Jacumã, very hot Northeast Brazil
Dear praying friends,
I must confess that the past few months have gone by so quickly that I have only recently realized that I missed our last prayer letter that was to be sent out in July of this year. July, August and September flew past us at a pace that has left us spinning and wondering where these months have gone. So let me say that I am sorry that July came and went without a report… it was not that there was nothing to report.
Let me try to bring you up to speed.
COUPLES… We have begun a new and much needed ministry among the couples at the Jacumã Congregation. We have felt for a long time that our couples needed a time to be immersed in Biblical teachings regarding marriage and family life. Strong Christ-centered couples result in strong families which will result in a strong and Christ-centered church.
The couples’ course meets two times a month and it has been a learning experience preparing and delivering Biblical studies that are real to life and, at times, hard-hitting. There are between eight to ten couples that come to each session and we have seen enthusiasm from the group. Pray that God will use this course to challenge husbands and wives to live out their marriages in the light of Biblical truth.
CAMP… We are completing the first two of four projected housing blocks at the camp. The camp is also being prepared for a large men’s event that will be held on the 15th of November. There is still so much to build at the camp, but God has brought us so far and we see that very soon we will be able to host large overnight activities.
We thank God for Jared Malcolm who continues to be the right hand man to the camp director. Jared is a huge part of the camp construction and his presence frees Jeff up to concentrate on caring for the camp finances and pastoring the Jacumã church plant.
Please pray for the safety of the camp workers as they daily build that which will be so useful for the churches in our region. Pray also that God will use this new facility to bring countless boys and girls, young men and young women to the Savior. If only one comes to Christ at the new camp, all the sweat and blood going into this project will be worth it.
CONGREGATION… As the church continues to be blessed and continues to grow, so do the attacks from the enemy. We have seen very promising teens with so much potential to serve in the church fall into sin. We have seen apathy from many who come through the doors every week, but never come to Christ or never feel the need to grow in the Lord. It‘s not easy. It’s discouraging at times. There have been moments that we have wondered why we continue on, but then the Lord reminds us of all He is doing in the lives of many others who are growing in the Lord. “… let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galations 6:9
Thank you so much for praying. We need it! Thank you so much for giving. God bless each one of you.
Jeff and Ivana Reiner
Dear Ones in Christ,
What a month April has already been. Earlier this month we received a ministry group from our home church; Grace Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The group came to serve in the area of music, preaching and evangelism during the celebration of the Jacumã Congregation’s 11th anniversary.
Now, we knew this group was going to be a blessing and was going to be used of the Lord, but I confess that I underestimated the impact God was going to allow them to have on our family, on the church, and in the community. To God be the glory.
Within hours or their arrival they were already in church bringing the worship both in English and in Portuguese. Jeff Wylde delivered the message to a full church. All were blessed, but things were only getting warmed up.
On Monday night we held an open air meeting on the community’s sports court. The church had been inviting and praying for weeks and God blessed that service with many visitors. The wind that made it hard to read from our Bibles also drove the sound from the large speakers well beyond the many who were there under the lights taking the Gospel into the dark corners of the city where many others listened from their homes.
I have never seen the Jacumã congregation come together and work harder for the glory of God. Once again, the Grace Baptist Church team sang praises and gave testimonies on what God had done in their lives. Jeff once again brought the Word and we saw Christians come forward to pray for God to use them in a greater way. Once again… to God be the glory!
Through the week the ministry team was involved with kids activities and was able to share the Gospel with well over 150 kids. They worked out at the camp on Tuesday. They worshiped with the congregation during our prayer meeting on Wednesday night. The team also played sports with the teens on the court behind our church building. Those teens heard the Gospel again and one young girl made a decision to accept the Lord. Pray for Teresa.
It was a very busy week and one that God used to impact those of us here and those on the team. We walked away tired, but so grateful to the Lord for the things He taught us. Thank you Jeff, Joey, Jessica, Tommy, Tracie, Steve, Wanda, Jared and Kathleen for coming and giving your all! Thank you church and families for letting them come. Thank you, Lord, above all.
Thank you all for continually praying for us. God answers prayer. The work out at camp continues and the workers have been kept safe. The Jacumã congregation continues to grow both in size and in the Lord. We continue to carry on by His grace. Thank you for being a part of it!
Jeff and Ivana Reiner (for the girls)