We recently held our annual youth retreat outside of the city at a camp owned by the mission, called Monte Verde. It went very well. We had 120 youth and adults from the city meet around the theme from Isaiah, "Here I am, send me!" The retreat was completely organized by the youth leaders of our local church and they put something together of great value that will be remembered by many for a long time.
We had worship and a message each morning, free afternoons for play, and worship and a message each evening. The only missionary involvement was a message by Richie on each of us having a call to minister and me sharing a message with the married couples. All the messages were clear and challenging, there were several dramas that communicated powerful messages, the worship was beautiful and God-directed, and the free time was full of fun.
On the last day, we baptized 12 people who had recently given their lives to Jesus. Among them was our 14 y/o Ellie. It was a beautiful, sober time and all seemed to fully appreciate the significance of living with a real sense of forever being "washed" because of what Jesus had done for them. It was such a joy to watch and participate in Ellie’s baptism. She is becoming such a beautiful young woman and it’s becoming more and more apparent that her heart is to walk intimately with Jesus. She seemed thrilled with the experience and the significance of her baptism.
There is an obvious maturity among many in the Vineyard church here in Porto de Moz and this is demonstrated by this outward focus, this desire to have an impact for the Kingdom on their community and beyond. Many left this retreat motivated to love and to invite others freely and boldly into the Kingdom. It was clearly a meeting that involved many potential leaders and it will be neat to watch these leaders walk out God’s call on them.
As missionaries, we are more and more committed to the balance of pouring into these few while still continuing to cast the net for many. Our hearts are being drawn especially to love, support, and equip the local people who will actually do the work of the Kingdom in this region. Please pray for us for wisdom and power in this ministry.