Latest Reports | Xingu Mission

Merry CHRISTmas from the Amazon!

One of the big highlights this last month was having a short term mission team come from Columbus Vineyard.  It is such a treat to have our friends come to work alongside us to reach the people of Brazil.  A majority of the members had been here the year previously.  This is a blessing because like last year they went to Pacajá to walk alongside missionaries Keith and Marsha Wilson.  This is important because the team is continuing to establish more relationships and are laser focused on a certain area.  We refer to this as going narrow and deep.  Narrowly focused to work a majority of their time in Pacajá and each year deepening their relationship with the Brazilians and the team.  We are looking forward to the many more years to come with this team. 
How about you?  Are you interested in coming?  We have many places like Pacajá that would love to have a team come and visit. 

On the way back home the team stopped in Altamira for 2 days.  During those 2 days we had the opportunity for them to come and preach at 2 of our churches.  Pastor Kent Irwin preached at our church, and Patrick Adams preached at the Independente Church.  It was a pleasure to have them share the Word.  In addition, a lot of the English students at our school wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving with the American team.  This was a treat and we had well over 100 people in attendance.  Patrick shared about the meaning of Thanksgiving, and how we should always be thankful to God and one another.  Then we had one of our students read Psalm 136 and then some English students sang “Set a fire”.  Afterwards we sat down with the students and ate a lot of chicken and potatoes while speaking English.  It was really special for the students, and for our team.

TRAVELERS BEWARE:  If you come to our house and it is your birthday.  This is what happens….A Brazilian tradition.  Smash eggs over head, and then throw flour into the face.  Betsy was a great sport.  Elba and the girls are ruthless and it is just a matter of time before they get you.   Elba got caught in the crossfire.  Please do not let this discourage you from coming and visiting. 

As the song goes “It is starting to look a lot like Christmas….WAIT…ok, let’s start over.  It is starting to FEEL a little bit like Christmas.  It is never the same here as it is in the States.  This may be a good thing in the sense of all the hurry around and such.  We try our best to get into the season and we just put up our tree with a few lights.  We are definitely far from the norm here in Altamira because the majority does nothing.  Here are some pictures when we were in the big city of Belém (which means Bethlehem).  We even saw santa. 

Again, Merry CHRISTmas and may our Lord Jesus richly bless you. 

Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa


Tax deductible donations can be written and sent to:

Please click the donate button to make a secured on-line donation:

Powered by WPeMatico

December 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and support. They have been greatly appreciated.

Denise and I have been back in Brazil for almost 2 months now and it has been a whirlwind of activity. We wanted to take a minute to catch everyone up on what’s been going on here!

We enjoyed our annual Missionary Care Retreat with the rest of the Xingu Mission missionaries. Our guest speakers this year were Bill and Dotty Christensen from the Columbus Vineyard. We really like Bill and Dotty and thoroughly enjoyed the activities they led us in. And as always, we had a blast hanging out with everyone!

From our retreat

We moved into a new house! We feel so blessed that we were able to find this house. Because our church plant is starting in our new home, there were a few things that we knew would be necessities, primarily a location close to downtown and a good distance from the existing Macapá Vineyard. We also were looking for a home with enough open room space to function well for our beginning church plant. We feel like this house just fell into our lap and couldn’t be any happier.

Our new home

This past week we had the first service of our new church plant. Everyone was so excited to get started and the night was great. The Holy Spirit’s presence was tangible all evening. We all really felt like this was the start of something special.

Our new church plant

Denise and I are becoming more and more excited for our baby to arrive! It’s definitely surreal knowing that a baby is growing inside of my wife! Denise was able to find a good doctor and the pregnancy is going well.



Please pray:

1) For growth and health of our new church plant, and for relational connections in our new neighborhood.

2) That the Lord would continue to bless the Macapá Vineyard.

3) Good health for Denise and our baby.

We miss being home for the holidays – it is still such an adjustment to be away from family and friends in the U.S. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!

Thanks so much for your love and support. We love hearing from you!

In His Service,

Christopher & Denise

Contribution link:

Powered by WPeMatico


Happy Thanksgiving from the Amazon!!!

Happy Thanksgiving.  One thing for sure is that we are so thankful for you and to God for bringing you into our lives.  You are a blessing, and we are very grateful that you are on our team as we continue to do the good work that the Lord has lead you and us to accomplish in Brazil.  Be blessed with the below email.

Bill and Dotty Christensen came to lead our missionary care retreat.  They were missionaries in Morocco, North Africa for 11 years and now Bill serves as the International ministries Pastor at Columbus Vineyard.  It was so nice to have them come and speak with us and lead us in reflective and spiritual care for our team.  It was helpful to have a former missionary leading us because he understands the daily challenges that exist for our international missionary team.  In addition, it was just great to be with one another again.  We all live scattered throughout Brazil and we have developed great relationships among our group.  We pray that we can continue to keep doing this once per year and that our missionaries will always be cared for in a deep and meaningful way.  Below is a picture of our XM family.  Unfortunately, Art and Cyndi Rae were back in Canada and unable to attend. 

Before the missionary care retreat, Phil Snell (in the middle with blue shirt) challenged all the men missionaries to grow a goatee.  I have never grown facial hair in my life and I did not want to participate.  However, I went ahead and did it anyway.  The process was horrible.  The girls and I were planning on ways that I could win the competition.  I needed a competitive edge….this is what we came up with.  In the end, we all won the various aspects of the competition.  It was such a relief to shave this off.   


Bill and Dotty Christensen, and Craig and Linda Heselton came to Altamira and then to Pacajá before going to our missionary care retreat.  In Altamira, we had a leadership meeting for the church and Bill shared some words to churches leadership group.  Then we had a powerful time of prayers and the Holy Spirit made His presence known.  The next day they drove 250km to Pacajá to be with the church and Keith and Marsha Wilson.  Craig was asked to lead a Holy Spirit night for the church.  As a part of training and trying to discern the voice of God, Craig asked a man to come up and stand before the congregation.  He then prayed, and asked the congregation if the Lord was speaking to them about this man.  God showed up and spoke with many in the congregation about the man’s situation and state.  It was so reassuring because even if we are walking through hard times and not feeling God’s presence, it does not mean that He is not with us. 

Praise the Lord!!! The girls continue to do well.  At Camilly and Alyssa’s school they put together some re-enactments of Jesus’ life.  Camilly’s class was responsible for the bible story where Jesus turns the water to wine.  In the play, Camilly played the bride.  She did a great job, but I soon found out when I watched the play that I am not even close to being prepared for my daughter to get married.  Alyssa is starting to play American flag football.  As a part of an outreach to reach the youth to Christ, our missionaries Ronã and Allison Moura started playing flag football and it has been very fun to watch and participate.  It is really taking off as an evangelical project. 


Please also continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.  

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa

Tax deductible donations can be written and sent to:

Please click the donate button to make a secured on-line donation:

This big guy was right outside our window during our missionary care meetings. 

Powered by WPeMatico


Home For The Holidays, Beach Church and Film Crew

We’ll Be Home For Christmas!

We Are Dreaming of a White Christmas!
We are coming to Ontario for Christmas!  Now that our kids are in school, furloughs will need to line up with our kids’ school holidays, and in Brazil the school year ends in December.   We are cold just thinking about it and you may see us wearing ‘suvets’ (see photo) to keep warm! But we are also very excited to spend Christmas with our friends and family.  Being Canadian, a warm snowless Christmas always feels a bit odd. 

We are looking to connect with as many of you as possible while we are back but due to our limited time (7 weeks) we will be trying to do some group gatherings as well as one on ones.

We will be sharing at the Cambridge Vineyard Sunday December 10 just two days after we land.  We will be the ones with our teeth chattering!  We will also be having a lasagna lunch after the service for all of you who have supported us financially and in prayer and for those of you who want to hear more and maybe even join the team, we will be there to eat, talk and hug you all.  

In addition to lunch we will be holding a silent auction  with some lovely items from the tourist market here that would make great Christmas presents and will help us to update some of our limping technology.  If you can help by making a lasagna or caesar salad or garlic bread please get in touch!
We are also in need of a car to borrow during our time in Canada to facilitate all the visiting we will need to do.  If you have a car available for all or part of the time we are in Canada (Dec 8-Feb 4) please let us know!
If you are part of a church or small group, please let us know how we can share at your gathering.  It has been an incredible year full of stories and we would love to share them with you!
We hope to see you at one of these gatherings or contact us to set up a time to chat!

Quick Look At Snell Christmas Schedule:


  • December 10-Speaking at Cambridge Vineyard followed by Lasagna lunch and silent auction
  • December 12-15- Vineyard ‘Genius Bar’ Kelowna B.C. (with national Vineyard leaders David and Anita Ruis)
  • January 12-14 -Ohio- Vineyard Church of Delaware County (VCDC)    
  • January 21-Living Water Christian Fellowship, New Hamburg
  • January 28- Mapleview Mennonite Church, Wellesley

Church on the Beach

Early on when we started this ministry with the women in prostitution, as we prayed for wisdom, next steps and basically ‘what do we do God!’ he showed me a picture of a tent on the beach, laying out all the details for us.  It was to be white, with three sides closed in, a carpet on the floor, flowers and music.  We were to create another environment entirely different from the street where we normally pray.
The three sides were to be closed in so that their only view was of the beach in front of them, away from curious eyes.  We are so often stared at as we pray for and with these women that I no longer even notice it.  
We found the materials and began to plan when we would do it, talking to the girls about it and handing out invitations.
The day of the event felt like the first day we went to pray for them, we had no idea what to expect.  Would anyone turn up?  
As it turned out, 5 of the girls turned up early, a very rare thing in Brazil!  We weren’t completely set up so we had to ask them to come back.
When we were fully ready they came back, entered the tent and sat down.  I handed each of them a small card I had written up that said we are all hurting, broken in some way and that the world puts labels on us but that we have another identity in Christ.  I asked that they close their eyes and ask Jesus to show them how he sees them while I washed their feet.
Earlier that week both Phil and I had suffered from a major crisis in our spine, him in his lower back and me in my neck.  I was awake at night because of the pain.  When the day came for Phil and I to go pray he asked if I still wanted to go and I said without a doubt, yes!  I wanted to take the opportunity for the girls to pray for me.
As it turned out only one of the girls was there, she asked how we were and I said ‘mais ou menos’ which means, ‘so-so’ I explained what was going on with my neck and asked if she would pray for me this time.  Her eyes got wide and then she looked at the ground and said, ‘oh, I don’t know…’ her voice trailing off.  
I looked her in the eyes and asked if she had given her life to Jesus before.  She said she had.  I explained to her that she had the same authority in Christ to pray for me as I did for her, that we were no different.  Jesus told his disciples that they would do everything and he did and more, and that means her too.
She agreed to try.  I told her to put her hands on my neck and just simply tell the pain and inflammation to go in Jesus name.  She did and I felt a warm sensation run through my neck.  I also felt I heard the Lord say that he had given her a gift of healing.  Afterwards I tested it out, the pain had diminished slightly. I encouraged her that sometimes we are healed completely and instantly and sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it doesn’t happen.  But what is important is that we try.  I also told her what I thought I heard.  A smile crept across her face and she said, ‘that’s not the first time I’ve heard that.  Another missionary in a church prayed over me once and told me that God gave me a gift of healing.
The next morn I woke up and my pain had almost completely disappeared.  I messaged one of the other girls and asked her to tell the girl who prayed for me what happened.
Back to the beach church.  
As I was washing the girls feet, behind me was the girl who had prayed for my neck.  She was quietly sobbing as she read the Father’s Love Letter.  I made my way around the chairs praying and washing their feet and finally came to her.  After I washed her feet I asked her what was going on.  She said she felt as though God was pursuing her, that she had once been very close to Him had been baptized in the spirit, spoken in tongues and other experiences but now, because of her shame she is afraid to face him.  The other girls began to encourage her and she then started to passionately talk about how this life they are living isn’t pleasing to God, that they need to get out, that she would rather sell food on the beach than her own body.  She had been to church the week before with her mother and she said she felt as though the sermon was directed at her, she said she could barely lift her head because she felt as though she would see the face of God and her shame was so heavy she couldn’t do it.
I spoke to her about the fear, that it is a tool of the enemy to keep us far from God and that her sins are no different from my sins, that not one of us is perfect and capable of living a sin free life, the only one who ever did that was Jesus and then he paid for all our sins when he died for us, so that we could be free.  The important thing is that we recognize that we are not perfect and always lean on the only one who can free us.
One of the girls then suggested we all stand and pray together, we held hands and asked God to show them what he created them for, how they can leave the life they don’t want to live, that he would fill all of them with his unconditional love, that they could all feel that they are loved no matter what they have done, they can always turn to their father.
To say Phil and I were overwhelmed would be an understatement.  In such a short time we have come to love these women and feel privileged that God has invited us in to what He is in the midst of doing.
We are now working on how we can begin to help these women takes steps forward to a new life. Explaining to them that the change will not be fast, but that in the end it will definitely be worth it.
This is just one of the stories that have come out of this ministry this month.  There are so many more and we look forward to sharing them with you or  your small group or congregation while we are back in Canada.

Documentary in the Making

Creative Impact Ministries is comprised of an American couple and their son, making documentaries to help missionaries tell their stories.  This month we were blessed to have them with us for six days, filming interviews with us and documenting our story as missionaries.

  It was a fun, busy few days and we are looking very forward to seeing the final product!

In the mean time, you can watch this scene…we might have had a little too much fun with them!

Phil and Jen star in…..Not Again!

Powered by WPeMatico


Celebration Supper

Fabio and Geice are group people. When I picked them up to come over for pizza and baked potatoes we drove around and picked up other family and friends, and even a neighbour kid who was standing in his driveway and watching them get into our car. Like my mom says, “You can’t have a party without people!” 

We were trying to stretch the pizza dough out by hand. Finally I remembered the rolling pin. I think it was the first time Gleice (Geice’s sister) had ever used one. “Hey, this thing works really well! I am going to get myself something like this.”

We made another jug full of icy mango nectar.

Pineapple bacon pizza, mushroom bacon pizza, cheese bacon pizza, sugar and cinnamon pizza, baked potatoes with bacon, butter, yogurt, and fried corn, pineapple and pieces of sweet guava dessert with giant toothpicks . . . it was feeling a lot like Christmas at our house on Thursday night.

Huge pretzels and rock salt from the leftover pizza dough.

I used the embers of the pizza fire to roast up a pumpkin, which I snacked on all week.

Powered by WPeMatico


Springtime in Johannesburg

South Africa appears more violent than Brazil. I don’t know about this statistically but I observed a whole different level of property protection. The Bible School where we had the AVLN conference was surrounded by two fences, about half a meter apart. The outside fence is chain-link with razor-wire at the top. The inside fence is 20 rows of electric wire that go right down to the ground.

I went for a walk down the road a couple of miles. Properties are all highly protected with double fences or high walls. Some also have a Neighborhood Watch type of service claiming a 5-minute armed-guard response to breakins. I asked a local about this and he said that the countryside used to be where wealthier people lived, but now they prefer gated communities because these acreages are too dangerous.

Powered by WPeMatico


Bergen Family

Dad had chest pains last Sunday morning. The ambulance showed up in 5 minutes, and he spent much of the week in the hospital. Thankfully he is home again and doing well.

Emma, Via, Anni, and Bella in church Sunday morning. My cousin sent me this candid photo.

Powered by WPeMatico


Church Planting Lessons

Ghibeau is the editor of a peer-learning community of people who are launching Disciple Making Movements. They define a Disciple Making Movement as a group who are planting 100 new churches every 2-3 years, with groups starting groups down to at least 4 generations.

We met for lunch with Ghibeau while we were in Johannesburg. I asked Ghibeau if he meant 100 new groups, or 100 new churches, and he responded like this. “Sustainability is the key thing. It has to be a sustainable, growing movement. So what do you think would help your group be the most sustainable?”

This diagram can be found at

Jesus came as a mentor. Some of us are in mentor roles. We send out TEAMS of two to find People of Peace, to start GROUPS. These groups need to form into GATHERINGS to remain alive. The GROUPS themselves will fizzle out if they are not formed into GATHERINGS (churches). These GATHERINGS are groups of people who are obedient to God’s Word (instant obedience) and they tell their friends (rapid multiplication). The GATHERINGS become resource centers who send out TEAMS that start GROUPS. The process is not strictly circular. For examples, GATHERINGS can start GROUPS or GROUPS can send out TEAMS.

The important thing about this diagram is the importance of church-planting for long-term sustainability. This is our conviction in Brazil. Healthy churches transform communities and last for generations. Our best hope to help the underprivileged is to start healthy churches in their neighbourhoods.

Powered by WPeMatico


Overcoming Fear

Hi everybody, this is Ronã.

I’m very excited to meet all of you next year. Yeah! That’s right, we are going to America in February! That’s awesome!

Until then, I want to talk about one challenge I’m overcoming during this time—The fear of evangelism.

Don’t misunderstand. It’s not that I am ashamed of Christ. It’s not that at all. I love to talk about Jesus with my friends. It’s about the fear of people’s response. I’ve shared the gospel with some people, but they didn’t receive it, or they ignored me, or they denied what I said. It really affected my confidence, and I started thinking that I’m not good at this (evangelism). That’s not my gift.

Although, as you know, evangelism isn’t an option. We all have the call to evangelize. Jesus’ last words on earth were a command to evangelize and make disciples. For Him to spend His last minutes with us telling us to evangelize shows its importance to the church.

So, I had to find a way to overcome this fear. I’ve overcome other fears before. When I was learning English, I was afraid that I would make mistakes when I spoke to someone. However, I knew that if I didn’t try, I would never be able to speak. The same happened when I started to teach. My hands would shake. I was afraid that my students wouldn’t like me or I wouldn’t do a good job. But I knew that if didn’t get into the classroom, I would never be able to improve. The same goes for evangelism. If I don’t practice it, I will never be able to see its fruit.

So I started praying that the Lord would give me opportunities, boldness, and the capacity to evangelize. I started seeing His answer when I took the last quarter of VI. One of the courses available was Evangelism and Discipleship. I knew that’s the one I needed the most, so I chose it and it was a blessing.

If I could summarize what I learned in one sentence, it would be this sentence:

Do what you love with people who don’t know Christ”.

We all have things we love to do, and our hobbies can be excellent tools for the gospel. In my case, I love to draw and play sports (even though I’m not good at them). So I started to offer some digital drawing lessons to some people at CDR, and also playing Flag Football with others in a field next to our house. The result is that now I’m connected to around 6 new people so far. People that I can offer my friendship, knowledge and help.
Amanda’s Drawing Character

Flag Football on Saturday.

Every Saturday more people come to the flag football, and they bring their friends. Our plan is to invite them to an Alpha group in December. Pray for us.

A few points I’d like to highlight:

l  Sometimes we spend all our time doing church things (that’s not bad), but we end up just being around Christians all the time. It becomes hard to connect with others. The worship team currently has 4 piano players, so I asked for a break. This has allowed me to have more time to focus on these “outside” projects.

l  Community evangelism. I haven’t been doing these projects by myself. Amazing people have helped me so much, and I’m really glad God sent them. So if you want to evangelize, consider doing it with your friends. That’s encouraging.

l  The VI course really gave me a new excitement for evangelism, and if you feel the same, I would recommend you take it or read the books contained in it. They are: Re-imaging evangelism by Rick Richardson and 3D gospel by Jason Georges.

To finish I want to share an amazing week I had with two missionaries in a close city. Dean and Larry have been doing a teaching training with the 1stBaptist Church of Anapu for two years. They’re blessing that church very much. I’m glad I was able to be part of that. Guess what was Larry’s lesson in this module—Evangelism!

Interpreting Dean. He taught about Christian Doctrines.     
People say you understand better when the interpreter acts like the foreigner.

Interpreting Larry. He reminded me that God is the one who
draws people. So don’t feel discouraged or that you fail when
sharing the gospel. 
 As always, we want to thank you for your constant support of our work here in Brazil!
Love, Ronã and Allison

Powered by WPeMatico