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May 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

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

This past month has been great for Denise and me – and we have an extremely exciting month coming up! I just wanted to take a moment and share a few highlights.

We just returned from a pastor’s retreat that took place in Altamira. It was a wonderful time catching up and connecting with the Vineyard pastors from northern Brazil!

On our way to Altamira on a boat. This is Pastor Felipe’s son, Davi, with me.

This is a view from the room we were in on the boat.

The Amazon from the boat.

A couple pictures from the pastor’s retreat.



Denise with some amazing women of God at the pastor’s retreat. From the left: Elba (one of Brazil’s National Leaders & pastor in Altamira), Marsha (missionary & pastor in Pacajá), Mônica (pastor in Marabá), Denise, and Deanna (missionary & pastor in Marabá).

Again, we have some huge things coming up! We have a team from Vineyard Church of Delaware County (my home church) arriving here in Macapá in less than 2 weeks. We are in full “GO MODE” trying to get all the details worked out for the team. Before we started hosting these short term teams, we really had no idea the amount of work that goes into hosting a team. Transportation, food, sleeping arrangements, fun activities, and most importantly, ministry all needs to be worked out beforehand. It is a lot of work, but it is very enjoyable work. We absolutely can’t wait for the team to arrive!

Last year’s Vineyard Church of Delaware County team.

One week after the team leaves, we will be headed to the States for our furlough! It has been 3 years since we have been back and we cannot wait. It has been so long since I’ve been able to see most of my family and friends. We are very excited to catch up with many of you!

If you would like to get together or have us visit your church or home group, please contact us through email so we can try and set that up. We would love to see as many of you as possible.

Prayer Requests:

  • Grace as we make final plans for the VCDC team and prepare for our furlough.
  • Wisdom and protection as we travel.
  • A fruitful time of refreshment, encouragement and connections during our visit to the States.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. We look forward to seeing many of you soon!

In His Service,

Christopher & Denise

Link for contributions: https://xingu.org/opportunities/giving/meyer-ministries/

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5
May

9 Months and Counting

Hello to Our Beautiful Friends and Supporters!

It’s always a pleasure to update you all on the latest news from the Amazon. I hope you are enjoying the Spring as it opens its doors to you. I must admit, it is easy to forget about seasons living in a climate that doesn’t change much throughout the year. Luckily, I have facebook pictures and posts to remind me of what you all are experiencing. I remember the freshness of Spring and that feeling of freedom after a long winter.
Well, I am officially 9 months pregnant, but as turns out, pregnancy is actually a little longer than that. My due date is May 23rd, but things could happen any day now. I am simply waiting….and waiting…for this baby to come out! I feel both a lot of anticipation and discomfort. Anticipation at holding for the first time my little baby boy, and discomfort because I am carrying around a bowling ball in my stomach…lol! Please, pray that everything goes as planned.
Last month on April 23rd, Ronã and I celebrated our one anniversary. A friend of ours invited us to spend the day at a local club that has a pool, and later that evening, we enjoyed a dinner out. Our first year has brought many challenges and adjustments, but we both feel grateful for how the grace of God has carried us through each of them. And now, we both get to welcome this new gift of a son into our lives. We feel so blessed in so many ways.

Out to Dinner

A day at the club
Last weekend, we held a Living Waters retreat for those who had already completed the 16 week course. For those of you who don’t know, Living Waters is a healing care program that I have been apart of, along with a few other missionaries, since coming back to Altamira last year. For the retreat, we were able to help the participants continue on the journey of healing in their lives. I taught one session on addictions, helping them to understand the nature of addiction and how we can overcome it with the help of God and others. All the teachings throughout the weekend were powerful, and many people were touched in deep places by the presence of God. It was a privilege to be apart of it. 
Cyndi Rae praying for me

On an individual bases, I am continuing to work with several women as they try to overcome some difficult problems of their lives. I can’t tell you how amazing and rewarding it is to watch them grow. I see them start to view God and themselves in a new light. I see them receive victory and peace in ways that they thought were impossible. I see them act courageously in areas that they once had so much fear. It is truly a pleasure. 
This weekend, I am going to start a breakfast small group, and I am inviting many of these women to participate. My hope for the group is that these women will continue to grow as they share their hearts with others in a safe setting. Unfortunately, many of the women are so captured by their shame that they rarely risk exposing their problems to others. I want to use the group as a place for them to break their silence and find acceptance and encouragement among others. Please, pray for these women and for the success of the group.  
Thank you again for all of your support, both financially and spiritually. Your faith in how God is using us here in Brazil gives us a lot of encouragement. I pray a blessing over all of you, asking that God would reveal the depth of his love for you. I pray that you would know in the deep places of your heart that his presence always surrounds you, even when it feels like he is far away. He is always watching you, seeking after you, and going ahead of you. You are not alone. 
If you are interested in donating to us, please follow the link below:
Love, Allison and Ronã Moura

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March 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends & Family,

Thank you for your prayers and support. Denise and I greatly appreciate them!

Denise and I have had an exciting month! One thing that was a blast was Macapá Vineyard’s yearly youth conference called Cristoval. This year we had our good friends and fellow missionaries Richie and Christie Bouthillier as our guest speakers. They are from a small city named Portel which is about an 18 hour boat ride from Macapá. Over the last year there have been many discussions between us about trying to unite the two bases. Richie and his son Hezekiah visited Macapá a few months back and our church instantly fell in love with them. It was an obvious choice to have Richie and Christie as speakers this year. They did such an awesome job and many lives where changed.

Cristoval has a special place in Denise’s and my heart. Our first trip to Macapá was two years ago as the guest speakers of Cristoval. At that point Macapá wasn’t even in our mental hemisphere when it came to a place to live, but God had other plans. About six months after our first visit, we were on our way to Macapá! In the last two years we have seen God do many amazing things. One example of this is the increase in our youth ministry. The Cristoval two years ago had about 15 people in attendance, last year’s event had about 45, and this year’s Cristoval had just short of 90! It has been such a pleasure being involved in this process and seeing God at work.

This is a group photo of Cristoval from two years ago when we first visited.

This is a group photo from this year’s Cristoval.

More from Cristoval


When talking to Richie about the possibility of he and Christie coming for Cristoval, it was decided that following the conference Denise and I would return with them to Portel to do some training in their church. Years ago I heard a friend and fellow pastor, Jay Pathak, say that whenever he is invited to go and speak at another church he tries to find something in return to bless his own church. I discussed this idea with Richie when inviting him to Cristoval. We agreed this would be good because it is always hard for a pastor to be away from his church, but much easier when you know there will be a blessing returned to your own church.

New church building in Portel

Denise and me with the Portel worship team

While in Portel we did some training with their leaders, spoke at small groups, Denise did some vocal training, and I preached at their Sunday service. Richie really wanted us to focus on interacting with the Holy Spirit, so I made that the theme of the week. Any chance I got, it was the Holy Spirit I was talking about. Throughout the week it was awesome to see how the Holy Spirit showed up and did some really cool things.

Leadership training on Richie & Christie’s boat


Prayer Requests:

1) As you recall from last month’s newsletter, Denise and I are planting a second Vineyard in Macapá. Please pray for continued wisdom as we seek the Lord and make plans.

2) Pray for the Lord to be in our planning with short-term mission teams and visitors who come to stay with us.

3) Pray for wisdom and protection through this busy season and the upcoming changes.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. We always love to hear from you.

In His Service,

Christopher & Denise

Link for contributions: https://xingu.org/opportunities/giving/meyer-ministries/

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18
Mar

March Amazon Update!

Thank you so much for your prayers for our Cristoval event that took place during Carnival.  As I mentioned in our last update, Carnival is Brazil’s annual “celebration of the flesh” before the initiation of Lent on the Catholic calendar.  It’s a week-long party where “anything goes” and every city in the country shuts down allowing full participation by the people.  The Vineyard churches began “Cristoval”, a retreat for youth, away from the city, with a focus on Jesus and having a lot of good clean fun.  It has been a great success throughout the years, drawing kids toward Jesus and allowing an alternative during Carnival. 
This year we brought in Jim Anderson and his team from Life-line ministries.  Jim and the team, Jason and Sean, shared from principles from Jim’s book called “Unmasked: exposing the cultural sexual assault”.  This is such a great topic in this culture which is sexually charged and there does not appear to be many boundaries.  It is also very timely because of its complete contradiction of Carnival and the sexual temptations that lures so many to having a sexual relationship outside of God’s will and purpose.  Jim shared from his book the revelations about:

·         God’s gift of sexuality

·         The heart of a woman

·         God’s true design for men and women

·         How to be “men of honor” and “princesses of God” and to walk in the beauty of His creation. 

It was really powerful in the lives of the hundreds of youth that participated in the conference.  Even though it poured down rain a lot of the time, nothing was getting in the way of these youth getting to know Jesus more and His good plan for their lives. 

In order to accommodate the hundreds of youth at the camp.  They all sleep in hammocks.  They also played a lot of soccer and volleyball. 

As a follow-up.  Jim and his team preached at our church to the parents and pastors of the youth that were or were not participating in Cristoval.  This was key so that when the youth came back to their homes and their normal day to day life the parents would have a better understanding of what they were taught and then reinforce those Biblical truths on a daily basis.  They focused on:

·         A father’s role in protecting his daughters and training his sons in the ways of the Lord

·         A call to pastors and leaders to identify, confront, and tear down the worship of the sex gods in the culture and create a culture in the church to train God’s people in purity and His ways in relationships. 

On a personal note a statement that struck me during the conference was “I am not living for a feeling but am living for God”.  It struck me because sometimes I live with the notion that if it feels right, it must be God.  However, that can be far from the truth.  Just a good reminder how we must seek God’s will and desires outside of if it feels good or not. 

The girls are doing well and are back in school.  Since they missed some school due to our time in the States they had to cram to get caught up.  They just finished all their tests and praise the Lord they did amazingly well.  We are so grateful, and so are they.  Here is a picture of the girls playing with Sean’s hair.  They had a lot of fun with the team. 

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:

The Xingu Mission

P.O Box 340785

Columbus, Ohio  43234

Or On-line donations at:

Jim and his team really wanted to see a tarantula.  It did not take long to find many along the ground burrowed in their holes.  Then we found this monster in the tree. 

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2
Mar

Living in Abundance

Hello to All of Our Amazing Friends and Supporters!

First of all, I just want to say how much I enjoyed being able to spend time with so many of you during my visit last month! It was very refreshing to my soul just to be home and in familiar places with loving faces surrounding me. Thank you all so much for being so welcoming to me!
Also, I want to especially thank all of you for your incredible generosity! I had 2 baby showers while I was there and received so many gifts to help in Oliver’s first year of life. One friend gave me a lot of maternity clothes that she had used while she was pregnant. Another wonderful couple allowed me to borrow their car while I was there which made my trip so much easier. And many of you gave so generously that Ronã and I have been able to buy a few new, much needed appliances, and we are in the process of looking for a car!
(That means we won’t have to drive Oliver around on a motorcycle 😃)

Opening Presents for Oliver

Baby Shower with Family

While there, I also had the wonderful opportunity to share at Vineyard Tuttle Crossing about what is happening here in Brazil. I shared about the struggles of the Brazilian people and how God is working to bring healing and restoration to many. Ronã and I was so grateful to be even a small piece of God’s plan to bring his abundant life of grace and love to Brazil. If you would like to listen to that message, you can follow the link provided below.

Sharing at Vineyard Tuttle Crossing
The church surrounding me in prayer

Message @ VTC

Upon arriving back to Brazil, I had the privilege of attending a conference held by our local Vineyard churches. They invited a group from LifeLine Ministries ( https://www.facebook.com/lifelineministriesJimAnderson/ ) to come and speak to both our families and our youth during the annual festival of Carnaval. What an incredible time in the presence of God!

As I explained in my message at Vineyard Tuttle Crossing, there are a lot of broken families in our region. So many of the people that we work with had very troubling family environments growing up, and of course, they bring the traumas and wounds from the past into the present. Many have problems in their current families because of it. This conference spoke directly to those wounds and gave hope for a different future. It was so awesome to watch God move among so many families in our churches. It was an answer to our prayers, and we will continue to pray for God’s healing work. Please join us in praying for the healing restoration of Brazilian families! Below is another link to a short video of the conference.
Family Conference

Over the next few months, Ronã and I will continue to prepare for Oliver’s arrival at the end of May. Ronã is continuing to teach English and help out with our worship team. I will begin to meet again with the women that I counsel, as well as look for new opportunities to help those struggling with addictions and trauma.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and donations. We could not be here without you!

Prayer Needs:
A visa for Ronã
A healthy pregnancy
A reliable and affordable car
Increase in monthly support

Donate

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22
Feb

February Amazon Update!

We made it back safely to Brazil and appreciate greatly all of your prayers.  We wish we could thank everyone personally for their prayers, friendship, support, and love while we were back.  It was truly a wonderful experience, and unfortunately the time went by so quickly.  We wish we were able to see more of our family and friends while we were back but the constraint of time makes it a huge challenge. 

We were very grateful to be able to see most of our family and friends, and have the opportunity to share at their churches.  It was a real pleasure getting to see our old friends, and making some new friends along the way.  Below are some pictures of Elba preaching.  She was very busy as she had the honor of sharing at The Vineyard Community church in Pickerington / Reynoldsburg, Madison County Vineyard and New Hope Vineyard Church.  Plus, she had a great time sharing at the Vineyard Church of Delaware County woman’s meeting, and then finally she was the key note speaker at the Vineyard Columbus woman’s conference.  Praise the Lord, the Spirit was alive at each of these churches and events. 

 

We are coming back running as the churches are preparing their Cristoval celebration this week.  Carnival is Brazil’s annual “celebration of the flesh” before the initiation of Lent on the Catholic calendar.  It’s a week- long party where “anything goes” and every city in the country shuts down allowing full participation by the people.  The Vineyard churches began “Cristoval”, a retreat for youth, away from the city, with a focus on Jesus and having a lot of good clean fun.  It has been a great success throughout the years, drawing kids toward Jesus and allowing an alternative during Carnival.  Here in Altamira, we will be having Jim Anderson and his team come and speak about his book “Unmasked: exposing the cultural sexual assault”.  We are expecting the Holy Spirit to show up in a great way and the participants will respond by changing a culture.  Please keep us, and all the churches in your prayers. 

We were also able to get away for a little bit of time before coming back to Brazil.  We got the opportunity to go to the Creation Museum, The Ark, and then spent the rest of our time in Fort Myers.  The girls loved swimming every day, playing putt-putt, and going bowling.  They also loved the food…so did we.  Camilly’s favorite food was a bacon cheeseburger, and Alyssa loved tacos with meat, cheese and sour cream. 

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

Much love, Steve, Elba, Camilly, and Alyssa

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Tax deductible donations can be written and sent to:

The Xingu Mission

P.O Box 340785

Columbus, Ohio  43234

Or On-line donations at:

Here is Camilly at COSI experiencing static electricity first hand.   Alyssa tamed this wild horse as they rode off in the sunset. 

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February 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and support. They are always so greatly appreciated.

After all our visitors and the busyness of the Christmas season, Denise and I were happy to get back into our “normal” routine. When we say “normal” we say that very loosely because our “normal” is in a season of change. Our day to day tasks are constantly evolving because of some big things coming up in our life.

The next year is going to be fun but wild to say the least. J We have a number of visitors coming to stay with us over the next few months including fellow missionaries Bob Lesher, and Richie and Christie Bouthillier. We also have a trip planned to do some ministry training in Portel, we have a pastor’s retreat in Altamira, and a wedding in São Paulo. We will be receiving a short-term mission team from my home church at the end of May and directly after that we will be heading to the United States for our first furlough in 3 years.

Bob Lesher (who is visiting)

As I’ve stated in past newsletters, probably the biggest thing coming up this year is that we will be sent out by our church to plant a second Vineyard here in Macapá. This has definitely shaped and affected our recent routine more than anything. There is a bit of a balancing act between our current work with Vineyard Macapá and our work and preparation with the upcoming church plant. We are fully committed to helping stabilize and prepare our present church for our upcoming departure and at the same time committed to planting seeds for the new church.

Some ladies from church

Some guys from church

Our home group

Over the last month we have begun to make new connections with people living in the area where we plan to plant our church. A while back we met two brothers named Mateus and André. Both Mateus and André have a desire to be involved in the Vineyard, but because they live on the opposite side of town, the distance has been too difficult. Several weeks ago we started meeting with them at a location close to their house on a weekly basis, and the plan is that our first small group will be in that area. We also recently met a couple who have pastoral experience, but are new in Macapá and haven’t found a church home yet. This week they told us that they felt like God put Denise and I in their lives to mentor and disciple them. We will also be meeting with them weekly and our hope is to start a small group with them as well.

Two brothers Andre and Mateus. We will try to get a small group started at their house.

Visiting a family who live close to where we will plant. Will hopefully get a small group started at their house.

It’s a very exciting time, but also a time of trial and error. Much of this is new to us and the process can feel extremely slow at times. We feel God is directing us to make the process simple and to not overcomplicate it. We feel that if we can get to know some new people and start a few small groups in this new area, it will put us in a good position when we return from the States and are ready to plant.

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for increasing relational bridges in the area of Macapá where we plan to church plant.
  • Pray for the Macapá Vineyard and their leadership team as we move toward planting.
  • Pray for our ability to be good hosts as visitors come and go.
  • Pray for wisdom and protection through this busy season and the upcoming changes.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. We always love to hear from you.

In His Service,

Christopher & Denise

Link for contributions: https://xingu.org/opportunities/giving/meyer-ministries/

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New Years Dance

2015

Emma and the Dance Group presented this special gift on New Years Eve, 2014/2015.

Emma’s Dance Group on New Years Eve, in Maraba.

 

 

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28
Jan

Letting Him Lead-Finding Our Home

One Saturday morning in Canada shortly before we came back to Brazil, I was leafing through flyers minding my own business when I saw a picture of a golden retriever.  For those who know us well, wed are often comparing ourselves to those overly friendly extroverted dogs.

But we also really want one and it represents home to me and to my kids who’s only ever house that felt like home had a golden retriever in it.

At that moment as I looked at the golden retriever in front of a cage I felt the Lord say, ‘so when you get to Joao Pessoa, you’re going to find a house that looks pretty great early on.  But, it’s not the house I have for you so don’t rush it, wait on me’.

Okay.

I told Phil and then forgot all about it.

Two weeks into our time here, and the fourth house we looked at-we were in love!  It was clean, bright, had an extra bedroom for visitors, a bit of space outside, great location.  We were ready to rent it.

The next morning we had an appointment to see it again.  I woke up feeling uneasy and couldn’t figure out why.  So, I said, ‘what’s up Jesus, why do I feel like this?’

That’s when he reminded me what he had told me when I was looking at the flyer.

Seriously?  But this house is PERFECT.  It has EVERYTHING!

But I have something better.

I told Phil, his shoulders sloped and he sighed, ‘Really?’

So, we didn’t rent it.  For the next week or so there was NOTHING new on the market.  We started to panic a little, what if I heard wrong?

But, everything in me told me not to rent it.  Trust, wait, He has something better.

Finally, one day as I was obsessively looking on the Brazilian version of Kijiji a house appeared I hadn’t seen before, a new listing.

The initial picture had two large dogs that looked like golden retrievers in the drive way.

IT’S A SIGN!  I joked, sort of.

I read the description, 3 bedrooms, and an ‘annex’.  I made an appointment to see it at the earliest opportunity.

The minute we walked through the gates and into the house we were all sold on it.  It had so much outside space, which is nearly impossible find here.  There was also the annex, which had a garage below for all of Phil’s fiddlings, and above a full bedroom with ensuite for visitors.  Separate from our own house for the visitors privacy and ours.

We really want our house to somewhere that pastors, missionaries and family and friends can come to find rest.

This place was just that.

Now that we are moved in, I am reminded every day that waiting on what God has for us is ALWAYS  better.  Jesus always has what’s best for us, even when it doesn’t look like it.

We just have to be willing to wait…..and that my friends is the hardest part.

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Can You Give Your Yes?

This past Sunday we had the opportunity to share with our home church about what we feel God has placed on our hearts.  I felt strongly leading up to our talk that this was supposed to be something other than a slideshow and stories from the Amazon.  I felt God pressing on my heart that He wanted people to examine their hearts for the areas they haven’t let him in, the ‘dirty closets’ they preferred to keep closed.  
The worship left Phil and I undone as it spoke exactly of the message we felt pressed to share with our church family.  
Surrender.
I posed the question, ‘If Jesus asked you to say yes before knowing the question could you do it?’ If you couldn’t, why? Is there fear involved? Are there areas of your life that are off limits to Jesus? What are the fears? Fear of loss? Fear of lack?
When we hold back and live in fear we become paralyzed, stop listening to what God wants for us and in turn we choke off the blessings God has for us. 
Our yes comes at a cost, sometimes it’s a great one, but it also comes with great reward. 
We shared a bit about some of the awesome stuff God has been using us for in Brazil and how we came to the understanding that he is indeed calling us to move on to Joao Pessoa where we will be part of planting a church and beginning new ministries that we are yet to discover.
We also shared our financial situation, where are we four years into this thing? 
Reality is the numbers currently don’t add up but we are pressing forward in confidence knowing that God has called us into this and requires our action to activate his provision. 

We shared where the majority of our funding comes from, 80% from individuals who give anywhere from $25-$200/month. That maybe Jesus is asking them to say yes to joining our team, to trust that he will provide. We also stressed that although you may think what you can offer is just a bit, it’s all those bits that make up the majority of our funding. Not to mention knowing we have a team of people rooting for us, praying for us and supporting us is invaluable.
I sighted Exodus 14:12-18 when the Israelites are whining that Moses should have left them as slaves, Moses tells them to be still but God responds, ‘“Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to MOVE on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
God wants our yes AND our action. When we do that He gets the glory, people see the impossible become possible.

Sometimes being enslaved by our fear is comfortable because it’s what we know. But that’s only because we haven’t given God a chance to show us what he is capable of. When we do, we taste real freedom and there’s no turning back.
We are so incredibly grateful to the people who have been faithfully supporting us these last four years and to those who have just decided to join the team. We are still recruiting, if you want in send us a message and we’ll get you set up.
We also shared a video highlighting some of the best moments of the last two years.
Here’s the link:

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