Feliz Natal

Please pray for Anna Leitao and her family in Brazil. This week her uncle died suddenly of a heart attack and everyone is heartbroken. The funeral was yesterday and the family would appreciate all prayers from the Body of Christ in this difficult time.

We first met Anna several months before the 1996 Olympics when she was twenty-eight years old and in charge of organizing young people coming from all over the world to witness for Christ on the streets of Atlanta. She brought missionary friends from several nations into our home and we were all quite mesmerized by the different languages… Portuguese, Korean, German, Hindi, Chinese, Afrikaans… This was the first time I really got a taste of the expanse, the diversity, and the unfathomable beauty of the Body of Christ. Anna became a Christian in Brazil at age nineteen and has shared about her Savior on every continent (except Antarctica) for over twenty-one years. Peter wrote about believers that chose “not to live the rest of earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” I see this as a description of our Brazilian sister and anytime she is in Atlanta she seems to always share exactly what the Lord wants us to hear.

Anna has an incredible heart for young people and Taylor, Kinsey, and Karlyn love her. She’s given them rides on her motorcycle in Hawaii, defeated them in ping pong in our basement, and prayed for them as a friend. What I’ve loved to witness over these years is the humility of a gifted leader. I’ve learned from Anna that our natural talents don’t bless the Kingdom too much unless we offer ourselves fully to the Lord and depend on him for direction. This, of course, is not as easy as it sounds… especially for us Americans who struggle with patience. Anna might argue that Brazilians have less patience than Americans, but her example of dependence and submission to our Father in Heaven has blessed me tremendously.

For years we’ve talked about accepting Anna’s invitation to join her on an outreach in Brazil. So this Christmas, Lord willing, between her work in Cape Town, South Africa and the Indonesian island, Bali, our family and twelve others from church will visit her home town, Natal… which just happens to mean “Christmas.” We hope we can bless and encourage Anna’s family, the church, the homeless in the city, children, and our dear friend. Of course, I predict we’ll receive far more blessing than we give. (I’ve found that’s the way God often worksJ.)

So, I won’t be writing for a couple of weeks. We would appreciate your prayers as we fly south Christmas Eve. And I wish you all: Feliz Natal! (Merry Christmas!)

Tchau (bye), Just practicing my new language… (Not quite fluent yetJ)

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’” Luke 2:25-32

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