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Trusting in God's Good Hand

Lynda Neuman on March 26, 2020

March 13, 2020          TRUSTING IN GOD’S GOOD HAND

In the midst of all the news about the corona virus, I ran across the words to the new Easter hymn by Keith and Kristen Getty. They moved my soul in worship to our Great God so I share with you the first two verses.  

Christ Our Hope In Life And Death    by Keith & Kristyn Getty

 What is our hope in life and death?   Christ alone. Christ alone

What is our only confidence?   That our souls to him belong.

Who holds our days within his hand?    What comes apart from his command?

And what will keep us to the end?    The Love of Christ in which we stand.

  O sing hallelujah!   Our hope springs eternal.

O sing hallelujah!   Now and ever we confess

Christ our hope in life and death.

  What truth can calm the troubled soul?   God is good. God is good

Where is his grace and goodness known?   In our great Redeemer's blood

Who holds our faith when fears arise?  Who stands above the stormy trial?

Who sends the waves that bring us nigh unto the shore?   The rock of Christ.

 O sing hallelujah!   Our hope springs eternal.

O sing hallelujah!   Now and ever we confess

Christ our hope in life and death.

Truly, Christ is the one who holds our lives in His hands.  Because He is a good and gracious God, we can be sure that He is constantly working on our behalf to bring us to full maturity in Christ and that He will only call us home when our purpose here on earth is fulfilled. With that confidence, we can go about our daily lives seeking to please and glorify Him as we face all that comes our way -- be it cancer, corona virus, quarentine, or just another day of work and responsibilities.

We want to assure you of our prayers for you who are so important to us! So many of you are in the two States facing the major crises with the corona virus.  We pray for the truths of Phil. 4:4-9 to reign in your hearts these days giving peace surpassing all comprehension that will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We are fine here in Fortaleza.  To this point spread has not become severe in Brazil. Though there was some concern for our President Bolsonaro's health when one of his entourage tested positive after their visit in the US and meeting with President Trump, Bolsonaro does not have the virus. It behooves us to be in prayer for the liders of governments of both our countries in these days of crisis.

We have much news to share with you, so this letter will be longer than most. Yet we wanted to share with you the thoughts above to help all of us put our focus where it needs to be.

 

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OH, THE JOY OF TEACHING!    Teaching Hebrew two nights a week, gives Jerry great joy!  He does have dedicate time to produce the materials needed to keep his students progressing.  He is sad to lose 3 students; 2 due to scheduling conflicts and 1 that felt the subject was too difficult for him. Yet he's excited that 15 are continuing and several are really grasping Hebrew.

He has also been asked to teach 2 online classes: Psalms & Pentateuch to a couple students who need it for graduation.  He has many materials already prepared for this class, but still it is another responsibility - so pray for his ability to stay up with these classes.

A WEEKEND OF CELEBRATION

Last Friday, March 6, we traveled in our new car 7 hours down to Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, where we lived and served from February 1996 until  June 2002. Both Nathan and family and Rachael and family live within 45 minutes from each other. We enjoyed a family night together at a restaurant that has bowling - a rather new sport in Brazil. Our weekend staying with Nate and his kids was a great opportunity to see their apartment and spend some extra time with them. Sunday night we stayed with Pedro and Rachael, making Samuel very happy:) Since we've always stayed with them, it was hard to understand why we weren't this time.

Saturday evening we were privileged to take part in the 70th anniversary celebration of the Seminário e Instituto Bíblico Bereiano, where we served in Natal. It was standing room only as many churches from around the state sent representatives to celebrate this milestone.  Pastors and others who had studied at SIBB, professors current and past were honored for their part in preparing workers for the harvest or being those workers.  Current students gave a beautiful rendition of several hymns.  The height of the celebration was having retired ABWE missionary Richard Matthews present to share a message from the Word. Dick Matthews taught at SIBB for over 50 years and helped direct the school at times. He also represented his father, Carl Matthews, whose vision to train gospel workers motivated him to establish the school in 1950. Dick Matthews came accompanied by his daughter, Elaine. They were also able to attend the 40th anniversary of a church he started in the city as well as take part in Sunday services at the last church he started where the SIBB celebration took place.

Sunday morning: Since Jerry has few opportunities to preach here, he was very glad to be asked to teach Sunday School and preach the evening service at the Igreja Batista Regular de Satélite, where Nathan and his kids are attending.  Though at first we had planned on returning to Fortaleza Sunday afternoon, those plans changed Saturday morning as we will explain in a bit. Besides the joy of preaching the Word, we all had a treat Sunday evening.  A couple who were teens in our youth group when we ministered in Itaberaba, Bahia, happened to be in the city that weekend.  Nathan discovered that and invited them to the church service.  What a joy it was to see Cleuber and Milena and their sons, Samuel and David!  They both trusted in Christ during our time of ministry there.  How wonderful to see them going on with the Lord and hear their appreciation for the ministry the Lord allowed us to have in their lives.

A CHANGE OF PLANS: As we said above, we had planned to return to Fortaleza Sunday afternoon.  Those plans were abruptly changed on Saturday morning with a not so pleasant occurance. We took Nathan and Nathalie to Chamber Orchestra practice and waited inside until they were done at noon. When Jerry went out to get the car, he found that someone had broken into our new car by breaking the window on the driver's side. The cracked window, held together by the dark film on the outside of the glass was laying on the ground outside, glass scattered inside and a baseball cap with a slogan that showed cultural prejudice towards Americans in the driver's seat.  Though the glove compartment was open, nothing was taken out, not even the car documents. Only my old dead cellphone which we kept in the car to give in case of an assault, was taken. No one really understands why the break-in, nor the hat left inside.  Only Monday afternoon would we be able to get a new window and return home.  The repairs were done a little after 5pm, we headed out, but about half-way we decided to spend the night in Mossoró and completed our journey safely Tuesday morning. 

Praise God for so much good that came from this evil intent!! Our car insurance made the appointment and paid the major cost. We were able to fellowship with the pastor and wife, our kids and others from the church over lunch. Jerry preached Sunday night.  We had more time with Nate and family. We got to see our friends from the past, and spend the night with Rachael and family. Once again, as with Christ's death on the cross -- God allows things He hates to happen in order that things He loves will come about.  God is allowing this crisis of the corona virus to come about, yet He has many good things to come out of it if we will trust Him and open our eyes to what He is doing. On March 12, I shared on Facebook the testimony of a sister in Christ enduring 48 days of quarantine in Wuhan, China.  She lists the good that has come out of that time.  She examples for us the truths mentioned above from Phil. 4:4-9.

May God fill all our hearts with peace as we look to Him for our health and our salvation,

Jerry and Lynda Neuman    

You can see other photos of this time in our album March Blessings.