There are some really exciting things going on here in Fortaleza these days! Too many to share in one post so I’ll hit just a couple. Number one, which most likely isn’t new news but I realized we hadn’t “blogged” it yet…a baby girl is joining our family the beginning of 2014!! We are so excited, especially now that I am finally feeling better and done with the whole head over the toilet phase. Noah is very cute and quite curious about the baby inside of mommy’s growing belly. I am also so excited to have a room to decorate for this little one since that wasn’t the case with Noah, God’s timing is perfect! Please pray for a healthy pregnancy and upcoming birth!!
The second bit of news is related to a peace walk we took part in a couple weekends ago. The last few months there have been more than 70 people, women, children, and men of ALL ages, killed in one of the neighborhoods close to our central church. We personally have about 10 cell groups located in this neighborhood. Most of the shootings are targeting specific people related to gangs and drug use but more often than not, innocent people who just happen to be in the way get injured or killed as well. Many families in this area have been literally under house arrest, afraid to open their doors and go outside for work, school, or church. Last Saturday we walked through the neighborhood with a couple hundred other people praying, singing worship songs, entering into houses to tell people about Jesus and inviting the people to join us walking and then for a worship service at the end. Mostly though throughout the walk people were praying and declaring that that neighborhood belonged to Jesus and a revival would take place! We walked right in front of some the homes that hold cell groups throughout the week. It was beautiful to see people open up and excited/touched that outsiders (to their community) would take the risk to come into their neighborhood to declare God’s love and take a stand for peace. Many people gave their lives to Jesus that night and we are just beginning to see the results of what God did that afternoon.
2013 has been a year of challenges so far for the Huber family although we believe these obstacles mean God has good things to come for us and our ministry here. Isaiah just returned this morning from preaching at a youth camp on the Amazon and tomorrow will turn around and travel to Africa. He will be training pastors in South Sudan, the newest country in the world, in the cell group and the discipleship model that we use here. South Sudan is a brand new mission field since the country just opened up and the pastors there are excited and hungry to learn whatever they can. We are excited that Isaiah has the privilege of investing in their lives and ministries! After Isaiah’s trip we will be meeting in Boston where we’ll spend a few days with my side of the family and then on to Japan to visit Isaiah’s parents and 2 of our churches. We haven’t been back to Japan together since we’ve been married, so we are excited to revisit where we made our first memories together!
-Our disciples/cell groups while we are gone. Please pray that they will continue to passionately seek intimacy with Christ while we are gone and that each one will grow more dependent on Him through the individual trials they have faced in the past couple of months.
-Please pray for Isaiah’s safety as South Sudan is a relatively unstable country and that he will be able to get his tourist visa at the airport without any trouble. Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead him to teach exactly what the South Sudanese pastors need to learn in a way they are able to understand.
-Please pray that God will provide the best place for us to live when we return to Brazil. We have been living with another family in between moves as there have been some problems with the documentation of the house that we were planning on moving in to.
Merry Christmas!!! Celebrating Christmas this year far from family has been a great reminder to us of what we are truly celebrating, the birth of our Savior!! We are living in Fortaleza, Brazil doing church planting and discipleship ministry. Our focus now is to learn church planting/discipleship strategies to eventually be sent out with a Brazilian team to plant churches in unreached areas of the world. Only God knows where at this point but we are praying and asking His direction for the future:). We have really enjoyed discipling and doing leadership training this past year, and are looking forward to what God is going to do in the year to come.
Noah is 1 year 8 months old! He is in such a fun stage of life wanting to learn as much as possible about the world around him. God is definitely teaching us patience through Noah:) His favorite things right now are playing in the mud, going to the beach and playing with our dog Cloe.
Isaiah will be traveling to Africa in February to speak at a pastors conference, teaching about the discipleship model we use here. Noah and I will meet up with him in the states for a few days and then go on to Japan to visit churches and see Isaiah’s parents. It will be our first time back in Japan together since we’ve been married, so that will be really exciting.
Praying that this will be a really special time for you and your family celebrating the birth of Jesus. Sending our love, Isaiah, Erin , and Noah
Fall is just around the corner which means the hot/windy season here in Fortaleza. I don’t know if it’s been a bit cooler this year or I’m just getting used to the heat but it’s been a long time since it’s been unbearably hot here. Noah is 1 year 4 months old and is in such a fun stage. He is on the run all day long when he’s not eating or napping. Wherever he goes he attracts attention, I think almost everybody at our local market knows him by name:).
It’s been awhile since I’ve explained our ministry in detail: We are here in Fortaleza mostly to learn from the church planting model that is in place here and get hands on experience so that we can eventually go with a team to plant churches somewhere else, possibly Africa but we’re still praying to see what God has for us. In the mean time we have been hard at work and seeing God do some truly amazing things.
As we and our team continue to win people for Jesus, our cell groups continue to grow and multiply. We recently multiplied our cell group that meets at out house, totaling 14 cell groups that are under our supervision and spiritual covering. We realize this is a huge responsibility and are completely relying on God to lead and direct our every step.
These 14 cell groups are just the ones under us (Isaiah and Erin). The church, as a whole, has already over 650 cells all over the city!! We have really seen tremendous growth and we believe that this is only the beginning!
I don’t want to make this update too long, so I will explain more about the one-on-one discipleship model in our next update.
Please continue to pray for us and for the many people we are working with that God will instill his desires on our hearts, the desire to win this city for Jesus and take care of the new believers that God has put under our covering.
We love you and miss you all!
It’s been way to long since our last post! A lot has happened in the last 4 months so I’ll just give quick snapshots of what’s happened so doesn’t become a book:)
One of our cell groups once again grew to the point of needing to “multiply” into 2 groups so we had a big multiplication party to celebrate the new growth and put 2 of our disciples, Marcelo and Leidiane, whom we’ve been training, in leadership of the “new” group. There is now plenty of room for visitors in both groups and they are starting to grow quickly, praise the Lord for the spiritually hungry people He continues to bring to our doorstep.
In May we were able to go back to the States to participate in family reunions on both sides of the family. It was refreshing for both of us to take a break from our responsibilities here and enjoy some much needed time with family. We were also able to celebrate Noah’s first birthday surrounded by grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncles and cousins! It has been a bit challenging getting back in the swing of things here after being gone for a couple weeks but God’s grace has been spuring us on.
Friday night Erin and some of her disciples joined a couple other missionaries and went down to the the “red light” strip of Fortaleza to pray for and evangelize to prostitutes. The presence and leading of the Holy Spirit was very evident as He led them to a few girls who were wanting to change their live style and get out of prostitution. One girl especially stood out to Erin. Claudia, who had only been on the streets for 5 days. She had been trying to make a living to support her 2 year old boy by other means but after her husband left her and there wasn’t enough food to feed her baby she was convinced by her sister that prostitution was the only answer. As they shared the love of Jesus with Claudia Friday night, her eyes began to slowly fill with hope. We’ll be calling Claudia to begin the process of helping her get out of prostitution, find another job, and hopefully start going to church/cell group with us! Please see Lorelie Barbutti’s blog, http://herbertandlorelei.ancientroots.org/, to find out more about the prostitution ministry she’s starting here in Fortaleza.
This weekend there is another Encounter with God Retreat and 4 couples from our cell group will be participating. Please pray that God will use this retreat to speak to each of them and that each one will have a true life-changing encounter with God!
Thank you so much for your prayers and support of our ministry!! With love~ Isaiah, Erin, and Noah
family reunion, Erin’s side
Family reunion, Isaiah’s side
Isaiah and some of his disciples
First birthday party!!
We returned yesterday from spending 5 days at our Paz missionary conference on the Amazon. It was a great time of fellowship in English (praise the Lord:), and refreshing. It is great to be back though as God has been doing exciting things in the last few weeks.
We are so excited to report that 3 people from our Wednesday cell group (the one located in the small, poor community filled with drugs) just gave their lives to Jesus and are excited to share their new found love for Jesus with the world. Christina, the lady I asked for prayer for a couple months ago, is one of the 3 that just became a christian. We took her and her children to the beach a couple weeks ago and while Isaiah and the kids were playing in the water she once again began to open up to me and share her struggle to provide for her children as her husband continues to take all of their money and even sell their belongings for drugs. At the end of our talk I asked her if she wanted to give her life to Jesus and she said she did but hasn’t been able to overcome her temper and didn’t deserve Jesus. It was such a joy to be able to share with her that none of us deserve Jesus and only through the power of the Holy Spirit would you be able to overcome your temper. Right there on the beach with tears in our eyes Christina repeated the prayer to give her life to Jesus, there is nothing better than watching the transforming work of our Savior. One week later Christina told me that she has stopped swearing and can’t believe how much she has changed already. All 3 of these people are being discipled and taken care of well.
Please continue to pray especially for Christina’s husband, Emerson, that he will give up using drugs and realize that giving his life to Jesus is the only way to change his life for the better.
the 3 people in the back between Erin and the lady wearing orange are the new believers, Christina is the lady wearing black holding the pink Bible
Noah, helping us pack for the conference
Just a quick update and prayer request. The Wednesday cell group in Messejana that was really struggling a couple months ago, has begun to change and grow. Praise the Lord that He has heard our prayers and is beginning to pour His mercy and grace on this little group. The cell group is located in a small, poor community with a desperate need for Jesus. There are many broken families due especially to drug use.
Last night, Cristina, a mother of three, came to cell group and sat wide eyed during the whole thing listening to people talk about our “Abba Father”, our loving heavenly Father who wants to have a relationship with us. After the cell group, she opened up and shared that her mother recently passed away and her husband has been using drugs. He has been taking all of their family’s money to buy drugs and even selling items from their house when desperate. She began to cry as we shared with her that God has called us to her community for a reason and that He has not forgotten about her and her family.
Please pray with us that God will do a miracle in her life, that she will give her life over to Him, and that her husband will also realize the great need he has for Jesus. Praise the Lord that He is beginning to change this little community; we are so excited to see God at work after months of no growth!!