(This update is going to be split into 2 parts, to help summarize and paint a picture of the past 6 months. This part is an update on the Ministry Front, the other in an update on the Family Front.)
The mere fact that 2019 has not seen a single update from us is an indication that it has been a busy year. Yes, the Family Front has been busy, but so has the Ministry Front. I will try to summarize below based on my current roles.
Area Director & Campus Director: My role as Area Director is to oversee the campus teams and help lead and coach the Campus Directors of each team. Interestingly, 2019 began without a Campus Director for either of our campus teams. Demps Dempsey, our Regional Director, and I stepped into interim Campus Director roles for 2019. That means a good bit more time back on campus, leading young staff directly in their personal ministries, and thinking for the strategy and execution on the campuses. My specific campus team at UFMG is composed of 6 staff. I, also, am trying to keep my ear to the ground for both campus teams and our English Initiative team in terms of relationships moving forward in their investigation of Jesus and discipleship. I have enjoyed being back to the grassroots, relationship-based reality of the campus dynamic. I have led two Bible Studies with students the past two semesters. However, both of these roles in themselves are full-time. Meaning, any given day has some give and take as to which “hat” I am wearing.
Resource/Admin: This year I fully handed the reigns of the Resource/Admin team to Pedro Albuquerque. He has done a wonderful job, and the Resource team continues to serve our entire team tirelessly and effectively. However, there were some things that I was not able to pass on last year to the Resource Team - most importantly the Visa and Residency processes in Brazil for our non-Brazilian staff (15+ American and 1 South African). In 2018, Brazil’s newly approved Immigration Laws were being put into action. We were only finding our bearings toward the end of 2018, and now in 2019 I am passing on the baton for these processes to the Resource Team with the help of Fabiana (Resource Staff) and her husband (our Legal consultant) - my Brazilian in-laws!
Leadership Team: The past 18 months have brought many conversations and meetings for the Leadership Team to help the entire team focus on contribution, team dynamics and health (physical, emotional/mental, spiritual). That has meant some hard and heavy conversations and some team members moving on or entering into a time of sabbatical/furlough. Also, the past 6 months have been exciting as we discuss the direction for our leadership structure for the next season - how to become more Brazilian, more contextualized and organizationally less dependent on outside resources. Next year, there will be more updates about what that will look like over the next 3-5 years.
Local Church: On September 16th, our church pastor, Daniel Souza, officially ended his tenure as our pastor at Comunidade Horizonte. His family’s four years at our church, his leadership and his teaching was transformative in the life of our church at just the right time. They left with many tears after making a difficult decision to move on to their next place of ministry. With Daniel’s absence, our church elders, myself included, will continue to lead the church. We will have an interim pastor who will take on the bulk of the teaching responsibilities for the next year as we seek God to call our next pastor. I will also be taking on some greater leadership as the Session President until our next pastor is installed.
It is a lot. I don’t pretend it’s not. But I have consciously been saying “no” to some other roles and appointments. Also, Tathiana and I have begun weekly counseling (some weeks individually, others together). Please pray that I, also, will be a loving husband, father and most importantly stay grounded in my relationship with Jesus through the Word and Prayer.