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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Is Fear A Lack Of Faith?


Of our six or seven emotions that we can experience, for many, fear is the most controlling and debilitating of all. Fear can cause one to do the unimaginable or inhibit us from doing what must be done. Fear can manipulate whole nations in a direction otherwise thought impossible. Prolonged fear and anxiety has the potential to damage us beyond repair.
In response to many of you folks who have asked about the effects of the pandemic in our part of Brazil, I will share a few of our challenges. Brazil presently is not doing well with harnessing public fears and other effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like some of you in the States: quarantine, masks, alcohol, and a commerce that is allowed to open one week then ordered to close the following week has been a part of our lives for five months. We are bombarded daily with a mix of realistic and unrealistic solutions aired every day by media outlets as well as solutions given by our confused neighbors.

Of the many ridiculous examples I could share, here are two.

The mayor of the town where we planted our first church, in a recent recorded public meeting, said that his administration was doing everything to keep the covid pandemic under control. He then proceeded to lay out what he has done to help keep everyone healthy. In his list he stated that he had authorized to have the local cemetery increased by adding another four hundred plots!

Our Family Retreat Center continues under construction. Four and sometimes five days a week I drive the 120 mile round trip hauling construction material and spend the day working and overseeing the project. This trek takes me through two towns that are battling epidemic fear. At the two entrances into town, vehicle check points with health workers have been set up. They check your temperature, see if you are wearing a mask, note your name and phone number on a clip board, then your car is sprayed with a smelly disinfectant. The tires always get an extra dose. Imagine a virus hanging on to a hot Michelin tire at 100 km/h.


Some of what we are dealing with though is not ridiculous. In our seven area fellowship of churches, all have folks who have tested positive for covid-19 and several are presently in local hospitals. 

Sabastiana was a member in the second church we help start. She was not feeling well and taken to a nearby hospital where she tested positive for corona virus. Help was too late, she and her baby died together that night. She left behind, her 2 year old son Brian and husband Vando. (names and picture used with permission)

Our local churches continue to meet almost exclusively online. Attendance and financial giving has been stable. Several of the families, now in financial need, are being helped by those who continue to have financial income. Our area pastors and church leaders are working through the dynamics of how and when we will return to our places of meetings.

 We are realizing that our previous service formats will no longer be the same. This may be a great time for innovation. I ask you to pray for wisdom as we must make changes.

The Scriptures talk a lot about fear and anxiety, more than 500 times. This last month, I have been teaching about, healthy fears vs. unhealthy fears, and some of the ways to detect the difference.

By the way, whether your fears are healthy or unhealthy, rational or irrational… if they move you toward Christ’s teaching, then that is really good news. Your fears can develop into trust. (Mark 4:40)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Social Distancing Has Brought Us Closer


Though our church’s buildings are not to be used temporarily for gatherings under State and local laws, we have come together online for all of our scheduled services.

Our area churches are connected Sundays and Wednesdays via our electronic devices to: praise, pray, and preach all in real time. This has been so meaningful to us. Whether we are at home, on the farm, in our cars, or laying in a hammock, we are staying well connected. What has been a wonderful surprise is the fellowship time after our online services. We continue linked long after our “structured meetings” to share informally the impact of this epidemic in our personal lives.

As you folks there in America, here in Brazil we are not for lack of opinions regarding how to deal with the present crises, nor what the procedures should be taken by the federal and local governments.

Secondly, our churches have come together by helping many of our friends and families financially. A food bank has been setup and many are using their reserves to help those that are now in physical need. I am humbled by some who have so little giving to those that now have even less.

So… our area churches are in this boat together on our “Sea of Galilee”. We are hoping to get to the other side before we sink to the bottom, never to come up again. The news outlets say that we are going down fast; all the visible numbers show that is true. Our economy in Brazil was still fragile and struggling from massive government corruption from the recent past. Our business friends and most of the brethren were seeing stability in there financial lives. So, some folks do question, where is Jesus?

If we could do as the disciples did that night (Mark 4:35-41) and wake Jesus up, He just might look out at our storm then look at us straight in the eyes, smile and ask “why are you afraid”?

That question is haunting and personal. A part of me does not like that question, because I know the answer.

Yet,... that is the question to ask, isn’t it?

                                                                                                               by tim reiner








Saturday, November 16, 2019

A Catholic Priest Is Attending Our Church... What Should We Do?



It was Sunday evening at the Vila Baptist Church. Vicki and I were seated toward the back of the nearly full auditorium. Each Sunday gathering is different and often brings delightful surprises. We were eager to see what was “in store” for us tonight.

One of our ladies has a brother, a Catholic priest, who teaches and celebrates mass at a diocese upstate. Back in August, he contracted viral encephalitis, which once discovered, left him hospitalized for a gruesome 60 days. For weeks, he teetered on the edge of life and death in the ICU. Our church, as well as a designated prayer group, kept up-to-date, and prayed for God to spare his life.

Three weeks ago, Padre Lorenço (not his real name) accompanied his sister to our Sunday evening church service. She asked to give public testimony of seeing God heal her brother and to thank the church for praying and encouraging her and her family during the past two intense months of suffering. She shared her tears and laughter as she gave details of her brother’s struggles. As she went back to her seat in the auditorium, she said, “My brother would also like to speak to the church.”

Vicki and I were still taking in what our sister and good friend had shared as her brother went up front. My heart began to race and I thought, “Oh no, should I do or say something? Should Pastor Valdir (with whom we work) step in?” My cozy Baptist church has a Catholic priest upfront who wants to say something to our congregation!

Some of you know I’m a missionary’s kid. My parents came to Brazil in the late 1940’s. In the 50’s, as a young boy in this part of Brazil, I heard stories of many Catholic priests organizing protests against evangelical Christians. My dad was confronted over and over by religious mobs. Eggs, tomatoes, and rocks were thrown at him, the new believers, and missionary coworkers. I remember my dad talking about outdoor services where military police were present to control the situations. In the interior town of Jardim, the local priest organized a mob that showed up at an evangelistic meeting in the town square. They threw rocks and manure, smashed the sound system, flipped my dad’s jeep, and slashed the canvas jeep top with knives.

Yet, on this night three weeks ago, with a voice still feeble from his illness, Padre Lorenço said, “I have come to your church tonight for two reasons. The first is to thank you personally for praying for me during the past several months. I was aware of your interest in me and my recovery. Secondly, I want each one of you to see with your own eyes the answer to your prayers.” Then, he sat down.

 Several times since then, Pastor Valdir and I have taken Padre Lorenço and his brother-in-law out to eat and talk. While on sick leave, he continues to attend our Sunday services.   Last week, Padre Lorenço and I spent the day at our Retreat Center construction site. We talked a lot. He “confessed” to me so much of his personal struggles and guilt. Repeatedly, Romans 8 and James 2 came into our conversation.
 
Up until now, we had prayed earnestly for the Padre’s physical recovery. Now our church is praying intensely for his heart to see and understand that salvation is in Christ alone.

So... from way back in the 50’s until now, the Gospel preached by my Dad and many other pioneer missionaries is the same message that has not changed. We are grateful that many people in Brazil have believed and embraced the Gospel message! Oh that we would never question the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Concrete And People

A Vision Follow-Up                                             by tim reiner

A year ago, I shared with you a Vision which now is shared by many (see August 2018 post). It is exhilarating to see this project develop into concrete and people. To be a part of what is temporary and what is eternal is why God placed Vicki and me in this part of the world. To create programs, events, and buildings, are all short-term. To invest in people with the Gospel of Christ is everlasting.

 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4:18
Fourth blown tire this year
Four days a week, between my weekend preaching and teaching schedule, I am hauling construction material 60 miles upriver to our new Retreat Center called Recanto Do Tesouro. Once we leave the asphalt highway, the dirt roads are brutal causing excessive wear and tear on vehicle and trailer. We have experienced: blown tires, bent wheels, bent axles and broken wheel bearings.

Concrete and People
Oops
One evening, returning home after a full workday on construction, I looked in the pick-up’s rear-view mirrors and noticed that the trailer that had been hitched on back at the building site, was gone! We did eventually find it miles back-flipped in the middle of the road.

Many of our friends and supporting churches in the States, as well as, our Christians and friends here are now partnering with us in this endeavor. Tons of building materials have been hauled out to this remote property in the bush. With no electrical power in the area, we purchased generators to operate the power tools and cement mixer. I am now also installing solar panels for all our present and future LED lighting.

We are blessed to be surrounded by so much wildlife such as a large array of birds, red-legged seriemas (in Latin - cariama cristata  
https://youtu.be/ha6Wdd8cjm4 ), burrowing owls, and for an occasional adrenaline rush, my favorite…boa  constrictors.
Ready for the tile roof

First of 5 chalets almost complete
Although we are far from completing the construction of this Family Conference Center, it is already being used on a limited basis by our area churches, pastors, and their families.
Father’s Day in Brazil is a few weeks away. Only the dads and their children from the Vila Eduardo Church, where Vicki and I work, will be spending the day at the Retreat Center. The primary purpose of this event is to teach and motivate dads to lead their children toward Christ’s teaching in purposeful, practical ways. That evening, we will all be back with our church to listen to these fathers give testimony of what they taught and what they learned from their children.

Many of you have written e-notes and posts of encouragement. Thank you so much for fueling our enthusiasm as we serve in Northeast Brazil.



timandvickireiner@gmail.com

Baptist Mid-Missions * PO Box 308011* Cleveland, OH 44130-8011
E-mail: info@bmm.org * Phone: 440-826-3930
Business hours: M-F 8:00 am-4:20 pm Eastern Time 

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Carnivore, A Vegan, And The Gospel


If you know us, you may be aware that my wife Vicki was a vegetarian for many years and, for the past seven years, shifted to a vegan diet. With an exclusively plant intake, she is slowly eating her way through the Amazon Jungle, while I’ve been consuming mostly red meat ever since I can remember. No doubt, I have made a big dent in the Brazilian Beef population. We have a friendly bet in play as to who will outlive the other. While she enjoys her recipes of leaves, nuts, and vegetables, I love an occasional Coke, and eating animals that were vegetarian. 

Married almost 45 years, we continue learning to adjust to each other’s dissimilarities. Culinary choice is only one of our differences. Others include driving styles: I call tailgating, NASCAR precision driving, what she calls irresponsible. Conversations about attire for any given event used to be disagreeable. Vicki is highly organized and operates from a checklist. Her shopping is determined days before entering the supermarkets vs. purchasing what looks good at that moment. Well, I’m sure you got the drift of some of our differences.  
Where the two of us do align, is in our innovative and exciting ways of guiding people to Christ. Our Biblical instruction is not some sort of pragmatic quick-fix to problems. Rather, it is based on a consistent teaching that the long-fix is a life influenced by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:20, 21).


Both of us hurt for those who suffer, especially Christ’s church and the poor. We continuously look for healthy balance between becoming too sensitive or becoming too cold toward those who are suffering.

This past year, I participated behind the scenes so that Vicki had her desired opportunities to speak to hundreds of young people in public and private high schools. She was able to reach almost 3,000 students in seven area schools. The Gospel is always embedded in each lecture. It has also been fulfilling to work out logistics so Vicki could minister to women at events with our local churches. 2019 brings us more opportunities to expose people to Christ’s Good News.


So yes… a carnivore and a vegan can differ on eating while working together on feeding.  by tim reiner                                                                            

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Where There Is A Vision, Things Happen


As a missionary’s kid (MK), I attended boarding school in Fortaleza Brazil. My second grade school desk was next to one of the large windows, the perfect location for an eight year old to gaze outside and daydream. Whether a car drove by, or a butterfly flew near, my mind wondered away from reading to dreaming. Even a trail of ants traveling along the windowsill gave my vivid imagination plenty of input to picture becoming an insect. Eventually my grade school teacher, Miss Helen Rowe now in her 90’s, moved me and my desk to face the book shelves. Her vision was that her students read and comprehend well. My dreams and her vision had very little in common. Today, those bugs and cars are gone, but all her students can read and understand.

There may be a few similarities between a dream and a vision, but the outcome is entirely different. Dreams tend to be sporadic and unfocused therefore rarely materialize. You can imagine an outcome, but have no defined idea or plan as how to get there.

Vision focuses on the steps necessary to achieve defined goals. Just as important, it needs to include those that will embrace your vision as theirs. 

Jesus is the example of one who had a clear defined vision. He came to seek and to save the lost. As His disciples began to understand who Jesus truly was, that vision of giving the Gospel to the lost became a way of living. Those twelve, had times of doubt, misunderstanding, even betrayal, yet the vision continues to this day with eternal results. Paul, one of the key writers of the New Testament, makes this point when he says “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:14) Visionaries consistently lean toward their goal.

A year ago, a vision began to develop in my heart and move to my hands. After the sale of our camp Treasure Island, it became evident, that our area churches greatly missed a location for retreats, family events, and camping. With guidance from several of our local church leaders, we have embarked on a new venture.

VISION PROGRESS:
1. We have purchased 4 hectors of land back in the bush near a lake.  Google Earth 9º23’10.00”S  41º11’26.60”W

CLEARING UNDER BRUSH 
GREAT WORK CREW - FUN GUYS

2. Hired men from that area to clear the underbrush, all manual labor. No carts or large industrial rakes available in local stores for this job, so I manufactured  some in my shop. 



ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT OF OUR CHALETS   
FUTURE ENTRANCE OF OUR CHURCH RETREAT CENTER







  3. Two architects from one of our churches are putting our vision onto paper and blueprints. This involves working and reworking plans to adjust their vision to the reality of funds we must come up with. 



    

FIRST LOAD OF FENCE POSTS
ALMOST 2,000 FEET OF FENCING


4. Fences, gates, irrigation system, and coconut tree planting will be completed in soon.


5. October we will start constructing the first of five Chalets for housing.

If you desire in some way to make this Vision yours, do let us know. 


   






Friday, March 30, 2018

The Power Of A Church's Personality


Vicki and I finished our four month US travels of driving almost 20,000 miles to visit and report to our nineteen support churches. A marathon of meetings, preaching, highways, and good times with great friends and family. January first, we returned to Brazil encouraged by the kindness and support of those who make it possible for us to continue exposing folks to  Grace in Christ to our part of the world.

Most likely, you have met individuals whose personality is powerfully pleasant. Like the pull of a magnet, we are drawn to them. They genuinely make us feel significant and wanted, they value what we have to offer. We leave their presence, with our spirit lifted and look forward to the next time we can be with them. They were able to bring light to the dark in our life. They motivate us to change and live differently. Their person (personality) creates a desire to know them better.

Each church we spent time with, during our time in the States, had its very own unique personality. Much like in a family, the Father may be the same, yet the uniqueness of each child is quite distinct.

 Almost half of the churches grew since our furlough in 2012. We could see and feel their excitement. The churches’ “personalities” were much like a magnet that  draws people in to fellowship, learning, and living Christ. I often commented to Vicki as we left a church, “If we lived in this town, that is definitely where I would want to be every week”.

Since our return to Brazil, I have thought a lot about the power of a church’s personality. Paul says to the church in Thessalonica, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Please pray that our Brazilian church’s “personality” will draw many to here of salvation through Christ.

Vicki and I are well into our ministries for 2018. She is preparing for youth events in the month of April and beyond, as well as, several speaking engagements and ladies’ fellowships at our house. She also enjoys continuing studies in the areas of leadership and the life-changing conversations with those she is coaching.

I am responsible for two church constructions this year, as well as, several out of state speaking engagements at couples’ and men’s retreats. Soon we will be making a major decision to purchase property and develop a retreat center for our local churches. This will involve a five year commitment on my part. We have met with our area pastors, church leaders and several business men friends of mine seeking direction. Because new twists and turns await us, pray that we will be guided by His Spirit who dwells within us.