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Andrew & Tassie Comings Missionaries to Brazil Baptist Mid Missions

July 2020

At the end of our last prayer letter – sent as 2019 was winding down – I included a list of plans for 2020. As we begin the second semester of this momentous year, it is clear that of the six major plans I mentioned, exactly one of them actually happened – our church retreat in February.

Never has there been a year that more perfectly illustrated the truth of Proverbs 19:21.

But even though we have not been able to do everything we planned, we have been able to do different things, that God planned.

Major Progress at Ebenezer

Before 2020 was rung in, the Ebenezer congregation achieved two great milestones. First, it was granted independence from its mother church. Second, the church voted to call Francvaldo Sousa to be its first national pastor. Francivaldo had been serving as my co-pastor since 2017. In effect,he and I switched places, with him assuming the role of lead pastor, and myself as assistant.

In the days that followed, Pastor Francivaldo has more than demonstrated his leadership abilities, effectively guiding the church through the turbulent times of the pandemic.

NER Conference

Back in February, back in those halcyon days when the “corona virus” was something that was going on in some obscure place in China, we got together for fellowship and to conduct business with our fellow missionaries of the Baptist Mid Missions of Brazil North Eastern Region.

This annual event is always a blessing, but this year it was especially encouraging – providentially so, it turns out.

Pandemic!

As it became clear that Brazil would be hit hard by the corona virus, major adjustments had to be made – adjustments that will be all to familiar to most of you. Our services were cancelled, and we went to an all online format. Shepherding the flock came to involve helping them work through major disappointments.

As God would have it, I had just begun a Wednesday-night series in the book of James. Those first lessons on how God wants us to see suffering suddenly became much more relevant as the levels of uncertainty grew and lock-downs became more severe.

We are also very grateful that God has so far seen fit to spare our family and our church from major sickness due to the virus.

Camp Construction

Just before the first wave of lock-downs went into effect, we were able to do some more work on the camp kitchen. Then once travel restrictions eased up a bit, things really took off.

The first blessing happened quite unexpectedly. Mentally and spiritually exhausted from ministry under quarantine, our pastors and their families decided to have a camp out. What was originally planned as a two-day event stretched into three.

A fringe benefit of this spiritually refreshing time was a renewed enthusiasm on the part of our area pastors for the camp ministry.

Since the retreat we have been able to renew construction on the kitchen and, thanks in part to a donation by one of our pastors, develop our waterfront area.

We have planned a full-fledged youth retreat for the beginning of November. Besides a functioning kitchen, we would like to also have a soccer field ready for use. For this to happen we will have to bring in a crew of guys to clear off the brush, remove roots and stumps, and put in sand. This will cost us around $500. If you are interested in helping out with this project, let us know!

Starting Back Up

The general tendency here in Maranhão is for a gradual re-opening. I was able to preach at a sister church last Sunday. Our church services will begin this coming Sunday, Lord willing. The classes at our Bible Institute are set to begin in September. Our furlough, which was originally scheduled to begin in November, has been postponed to some undetermined date in the first semester of 2021. The specific date hinges on when consular services will be open again so that we can get the necessary documents.

But throughout 2020 we have learned to hold on to our plans lightly, and trust God for the perfect plan.

Family News

This has been a momentous year for the Comings family. Michael completed high school. Nathanael became an official teenager. And Itacyara and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary.

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Posted: February 10, 2012

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Category: Missions, South America