José Carlos Pezini - December 2017 Update
Portuguese-Language Ministries Coordinator
The Outreach Foundation
Dear friends and supporters,
This year has been very busy for Odete and me. We have been traveling all over Brazil, teaching, training, consulting, leading pastors’ retreats, coaching, and mentoring pastors. We have witnessed the action of God in the lives of many pastors. They have shared with us their struggles and difficulties. Many of them have thought more than once about leaving the ministry. Others are discouraged and still others are suffering from depression. During these three years we have helped more than fifty pastors get out of depression.
Our retreats have served as a place where they are encouraged and challenged to seek God first in their lives. A great number of pastors seem to be doing ministry on “autopilot.” They are tempted to read the Bible only to prepare sermons and not as a means to a devotional relationship with God. They see themselves as working for God rather than working with God.
The good news is that pastors who have mentors through the SARA ministry and who participate in our retreats are being transformed. Their devotional life has been rescued, and their passion for ministry has returned. They have shared with us their joy and say that they cannot live without attending retreats and being accompanied by a mentor in ministry. As a result of their participation in retreats and mentoring, their churches have grown and because of this, they have regained their confidence as servants of God.
This year there were twenty-six SARA retreats throughout Brazil. In addition to these retreats, I have given classes on church growth and spiritual formation and have consulted about church revitalization for several denominations including the three main Presbyterian denominations in Brazil.
Our new master’s degree program in Spiritual Formation is in its final stretch with the last module scheduled for February. There is a waiting list of pastors interested in this program. I am also in conversation with a Lutheran seminary to launch a master's degree in Church Revitalization in 2018. This will begin to be a response to the great demand we have for revitalization in the historic churches here in Brazil.
In the midst of all these exciting travels and ministry activities, there is a personal challenge for me. I will have to undergo prostate surgery in January. Please pray for this surgery and for Odete’s and my overall health. We ask your ongoing prayers for safety on the roads and for wisdom and discernment to the Board of the SARA Ministry as we continue to grow exponentially.
Thank you for being part of our ministry and for this wonderful God adventure with us. Without your prayers and financial support, it would be impossible for us to continue responding to God’s call.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking gifts totaling $95,000 for support and ministry funds for Pezini and $5,000 to defray costs of attending SARA retreats for pastors who cannot afford them.