José Carlos Pezini - December 2018 Update
Portuguese-Language Ministries Coordinator
Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings in Christ Jesus, the Lord of the Church. Another year is ending and as we look back, we can see how God was gracious to us and blessed us greatly. I know this happened because of the faithfulness of the beloved brothers and sisters who have been praying for us. We want to thank you all for your loyalty. Odete and I are so grateful for you and the care that you have demonstrated towards us.
This year has been one of the most intense years of my ministry since I returned to Brazil in 2012. SARA Ministries has grown tremendously, and the demands are increasing. As you are aware, there are three areas of priority within SARA Ministries:
Mentoring – taking care of those who care. We serve pastors from 14 different denominations, and we now have 13 mentoring groups in Brazil. Each group facilitates two retreats per year. In addition to these retreats we have had three more that we call the SARA Connection. These are retreats we offer to presbyteries and synods for the first time. We have had a total of 29 mentoring retreats this year. In order to respond to these demands, I have trained leaders to help me run the retreats. Now some of these groups are able to meet without me.
Each pastor that is cared for by SARA Ministries has a monthly conversation with his mentor and commits to attending both annual mentoring retreats. God has blessed this ministry. 93% of the pastors who receive pastoral care experience recovery. Even so, the suicide number remains high. We have heard of at least eight pastors who committed suicide this year. Not to mention the priests – last year their suicide rate was higher than the pastors. For more on the healing power of SARA Ministries, please watch this video testimony from pastor Fábio Macedo Quintanilha.
Spiritual Formation By the grace of God, we began the second class of the master’s degree in spiritual formation in August. What we have found in this class is that the participants have not only acquired knowledge but also had their lives transformed. The testimonies we have received from them encourage us. I praise God for each one's life. I know that because of the change in these pastor’s lives, their churches have been transformed by the power of God and have begun to grow.
Church Revitalization is continuing to grow every day. We have received requests from presbyteries and synods of various denominations asking for our help. We offer a two-year revitalization consultancy. We have held lectures at the IPIB Presbytery of Presidente, the Prudente IPIB Presbytery, and the Presbytery of Sorocaba. And we are beginning a consultancy next year with these presbyteries for the revitalization of eight different churches linked to them.
We have also given six lectures on revitalization in the Presbyterian Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro at the invitation of two Synods of the IPB of Rio de Janeiro. We are finalizing an agreement to help 12 churches in these synods. We also gave several lectures to the Lutheran Church in Florianópolis SC and Panambi RS among others.
In addition to the areas mentioned above, with which we have worked extensively, I also made some international trips. In February I was in Mexico where I consulted with those who started a non-profit entity called the Reformed Association of Support to Pastors (ARAP, by its initials in Spanish) to care for pastors. We will hold their first retreat in March of next year. In April I was in the U.S.A. to facilitate our first retreat with Portuguese-speaking pastors in Orlando, Florida and to begin mentoring work there.
In addition to these activities I have been teaching classes in Church Revitalization, Leadership, Time Management, and Analysis and Conflict Resolution. I praise God for the opportunity he has given me. I want to continue being faithful to his call.
Pezini and Odete
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.