Posts tagged SARA: A Retreat Ministry for Pastors in Brazil
José Carlos Pezini - Update

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since Odete and I returned from the U.S.A. at the end of April, we have been traveling to fulfill an intense agenda with commitments in various denominations all over Brazil. The Brazilian church faces many dilemmas these days. God has given me the privilege of being able to help pastors, lay leaders, and congregations in different areas including mentoring pastors, lay leadership training, church revitalization, and discipleship.

In all these places, I feel encouraged by God to motivate Christians to engage in discipleship by sharing their faith with non-believers as well as helping new converts grow in their intimacy with God through prayer and meditation in the Scriptures. I have also led the church to rethink its missionary action in the context where it is located and to rethink the reason for its existence.

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José Carlos Pezini - March 2019 Update

I believe that it is a good time to look back, consider, and evaluate our ministry. Let us see what God has done, using our lives as instruments in his hands, and reflect on what has been accomplished since we returned to Brazil seven years ago. We glorify God for his faithfulness and providence.

From the time that Odete and I arrived back in Brazil in May 2012, we sought to understand God's will and to discern the reason he was bringing us back to our country. We hoped that he would use us for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. God has done this, but in a different way from what we had expected.

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José Carlos Pezini - December 2018 Update

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.

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José Carlos Pezini - June 2018 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Let me begin by thanking you for your prayers. God has been great to us. After spending some time in the U.S., I returned to Brazil at the end of May to find that the SARA Retreat Ministry for Pastors continues to grow. In this update I want to share with you the testimony of a fellow pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, the Rev. Marcio Tenponi, whom God gave me the privilege of helping in his ministry. This is the Rev. Marcio’s testimony:

At the age of 17 I began to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I served the church as a lay leader until I received God’s call to the pastoral ministry. I surrendered to God and went to the Presbyterian seminary.

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José Carlos Pezini - April 2018 Update

Dear friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Let me begin by thanking you for your prayers. God has been great to us. In January I had prostate surgery. Thanks to God’s grace, I recovered well. Within two weeks of the surgery, I was ready to return to my regular ministry activities including my international travels. Odete and I are so thankful for your lives and the care that you have demonstrated towards us.

The SARA ministry has grown exponentially in these last couple of years. Today there are 13 mentoring core groups spread out all over Brazil. Each one of them has two retreats per year. This year alone, we have scheduled 26 different retreats. It is through God’s mercy that we have already reached around 500 pastors in 13 different denominations. We have helped them through their daily struggles. Many of them have testified that through our personal mentoring and spiritual formation retreats, they have been able to conquer depression and other signs of burnout. As they recover from their personal burnout, they feel motivated to perform their ministry with enthusiasm and great joy again.

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José Carlos Pezini - December 2017 Update

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.

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José Carlos Pezini - May 2017 Update

The ministries in Brazil are going well. In fact, they are growing more quickly than I can handle. When I started working with pastors here, I had no idea that so many of them were experiencing burnout. About a third of the pastors who participate in the three-day SARA retreats suffer from this, and many of them are taking anti-depression medication. So, there is a real sense of urgency for a time of healing and wholeness for God’s servants within the SARA retreat ministry.

SARA is working in three different areas. Our main focus, of which the retreats are part, is mentoring more than two hundred pastors. In order to be able to care for each of these 200 pastors, I have trained 40 other mentors but even this number is not enough to meet the great demand. The mentors offer to their mentees one hour of conversation per month, while the mentees commit to participate in two SARA retreats each year. 

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José Carlos Pezini (Outreach) - December 2016 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was a very busy and stressful year of my ministry here in Brazil. SARA Ministries is growing so fast that it is almost impossible to respond to all the demands. The number of pastors who are being mentored is growing day by day. This year I have trained more pastors to be mentors, bringing the total to thirty-eight. Each one of these new pastor-mentors serves an average of five pastors. 

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José Carlos Pezini (Mission Staff) - August 2016 update

It is truly amazing what God has accomplished through the SARA ministries this year. The number of pastors in the mentoring program is growing every day. In this update I would like to tell you about a mentor training retreat we held in May in Curitiba.There were thirty-three pastors from six different denominations in attendance. SARA works with the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, Lutheran Church, United Presbyterian Church, Bethany Evangelical Church and Congregational Evangelical Church. 

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José Carlos Pezini - April 2015 Update

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends in Christ, 

Peace be with you all from our Lord Jesus Christ. My wife, Odete, and I are full of joy as we reflect on what God is doing in our lives and ministry in Brazil. The retreat and mentoring ministry we started three years ago, “SARA” (meaning “healing”), is multiplying every day. 

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