Last month you were probably overloaded with letters and news from me. This month there is a whole lot more. I will try to cram in as much as possible without blowing any fuses.
The first week of February I visited the works at São Salvador (Juruá River not Moa River) and Novo Horizonte. These are about 5 hours up river with my 60HP outboard (30MPH). At São Salvador where we have a good group of believers, I took more time for teaching about the church and baptism. Novo Horizonte is a new work and so preached the gospel. We had good crowds although it rained most of the time. The river bank was very steep and slick, but thanks to the successful knee surgery I am now back to my OLD self.
Here at our home church all is well. We had a couple of families to move away to other cities. This happens almost on a monthly basis. Even though it hurts, I am conformed to the idea that one of First Baptist’s ministries is to supply other churches with quality members. We are still growing though. Last Sunday we had over 500 in Sunday school. Even though it was raining in the evening we still had a packed house. There were 2 more saved. We have a steady number of people saved almost every week. This month I baptized 19. There were 10 women and 9 men. That is a pretty good balance. I have been preaching an average of twice daily for a couple of weeks now. The youth asked me to speak to them on a Saturday night. It had been a long time. They said they had 298 present. Since Bev and I are still very young, I say we had 300 young people!
A few days ago Bev and I went to the city of Tarauacá. This is the third largest city in the state. We participated in a project that our church has been doing for 8 years. We take a large team to a city to do the following activities: doctor’s visits, dental care, nursing, dental hygiene, teach hygiene, hair cuts, arts courses, distribution of dental kits, free medicine, distribution of food to the poor, clothing for the needy, children’s programs, door to door gospel preaching and services at night time. Our 5 doctors and dentists treated over 1500 people. Over 3,500 heard the gospel in the door to door witnessing. There were several professions of faith. We had an average of 250 people in the evening services. One young lady trusted Christ on the last night. Our team is all from First Baptist Church. There were 77 of us in all. Each of these projects costs over $10,000.00. All of these funds are raised right here on the field.
Tarauacá is 160 miles east of here. We were able to drive there in the month of February. That still doesn’t seem real to me. We still don’t have many roads around here. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be able to drive there any in the middle of the rainy season, I would have thought them a greater optimist than me. They say that as of this summer the road to Rio Branco will be open year round. I am an incorrigible optimist, but I still don’t believe that story!
A friend of ours who has an apartment in Tarauacá let us stay there while he was on holiday during Carnaval. Oh, but little did we know that the stage for the Carnaval partying was set up less than 100 yards from our building. We didn’t get much sleep as the wildness and extremely loud “music” went on every night up to 4:00AM. There is only one small Baptist church there and not doing much. Pray that they will wake up and start winning their city for Christ.
Now, before I close let me thank all of you who have given more than the usual amount to make our mission trips and work possible. Several have given generous special offerings. God bless you. Also, let me add one more request. BFM and the missionaries have not said much about this, but we depend on you for the cars that we drive here on the field. Our salaries are perhaps the most frugal of any mission supporting process. BFM has a policy of giving each missionary a special offering of $8,000.00 every 4 years to help buy or keep a car. Since the general fund has been running very low for the past few years, it has become almost impossible to keep this project funded. Several missionaries have postponed getting a newer vehicle. Bev and I are still driving the same S10 pickup that we bought 11 years ago. Even back then we were forced to buy a truck that does not have 4wheel drive or a diesel engine because of the initial cost. Many times I have had to return from the middle of a trip because the road was too muddy to get through with the S10. Also, gas is much more expensive than diesel fuel here in Brazil. For the past 7 years we have been praying for a Brazilian made jeep called Troller (check it out at http://troller.com.br). Since the dollar has gone up lately and there are now several tax incentives, the car is a little less expensive. Last year it was still costing $60,000.00. Right now it is about $39,000.00. It is still the cheapest 4 wheel drive diesel vehicle in this country. Two years ago I started building a boat to sell to go as a down payment. Last week I sold that boat for $23,000.00! That is great, but with Brazil having the highest interest rates in the world, I still can’t afford to finance the remainder. The Lord will provide. All this to say, please give regularly or a generous one time gift to the missionary vehicle fund. You don’t have to designate for my jeep. Others have the same need, so even though times are very tough, please give.
Thanks for all of your prayers and support. God bless you as much as He has us.
Mike & Beverly Creiglow
Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil