December 20, 2011
Dear Praying Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas! “But thanks be to God who always leads us in His triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15. Thanks be to God for sending His one and only Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins. This is the true reason for Christmas! It is because of God’s love for us that we can be the sweet aroma of Him to others in every tribe and culture. The Christmas season is a great time to be sharing the story of Christ with those who don’t know Him.
[Disclosure statement: For security purposes/reasons, some names of cities and our people group will be in the form of an acronym or be abbreviated.]
Praise: We are in the States right now because Dawn’s father is not doing well. We arrived in Texas on November 26, 2011 and we traveled to New Mexico to see dad. He stayed in the hospital for a week and then they moved him to a nursing home. We were able to be with him for two weeks; we prayed with him, laughed with him, talked with him and even cried with him. It was such a blessing for us to have had this precious time with him! Dad was taken to the hospital by ambulance because he was complaining about his back hurting and he was weak. When they examined him, they found out that one of his kidneys had completely shut down and his other one was only functioning about ¼ percent. The doctors took him into surgery to try and put a stint in it but when they opened dad up, they found a cancerous tumor and they could not put the stint in. After doing some ex-rays, they also discovered that dad had another cancerous mass in his back that had wrapped around his spine and had caused a fracture. Dad has also suffered with Prostate Cancer for the past five years. In the past few weeks, dad has been having good days and bad days.
Yearly update on our children: Our oldest daughter Annie is in her second year of teaching. She teaches 6th and 7th grade Science at a Middle School near Shawnee, Oklahoma. She was just awarded “Teacher of the Year” for her school. Now her name will be submitted to district and if she wins that she will go on to nationals. Her husband Jay is in his third year of being a Police Officer in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Annie and Jay will be celebrating their third wedding anniversary in January. Kandi, our youngest daughter will be starting her last year in college at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma where she is studying Anthropology. She will graduate next December. We are truly blessed and we are so proud of our three children!!
A God story: There is a man (B) and his wife (S) that we meet while going to seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. We kept in contact with them over the years through emails and phone calls. Before we left for Brazil, we were traveling with Dawn’s dad. He was going to stay a few days in South Dakota so he could visit his mother. Also, we were saying our good-byes to our family and friends. As we called our friends (B&S) from seminary, we told them that we had picked up Dawn’s father who lived in New Mexico. Our friend asked, “Where in New Mexico does your dad live?” “He lives in a small community called Mimbres.” “You have to be kidding,” came his reply. “I just got a call back from a church there and I am going in view of being called their pastor.” It was through this God ordained miracle that we have seen many God sized blessings! Our seminary friend (B) has been the pastor of this church now for almost two years. When we came back to the States last year for Dawn’s grandmother’s funeral, we needed help getting dad from New Mexico to Albuquerque so we could meet up with him there. We called our friends (B&S) and asked them if they could help us. Without hesitation, S got in her car and drove dad to meet us. It was then that dad started asking questions. The biggest question that he had was, “Why would complete strangers come over to my house and want to help me?” We were able to share with dad that the body of Christ helps others who are in need. This kind gesture opened the door for God to start working in dad’s life. In our travels, we saw the Holy Spirit working in dad’s life. As we presented mission presentations in different churches, we invited dad to come with us. He walked into every church with us and he listened to us share about Brazil. Before this, dad never stepped foot in church. Sometimes while in church, he even put money in the offering plate. Before this, dad always said, “The church doesn’t need my money.” After grandma’s funeral last year, dad broke down and he spent most of the night in the bathroom at a hotel praying to God. Before that, dad never prayed to God. It was such a blessing for Dawn because she had never heard her dad pray before! Dad accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and he was baptized!! He started attending Pastor B’s church every Sunday. By the way, the church is literally in dad’s backyard! Dad became friends with many of the members of the church and now they are visiting dad at the nursing home. Once again, the church has gathered around dad in his time of need. We are so grateful to B and S for their godly example to dad and for their love and care that they continue to show dad.
For your information: If you have any questions that we have not answered about the floating house, please send us an email and we will do our best to answer your question(s).
Please continue to pray for Pastor Brelaz and the homeless in Manaus. Work with the homeless will continue every Wednesday night in the streets of Manaus. Pray that God would continue to use Pastor Brelaz as he ministers to those living on the street. Also, he has many different projects that he feels God is leading him to do in 2012. Check out the photos and history of the homeless ministry and treatment center at www.casareviveramazonas.com just click on the left hand side of the webpage.
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: It is once again time for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in the states. This offering is taken once a year in December by Southern Baptist Churches and the money that is collected goes strictly to overseas missions. “Every penny given to Lottie Moon is used to support Southern Baptist missionaries as they share the Gospel overseas. The offering represents 57 percent of the International Mission Board’s total income.” www.imb.org. We, as Southern Baptist missionaries, are supported by this offering and money that is given to the Cooperative Program. It is because of these two blessings, we don’t have to raise our own financial support to be here in Brazil where God has called us to be. We appreciate all of the support of our family and friends and we thank you for your generosity in giving. As we think back over 2011, we are truly blessed to have a salary, the floating house and our new small boat as our vehicle on the river.
Check out this website: Here is a way for our prayer partners to see what is happening with missionaries and mission projects in northern Brazil. Go to www.salt-mission.com and check it out!
- Please pray for Dawn’s dad. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give him peace and comfort. We are so thankful that he knows the Lord and that we will be reunited with him in heaven!
- Continue to pray for the men at the marina. We will miss our friend, Carlos there. Also, don’t forget to pray for Afonso (the man who was the original builder of the floating house) and his family.
- We are gearing up for 2012 and with that in mind we are putting together some teams from the states to help us. So far, it looks like we have two teams coming for sure and two teams that are praying about the possibility of coming. Please pray that God would work in the hearts of the people that He would want to minister with us. Some of these teams will help us open doors to villages where the “M people” live.
- Please pray that we would be bold witnesses for Christ in CDV and to all the Brazilians here.
- Please pray for our parents and other family members.
- Please pray that we would be obedient to do God’s will and not our own. We are anxious to be about the ministry God has called us to on the river.
- Please be praying for our people group (the M people) that we will be working with along the river. Pray that we would make good connections with them.
- Pray for us as we make trips back and forth to our next ministry location. We have made two trips to the city of “ATDL” already. There is a pastor there that will help us secure a location to park the floating house and to secure water and electricity for us. We will be moving to this location in January or February 2012. Once at this location, we will be close to the villages where the “M people” live. There are three different “M villages” that don’t have any evangelical work in them. So, we would like to find a place to park the floating house that would make it strategic for us to be close to all three villages. That way, we can use our small boat to travel back and forth to all of them.
- Pray for us as we travel back to Brazil on December 28, 2011. We will be spending Christmas with our two daughters and son-in-law in Oklahoma.
God has truly blessed us to have you all as part of our team!! We want to thank you for all your prayers and encouraging emails. We love you all. May God richly bless you in 2012!!
**If you send us an email message, please put a title in the subject line otherwise we will not open it. We do not open any email that we are unsure of because it might contain a virus. Thanks!
For the glory and honor of Jesus Christ,
Don and Dawn Friesen