UPDATE: Friesens – February 2012

February 15, 2012

Dear Praying Family and Friends,

“As each one has received a special gift employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak as it were the utterances of God; whoever serves let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11. It is God who gives us our spiritual gifts and it is He who supplies what we need in the time that we need it. Therefore remember, it is God who should receive all the honor and glory through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Praise: We both passed our written tests and now we have our licenses to drive the small boat. Thank-you for praying for us! Please pray that we would be safe on the river as we drive back and forth to Manaus and to other places.

Praise: Dawn’s father is still in a nursing home but he is getting stronger. He is not only working on strengthening his legs but now he is working on his arms also. He wants to eventually get strong enough that he can return to his property and trailer. Please keep praying for him that he will make right decisions concerning his health and other areas of his life. Also, pray that dad would be a bold witness for Christ as he shares with others about his experiences.

Please pray for those that will be participating in Carnival this year. Carnival is going to be here February 18-21, 2012. Carnival is an annual party that is held forty days before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other denominations traditionally abstain from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term carnival meaning “to remove meat.” Celebrations are a farewell to bad things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection. Sexual immorality, alcohol consumption and many other “sins of the flesh” accompany these celebrations and partying. Rhythm, participation and festive costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. Examples include organized parades led by samba schools, public parades and minor parades. Carnival is heavily influenced by the African-Brazilian culture and it is mixed with cultural depictions of local folklore. Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil: the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense day and night. The consumption of beer alone accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives 70% of annual visitors. The government distributes condoms and launches awareness campaigns during this time to help curb the spread of AIDS. Pray for Christian churches as they prepare to have special evangelical events during this time of Carnival.

On March 6th we will have company on the floating house. A young man named JM is going to be staying with us. His parents are giving him this trip for his fourteenth birthday. JM’s siblings and parents are also missionaries in southern Brazil. We are looking forward to fishing for Peacock Bass and spending time with him. JM will be with us for about two weeks. Please pray that JM will enjoy his trip and his time on the floating house.

[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 with quotation marks.]

In January, we had to have a carpenter come to the floating house to fix a log that had come loose under the foundation of the house. There is a lot of river traffic where we are parked in “CDV” and because of it there are lots of waves. As boats drive by the house, they create waves which makes the floating house rock back and forth. This is hard on the logs under the house because they are almost constantly moving up and down with the water. As the logs move up, the nails that hold them to the foundation are forced up also. The logs settle back down but the nails stay up or they break off. Needless to say, the logs become loose under the house and they have to be refastened. (*See picture #1) Notice the size of the nail that is used. The nails are made of ¾ inch rebar that are 3 feet long.

This month, Don and Pastor Brelaz took another trip out to the small city (called “NC”) where we will be moving the floating house sometime this month. Dawn stayed home because she was sick. They talked again to the mayor of the city to make sure that we have a place to park the floating house. The mayor found us a place to park in front of his house (*See picture #2). On this trip, they found out that the “M people” are living on a reservation next to the city. This should be a great location for us to engage them (*See picture #3). We were not able to move the floating house at the end of January like we thought because we found out that the rivers that we have to travel on were not full enough of water yet for us to get the floating house through them. Please pray for us as we move the floating house to “NC”. It should take about 30 hours to get to our destination. Pray that we would not have any complications or problems.

This month, we had the opportunity to work with Pastor Brelaz in Manaus. Because of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, thousands of immigrants from there have made their way to Brazil. Many of them are now in Manaus. Our church is helping 60 of them. The church is feeding them, housing them and finding jobs for them. Last week, we held a class in Manaus to teach the Haitians how to make different breads. While we were there, we made pizza (dough and all) and French bread (*See pictures #4&5). Please pray for these immigrants as they learn to speak Portuguese. Their heart languages are French, Creole and Spanish. Pray also for Pastor Brelaz and the church as they minister to the Haitians.

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. A full-time pastor and his family just moved out to the treatment center during the first week of January. Now this year, homeless men will be taken off the streets of Manaus and they will be given a new hope. Pray that many lives will be transformed as they learn a new trade and they hear the gospel of Christ. Pray also for the full-time pastor and his family as they minister to those at the treatment center.

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: We would like to thank everyone who gave sacrificially this year to the Lottie Moon Offering. We were blessed to hear that many churches reached their goals and some even surpassed them. It is through you’re giving that you partner with us to be on mission with God in Brazil. We are so grateful that we don’t have to raise our own support to be on the mission field where God has called us to be! Thank-you for partnering with us in northern Brazil.

Prayer requests:

  • Please praise the Lord with us as we have conformation of our first team that is coming from the States. They will be with us April 27-May 5, 2012. This team will be a medical/dental team. They will help open doors with the “M people” village that is next to the small city where we will be living.
  • Please pray that we would be bold witnesses for Christ.
  • Please pray for our company leadership and their families.
  • Please praise the Lord with us. We will be celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. God has truly blessed us in our union together and we give Him all the honor and glory for our family!!
  • 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.

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.

For the glory and honor of Jesus Christ,

Don and Dawn Friesen

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