The latest highlight of the ministry has been our recent Biblical Counseling Conference. Drs. Scipione, Backus and Yuille joined us from the States and others from Brazil. A leading pastor from a denomination with over 200 churches was present. After listening to the few days of preaching and teaching he said, “This is the direction we need to go as a denomination.”
In broad strokes, I believe it is fair to say that the church in Brazil has never had a solid grasp or confidence in the work of pastoral discipleship/counseling on a large scale. The focus on individual or family counseling has largely been lost to the secular world of psychology. The situation is so upside down that many people, even in the church, think it strange that the church should courageously be addressing the problems in living that people face. Pastors and wise Christians need to become again the doctors of the soul.
The teachers at the conference reminded us to be theologians that know how to apply Scriptures to the whole range of personal experience. Pastor Yuille reminded us that our struggle to change is related to the fact that we face a constant dilemma in our life. “We know sin feels good, and we know sin displeases God. Whenever we face temptation, these two truths collide in our experience, and we necessarily act upon one of them. Which one? The answer is determined by which of the two truths is most attractive to us at any given moment.” We change and grow in the Christian life when in our minds, sin becomes ugly and pleasing God becomes attractive. This battle for the affections and will of man is fought in the heart (Mk 7:21-23). The Word of God directs and helps us to fight and win the battle within in a profound but simple way.
Dr. Backus related a testimony of a woman who arrived with a complex list of issues running through her life and family. This woman’s faith and life recovered with solid counseling from God’s Word and many from the church body sharing their gifts and love. Pastor Backus asked the director of the state run mental health facilities how what the church did compared with what they could do. The answer was, “We have nothing to compare with what you all were able to do and provide for this woman.” Connecting people with the Lord of salvation and with His body is always the best option.
Please allow a brief update on the family. The biggest news is that Leah is carrying our seventh son. She is doing well, but please pray for the hip pain she has during her pregnancies. Thank the Lord that the boys are doing well and are in good health. They love to play “futsal” which is like soccer but played on a cement court. They all speak Portuguese like the Brazilians and much better than their parents. They are having fun correcting their Dad after teaching or preaching.
You are God’s helping hand in our life to make this ministry possible. Thank you for your prayers and support for the work in Brazil.
—Rev. Doug Leaman