Unity and Service: Reflections from the 25th Great Supper.

25th Great Supper

Over the long Easter weekend, Aureni and I participated in the 25th Great Supper. This year, it was held in Cajazeiras, 400 miles northwest of Recife. This event brings together church members from various congregations across the State of Paraiba for a time of worship and Bible study. Approximately 120 brethren from 14 congregations united this year in a spirit of unity and fellowship.

This year’s Great Supper theme was “Hear and Obey,” reflecting our simple but vital commitment to following Christ’s teachings. I was invited to contribute to the program by speaking on “Hearing and Obeying Renders Service.” I used John 13 as my text. Knowing he came from God and was returning to God (v.3), Jesus stooped to wash the disciples’ dirty feet, leaving us an example of selfless service to follow.

Mike and Café

One of the most touching moments of the gathering was my reunion with Café, who is 60. I had the privilege of collaborating with him for years in planting a congregation in Paulista (Recife’s northern suburb). When I first met him at his conversion, he was a professional soccer player. God called him from winning games to winning souls.

After many years of working with the church in Paulista, he was invited to join a mission team to plant the church in the important city of Cajazeiras, which has a population of 63,000 souls. God has used him to grow a thriving congregation of 80 members in his twenty years there.

One of the reasons I especially wanted to visit him was the news that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Though his memory is failing him, Café remains a sweet and loving servant of our Lord. He is a beloved figure in the community. His enduring, kind nature and the unwavering support from his wife, Leila, their four daughters, and the congregation underscore the themes of fellowship at the heart of the Great Supper.

Cajazeiras, 400 miles northwest of Recife