Weak hands and feeble knees

Lagoa de Itaenga (Lake It-ta-en-ga) is a small, farming community an hour and a half northwest of Recife. If you were to drive through it, which you probably wouldn’t since it’s off the main highway and has no tourist attractions, you wouldn’t notice anything outstanding about it (I can’t even find the lake that gives it its name).

However, it has something that has caught God’s attention – a small, struggling flock of Jesus’ sheep. This congregation began several years ago and has about a dozen members. It is led by S. Dida, 57, a good, simple, salt of the earth kind of man – a child of God.

Last year the young adult group of Recife’s downtown congregation decided to make a change in their activities. Instead of focusing their energies on good activities but that basically only helped their own number, they decided to reach out and help others in need. Hearing about the struggles of the congregation in Lagoa, they decided to “adopt” them. Among other things, this means they will make regular visits there, help with church supplies and keep in close contact.

This month they held an evangelistic campaign. Seventeen of them took two weeks off their regular activities (many took vacation days) to participate in this. First they rented a small house near the church’s meeting place. Two deacons from Recife spent a weekend there fixing the wiring and plumbing so it would serve as dormitories. With that ready the group arrived and fixed up the church’s small building, which included giving it a fresh coat of paint and a new sign to receive the visitors.

Then they began the ten-day evangelistic campaign by canvassing the neighborhood, handing out literature and singing in the city square. All this to invite those interested to three courses of the School of the Bible held at the church building nearby.

Seventeen visitors from the community came and completed the “Basic Bible” course taught in the afternoons. Forty completed the two English Bible courses. One of these was held in the late afternoons, the other in the evenings. Each one of these people received a certificate at the end. They were invited to come back to church and their information was recorded for more visits and teaching. It was a faith building experience for all involved.

Unfortunately, S. Dida, 57, was not been able to participate in this. While all this was going on he was in a hospital here in Recife. The doctors had to do an emergency operation on his kidneys. He missed the whole campaign and remains hospitalized on dialysis, but we’re glad he’s going to make it (there was a time when the doctors were not sure). Please remember him and the saints of Lagoa de Itaenga in your prayers.

Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.
The parched ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 35:3-7