Andrew & Tassie Comings
Missionaries to Brazil
Baptist Mid Missions
Someone recently asked me how the COVID pandemic had affected our ministry here. Without hesitation, I answered that it was a tremendous blessing for the Mount Zion Baptist Camp.
Here’s how: At the beginning of the year we had many plans for 2020 – our second Music Week, an English Day, visits from groups and families from the US. If you read our last news letter, you know that every single one of those activities fell through, thanks to the virus. In addition, annual church and association events were cancelled. This left us with something we are completely unaccustomed to here: free time.
So we adjusted our perspective and worked on ways to wisely use that time. And one of the biggest opportunities that presented itself was the camp.
Sometime towards the beginning of the pandemic (I don’t remember exactly when) we sat down with the development team to map out what could be done. At that meeting we decided that we should plan a youth retreat for November. We made a list of things that needed to be completed at the camp, set a timetable for completing them, and calculated that we could count on perhaps 30 to 50 kids showing up.
The Ebenezer Retreat
Previously, our church plant, the Ebenezer Regular Baptist Church, had decided to hold a retreat at the camp. I was very glad for this, as it gave us an opportunity to to host a group of people before the planned teen retreat. Kind of a test run, if you will.
The church event was a tremendous success. The kitchen (still unfinished) was put to use, the bathrooms functioned well, and our new waterfront proved very popular. We even had a baptism there – a very special event that had been on hold since the beginning of quarantine.
Once the retreat was in our rear-view mirror, we ramped up our preparations for the teen retreat. We continued the work on our kitchen, and received donations of a water fountain and an industrial stove and oven. The neat thing about these donations is that they came from our own local believers.
Then for the past couple months our family has spent every weekend at the camp, working on one project or another. Often we take a young person from our church with us to help. We have been able to install a new front gate (the old one was falling apart), complete a sand soccer/volleyball court (thanks to a generous donation from a church in the US), paint the kitchen, install iron grates on the doors and windows (a necessary security precaution), and install the sink in the kitchen (you can see pictures of these projects here).
We are also working on a way to dredge our swimming area, making it deeper and cleaner.
The Looming Deadline
As I write this, there are fifteen days left until the beginning of camp. Remember when I said we estimated about 30 to 50 campers? There are currently around 80 teens signed up for the event! Needless to say, we are in panic mode. There are still several projects that need to be completed. Next weekend several men from our area churches will be joining us for our final push for preparation.
All of this work has entailed a significant financial outlay. If you would like to help defray the costs of this work, we have set up a special page that explains how you can donate online (note also the “donate” button to the right). We are grateful for the many people who have contributed to camp projects over the years which have made this moment possible,
In Other News…
School has started back up for Nathanael. Michael continues to seek God’s will as to future plans. Definite furlough plans are still on hold as the US Consulate still remains closed due to COVID.
On the Web
Here are some other interesting things to be found on our website:
I have already cast my absentee ballot. Find out for whom and why.
My Father Knows my Name – a reflection on the occasion of Brazilian Fathers Day.
Itacyara and I were able to get away for a week’s vacation and to celebrate (after the fact) twenty years of marriage. We took pictures.
Devotional thoughts: Three Rules for Christians on Social Media…and everywhere else.
I was honored to be asked to contribute an article to Baptist Mid Missions’ Serve publication. You can read it here.
Recent snapshots of missionary life.
What I’ve been reading of late.
And finally, the question on everybody’s mind: Is Missionary Max racist?
As always, we are deeply grateful for your prayers and financial investment in this ministry.
Andrew, Itacyara, Michael, and Nathanael