Moving Forward in the New Year

February 10, 2017 | Skip and Betty Harkins

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust.”

Here we are in the second month of 2017. Time waits for no man.

Our year end activities were quiet this year. Our pastor cancelled services the last two weeks of December and we resumed on the second Sunday this year. We all missed our activities but were so happy to resume them. We enjoyed a quiet Christmas with our granddaughter Beca and family and another family from the church. Had fun getting to know the great granddaughter better and she was fun to be around.

I was able to take Skip out for two outings for both holidays and he enjoyed being out. However, the most he will stay out is 3-4 hours at the most.

His speech continues to improve even in Portuguese. He is better able to let others know what he wants. He reads and seems to understand what he is reading. He has speech therapy twice a week, and some days he doesn’t want to do them but we coax him into doing it. I help with his daily exercises and his therapist comes once a week to help also. He walks the house over every time he gets up for the bathroom. He is stronger but I still have to keep a close watch on him. He thinks he can do more for himself and this morning he wanted to fix the bed and lost his balance and fell backward on the bed. Good thing the lady that sleeps with us was still here and she helped get him sitting on the bed again. He prays in Wednesday night meetings. Of course, some of the phrases are not understandable but God does understand and we are glad he is willing to pray. All in all he is doing fine, but as I said before sometimes he has his bad days and won’t do anything. We check his blood pressure and it is sometimes lower than should be.

I am still helping out all I can in the church. I am on the Missions committee again this year. We had ten or so missionaries visit the church last year and it is a blessing to get to know them better, and how to pray for their needs. Most are from New Tribes here in Brazil and Africa. I am still playing the piano for the hymns we sing, as the one who plays the guitar does not want to tackle them. So, I am thankful for the opportunity.

I played the piano for Bible School in January and taught the 4-6 year-olds as well as the one to three year-olds. It was a challenge but so much fun.

Had a meeting with our Women in Action group Saturday, and we planned our itinerary for this year. Have lots of interesting things coming up, as well as finish our study on prayer that we started last year. I still translate some Sunday School material to use with the smaller children. My Sunday School has four kids registered and one is the two-month-old baby of our pastor and his wife. Her name is Sara and she is so cute. She is the image of her dad, brother and grandfather. We love her. We love our Pastor’s family.

We have each been encouraged to each one win one this year. I have a lady that I would like to see saved and am going to visit her as much as I can and try to win her to the Lord. I went to visit once but she was either sleeping or wasn’t home. She lives up the street from us.

Now for family news. It has been a while since we mentioned them.
Jess lives in Meadow, South Dakota and drives truck for Bison Grain. He also pastors a church at Meadow, SD. His daughter lives in Sturgis, SD and has a daughter Savannah (10) and son Gabriel (5). Their son, Charles lives in Miller, SD and has a wife Alisha and daughter Amelia (21/2). Their son John lives and works in Massachusetts, delivering parts for automobiles.

David and wife Edelene live in Lowel, Massachusetts, and he is driving a truck for a Brazilian firm and teaching the man about driving rules in the US. His step daughter Katia and husband Daniel live in Nazare and they have a daughter Danielle (17). They are both pharmacist. Nice to have them as they help with our medicines.

Naomi is here in Brazil and lives 45 minutes from us. She is a leader in selling and recruiting people to sell Tupperware. Husband Paulo is a mechanic. They are helping a church plant work in a town fifteen minutes from here. WE don’t get to see them often as we would like as work schedule does not help. Guess most of you know how that is.
Their son Michael lives in SD, not far from Sturgis where cousin Helen lives. They get together quiet often. Daughter Rebecca and husband Eric and daughter Adalene (Addy) live in Belem do Para, an extreme northern state of Brazil. I would say about three thousand miles from us. They are working at Amazon Valley Academy for a couple of years as teachers there and daughter is in school there. They like it up there except it is exceptionally hot, but they do have air conditioning in the bedrooms so that is a help.

So thankful for all of God’s blessings and I especially thank God every day that I am able to take care of Skip and don’t have too many health problems except for high blood pressure which sometimes gets out of control. My legs were so swollen for a while but the doctor figured it was from the blood pressure medicines and changed the medication and my legs are back to normal. I do have aches and pains occasionally but nothing to worry about. Just old age creeping up, ha!

We would like to remind you to pray for:
…someone with a call to work with children to come over and help us. None will take the responsibility to meet with the kids once every two weeks or so to keep the fires burning from Vacation Bible School. I can’t do it as I have to take care of Skip. But there is a possibility of my helping with a program at an orphanage here in town. Details need to be worked out and permission. Pray for this outreach.
…for Samuel (19) who just got out of Rehab for drugs. He is really struggling to keep clean. May he return to God also.
…for revival at church. May we all grow closer to Jesus this year.
…for the construction of the church – that the needed funds will come in so we can finish enough to move into the new building by May 1st.
…for those who have been saved recently and have dropped out.
…that the folks won’t get discouraged here at church. We lost 2 members and 2 more that were not yet members because they moved back to their home towns at the end of the year.

Please Praise with us:
…for those who haven’t been coming regularly, that they will come back. That they might continue to grow in the Word
…for our health and that I can help with Skip
…for those who help us with our various needs around the house and grocery shopping and other needs.

Praise for
…our church family that are so willing to help us.

Want to say a special thanks for all the lovely cards of encouragement and Christmas cards received during the year. They help lift up our days.

Also, a special thank you to those who pray regularly, and also give financially to help us here. THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS

May God richly bless all of you. Have a good year also.

Until next time,
Betty and Skip Harkins