Ron and Valdomiro during their weekly Discipleship meeting.
Making Disciples who Make Disciples:
This is the theme in the book by Francis Chan “Multiply” published by David C. Cook. In Brazil we use the version published by Editora Mundo Cristao and translated into Portuguese by Daniel Faria. I have been meeting with Valdomiro on a weekly basis for one hour for most of the past year. This relationship is directly inspired by Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV), “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We recently finished reading together in Portuguese the book Multiply; Valdomiro does not speak English, and then we began reading Alister McGrath’s Mere Apologetics. In Portuguese the title is Apologetica pura & simples. Simply put by McGrath, “Apologetics is about persuading people there is a door to another world – a door that perhaps they never realized existed. Evangelism is about helping people to open that door and enter into the world that lies beyond.”
When Valdomiro and I meet for discipleship we spend time discussing the implications of what we are reading for God’s purpose for our lives through the lens of Scripture. We also spend time discussing how our week is going and the thanksgivings, challenges, and opportunities for growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and Friend. We also catch up on the thanksgivings, challenges, and opportunities Valdomiro is experiencing in his discipleship of other men in our parish.
This is my thanksgiving for discipleship in Brazil; I consider myself to be a novice with the Portuguese language and Valdomiro does not speak English. Our conversation in Portuguese at times can be both intense and full of emotion, and sometimes Valdomiro needs to restate his thought for me using simpler words. Valdomiro also is patient with me and calmly corrects my numerous grammatical and pronunciation errors especially if I rush my delivery and, for example, I’m talking in the future tense when I should be talking in the past.
Last week Valdomiro asked me if we could increase our discipleship time from one hour per week to two hours per week due to the intensity of the content of Alister McGrath’s book so we do not miss out on the other aspects of our time together. Of course, I said yes, and praising the Lord, almost fell off my chair! I took this as a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of two people who not too long ago could not understand a word the other was saying. Now we are both Making Disciples Who Make Disciples only for the Glory of God’s purposes for His Creation.
Ron and Debby Mckeon serve in the Anglican Diocese of Recife in Brazil. They are dedicated to helping the Anglican churches in Joao Pessoa grow spiritually, numerically and missionally. Please prayerfully consider giving to support their mission here.
After serving as missionaries previously, God has called Ron and Debby back to Brazil to continue his work.
Ron and Debby are based out of the city of João Pessoa the state capital of Paraíba, in the Anglican Church – Diocese of Recife. Their ministry is one of encouragement to support lay leadership and clergy in parish ministry, especially in small mission parishes in the Diocese of Recife. Ron’s ministry is preaching, teaching, and pastoral care. Debby’s ministry is the writing of Bible curriculum for children, and teacher training in areas where children are most at risk.
After graduation from seminary, Ron made an initial six-month commitment to working for what was then the Anglican Communion Network. The six months turned into a full-time job and four years working for what became the Anglican Church in North America provincial office. Ron and Debby became SAMS associate missionaries, returning to their Brazil ministry every year. The ministry has become more defined over the years, but first and foremost has been a ministry of encouragement to those serving in northeast Brazil.
Many times God has spoken through the Brazilian people. Ron and Debby answer the question asked of them, “Can you help us with this?” And God always has prepared their hearts and minds beforehand so that they can answer “Yes”. Then through times of prayer, they are guided in the details of how, and what their role is as part of the solution.
I have been coming to northeast Brazil for over 6 years, and am always intrigued by the methods used for housework and cooking. They are so simple and very different from methods used in the USA. I had observed people ironing everything including tee shirts, sheets, and towels. Even at a women’s retreat, someone was ironing their casual clothes. I silently concluded that Brazilians liked everything to look very good. Then recently I was sharing about cultural differences with the family we were staying with. To my surprise, the wife responded that ironing killed germs on clothing and especially bedding and towels, as they have no hot water for washing laundry, and everything is air dried Of course! What a good example of a cultural difference, and my erroneous conclusion I thought.
How you can pray for Ron and Debby:
- Pray for continued close relationships with their children and grandchildren.
- Pray for those in ministry in Brazil and their families, for strength and refreshment in times of weariness.
- Pray for a lasting impact of the Gospel and changed lives through Jesus in the communities in northeast Brazil.
- Pray for continued financial support.
How you can pray for Brazil:
Are you feeling called to send? Support Ron and Debby McKeon.
Our ministry has become more defined over the years, but first and foremost has been a ministry of encouragement to those in ministry in northeast Brazil.Debby McKeon
In this very dangerous time as indicated in the announcement below, we are so very thankful for our car made possible by financial gifts from our supporters and partners in mission. Please pray for the people here in Northeast Brazil who must rely on public transportation every day to get to work, church and receive social services. The buses here are always packed with people standing in the aisle of the bus. Here is the Security Alert:
U.S. Consulate General Recife, Brazil Security Message for U.S. Citizens:
Increased Violence in Public Transportation
March 30, 2017
The U.S. Consulate General in Recife alerts U.S. citizens of an increase in criminal activity in public transportation in all northeastern states. According to the media, in Pernambuco specifically, criminal activity in public transportation is 97.2 percent higher than last year. Criminals have typically targeted bus drivers and passengers to steal cellphones, wallets, jewelry, and purses.
Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.
The Consulate will continue to monitor the situation. If you require assistance, contact the Consulate using the contact information below:
U.S. Consulate General Recife
Rua Gonçalves Maia, 163
Boa Vista, PE — 50070-125
Phone: (81) 3416-3050 After-Hours Emergencies:(81) 3416-3060
Our congregation at Cristo Libertador giving thanks to God and our financial supporters for this wonderful gift of a car.
We believe we are in the place God has called us to be. Ron is now discipling some of the men in our home parish as well as his regular ministry duties, all in Portuguese. Debby is currently teaching several classes on intercessory prayer, a new ministry that began in February, written in both English and Portuguese, but still using a translator for pronunciation purposes. Debby continues with the soup ministry twice monthly, which is also good practice for her Portuguese, during all the soup preparation and serving with the team of ladies.
In addition Ron has been called to assist our Suffragan Bishop in his new role as the Diocesan Missionary Bishop to reach the unchurched and underserved with the Gospel across Brazil. Ron will assist the Diocesan Missionary Bishop Flávio Soares to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s immeasurable love through planting new communities of faith throughout Brazil. More details on this new startup ministry to follow after the special Diocesan Synod in May.
We hope as Spring approaches that any lingering snow has become a memory, and that you are being blessed by God. We are thinking of our many wonderful friends today and are praying for your work, ministry, health, family and church congregation.
We have had good reports regarding Ron’s health. First it was evident from his improved energy level, and then confirmed by the bone scan in December that showed no evidence of infection and also an ultrasound of the soft tissue in January that was also clear. He remained on a once a day antibiotic until the first week in March, and thus far none of the previous symptoms have returned. We are so thankful and give the glory to God.