We apologize for not getting our prayer letter out last month, if you noticed that our every other month schedule was interrupted! We have a great excuse: Rebecca's mom and sister were here visiting, so, of course, we took them to a quiet little beach town a couple of hours from here. We planned to only stay two nights, but they loved it so much that we decided to stay another! And I missed the letter deadline. See, I told you it was a good excuse!
Fall is beginning to settle in here in Rio, which means that the thermostat is staying closer to 90 these days. We've had some beautiful ones lately. It always makes me feel closer to people if I know what the weather's like where they are. I probably get it from my mother! To take advantage of the weather, we enjoyed a beautiful day at the park on Good Friday. We took the children of Projeto Vidinha there to celebrate their birthdays as well as having some fun outdoors.
In the US, fall always seems to mean buckling down, getting to work, and lots of busyness. This fall has been true to the rhythm. As we told you in February, our first Brasilian was hired in January. She is wonderful and is enjoying working on the streets with us. In the past couple of months, we've been welcoming more and more regular volunteers on the streets, as well. We are so blessed by being in ministry with Brasilians who also love the kids and families we know. They communicate the gospel so well with their words and their lives. They are also more familiar with the social, governmental and cultural structures that we face.
We also mentioned in our last letter that we were beginning to bring together a group of Brasilians to form a board of directors for Palavra Encarnada (Word Made Flesh Brasil). We are happy to announce that by the time you receive this letter, we will have had our first preliminary board meeting. It will be more like a meeting of advisors, but it is a first big step to creating a board of directors.
Why, you might ask, are we working so hard to gather volunteers and create a board of directors? We believe that the needs of our friends are best understood by those who are from the city and we desire to be held accountable by the local church. Our vision for Palavra Encarnada is to open a small center for women and their children who are either living or spending lots of time on the streets in downtown Rio. We hope that this center will be a place where we can invite women, share meals, offer Bible studies, and provide family and health education. In the future, we could possibly provide vocational training and psychological help, as well. It will also provide a physical home base for our present work on the streets, which includes snacks, praise & worship, art, hospital visits and help obtaining documents amongst lots of conversation and friendship.
Please pray with us as we look for a building that is suitable for our vision (and a landlord who will rent to a project for people on the streets) and as we decide what this project will look like in the day to day. Pray for wisdom as we continue in the preliminary work of setting up a board of directors. Pray that our volunteers would continue to be faithful and that the Lord would be working in their hearts as they work among the poor.
We are so grateful to have you by our side.
Rich, Rebecca & Anna Nichols
P.S. We have begun planning our annual visit to the US. Though we haven't decided when we'll be where yet, if you're interested in having us speak at your church or small group in July or August, let us know soon.