July 2021 Update
Dear Praying Friends,
Hello from the freezing cold Southern Cone of Brazil! We are in the middle of winter and dipping into the 20’s at night, but thankfully that is only a condition of the outside weather, and not our hearts. This past week threw us for a loop, but you all have helped us stay steady and encouraged during this trial of our family. My wife once wrote a hymn called “A Welcome Visitor” and in the chorus she wrote, “Yes, in the night season, He comes calling. He’ll catch your tears as they’re falling. Just call on Him and believe, He’s a Welcome Visitor indeed.” God is a Welcome Visitor and boy, have those words based on Psalms 16:7 been proven true for us this week as we have been in our own night season.
For those of you who may not know, our family drove our youngest son to the airport last Monday (7/12) and while we were on the 7 hour round trip some thieves broke the window of our bedroom, entered our home, and robbed us. As we made it home that evening tired from the long drive, we were chatting about being glad we had made it back. When we rounded the curve on our dirt road, Sheri noticed a light coming from the side door of the house. I think we knew in that moment that something was wrong. We pulled up to the gate that was swinging open and I ran inside to see what had happened. The refrigerator and freezer were opened and things were strewn across the floor. Sheri quickly followed me and we saw the devastation the men had left behind. Amelia remained in the car until we knew it was safe for her to enter. I was in shock as I looked around and searched for clues to where they had entered the house. I heard Sheri call out, “They killed the dog!” and I ran to the living room where we found it’s body lying in a massive pool of blood by the fireplace. It was barbaric and we didn’t want Amelia to see it, so we quickly removed it. They stole TV’s, our laptop, my bass, Wyatt’s guitar, and other things, along with having made a huge mess. There was not an area that they didn’t rifle through while they rummaged through our home. They were in a hurry and apparently something scared them because they tried to take the microwave but left it sitting out on the table as if they had dropped it and ran. One of them also had grabbed my tool box but dropped it on the ground, handle still standing. After looking around each nook and cranny, closet and bathroom, I made sure Sheri and Amelia were okay. I gathered them into my arms and we all huddled together as we processed what had taken place. Even though we have been through this before while living in the Amazon, this was our first break-in here in the south. Honestly, I do not really have words to describe how it feels to walk in on a scene like we did last Monday. Today makes a week since it happened and we are all still reeling.
The police never came to our home to investigate, although I did go down and file a report. I was told it is up to us to watch for our things being sold online or around town, but basically the police will do nothing. We learned that another farm across the road was broken into on Friday, so everyone here is on high alert. I have bolted our windows shut and we are going to have bars placed on them, as well as have a security camera system installed. I have to see to all of this immediately and I covet your prayers for our farm and family until we can get everything done. We had a friend giving away dogs, so we scooped up 3 of them in the hopes that we can deter anyone else from entering our property.
Now, we know that God has allowed this to happen. We may not know why, but we trust Him. He knows what He is doing. I am not surprised that something occurred right now because we have been making a push towards evangelism and discipleship lately with our church. The devil hates the advancement of the Gospel, so he is not going to let us work without some opposition on his end. This is not a week any of us would like to repeat however, and I humbly ask that you continue to pray for my wife and daughter to have peace at night to be able to sleep and peace when they are alone.
So many of you have stayed in contact with us throughout this ordeal, and we are so very grateful. Your prayers and encouragement have helped us. We will continue to fight the good fight here for the Lord; we just have some new battle scars that need tending to at present. I cannot help but wonder what victory is lying just ahead in this ministry God has called us to here. It must be a big one. One of our members has taken on the challenge of personal soul winning and had just set up a new preaching point for us in the worst area of our city. We will be heading there this week to present the Gospel in this new home for the very first time. If we understand spiritual warfare, we know we have crossed into a territory that is a stronghold for the enemy. While we are gathering ourselves up from the robbery, we will still move forward to try and win more people for Christ. That is why we are here and it is exactly what God has called us to do. Our church also needs to see God’s power through this experience and we want it to build their faith as well. So, just pray for us as we run back into the battle towards the enemy with the Sword of the Lord held high and firm in our grasp.
Lastly, can I just remind you of the importance of your missions program? Not just the financial side, but the prayer and encouragement side. We have seen first hand this week what it is like to have scores of Christians lifting us up in prayer and sending us Scripture to comfort us. It has unequivocally been these two things that have sustained us. You are so important to us and the ministry of countless other missionaries on the mission field. We cannot do it without you. Sheri and Amelia are sending their appreciation as well. We love you all and with God’s help we will overcome yet another obstacle and we will claim the victory! As my wife always says, “Let’s just keep on keeping on”.
Mark and Sheri Edwards
From the Edwards Family in Lages-SC, Brazil