Challenges in Resuming Services

Mike and Beverly Creiglow have served the Lord in Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil together since 1971. In addition to pastoring First Baptist of Cruzeiro do Sul, Mike builds his own boats and frequently travels up and down rivers to share the Gospel with those who have never heard.

September 22, 2020

Dear Brethren,

Greetings from the lockdown in the rainforest: Cruzeiro do Sul. My days alternate between “frustrated” and “angry”. Our timid (spineless) governor has tightened the shutdown even against the data that show we should be moving toward normal.

We had already authorized our congregations out of town and our chapels in town to resume services, as I reported last month. Three weeks ago, we had our first (limited) Sunday school. After our weekly pastor’s meeting, we had decided to have a Sunday morning service of just an hour (9:00AM), but without publicizing the first one. If the news leaked and folks showed up, then fine. It did leak and we had 191 present. We followed the state rules as close as possible. The next week we had a 20% increase. The third week another 44% increase over the previous week. There were 329 for that service.

Then the state brought down a new law requiring ALL citizens in the Acre to wear a mask in all public and PRIVATE places. It is now illegal to eat or shower without a mask if you follow the law as written. The next Sunday morning we had only 225, a 30% drop in attendance.

For the past 2 plus months I have been getting data on the state of the pandemic in Cruzeiro do Sul. The daily cases have dropped way down. Hospitalizations, which had been in the hundreds is now down to 7. There have been 4 deaths in over 2 months. There had been as many as 6 deaths weekly 3 months ago.

The “tyranny of the mask” as I call it, has kept me oscillating between frustrated and angry. I called off the livestream of our services until this is past. The livestream could bring the authorities down on us, if they saw anyone without a mask in the auditorium. I refuse to comply and certainly refuse to preach in a mask. Now I am back in the studio recording messages and lessons for all those who are afraid to come to church. We continue to have live services, but I must also prepare duplicate lessons and sermons for those too timid to get out or for the few who are hindered by some other high-risk factor.

One of the pastors wants us to follow the letter of the law, which is impossible. He comes to staff meetings in a huge cannister mask, face shield and gloves. The other 6 pastors take it in stride, even though we can’t understand a word of what he says during the meetings! All of us get along fine though and do the best with all of this mess around us.

To end on a better note: We have added some new members by letter. Then on Sunday we presented a new baby that was born during the pandemic. Of course, that too is illegal as no children are allowed (according to the law) to be present. Someone more important than the governor once said, “Let the little ones come unto me.” I think letting them come to His house counts, too.

Pray that we will be able to be faithful and continue to do our best for Christ and His kingdom.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. God bless you as much as He has us.

In Christ,
Mike Creiglow

CONTACT INFO

Mike & Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
69980 Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre
Brasil, SA
mdcreig@hotmail.com

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280 | Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.




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