“. . . O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known . . . .” (Habakkuk 3:2)
This year the theme for our ministry is “Revive Us, Lord.” Our prayer is for a God-sent revival amongst His people, beginning in me!
Soul Winning and Discipleship
Our focus has always been the Great Commission—to preach the Gospel, baptize converts, and disciple God’s people. Our outreach ministries and our discipleship ministries have continued to grow. On Saturday afternoons during our church-wide evangelism time, we have over 10 teenage and 15 adult soul winners who go out door to door or visiting on a regular basis. Our one-on-one discipleship program also continues to grow, and we currently have approximately 15 disciplers meeting regularly with their disciplees.
In spite of this, there is so much work to be done. We are not even scratching the surface of the work that needs to be done. May we reach as many people with the Gospel of Christ as possible before His return!
Bible Institute Graduates
Four years ago, we started Valley Baptist Institute—a four-year Bible institute—to help in the endeavor of discipling God’s people and training laborers for the ministry. We are thrilled that we had our first two graduates this year! One of the graduates was a young man named Jonata. He feels led to be a missionary, and for now, the Lord has opened the door for him to work interning with Missionary Keith Putnam, who is planting a new church in the neighboring city of Pindamonhangaba (the inauguration service will be held in August). Please pray for them and for this new work! The other graduate was Irmão Eduardo. He has now become part of our Bible institute staff and is actively teaching in it. He is also involved in our counseling ministry and preaches at the church on a regular basis. Please pray for the other students who are being trained for the ministry as well.
An exciting opportunity the Lord has opened for Team Brazil and New Life Baptist Church is GANHAR (WIN in Portuguese). This new ministry is headed up by Brother Dave Whitmore. Jonata, the young man I mentioned earlier, is also a part of it. There is a great need in Brazil for churches to have access to soul-winning materials, as well as for training. The Lord has allowed our church to provide Bibles (through BEAMS), John and Romans, and Gospel tracts. We have created an extensive network of churches and pastors around Brazil that are not only asking for materials but are also asking for training and are needing encouragement. GANHAR will be ministering to these churches, as the Lord allows, through conferences, clinics, meetings, and providing resources. The focus is soul winning, but church planting and other areas are also part of this ministry. Please pray for GANHAR, for our churches, and for our pastors here in Brazil.
Sign Language Course and Potential Deaf Ministry
Two months ago, we had the graduation of a six-week-long sign language course, which was taught by fellow missionary, Jon Speights. A few Sundays ago, we had our first “deaf service,” with one deaf lady and her family. Our newly trained interpreters interpreted the songs, and Brother Speights came with his family from Arujá, an hour away, to interpret the message. Just last week, we met a deaf lady while making a visit, and she was excited to hear about our interest in the deaf. The Lord seems to be opening the doors for us to start this needy ministry, and our church members are excited about this possibility!
In April we held our annual Missions Conference. A Brazilian pastor from Franca, a city about six hours away, was our keynote speaker. The Lord used him to stir up our people for missions, and our annual Faith Promise commitment was almost doubled! While we reach our Jerusalem, we must reach our Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the world!
Trip to Mexico
The first week of May, I was invited to preach at a Missions Conference in Mexico. The services were well attended, there were several visitors, and the Lord worked in our midst. For the first few years of the ministry here, I avoided traveling too much and hardly missed a weekend at New Life Baptist Church. At this point, the Lord has provided some national leadership; they are still being developed and trained. As the ministry continues to grow, our need for more leadership increases, but I am so thankful for the team the Lord has given this ministry, not just the missionaries but also the local men and women. This is allowing Brother Dave Whitmore, my dad, and me to travel some more and invest in other ministries as well. In the next two months, I will be preaching at three different churches here in Brazil in two different states—a revival, an anniversary conference, and a family camp.
Though we continue to develop local leadership and are always in need of laborers, our greatest and most urgent need at this moment in our ministry is to buy a piece of property and build. This would allow the work to become self-supporting and would allow us to be able to focus more on new church plants. Though this goal seems far away and insurmountable for us at the moment, but with God, all things are possible. I’m praying the Lord will provide sooner rather than later!
Thank you for your prayers. We pray for you as well and are eternally grateful for your investment in the souls of Brazil. Here are some specific requests for which to pray:
• Our Nehemiah Project (funds for the church property) – If you would like to give towards this project, now is an opportune time, considering the value of the dollar is at a high (five to one). You can make a check out to BIMI and send it to Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI), P.O. Box 9, Harrison, TN 37341. Please specify on the memo or via a separate note that it is a one-time contribution to the Nehemiah Project for Account #1293.
• Missionary Keith Putnam’s church plant in Pindamonhangaba in August
• The men we are training and preparing to ordain in the future
• More laborers
In the service of the King,
The Ed Johnson Family
Church-Planting Missionaries in Brazil Since 2008
Soul winning and discipleship
Valley Bible Institute graduation–our first two graduates!