September 17–18, New Life Baptist Church celebrated its 7th anniversary with Pastor Alexandre Oliveira, a like-minded pastor who preached three practical sermons. There were 182 people present for the Saturday evening service, with several visitors and at least 4 people hearing the Gospel during the invitation. The Saturday morning of the two-day conference while Dawn, our son Zachary, and some other young people were inviting people close to where the church originally started to the services, the Holy Spirit led me to visit Lazaro Dimas, an elderly man who, with his wife Luzia, observed our church while in our first two rented locations. Shortly after the church started in 2015, he stopped me one Sunday morning to say that he noticed that our church was different because we had entire families going to church. In the past when we have spoken with him and his wife about salvation, they have not listened. Saturday, September 17, Lazaro was home alone, and rather than telling me what he thought he had to do to go to Heaven, he invited me into his home and listened with his eyes and heart. To God be the glory, Lazaro chose to put his complete trust in Jesus. Pray with us for Luzia to be saved. She tells me that she will die in the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church and will forever believe in the virgin Mary.
This past summer, Dr. Lockard, the Executive Director of the BEAMS Ministry, asked churches to help raise money for 5,000 Bibles for Brazil through Vacation Bible School offerings. Praise the LORD that enough money was raised to cover the printing and shipping for 16,000 hardback, Trinitarian-text Bibles. This ministry is being used by God to make an eternal difference here in Brazil and around the world. Please continue praying for the BEAMS Ministry based in Gulfport, Mississippi, for Bro. Harold Gilmer and his team at the Trinitarian Bible Society in Sao Paulo, and for Jonata, Henrique, and me with the GANHAR Ministry.
Eight days after our family returned to Brazil, New Life Baptist Church hosted the 2nd Annual Youth Conference July 14-16. Glory to God for the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the young people of our city through the three powerful messages. Pray with us that the Holy Spirit would continue to use our teens to influence their friends and fellow students through soul winning and a separated life to see their need to be saved and join a church where they can learn, grow, and serve our Saviour!
The GANHAR Ministry is in full swing! The container with the John & Romans, tracts, and soft-cover Bibles arrived safely during the last week of July. Henrique, one of our faithful men, communicates on a voluntary basis with the 220-plus pastors and missionaries who receive the BEAMS Bibles and those requesting the soul-winning materials.
August 19–31, I flew 1,677 miles to João Pessoa, Paraíba, to go soul winning with Pastor Francisco and the members of two congregations 35 minutes apart and to preach the church’s 53rd Anniversary Conference. The morning after arriving, the Holy Spirit allowed me to lose my voice for two days. I was reminded of what God told the Apostle Paul when he prayed three times to be delivered from his infirmity: “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The apostle goes on to say, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Over 30 people heard the Gospel, and at least 8 trusted Christ. An elderly man, whose nickname was Vavá, passed away 12 days after he trusted Jesus.
September 23–25, while in Serrana for the inauguration of a second Baptist church with Pastor Alexandre, who had preached our anniversary conference, I was able to share the Gospel with Felipe, the painter; Ana Rackel (age 14), while going soul winning with her and her father Jean; and a couple, Gilmar and Nayara, who live across the street from the church while helping paint and clean. In our last prayer letter, I mentioned getting to lead Italo to Jesus on the flight to the U.S. It was an EXTRA SPECIAL blessing to have him and his fiancée Jamila drive from a neighboring city to participate in the inauguration service. Watching this pastor and people reminded me of how Nehemiah, Ezra, and the people of Israel worked day and night to finish the wall. Pray that both of these churches will continue being used of God to reach the 45,000-plus people of their city.