More Blessings from Brazil!
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20) We, like the apostles, enjoy seeing our God work in and through our lives, but our Saviour reminds us that we should be more excited because our names are written in Heaven. Here in Brazil, very few churches teach the pure Gospel of salvation by grace in the finished work of our Saviour on the cross. What an honor is ours to partner with you on behalf of the souls of the PEOPLE of Brazil.
In December after two months of practice, a group of 12 plus the children’s choir, directed by Dawn and our son Timothy, presented the cantata, Standing at the Crossroads. At least 5 people chose to put their trust in Jesus!
Our God blessed with 123 salvations, 237 visitors, 23 baptisms, and an average of 40 – 45 on Sunday evenings during the first full year (2016) at New Life Baptist Church. The church presently has 18 members, with 15 – 20 others preparing to join the church in the next few weeks.
Every morning for the first 12 days of the new year, our pastor, Bro. Ed Johnson, gathered the men for an hour of prayer. For the month of January, we are praying that our God will convict at least 12 family members of those attending the church of their need of salvation. We also revamped our church prayer list by listing the needs by families. We are seeing some of the results of God’s working!
As the soul-winning pastor, I am constantly looking for ways to help our church find ways to reach out to our community. To the glory of God, different families of our church are helping to bring between 15 – 20 people to church. We also have about 10 people walking to church.
On the 10th of January, we were told of a six-month-old baby named Manuella, with Down syndrome and heart problems, who was in one of our local public hospitals. Dawn and I were able to meet the mother; but since the baby was in intensive care, only I as a pastor was able to enter. The parents, Eduardo (20) and Michelli (19), lived in the city of Ubatuba, an hour and a half away but were staying in town at a charity house. Early this past Sunday morning, January 29, our Saviour took Baby Manuella to Heaven just one day after celebrating seven months of life. After receiving a call from a relative during the Sunday school hour about the baby’s death, I went to find the young couple. This led to helping arrange for the transporting of the body and taking the parents and a grandmother back to Ubatuba. Later that evening the young mother was in shock for the first hour after the body arrived. Here in Brazil, because the body was to be buried the next day, the family and friends came all through the night to offer their comfort. We had a short service before the baby was taken to the cemetery and a graveside service before watching the workers lower the thin, wooden casket into the ground and cover it with dirt. Through all the tears and sorrow, at least 15 people trusted Jesus as their Saviour. Six were from one-on-one conversations, and the others were during the funeral service. Please pray that we can find a church that will help this family heal and grow spiritually.
The young people of our church are busily raising money for camp at the end of February. This past Saturday God kept back the rain (after about three weeks of rain) for them to wash 10 vehicles, including one motorcycle. Bro. Ed Johnson led a man to that the Lord who had his car washed, and I had opportunity to lead Regina to Jesus while going house to house asking the neighbors if the young people could wash their cars. Regina and her invalid husband Jose had been looking for a church and were also able to visit our church on Sunday night.
We are grateful for your prayers for our family here in Brazil and for our four adult children in the U.S. Kelley is in her first year of teaching at Bailey’s Grove Baptist Schools in Asheboro, North Carolina. David, an E4 Army Ranger, is being deployed for three months. Jonathan, in his second year, and Nathan, in his first year, are at Hyles-Anderson College.
Bro. Dave Whitmore