Dear Praying Friends,
I have a lot of exciting news to share with you. Throughout these trying times caused by the pandemic, the Lord has been very good to our ministry. We have continued growing, and we are seeing God do some wonderful things.
In September, New Life Baptist Church celebrated its Five-Year Anniversary. Bro. Mark Bosje was scheduled to spend a few days with us and preach the conference, but because of the lockdown, we ended up having to postpone it. However, the Lord saw fit to open the doors for him to come and preach our conference a few weeks later. We were able to secure a vacant, 10,000-square-foot building behind our church location in order to accommodate the people and still follow the social- distancing guidelines set by the government. In spite of the pandemic and short notice, we had a marvelous conference, with over 50 visitors and 7 decisions for Christ; and the 157 people present on the Saturday night of the conference was the church’s second-highest attendance ever. Glory to God!
Throughout these last few months, we have had several families join the church, and souls continue being saved and baptized. Because of this church growth and a lack of space, along with some changes in our rental agreement, we had to start looking urgently for a larger facility to rent. We found a great building at an excellent location not too far away from our church; however, the price was too high for us. We started praying about the location and left it in the Lord’s hands. We looked at a lot of places and found a couple of options that would have worked, but for different reasons, they were not ideal.
We were very uneasy about the move but were trusting the Lord. However, through providential providence (thank you, First Baptist Church of Hammond) and a good deal, God miraculously opened the doors for us to rent the space we had been praying about.
The location used to be an exotic pet shop with very large glass walls and “rooms” for the animals. The owner has been remodeling and preparing the space for us. Our move should happen on the 16th of March. The church is very excited, and we are preparing everything for the move. In the meantime, we are bursting at the seams and doing our best with our limited space.
Our goal continues to be to buy property in order to build. We are praying that this new space will allow for continued growth and accelerate our fundraising for the land. Thankfully, we are seeing progress. Our people are giving sacrificially, but it has been a slow process. Please continue to pray with us in this regard.
Missionary Keith Putnam and his family have been with us for a year. Their main purpose while with us has been to learn the language and culture. They have been a huge blessing to our ministry while dedicating themselves to learning Portuguese. They have now graduated from our language school and are very involved in the ministry here. We are excited about what the Lord is doing in and through them. Please keep them in your prayers as well, as they make decisions and seek God’s direction during this important time in their ministry.
We just started another semester in our Bible institute. Lord willing, at the end of this year, we will have our first graduates! We are very excited for them. Pray that God would lead them and for their futures in the ministry.
Along with our weekly visitation and discipleship, we have a church-wide soul-winning time every Saturday afternoon. Three weeks ago during this time, a John and Romans was given to a man at his workplace. He ended up giving it to one of his employees, Emerson. Emerson got in touch with me asking for prayer, and I invited him to church where I could pray together with him. After the Sunday morning service, I was able to spend about an hour with him, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He accepted the Lord as his Saviour, and last week he was baptized!
We are very thankful for your prayers. Please continue to pray with us, especially in this time of transition for our church. Also pray for protection during this pandemic. There have been many pastors throughout Brazil who have gone on to be with the Lord because of COVID. One of these pastors is our very dear friend and precious missionary and co-laborer, Larry Barrett, who served faithfully with BIMI for 45 years and left quite a legacy, including all of his four children serving the Lord here in Brazil. Please do pray for their wives, families, and churches. Oh, how great the need is for more faithful men!
We love you very much and, as always, want to thank you so much for your love, your thoughts, your prayers, and your support.
For His glory,
The Ed Johnson Family
Church-Planting Missionaries in Brazil Since 2008