“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:2)
Greetings from sunny Brazil! The year 2022 has come to an end, and 2023 is upon us! It was a busy year for us; and, as always, it was full of the Lord’s blessings.
Church Plant in Pinda
We are very excited about Missionary Keith Putnam’s new church plant, Victory Baptist Church, in the neighboring city of Pindamonhangaba. The Lord has been blessing, and it has been growing since day one. Jonata, one of our Bible institute graduates, is helping Bro. Putnam and his family with this work. Our church has been sending at least one family weekly to help. It is exciting to see and be a part of what the Lord is doing there. Bro. Keith Putnam and his family are doing an amazing job with the Lord’s help! Please continue to pray for them.
In July, we held our 2nd Annual Youth Conference. Our emphasis was an evangelistic one. We did not invite other churches.
Instead, we made it an outreach conference for our city’s youth. The theme was “Prepare Yourself.” We had many salvation decisions and many visitors. Our teens worked diligently to bring their friends, as well as new teenagers, and everyone was greatly challenged by the Word of God.
In September, we had our Anniversary Conference. Pastor Alexandre, a national pastor from a church about six hours northwest of here, preached for us and did an excellent job. It was a time of rejoicing in the Lord’s blessings, as well as being challenged about the future.
A few weeks ago, 18 of our teens participated in a Youth Congress five hours away. Last year, I had the privilege of being one of the speakers, and this year both Brother Dave Whitmore and my dad preached at the Youth Congress. There were close to 170 teens present. There were a few decisions for Christ, including Mariana, one of our teenage girls, and Anderson, the rental-van driver. Our teens came back broken and with a renewed vision. Anderson’s wife also accepted Christ the following week through a follow-up visit. The family has been coming to church ever since, and Anderson and his wife should be getting baptized on Sunday!
Every Saturday, we have a church-wide soul-winning time. Some will go to the marketplace, some will make visits to church contacts, some will distribute John and Romans door to door, and others will go to a square or park. A few weeks ago, I went to the square near our church and witnessed to Rafael. Praise the Lord, he was able to understand the Gospel and trusted Christ as his Saviour!
Adding to the Church
I have often told our church that we go soul winning in obedience to the command of our General, Jesus Christ, and not necessarily to grow the church. Though we have people in our church as a direct result of our weekly soul-winning efforts, God often brings people supernaturally, and I believe this happens, in part, because of our soul-winning efforts.
Fernando and Jessica are one of those families. Fernando called me on a Saturday night to ask about what kind of church we were. After answering a few of his questions and talking about an issue that was important to him, I overheard his wife say in the background, “He’s speaking your language!” He told me that they would be in church the next morning. They started coming and have not looked back. They were baptized, have become members, and have started studying in the Bible institute. What a blessing they have been to our ministry.
Our opportunities to help and encourage in Judea, Samaria, and abroad have really expanded this year. The Lord has opened up doors of opportunity for us to travel and minister to other churches in Brazil. During the past two months, I preached at an Anniversary Conference in Limeira, at a Missions Conference in Serrana, and for two churches in Ribeirão Preto; I also participated in a pastors’ meeting for a church-planting project we are involved in. My dad and Bro. Dave Whitmore have been traveling regularly as well. We desire to be able to be an encouragement and a help to other churches and pastors here in Brazil.
Thank you so much for your faithfulness in prayers, support, and love. We are very grateful to be able to represent you here in Brazil and look forward to what the Lord will do in 2023!
In the service of the King,
The Ed Johnson Family
Church-Planting Missionaries in Brazil Since 2008