Missionary Update: The Hensleys in Brazil [May 2013]

Hi to our friends and family,

This month the wives of the missionaries were asked if they wanted to write a letter because it was Mother’s Day. I agreed to do so and here is my letter.

As we look forward to the day that we celebrate our mothers, I want to start with a word about my mother. I have been on the mission field with AJ for 17 years, but if it were not for my mother, I would not have been such a good helpmate nor wife of a missionary. You see, I learned at the feet of my mother how to do this. She taught me by example. She to was the wife of a missionary there in Owsley County, Kentucky. I am now putting into practice all those things that Reba Katherine Baker taught me. Thank you, mom!!

We started our missionary journey in an orphanage where I could be a mother to many. Then we moved on to use that experience to try to help start another orphanage. Then I went on to be the wife of the associate pastor of two Baptist Churches. But now we are working for the Lord in a new mission work that we have started. AJ is the principle pastor and I am working alongside of him. Our new work started on January 2, 2013. As you know, we started in the home of one of the members and we have steadily grown. Our principle work is with children. We have found that if you train the children, the parents will see a difference and eventually come to see what is going on. This is one of the ways that you get the adults to come to Church. The mothers are the first to come and the fathers eventually come.

We are having services in the normal hours: Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. But our services are a little different. Our Sunday mornings are just Sunday School and for now, just for the kids. Also on Sunday mornings, we feed the children. This is just bread and butter and chocolate milk, but this may be the only food that some of them get for that day. We have found that you have to feed them physically before you can feed them spiritually. On Sunday night we have our big service with singing and preaching. Our Wednesday night service is dedicated to prayer. We are teaching the children how to pray and the importance of prayer (the adults too).

The Hensleys have spent 17 years serving in Brazil. They run a vocational school and orphanage in Caraguatatuba and have also established a church and mission points throughout the city.

As the pastor’s wife, I am singing in the praise worship team, leading the practice of this team, teaching Sunday School for the children, heading up the kitchen committee (which consists of 3 ladies) to help feed the children, leading the clean-up crew to make sure that the Church is always clean and arranged properly for each service, leading the Ladies’ Ministry, and being the counselor for those who need it. I love to host mission groups from the States also. This year we will host 7 groups and 1 apprentice. My job in this is to prepare where they will sleep, plan their meals, help in planning the projects that they will do, and make sure that they experience the mission field and Brasil. And in my spare time,  I do anything that needs to be done as the secretary for the pastor.

Many people ask how I do all this and my answer is always, “It is not me, but God who is in me.” I am very happy in the Lord’s work here in Brasil. But as you know, I was not the first one to jump on the wagon when AJ first started to talk about coming to Brasil to be a missionary. I have stated many times that I was happy in my comfort zone there in the States. But now if AJ were to say that we were going back to the States to live, I would be crying all the way back. I love the work that God has given us to do here. As you can see,  the work here is very demanding and so I ask for your prayers. They are the help that we need on the days that we think we can not take another step.

You have heard now the side of the wife of a missionary. If you would like to see both sides,  come on down and see what God is doing here in Caraguatatuba. All this is because all of you keep us lifted up in prayer and because of the financial support that you give us. Thank you because without both of these things we would not be able to do the work that God has for us to do. When you come, we will feed you rice and beans and if you get tired of that, we will switch it around and feed you beans and rice. Our doors are always open for visitors who want to participate in mission work. I am sure that when you come you will go home tired out but with a feel of what goes on here on the mission field. If you want to experience this, it is yours for the asking. Just plan your vacation and come and see.

In His service,

Aj and Barbara
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com

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