March 11, 2016
Dear friends and family,
We are back in Brasil and enduring the heat. My health is showing sign of improvement each day. We will be here in Brasil until the middle of August and then return to the States for radiation for 30 days. Continue to pray for my recovery and toleration of the treatments. God is in control and He is AWESOME!!!
I have had more time than usual to think recently and it is hard to believe that this year Barbara and I will complete 20 years on the mission field. We came after my retirement from the Lexington Fire Department. It is unbelievable what you can accomplish in retirement. Actually it is AWESOME! I truly feel that I am one of the most blessed men I know, to have been able to have served on the Fire Department for 23 years, take an early retirement and then to have served the Lord in Brasil for 20 more years as a Baptist Faith Missionary. My work for the Fire Department was to rescue lives from fire and my work for the Lord, though it is similar, is many times more important. Here in Brasil we preach the Word and save lives from a burning Hell. AWESOME is not a big enough word.
What a God thing—a true calling from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is hard to express how exciting it is and has been to be here in Brasil—seeing lives transformed and works established and so much more done for the Lord.
Now I want to tell you about some hard dirty work. Sunday a week ago our Church building was flooded. We had a “chicken drowned” and one of our downspouts broke loose at the gutter connections (this is inside of the Church building upstairs)—and while the storm raged, the winds came, and the rain came down. This was at the very ending of the church service and we noticed that the ceiling was beginning to drip right where we had one of our new speakers. This was due to the fact that we have not had the funds to stucco the outside wall, so rain penetrated the wall and began to flood the downstairs. Some of the ceiling was damaged and the sanctuary got a good dousing of water. While this was happening, some thought it wise to check the upstairs because we have not put all the windows in and they thought that some water might have entered there. But to their surprise, it was not just a little water but it was past ankle height because of the gutter letting all the water from the roof enter the top story. So everyone jumped in to help and there was lots of water pushed to the stairs and down to the first floor and then out the door—all the while some of the men were taking a bath under the downspout trying to get it back into its place to take the water out of the building instead of inside of the building. Through it all God was AWESOME!!! The only damage was to the one speaker and the dropped ceiling on one side of the room. It could have been so much more. One positive thought: we did not have to clean the church that week. (lol)
I would like to explain to you the unfinished wall outside of the church. We can only build and repair as our finances permit. So this is a BIG prayer request: “money to finish the outside of our building”. We only need about $2,500.00 to 3,000.00 to finish it. We have had an unusually long and continuous rainy season. It is not so bad as long as it doesn’t rain and have strong winds at the same time. When this happens we have to live at the church. But what is life without a few challenges?
We are looking forward to the Seminary next month. We will be completing the 4th semester and looking forward to a graduation in the coming months. Continue to pray for the students and the Churches they represent.
Because of my health we thought it time to call our Brazilian pastor. The church voted and we called Walmir Quaresma. He and his family will be assuming the pastorate on the 13th of March. Barbara and Jenny Thompson went and worked 4 days packing their house and then when the move got here, PJ and Jenny were a great help in the getting it off the truck. Thanks PJ and Jenny for your help with this and many other works here in Caragua. This couple has been here helping us for 3 months. We have an apartment just for these kind of missionaries. You too could do this kind of missionary work here with us. Pray and come on down. Let us know if you would like to visit the work here in Caraguatatuba.
Your bed is made and waiting for you. Come on down!!!
In His service,
Aj and Barbara