This month we missionary wives have been asked to write the letters for the mission sheets, so here I go with the many memories.
This year we will be completing 22 years in Brasil. It seems as though it was just yesterday that AJ started his campaign to convince me to go with him to be missionaries to Brasil. As many of you all have heard, in the beginning I was hard to convince, but God is faithful, and He worked on my heart. So, when AJ told me that he was going before the Church on Sunday night to tell the Church he was surrendering to be a missionary, God put these words in my mouth, “I am ready”.
I have not regretted—not once—that response. Our first place of service was in Garça, Brasil, with Odali and Kathy Barros. I helped Kathy with the children and AJ worked with Odali. There I used all the various skills that I had learned in Owsley County, Kentucky, as the daughter of Pastor H. W. Baker, who was a mission pastor. We stayed in Garça for 6 years being parents to up to 21 boys. There are many stories that could be told of those years. Needless to say, we have many children who call us Mom and Dad there in Brasil. We share that honor with their biological parents and with Odali and Kathy. Of all the boys that went through our care, some have their own businesses, some are lawyers, others are in the business world, and another is finishing his studies to become a veterinarian.
Have you ever washed clothes on a wash board? I did as a teenager and again in Garça. Have you ever had to heat your water on a stove or in a big tub outside? I did as a teenager and again in Garça. Have you ever had to walk to Church? I did as a child and again in Garça. As I said before, God prepared me early for what He would be having me do later. In the words of AJ, “God is AWESOME!”
After Garça, we moved to Jacarei, Sao Paulo, where we had plans to open another orphanage. As we worked through the paperwork, we started a mission church and there I continued to work with children. We had several families in the neighborhood who did not have transportation to get to a Church. They also had children, so I worked with them on Saturday and Sunday in Bible schools and Sunday schools. But after two years we realized that we were not going to be able to get the approval from the mayor for the orphanage, so AJ began to pray for a sign to stay or move on.
Maybe you have heard this story, but God answered these prayers with a sequester. You see, we were living on a farm way out in the country and were a target for theft. This gave AJ his answer, so we moved to Caraguatatuba. There we worked with Pastors in two churches and then we opened a new work there.
My service for the Lord continued to be with children. With the help of one of the boys from the orphanage in Garça who came to help us in Caraguatuba, we had Saturday Bible school in the homes of various members.
As we began to look for a place to open a new work, one of the children from these Saturday Bible schools, who started as a babe in arms in these Bible schools, stopped us on the streets. He stopped us on the street and said, “Mrs. Barb, when are you coming back to our neighborhood to teach us?” So, guess what that sealed our decision as to where to start our new church.
Caragua Baptist Church came to life in this young man’s neighborhood. There again my job was with children. God sent many, many children to our location and we love them all.
So my time in Brasil has been an adventure where I have sat up all night rocking a sick boy, planned a wedding for one of the boys in our care, taken in people who are down on their luck, women who have been abandoned by their husbands and grandmothers whose homes are being flooded, and counseled women in their day-to-day problems…to name a few of the things that God has let me do.
I just want to say, “Thank You, God,” for working in my heart to make me willing to go on this adventure with AJ Hensley. We serve an AWESOME God. Thank you for all these memories and we look forward to many more.
In His Service,
For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
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