Challenges in São Paulo, God’s Faithfulness Through It All

Jud and Raquel Hatcher serve the Lord in São Paulo, Brazil. They are part of the “SeedFactory” church planting initiative, which is a movement to plant churches in all 26 Brazilian capitals. Since 2006, 43 churches have been started in 5 states.

São Paulo, 8 of April of 2019

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It’s with joy I write to you. God has done great things in our lives and around us. Since we arrived in São Paulo, on July 20, 2016 (almost 3 years ago), we have faced difficult challenges. But God is faithful and has given us wisdom in every step of the way. We thank you for your prayers and love demonstrated towards us in so many ways. Without you supporting our ministry, it wouldn’t be possible.

I want to share, even if in a nutshell, a little bit of our routine. When we first arrived, we were involved in starting/ministering at an English-speaking church and a Spanish-speaking church. Both were connected to a Portuguese-speaking church. Both churches were growing fast, and we were happy to be serving in that capacity. But God had other plans for us. Frustrated efforts in church plants in homes were discouraging. Through a turn of events, He redirected us to the other side of town. In the beginning, it was not easy. It was an unexpected change for all of us. There were questions in my mind at that time but never doubts about God’s faithfulness and love for us. As a wife, I learned I need to be prepared to follow my husband’s lead, and trust God. I think, this attitude of readiness (like Sarah – who had to pick up everything she had and follow her husband Abraham to a place where she did not know) was for me, the most difficult challenge as a missionary.

In August, we complete one year since the move. With God’s grace, we started two new churches. One meets on Saturdays – Hope Church. We have children’s church at 4:30 pm (they live in a very poor community, and they come by themselves bringing along their baby siblings; their ages average from 1-year-old to 13), and at 6:30 pm we have an open service to reach mainly adults. Another church meets on Sundays – Imagine Baptist Church. We have an English service at 5:00 pm and a Portuguese service at 6:30 pm. This church is an urbanized, more middle-class neighborhood. Jud is also mentoring a team of leaders from another Baptist church during the week (it is part of the network of churches Jud has started in São Paulo). But I stay home during the week. It is a tremendous joy to have the privilege to tell the good news of Jesus Christ to little ones, young and old. It’s an honor to serve Him.

Our children are very involved in both ministries – Hope and Imagine. They help us with children’s ministry on Saturdays, and in different ways on Sundays. It is priceless to see our daughters and son involved in church planting. I know the seed will grow in their hearts and be fruitful. They are a blessing to us. Sarah just turned 14 years old. Laura will be 13 in July, Benjamin is 11, and Melissa is 7 years old. They are attending an American Christian School. We are very happy. When we came to São Paulo, we brought material for me to home school them. Well, it didn’t work. So, they went to a public secular school. It was a mistake. Finally, we took a huge step of faith, and we registered them at Pan American Christian Academy, a well-known school for its strong biblical foundation and Christian worldview. They follow the US school calendar. With so many school changes, our kids had to adjust to the new school, which follows both curriculums: American and Brazilian. In other words, they have more disciplines in order to get both diplomas when they graduate. And 90% of their classes are in English.

During the week, I volunteer a few hours a week at our kids’ school. I also help families as a psychologist during the week. Next month, I’ll be guest speaking at a meeting for people who are thinking about becoming foster care parents, and families that already have a child under their care. This event is led by a Christian organization which has several ministry fronts in São Paulo. I also participate in a weekly, small group Bible study. It’s a blessing to study the Word of God with sisters in Christ. We are doing True Woman 201 – Interior Design – Ten Elements of Biblical Womanhood. It’s fantastic. I highly recommend.

There are so many other things I could share, but I need to save it for another opportunity. So, I will end with prayer requests:

1. For our ministries – that people can be saved
2. For our children – spiritual growth and studies
3. Our health, but especially for Laura who had her left eardrum ruptured and lost 90% of her hearing (the doctor in Brazil declared it as permanent hearing loss).

We are so thankful for each one of you. May God bless you with His spiritual blessings.

In Christ’s love,
Raquel Hatcher

Judson & Raquel Hatcher
(859) 544-9040
judsonhatcher@gmail.com
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