Thank you for your faithful prayers, engagement and financial investment. Read about a pastor who travels 6 hours to preach, a Digital Magazine on YouTube channel and “don’t come in, we are too high”. Intrigued? Please, read on.
Four months ago, Pastor Fabiano from Lupercio Baptist Church (started by my grandfather – John Hatcher) contacted me asking for help. We meet at a coffee shop and spoke for 3 hours. He explained “two years ago a church (that is now 47 years old with and average attendance of 25 people) here in São Paulo asked me for assistance, they were without a pastor for 8 years and were considering closing the doors. I agreed to travel 6 hours into the city to minister to them once a month. The church really wants and needs a full-time pastor, but they don’t have enough funds to sustain one.” He went on to ask me to help them in revitalization, growth and eventually bring in candidates for a new senior pastor. I agreed. I do training there on Wednesday evenings. We’ve worked through several series “Letting the Philippian Joy become Yours”, “Taking an X-ray of this Church”, “How to Effectively Share Christ”, and now we are walking through “How to Disciple a New Believer”. The church is considering a pastoral candidate I indicated, Helder Castro. Helder accepted Christ through my father’s ministry. I served as his mentor for several years and officiated his wedding ceremony. He has pastored in Manaus for 12 years. He visited the church twice for interviews and preaching. They will vote in the end of August for him to start in January 2020. In the meantime, I will step up my role to serve them as an interim pastor until December 2019. Helder will move with his wife and two sons to serve in making disciples through “Igreja Batista em Jardim Maria Virginia.”
I am excited as this church has also agreed to participate in sending people for church planting with us and will also be a part of our “Life Together Network” of churches in São Paulo. Helder and Renatha will be a great contribution, as they are also church planters and we’ve worked together for many years. If the Lord lays on your heart to contribute in prayer and financially assisting Pastor Helder during his first year in this church revitalization, please do so by designating to “J.H. – Pastor Helder / Church Revitalization” through BFM.
Imagine, a Baptist Church
Church planting is intense, especially with multiple fronts. Over the last year, we are enjoying the most fun we’ve ever had as a family in doing what we have always loved doing. Imagine is focused on reaching out to the unsaved/unchurched urban São Paulo city dweller. “Paulistanos”, (as they are called in São Paulo city) are typically well informed, well-educated and cultured. If they are not “church going people” type, they don’t plan to go… Period. We have done a lot of strategy customizing to finally reach our target audience. “Paulistanos” are known in Brazil as “workaholics” and in their down-time they want to hangout with friends and family, not go to “some religious meeting”. So, we, the Church are going to where they are and doing what we know will gain credibility and trust in their hearts. We have our weekly evangelistic gatherings in parks, sports stores, malls, hospitals and through home dinners. As people surrender to Christ, we schedule basic discipleship in their home. We have a “Celebration Gathering” once a month. In addition to this, we are currently working on our “YouTube” Channel to produce a Digital Magazine with episodes of 5 to 8 minutes, with Biblical teaching, insights for living and music. A “Paulistano” won’t listen to a 40-minute sermon while in the subway but will listen to us for 5 to 8 minutes at a time. I have invited a spiritually solid team to help develop the content, including my father – Paul Hatcher. I’ve consulted with well-known Brazilian YouTubers on how to get it all started. Video production takes a lot of time, but the library of content with easy access for anyone and anywhere is priceless.
Hope, a Baptist Church
This church is situated in the middle of three ghettos, the families we minister to are very poor. My heart breaks every time I walk into people’s homes and see the precarious conditions they live with their children. People’s hearts are very hardened and without hope. Here we have weekly Bible teaching, evangelism and home visitation. When we first started here, I wasn’t sure how we would be received by the people, but as a rule (when the adults aren’t high or drunk) we get invited inside their homes to pray and we receive a listening ear. Adult women tend to be infantile, as most of them never had a real childhood, due to becoming mothers at a young age. Men are stern and often irresponsible with their families. We do a lot of “Life Together” with people so they can see the light of grace. We’ve had pasta nights, pizza parties, hamburger meets. Kids attend well in the children’s ministry, adults are tougher, but we have made way in their hearts.
If you’d like to invest time in prayer for these and future church-plants, please do. Consider also in investing financially, you can do so by sending your contribution through Baptist Faith Missions, please designate “Jud Hatcher – Church planting”.
Sarah and Laura started their new school year on July 30th, Benjamin and Melissa started on the 31st. They had a 6-week break between school years and were excited to start back. Stateside, the school year beak is in the Summertime and is synonymous with “Fun in the Sun”. Well, in the Southern Hemisphere, July is the coldest month of the year and homes do not have central heating systems. Electricity is so expensive that space heaters are not commonly used. Hence, our school year break is synonymous with “Eat your soup before it gets too cold.”
We are truly grateful for the school the Lord provided for them. A year ago, Melissa (7 years) had not learned to read or write at the school in which the kids were enrolled. After a year (and much hard work) at this new school, Melissa know how to read and write in English and Portuguese. We are elated with joy as our kids are inspired by their teachers to study hard.
Recently, Baptist Faith Missions (through the leadership of the directors and Bro. Dave Parks’ administrational skills) changed the health insurance provider, and all to the better. The plan gives us access to the best hospital in Brazil, located in São Paulo. As a result, we will be able to get more efficient treatment for Laura’s left ear severe hearing loss, that was caused by a punctured ear drum.
As always, thank you for loving us and praying. We love you. Want to visit us in São Paulo? We’d love you host you. Come on down (Just let us know before you arrive at our door).
Jud & Raquel Hatcher