November 22, 2019
All our children are doing well in school. Melissa (our youngest) is still working on catching up to her grade level. She has made great strides in comparison to where she was a year ago. Sarah and Laura just recently went on a trip to participate in the school’s junior varsity tournament camp with other schools. They returned home with the 2nd place trophy. A week later Sarah participated in the senior varsity tournament camp and her team returned with 1st place prize. Raquel and I are grateful and blessed by the academic, athletic and spiritual impact this school is having on our four children.
VISIT FROM A FRIEND
Several months ago, a friend asked if he could come to visit us in Brazil in October or November. We met Mike Secondino in 2000, during the time I served as youth minister at church in Norfolk, VA. Mike was in high school at the time. He was part of our ministry and twice traveled with us to Brazil in 2000 and 2002.
On this trip, Mike stayed with us for 5 weeks. Our children, Raquel, and I enjoyed his visit thoroughly. He ministered, sang and played the guitar at church and in our home, participated in ministry routines and activities. We were especially grateful for his time with us – as he ministered tremendously to our four children. Together, we have marvelous new memories for our family to cherish forever.
During this last month, two new families invited us for dinner in their homes. The first family prepared a marvelous Brazilian BBQ (churrasco). Over the course of the afternoon, we shared a meal; talked about life, Skyped with friends, sang karaoke, swam in the pool and shared the love of Jesus. The second family invited us for a day at their fish farm, we toured the fish nurseries and the multiple lakes, played ball, went four-wheeling, visited a gorgeous waterfall and shared Jesus. It is amazing to see the doors the Lord is opening through friends.
Several other short visits to families in their homes and discipleship gatherings have brought a lot of enthusiasm amongst our steadily growing church plant. I also had a chance to take Benjamin (my son) to watch a professional soccer game with one of the guys I am discipling. Our team did not win the game, but the evening was awesome.
Every week we get a chance to minister more deeply into the lives of the children and their parents. It is amazing to see how people love to come and participate in our Jesus gatherings. This weekend we have a guest ministry team coming to join us for some special memories, meals, and ministry. Everyone is excited.
This next Sunday, we have a day camp with 65 people. We are excited to see how the Lord is preparing this church as they prepare to receive a full-time pastor in January. I have served as an interim pastor since August 2019. I recommended a pastor (and friend) from Manaus for this church to consider as a candidate. After much prayer and getting to know him and his family, they called him as their pastor in September. This church has been without a pastor for 11 years and almost closed the doors twice. They have proven to be very generous as they prepare for him and his family’s arrival.
In December, I will be in the city of Garça, São Paulo at the church my grandfather John Hatcher started in the ’70s. There will be a gathering with several local church pastors from the region. Pastors mentored by John Hatcher and Odali Barros have asked for months for me to come and invest time with them so we can dream about the future together. I am delighted to be with them. During my weekend there, we will participate in the graduation ceremony for “Centro de Garça” Baptist Seminary and hold meetings regarding seminary training at each church in the region.
Thank you always for your support and prayers.