July 29, 2018
Thank you for your part in praying and giving towards this ministry. This ministry update includes a letter from one of our seminary students that will be graduating in November. At the beginning of the semester we had requested from various students a brief testimony and call to ministry for the purpose of sharing with you so you can better know some of the students; so you can be encouraged by how the Lord has worked in their lives up to this point; and so you can better pray for them. The following is Walkenio’s letter translated from Portuguese:
Walkênio & Hadassa, April 27, 2018 Seminário e Instituto Batista Beréiano.
“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” (Psalm126.3).
Walkênio Souza, married to Hadassa, parents of Sophia Souza, who is 5 months old, studying at Seminário Beréiano in Natal/Rn. We are finishing the Bachelor degree course in theology this year by the grace of God. We are serving in a town called Montanhas (Mountains) in the interior of the state which is about 60 miles from the capitol. We are from Areia Branca (White Sand) which is about 200 miles from Natal, the capitol of the state of Rio Grande do Norte.
We give thanks to the Lord our God and Father for the opportunity to be able to share with you our beloved brothers in Christ a little about our conversion, call to ministry, studies, and ministry.
I, Walkênio Souza, was born in a family far from the Gospel, but I made a decision for Christ at 12 years of age in a Regular Baptist church in my city. At a Wednesday night prayer meeting, upon hearing the message of God’s Word, I gave myself to Christ. I faced various difficulties in my Christian life, but never turned away from the church. I always helped in the church I attended by leading the services and cleaning the church, because we were a congregation (church plant).
My wife, though, had the opportunity to be born into a Christian home. Her dad, José Francisco Ferreira, was the pastor of the church in which we are still members today. Her conversion happened in a Sunday service when she was 6 years old. She has always helped in the area of music and children’s ministries.
Call to Ministry:
About our calling to the ministry: we participated in some young people’s retreats, and in one of these retreats the Beréian Seminary was presented. At that moment I felt the desire to study at the seminary to know God more. From that moment on we began to pray for the possibility that after some years this could be a reality in our lives.
We started our studies in February of 2014. We helped with a congregation in Santo Antônio de Potengi near the seminary for about a year and a half. After this time we received an invitation from Fundamental Baptist church of Nova Cruz (New Cross) for the purpose of planting a church in the nearby town of Montanhas. We have been there almost 2 years with the possibility of continuing there after we finish seminary. We ask for your prayers for this ministry.
During this time in Montanhas we have done evangelistic work in the city with house visits and passing out gospel tracts at the open air market on Saturdays. We also are doing some discipleship studies with new converts; holding services on Saturday nights; and on Sunday mornings holding a children’s program.
This is a little of our story about our conversion, calling, studies, and ministry.
We count on your prayers.
- Ministry in Montanhas:
- That God would equip us for this hard, but privileged job and that people accept Jesus as Savior.
- Our lives: Walkenio, Hadassa & Sophia
- Seminary studies
- Spiritual growth
- Finishing the seminary course
Back to us writing:
The girls were fully involved in the music conference(camp) July10-15. This was a rich time of Bible teaching, music, and social interaction. It was a highlight for our girls in these areas. The attendance was lower, mostly due to some schools starting sooner than planned. There was about 70 that participated the whole time and more that came on the weekend. Rachel played violin in the orchestra and Rebecca piano. Natalie was part of helping the choir learn their parts with the piano. In these few short days the young people practice and present a cantata. The words and music were powerful and beautiful for the glory of the Lord and the edification of His people.
Trip to Martins
Tim, Hannah, and I took a trip to a mountain town 6 hrs. away to give ministry encouragement to one of our graduates Eliakim and his wife Brenda that are serving there. Tim and Eliakin set out to make several home visits together, and while we were there we participated in a birthday service in one of the believer’s homes. (this is common among the believers to have a message and songs as part of their birthday celebration) and an open air meeting outside of town. One of the new seminary students Felipe was able to come along. Luana, was already there visiting and she got a ride back to Natal with us. It was a good time to connect more with these two seminarians.
July 31st is the first day of the semester here. Pray for the students for a good semester of growing the knowledge of the Word of God and skill in ministry. Pray that this would be not only intellectual, but growth in the personal walk with the Lord.
June 26, 2018
Flores do Campo
Our first meeting in our rented building was on April 1, Resurrection Sunday. Attendance on Sunday and Wednesday meetings usually just includes our family, Davi and Sara, and one or two families from Igapó(one of the mother churches). The most we have had from the neighborhood at one time is 8 people and sometimes there is no one in attendance from the neighborhood. Pray for God to do a work in the people of Flores do Campo drawing those to this congregation of His choosing. Pray for us to be diligent and guided by the Holy Spirit in making contact with people. One way we have made some contact is going to the open park exercise area striking up conversations and offering to share some verses from the Word of God. Another way has been to just be present at the meeting place, which has an open front facing the main road, so people notice the place and can feel free to stop. Davi often, for this purpose, goes there to study. We are also going door to door in the neighborhood inviting people or sharing the Gospel. Recently we found that Friday evening and Sunday afternoons are good times when more people are home for the weekend. Many are gone all day at work and so it’s hard to find the right time to catch people at home. Little by little we are getting to meet new people and have found many who are open and receptive to the Bible. Even though there are many churches in Brazil, there are few who present the clear pure message of Salvation. The list of names of people to pray for in the neighborhood is growing and we pray for wisdom with each opportunity. We praise the Lord that Katia ( a believer which with we have had contact over a year there) has come a few times. Her husband and her father-in-law ,who never sat in the Bible study while it was held at their home, have attended as well. Pray for Katia as she is in early stages of a high risk pregnancy. She has had 2 miscarriages already and wants so much to have a child. Pray that she will use this time of bed rest to grow in her walk with the Lord (i.e. read the Bible, pray, and read good Christian literature and not spend all of her time with television). Last Wednesday we went to visit Katia, but ended up next door with her neighbor Luzia encouraging this young believer in the Lord. At the end, her sister Nene ,who also recently was saved, came. What we had planned just as a quick visit turned into 2 hrs. because of Luzia’s desire to be fed the Word of God. We also have had more contact with Jeane who is a new believer and a single mom of a 6 mo. old who lives with her mom and little sister Jenifer. She has come to several services and we have been doing a weekly home study with her. Others we are praying for to have further contact are Renata with her 3 children who moved from Sao Paulo; Francisca who works at the preschool; Neide has lived in the area for 50 years and has come a couple times; Junior & Descia and their 2 children; Kaka; Odete (young widow) seeking encouragement and daughter Rayne(11)and son Paulo.
Sometimes it is hard to set aside time to do something together as a family. We know we need to and always enjoy it when we do, but at times fail to take the necessary time. Often the dilema is not only finding the right time, but also the right activity that is suitable to everyone. Recently one day we set aside some time, and after discussing some options with the family: going to the beach, going to the museum in town, working out in our yard (jungle practically) together, or reading a book together. Well, we decided on reading a book together- but now which one? Well, we decided on To The Golden Shore a biography of the life of Adoniram Judson(1788-1850) missionary to Burma. So some read while I(Martia) worked on a crazy quilt. After a while Rebecca got interested in the crazy quilt and started by making some suggestions and now has kind of taken over. Sometimes there are bobbins to roll(as my sewing machine bobbin winder has a problem) Hannah has done some coloring while we read. It really has been a nice relaxing activity once in a while, and each of the family has enjoyed this time together. If you haven’t had the chance to read this missionary biography of one of America’s first foreign missionaries, we highly recommend it.
Seminary continues as our main ministry focus with the on campus classes and the three extension class sites going well.
This week Pr. Jaime is teaching a one week module on music in the church. It goes through history of music in the Bible; the importance of music and how it affects people; and how to put together the order for church services so that the music, Bible reading, and sermon all are working together towards the same theme. The semester finishes June 29, and the seminary will break for the month of July. Pray for all the students to work hard to accomplish all their assignments and that each of these assignments would be effective in helping them to understand the subjects studied. The seniors have the pressure of their senior projects (monografia) during this break since soon after the new semester starts it will be the time to give their oral presentations.
Prayer & Praises
- Services at Flores do Campo
- For documentation to build in Flores do Campo
- Seminary students to finish the semester well
- Seminary seniors with their senior projects
- Katia- pregnancy and spiritual growth
- Luzia, Nene, Jeane –new life with the Lord
- Pray for God’s direction in Rebecca & Rachel’s lives
April 27, 2018
Praise God to Whom all praise is due.
The school year at the Bible school is off to a good start—intense, but fruitful. God is raising up quality young people to prepare themselves for further ministry. We have almost 30 on-campus students. We are directly involved in three classes as well as some of the extension classes. Four churches are hosting extension of the Bible school. These focus on strengthening the local believers. There is a great need of Bible teaching in the local churches throughout this region of Brazil. Many people die for lack of the gospel; many believers starve for lack of teaching. This month we are blessed to have Tim’s parents here for a module on Leviticus-Hebrews.
Looking back over the past year, six graduated from the Bible school in November. It was a blessing to have Pr. Bill Dupignac speak at the end-of-the-year ceremonies. Thank you to the believers in Kennewick for sharing their pastor with us.
Besides our responsibility at Bible school, our big project over 2017 was to build the parsonage as the Serrinha church plant. We praise the LORD that Pr. Magno and Mrs. Talline moved in by New Year’s and are now able to serve more directly. That community desperately needs the gospel. Between multiple children by multiple spouses there is also a high rate of perversion. Pray for the message of forgiveness and hope to shine brightly like a lighthouse on a mountain. Besides our family involved in various ways at Satellite city we have also tried to encourage this church plant among others. Of the aprox. 40 churches in the state association, over half have at least one church plant. Please pray for us—especially for wisdom and resources to help them fan their flame. For instance, the Brejinho church plant is waiting for the LORD to provide the wiring; Flores do Campo needs documentation; Passa-e-Fica, a permanent meeting location; Martins mature believers, and so forth.
On the family side our Natalie married Ariel Lima (ah-ree-EL LEE-mah) this January. We praise the LORD for a God-honoring ceremony. It’s nice to have them nearby on campus while Ariel finishes his last year of Bible school. They both love the LORD and are open to His leading even as they are quite involved in Satellite City Baptist Church. It was a blessing for some of Martia’s family to be here for the occasion.
Our big goal for 2018, besides serving in the Bible school and three of the extensions, is getting going the church plant in Flores do Campo neighborhood. This is a joint effort with Satellite and Igapo churches supporting Davi and Sarah. We are totally dependent upon the LORD. After multiple delays and with the prospect of renting a garage, we got to work making benches. Our first service was Wed. March 28. Please pray for God’s leading and provision, especially for wisdom towards fruitfulness.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
In His service,
Tim and Martia and Natalie, Rebecca, Rachel and Hannah
March 23, 2018
The seminary year has begun again. We praise the Lord for eight new students! Each one was given the opportunity to share their testimony and call to the ministry during the chapel services. It has been a blessing to hear their stories of God’s grace in their lives. We’ve asked many to write down their testimony so we can share those with you, so hopefully in the near future you can praise the Lord in hearing God’s work in their lives also. Pray for the students, both arriving and returning, as they study and grow and serve in their various ministry opportunities. Tim is teaching OT survey one Saturday a month (8 class hours) at a newly opened extension in Santo Antonio and NT 2 weekly at the extension class on the other side of town at Satelite church. We praise the Lord for believers from our churches that are desirous to learn more from the Word and certainly Sunday services just aren’t enough. Besides the extension classes Tim is teaching I Corinthians, OT survey, and Dispensationalism here on campus this semester. Tim’s parents Robert and Linda are here for a month. Next week Pastor Robert will give a weeklong module on the book of Hebrews and Leviticus. We praise the Lord for good health and energy for them during their time here in Brazil.
Flores do Campo
We praise the Lord for some progress in the work in Flores do Campo. This is the neighborhood where the land is purchased and a wall built ready to build a place of meeting, but permission to continue due to documentation has been on hold. A place has been found close by where we can begin to hold meetings. Since December Tim along has been working on making hardwood benches for seating. Some of the seminary students have been able to help with this project also. Last night we planned to have the first prayer meeting in Flores do Campo, but this changed due to power outage in the area and it was decided it would be wise to wait. The first Sunday service is planned for Resurrection Sunday! Pray for Davi & Sara and us and others from the mother churches as we begin services. Pray as we make contact with people in this neighborhood that God would prepare their hearts to take in the Word of God whether to salvation or spiritual growth. Praise the Lord for financial provision to begin building as soon as documentation is in order.
We will miss not being with the believers at Serrinha now as we will be giving support to Flores do Campo. Continue to pray for Magno and Thaline as they continue to lead the church plant.
- Retreat went well in Campina Grande
- VBS went well at Heights church and AWANA has started up again
- Eight new students here at the seminary
- Financial provision for bench materials and rent for Flores do Campo
- Three will be baptized this weekend from Serrinha
February 10, 2018
Wedding and Visit from Family
Dear faithful partners who pray and give so we can serve here in Brazil. Thank you for your prayers in these past couple months. They have been busy and special. Ariel and Natalie’s wedding turned out to be a very special day with family and friends celebrating the gift of marriage that God designed. Continue to pray for them as they settle into married life. Tim’s parents were unable to make it in time for the wedding as they had some health issues, but we look forward to their arrival Feb. 22. Martia’s sister Roxi came to do the wedding photography. She made taking pictures fun. Martia’s mom, cousin Crystana, and nephew Ben came as well. They were a big help getting things ready for the wedding and it was special to have family here. Crystana assisted in taking pictures and Ben got to walk Grandmama down the aisle. After the wedding we were able to fit in a lot of activities in the short amount of time they were here, such as dune buggy rides, riding the waves on the ocean, eating seafood on the beach, Brazilian barbecue, eating tapioca, playing bananagrams and other games at home. We also were able to go through the Serrinha neighborhood inviting people for the church anniversary service. I think they got back with a renewed appreciation to hear the church message in English as all the services were in Portuguese. Some of the Brazilians here took the chance to practice their English with the family. We thank the Lord for these special times to be with our family. If you want to watch the wedding you can access it on https://m.facebook.com/.ibarecisa/.
Vacation Bible School
This past week the girls and I helped with VBS at the Alto church close the seminary. The theme was “Noah a man that obeyed God.” In our class there were about 15 3-6yr. olds each day. The first 2 days Wed. and Thurs. were surprisingly calm. The last day on Friday the children seemed quite a bit more wound up. We praise the Lord for the freedom and opportunity to point these children to the Lord. Pray that many will continue to attend Sunday school and Awana which will soon start up again with the school year.
Today we head out to Campina Grande (about 4 hrs. away) to be a part of a Carnaval retreat. The churches here plan a retreat at this time of carnaval to get away from the things that go along with the Carnaval holiday here in Brazil which include drinking, loud music, and promiscuity. Tim will be teaching 6 sessions through the book of Jude. Martia will give 1 study in Psalm 32. Pray for us in these opportunities to teach the Word of God that there would be clear and accurate communication that would edify and encourage God’s people. Pray also for the informal conversations and activities together. We don’t know this part of the family of Christ very much. One of the prospective students and his wife, Voltaeres and Carol, are heading up this church congregation. Pray for provision and God’s wisdom to know the right time to come on campus for seminary or the continue with the extension class modules in Campina Grande.
There will also be a Carnaval retreat at our local church camp Bom Fim. Ariel and Natalie will be helping in music. Missionary Mark Swedberg will be the main speaker accompanied by his wife Anita.