July 22, 2020
This e-mail update is the testimony of Ludmila, one of our Bible college students. We pray that you would be encouraged to hear again of God’s grace in her life, and be reminded to continue to pray for the work of the Lord here in Brazil.
Testimony of conversion and calling
Psalm 37: 4-5 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
Hello dear brothers and sisters in America. It is with great happiness that I share with you the way in which our Good God led my life to the feet of His Son and made me see the excellent work.
I was not born into a Christian home, but was taught some “moral” catholic teachings, and with military influence, because my parents are military, I learned early on things like obedience to authority and discipline. For these things, I look back and thank the Lord, because through my parents the Lord protected me from participating in much of what the world offers young people. They, by the grace of God, knew enough to protect me from many evils, yet they didn’t teach me about Christ since they didn’t have Him. The first contact that I had with something called “evangelical” was the occasion of my mom’s conversion in a Pentecostal church. At that time my mom was in her second marriage, and neither my stepfather, my brother, nor I liked to go to that church. She therefore went alone. At that time I was 7 years old.
During my elementary years, I studied at a Catholic school in which there were set times for chapel and for praying, but because of finances, my brother and I had to change to studying in a public school in a nearby city. At this new school I got to know a girl named Andrezza who introduced me to the Gospel. We studied together for three years of high school together. She also lived in São José de Mipibu(my city) and attended the Regular Baptist church of São José with her family, yet It was only in the second year of our friendship that I accepted an invitation to visit her church.
This visit happened in January of 2011, but few know that in December of 2010 I was reading the book of Revelation. People say that Catholics have a fear of Revelation or Apocalypse, and so I read to try to understand the reason of this fear. I remember well that I didn’t get scared, but I was amazed at the New Jerusalem. I didn’t even know that if I had died then, I wouldn’t have gone there. I made my first visit one day to a young people’s meeting, and I returned that Sunday, and on that Sunday everything changed. I remember how the church was, the color of the curtains, and even the clothes I was wearing. I remember the sermon about Jonah and the moment that Pastor Paulo gave an invitation for salvation.
I didn’t understand everything in the message, but I knew that that invitation was for me. I wanted so badly to profess my faith at that moment, but I was embarrassed so I bowed my head and asked God for someone to raise their hand before me so I wouldn’t have to go by myself. I opened my eyes and waited, but no one raised their hand. I closed my eyes again and said to God that I would be first, but that night I was the only one. They prayed with me and received me into the family of faith. I don’t know how to describe the immense happiness I felt. It was January 9, 2011. During that year I received much teaching and I learned early on the importance of reading and studying the Scriptures.
In the next year 2012, there was a young people’s retreat at our church camp with the theme of “Look! The fields are white!” The main speaker Pastor Benjamin Peterson with his wife Pauline came for this retreat that was commemorating the 20th year since the beginning of the retreat for the Regular Baptist church young people for the interior of the state. We had the elections of officers and evangelistic workshops. I remember that it was at this retreat that I first thought about dedicating my life in service to the Lord, that seemed so precious, but so far from me.
In 2013 I started serving in my church as a Sunday school helper, and I started to be interested even more in serving. At the end of 2013 I already was in “conflict”. My parents wanted me to study for a life profession, yet I already had a desire to study at Bible college, at Seminário e Instituto Batista Bereiano (SIBB) so I prayed. I remember praying a lot asking God that he would let me go to SIBB, but December passed, January came, and I didn’t see anything happening and working towards this. The results of the tests came out and I was approved to go to public college. I confess that I was sad at that moment, but I understand that God had His time for me, and so I began my course studying to be a teacher with the opportunity to learn to serve better. I went to public college in 2014.
I had three fears when I started which were these: turning away from the faith, losing desire to serve, and losing the desire to go to Bible college. I decided that I wouldn’t study anything for my classes without first studying my Bible. I decided to not give excuses for not serving more at church, and I decided that what I would study hard to do my best. This was how that God in His grace made me be able to count each semester that passed as “one less” to arrive to SIBB.
During the four years of my teaching course, God also worked in the hearts of my pastors who already knew of my desire to study at Bible college. They along with my church knew and approved, although my parents were unaware of this. The end of the teaching course came, and also the time came to talk to my parents. I was unable to talk to them about this subject for 20 days, which during this time I prayed much to God asking for courage. God gave courage and I went to talk to my mom. She didn’t agree, and she said to me that it was a bad decision and that I was “throwing away” these years of studies and that I would be dependent on people’s charity. That night I could only respond, “I won’t lack anything”, and I cried in my room. Fine, yet still remained talking to my dad.
My mom called my dad and told what I had decided. He was against this and repeated the same words as my mom. I stopped, breathed deeply, and prayed. I really thought that the time had arrived, and for me it was important to get my parents approval. I prayed to God asking that He work in their hearts because I didn’t want to go without their approval. But I also told God that if it has to be this way, that’s fine. God did work. The Conversation with my parents was on a Sunday in January (I don’t remember the date), but that same week, on Wednesday, my mom and my dad all of a sudden showed a change, even to the extent that my mom was preparing to buy some things for me to move. My dad talked to my pastors, and although he didn’t understand everything, he accepted. God, in one week changed the heart of my parents. One Sunday I was crying and the next Sunday I was immensely happy because I had my parents approval! From thereon it was to prepare, to wait, and to have the church approval in a business meeting. My mom still attends Pentecostal churches, and my dad hasn’t converted yet. Pray for my mom (Liane) to find a church that has firm teaching and pray for my dad (Lucas).
I arrived at SIBB in 2018. It was one of the best (and very much awaited) years of my life. It was full of lots of excitement, lots of studying, lots of laughs in the ladies’ dorm, and many good friendships. In that very year, at the end, I was also praying for a young man that I got to know at SIBB. This young man, Danrley, was dedicated in the service of the Lord and was in the same course that I was studying (Bachelor’s degree in missions). I prayed, and we prayed together. In 2019, after having gotten approval from my parents and spiritual leaders, we began to date. God, again in His grace, after several months not only confirmed, but also helped us.
Up to this point we have 2 Bible college students without money to plan a wedding and marriage. But God helped us. In an AWANA camp in which Danrley and I helped with at the end of the first semester of 2019, he received an invitation to pastor a congregation in the town of Poço Branco (white well) which is in the interior of the state. The missionary that took care of that congregation had to move closer to the capital city because of health issues and because he was taking charge of another congregation closer to his home. We prayed, Danrley talked it over with his pastor, and we prayed more. After praying and getting counsel, we decided that it would be very good. After we said “yes”, the notice came that he would be received as pastor. It was there that we saw that opportunity as a blessing from God to be able to save money necessary to be able to get married. In 9 months, we saved all that we could, and we had some help from our families. On the first day of February of 2020 we said, “I Do”, before our families, our beloved churches, our friends, brothers and sisters of SIBB, and before our Good God.
At present we live on campus at SIBB, now married, while Danrley finishes his last year in his bachelor’s degree in missions and I finish my classes for my Bible certificate. Our plans are to finish our studies, go to live in Poço Branco, and continue the work of the Lord in that place. There already exists a congregation with a couple of families and 2 young ladies. We pray that the Lord would give genuine growth to his people.
We discovered after being married just 2 months that we were expecting our first gift from God. And we were confident that the Lord would take care of him or her as he has taken care of us. (In July they suffered a miscarriage.)
We thank you for your precious prayers for us and for all here at SIBB. Keep praying that the Lord who made the heaven and the earth, would call men and women, and equip them for the Excellent Work, because we need and will need His help.
June 4, 2020
Thank you for continuing to pray for the work around the world as the Gospel continues to go forth and as God’s Word is committed to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (II Tim. 2:2b) remembering also the words of Paul in I Timothy 2:1-4 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Flores do campo church plant
A young couple who is part of the church plant, Daniel and Vitoria, are suffering the loss of their little girl Aurora who was stillborn this Monday. Here in Brazil, burial has to be within 24 hours so they were unable to even attend the burial for their little girl since Vitoria hadn’t been released from the hospital yet. They are trusting the Lord and have good attitudes in the midst of this sadness. Pray for them that this will be a time to draw even nearer to the Lord and that this would provide opportunity to be a witness to their family.
We thank the Lord for provision for materials and for a few men that continue to work on the building when they have free days from work.
Tim and Rebecca went this week to the neighborhood park. They had some good contacts there for the gospel.
Since the seminary family is small, we had continued to enjoyed the blessing of in person fellowship with devotionals, workdays on campus, sports, and informal meals together, but just when we thought there might be the possibility of things opening up more, things actually in some respects tightened up, so we have had less contact the past few weeks. Classes continue through the internet.
One blessing of the virus shared by a student is that her unsaved mom has been listening to the Sunday morning services. Her mom takes care of an elderly parent, and isn’t able to go to the service even if she wanted, but now with the pastor putting the message on the internet, she is listening.
The cookie boys haven’t come around for a few weeks, yet we have had three good evangelistic visits with a neighbor on one side of us. Lucinette has three children under her care and her husband died last year. In the past years, we’ve had contact with the children by bringing a weekly Bible story and songs to them, but it’s just been in these past weeks that she has been more open to talking with us. The virus has caused fear, and has made her more open to these conversations. Pray that she would understand the clear Gospel message.
Graviola is a tropical fruit which only more recently have I (Martia) come to appreciate. We have a tree growing right outside our dining room table window. For a long time I haven’t payed a whole lot of attention to them, and just let Natalie and Ariel take them home since they really like them. Anyhow, just thought I’d share what they’re like: green and pokey on the outside, white and creamy on inside, pulp kind of stringy hiding bean-size black seeds. After removing skin and seeds it is blended with some water and maybe a bit of sugar making a thick juice.
April 4, 2020
We’ve been back in Brazil for 40 days already and it is certainly good to be back.
Flores do Campo:
A date was set to start a children’s Bible club right about the time the quarantine for the virus was declared so we haven’t been able to start, but please pray that even during this delay God would awaken the hearts of children and parents with a desire for God’s Word. There have been a couple more workdays on the property especially focusing on the electrical part. This week more materials were purchased, and 4 men from our churches are planning on several workdays there. This small work group is permissible even during the quarantine, different from Argentina, where we heard a person can’t even go into their front yard.
70th anniversary of SIBB (Seminário e Instituto Batista Beréiano):
The Saturday evening of March 7th, a week after the beginning of the new school year, the seminary celebrated 70 years. We praise the Lord for all the lives, prayers, vision, money, work… that has gone on these 70 years and the focus that still is strong of training young men and women for the ministry. The Heights Baptist church was full to overflowing for this special service. Richard Matthews who taught for 50 years and was the director part of that time gave the message. It was his father Carleton Matthews that started the school in 1950 with the vision to train believers for the ministry.
We have a few boys that randomly come to our house for a cup of water and a cookie (sometimes a homemade cookie made by Hannah), and on some of those occasions they have time and interest to hear a Bible story. Martia has started with creation. Henrique (11) trusted Christ before furlough after hearing the wordless book gospel story. He continues to be the one more serious and interested, but his brothers Pedro and Pablo have come also. Sometimes they are together and sometimes one at a time. This week an older neighbor boy came by (Carlos Alexandre) which Rachel mentioned later that he had been in her Awana group. Pray for us to be ready at all times to to connect with and understand the lives of those we live around and to show the love of Christ and proclaim the Good News of the gospel.
Our family all together!
As you may remember Rachel started college at BJU this year, but with the virus quarantine, the rest of the semester is being done online. We are so thankful that Rachel could fly back to Brazil before the borders were closed as this seemed to be a very good time for us to be all together especially thinking of various changes coming up. We celebrated her birthday with Açai(a fruity icy dessert made from a fruit from the Amazon). Rebecca is planning to go to Faith Bible College in Ankenny, Iowa in the Fall. Ariel and Natalie still want (if God wills) to go the states for further seminary studies (although there hasn’t been any word from immigration since they presented paperwork in August 2019) It is fun to be close and to see firsthand the changes in little Ben.
How has the virus changed things from the normal?
Yesterday was the first time for Martia to go into town since picking up Rachel at the airport on March 10th. First week of the month is usually not a good time of the month to shop, but the family was missing a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. Stores are either limiting the number of people in at a time, or allowing only one member of the family in at a time. Hands and grocery carts were sprayed with alcohol as one entered. The groceries were brought home and soaked in bleach water before being taken to the kitchen. We hope to not go to the store again for several weeks. Thanking the Lord for his abundant provision of healthy and delicious food options. The shelves seemed to have been stocked well. There are so many reasons to be thankful, and we should be thankful in times of little and in times of a lot. Yesterday’s provision was a good reminder of being thankful for His mercy to us seen in this material way, not because we have any right to this or deserve it, but because He is merciful to us. They were such a beautiful visual reminder of God’s wisdom and creativity as well.
Brazilians are normally warm and affectionate so with the carefulness of not passing on the virus, there is a sense of the absence of hugs and handshakes in greeting one another. March 20th, which only was three weeks into the semester, was the last of normal classes until permission is granted for schools to resume. A couple of the teachers have been able to do their classes interactive online. The students are encouraged to work hard on their papers, reading, and assignments to be ready for possible doubletime classes when they restart. Some students went home, yet most have stayed on campus as this is their home, but there is not coming and going except for necessary grocery runs. We have been able to have services on Sunday and some evening devotionals as we are a small group(about 20). A few of the churches are doing online services. Tim has been able to catch up on various paperwork, grading, and preparation for upcoming classes, but he really misses the face to face teaching and interaction with the students in the classroom setting. We pray soon to be back into normal classes.
February 24, 2020
Thank the LORD together with us for a refreshing furlough. God has privileged us in Brazil to be a part of a strategic, though intense, ministry. Our past term was characterized by multiple fruitful ministry categories—investment in future servants of the LORD among the on-campus students, multiple opportunities to serve God’s people at three extension campuses, being boots-on-the-ground with our fellow-servants at the church plant /start-up and occasional speaking ministries in the local churches.
As we wrap up our furlough and make the transition to the field we are full of thanksgiving and rejoicing in the LORD. God has granted us a blessed furlough. We have experienced the promise that Jesus will take care of those who entrust themselves to Him. When we abandon all our meager aspirations to trust in Jesus, He will save His child from eternal judgment; and when we entrust our lives to serve Him, He will sustain His family, the Church. Recently we were reminded these truths clothed in English verse:
If I gained the world, but lost the Savior,
Were my life worth living for a day?
Could my yearning heart find rest and comfort,
In the things that soon must pass away?
If I gained the world, but lost the Savior,
Would my gain be worth the life-long strife?
Are all earthly pleasures worth comparing
For a moment with a Christ filled life? (Anna Olander)
Also Hannah chose “I’d Rather have Jesus,” another great message in song. We hadn’t heard this one before (by Luther Presley) and Rebecca looked it up. The chorus reads:
I’d rather live in heaven than to own all earth’s silver and gold,
I’d rather have Jesus than the diamonds of a palace to hold
I’d rather be a beggar, live in a little shack by the road,
Than to own all earth’s treasures, with no title to a future abode.
We serve the LORD by serving one another. As we serve each other, God enables us to bless one another and sustain each other. We thank the LORD the refreshment He has given through His people, our fellow-servants. Behind the following statistics represent God’s care for us through gracious pastors and dedicated believers: 34 churches, 6 states, 35k miles. Provision, safety, transportation, peace, kindness. In addition, God has also taken wonderful care of our family: Natalie and her family are fully engaged in serving the LORD; Rebecca is taking the steps towards studying sacred music; Rachel is adjusted to college and Hannah progresses well in homeschool. Martia continues to be a wonderful wife and mother. We’ve had good family times and look forward to experiencing more our role as grandparents and aunties.
God has abundantly met our needs for which we look forward to returning to the field to resume another term of service to Him. Brother Carlos has already sent some of our schedule: Three classes on campus (“O.T. Survey 1; Dispensationalism; 1 Corinthians”); at a local church in the evening (“Genesis”); and one weekend per month at the extension 4 hrs away (“Galatians”). There is also the family, homeschool, informal ministry on campus and the church plant. We also hope to visit a few graduates faithfully serving in remote locations. Please pray the God would be glorified greatly through us. We are scheduled to fly out Feb 20.
Thank you for serving together. Yours in His service,
Tim and Martia; Rebecca, Rachel and Hannah.
January 22, 2020
Last evening on a wet corner the vehicle we were loaned for our furlough travels ran off the road and rolled. No one else was involved, no one was hurt. It DID have collision insurance. We thank the LORD for His care and His people who helped (and are helping us) work through the details. We have three more weekends scheduled and continue to plan for departure to the field Feb 20, 2020. We look forward to a re-send service at our home church, Discovery Baptist in Gig Harbor scheduled for Feb 2.
We praise the LORD for His peace.