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.
January 21, 2020
We praise the Lord for being able to finalize airfare for our return to Brazil. We fly out of San Francisco on Feb. 20th at 9:30. From there the flight continues through Ft. Lauterdale, FL; Recife, Brazil; and finally Natal. The 18 hour flight transit time of this itinerary is shorter than usual as we land in northeast brazil instead of having to pass through south Brazil. As many of you know it has been uncertain if Rebecca would be staying in the states or returning to Brazil. We praise the Lord for God’s leading in her to return to Brazil.. Rebecca is returning, and plans to enroll with a full load of classes at the Bible college where we serve. We’ll keep you posted as the next steps develop. Thank you for your prayers.
This Saturday Martia’s family will be together to celebrate her parents 50th wedding anniversary (which was Nov. 15, 2019). We are praying for a meaningful and joyful celebration that honors the Lord and edifies and encourages each who is present, especially her parents Dave and Violet Anderson.
We have 4 more furlough reports, one being our ministry report and resending service from our sending church, Discovery Baptist Church of Gig Harbor, Washington on Feb. 2nd. We appreciate your prayers for us in this last month of furlough reporting and all the details of goodbyes, packing, and transition.
We are looking forward to returning to Brazil to begin another term of service in Natal, Brazil teaching at the Bible college and working alongside Pastor Davi and Sara at the Flores do Campo church plant. We rejoice to soon be able to see Ariel, Natalie, and little grandson Ben!
September 18, 2019
Giving a ministry report and spending time with family are two key goals of this time of furlough, and we are grateful for these opportunities. Our summer has been interlaced with both. In July we served at Lopez Canyon Bible Camp in Arroyo Grande, CA. Rebecca and Rachel consider being camp counselors that week a highlight of their summer. Hannah was a happy camper, Tim gave the evening chapel messages, and Martia did the morning mission sessions. Following the week of camp we were a part of a four day missions conference along with two other missionary families. It was a blessing to reconnect with Grace Baptist of Paso Robles who has partnered with us this whole time we’ve been in Brazil. Usually we have one morning or evening every four years with our supporting churches, so it was extra special to have a longer time together during these days, as well as getting to hear the other missionary presentations from Zambia and Puerto Rico. We later spent a week in Utah with Tim’s parents enjoying time together (with the added bonus of peach and apricot season), visiting Dinosaur National Monument, then spending 6 days camping on the California coast (Patrick’s Point) with Martia’s family.
It is a blessing to visit our churches and share a ministry report in person during furlough. The fellowship, meaningful conversations, sharing of ideas, and encouraging words have been refreshing in each place we have been. We rejoice in the variety of ways we see that believers are serving the Lord and being a witness: opening their homes to needy children through adoption or foster care; helping with coaching community sports for kids with the purpose to build relationships to more effectively share the gospel; being honest, diligent workers in their jobs; being kind and caring as they care for the elderly in their care; and parents faithfully teaching their children in the ways of the Lord. One faithful prayer partner of 90 years invited us to share a ministry report at her care home during her Bible study hour. We thank the Lord that she has health and motivation to continue teaching the Word of God. Certainly there is not a lack of challenges throughout all these pursuits to shine for the Lord: the false teachings; disinterest and coldness people have towards the Bible; many times our own apathy and laziness; corrupt laws that protect sin, etc. With Paul, desiring to be as bold and certain as he, we say, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
We are able to keep in contact with Ariel and Natalie via Skype and WhatsApp and get to see the new things that little Ben is doing. The pictures and videos that Natalie sends put big adoring smiles on our faces as we think, “he’s the cutest little person in the whole world!” Sometimes also we get a lump in our throat knowing we are so far away as he is changing so fast and we’re not there close, but we are thankful for the means to keep connected. Ariel graduated with a Bachelor’s degree last Nov. from the Bible college and is assistant pastor at Satelite church. Ariel desires to further prepare for ministry in Brazil through pursuing a Master’s degree. They are praying and pursuing options for coming to the States for this education. Pray for them as they seek God’s will in this area and as they wait for the next steps in the paperwork for legal permission for Ariel and Ben to come to the U.S.
Rachel started her classes at Bob Jones University and has had a good transition to college life. She arrived a week early for orientation with international students. That week gave her opportunities to meet people from other countries, get her books and class schedule in order, and accustom herself to the campus before the responsibility of assignments and the full number of students had arrived. She says she gets a lot of exercise walking to and from her classes. Pray for her as she gets used to the teaching styles and expectations of the various professors and as she decides which church to attend and what ministry opportunities to be a part of. Pray most of all that this time would be a rich time of spiritual growth and preparation for what God has planned for her life.
We just got the happy news of the arrival of baby Lucca who arrived a minute before midnight on Sept. 16th to Bible school graduates Davi and Sara. We serve together them as church planters at the Flores do Campo neighborhood. Pray for them as they have entered into this new world of parenthood. They now have the care of a new baby church and a new baby boy.
We are presently in the Gig Harbor area near our sending church Discovery Baptist Church where God has provided a wonderful place for us to stay on Fox Island with a view of the Puget Sound, a quiet place pretty much to ourselves where we can read, catch up on communication, Hannah can do her school, and we all can reconnect with our church family during the week. The next several weeks are in eastern Washington, but Fox Island will continue to be our base to came back to during the week. Thank you for your prayers for safe travels and blessed meetings.