Every year at the Baptist Mid Missions of Brazil’s northeast regional conference we give a report of the previous year’s activities. Here is our report for 2016.
Missions is adventure.
And as we boarded an Azul Airlines jet on January 20th, 2016, bound for Orlando, we were ready for a little less adventure. Behind us was 2015, a year of intense trials for the Maranhão field. Before us, a year of spiritual refreshment and renewal. God, in His grace, provided for us the opportunity to sit under the ministry of Pastor Rick Piatt at Fellowship Baptist Church, in Lakeland, Florida, attend the Baptist Mid Missions annual conference, and have fellowship with friends and family up and down the eastern seaboard and throughout the midwest.
Our travels took us as far south as Labelle, Florida, as far north as Michigan’s UP, and as far west as Wahpeton, ND. We visited 34 churches and put roughly thirty thousand miles on our little P.T. Cruiser, which, in a short-lived fit of political optimism, I had christened the “President Ted Cruiser”.
Other highlights of our furlough included our sons’ participation in a local soccer league, a visit to Legoland, Michael’s participation in a missions trip to Portugal, and the publication of my two books: Missionary Max and the Jungle Princess and Missionary Max and the Lost City – currently available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon.com.
Events on the Field
God’s grace can be clearly seen in the events of the São Luís field this last year.
Shortly before our departure we were blessed with the arrival of Pastor Marcelo Correia to lead the Boas Novas Regular Baptist Church. We are pleased with the enthusiasm and optimism he has brought to our field.
The Primeira Igreja Batista Regular in São Luís continued without a pastor, but thanks to generous grants from the AMF they were able to complete a parsonage in 2016.
Pastor Fred Alencar continues to battle doggedly at the Esperança congregation. He was a tremendous source of encouragement to us during the trials of 2015, and we are looking forward to returning the favor in 2017.
In May of 2016 the Ebenezer congregation was able to move into their new building. They will be forever grateful for donations from the AMF, as well as grants from Home Office funds, for the completion of this project. They are now able to have their services indoors, unhindered by nearby drinking establishments that consistently feature the musical stylings of Bob Marley at obscene decibel levels.
The Mount Zion Baptist Camp went into a holding pattern in 2016, with a couple of our men making sure the grass was mowed and the fences repaired. We look forward to making great strides in infrastructure this year, including a water tower, bathrooms, and a pavilion.
December saw the graduation of Francivaldo Soares from the Cariri Baptist Seminary. He is currently raising support to return to Maranhão and work with us at the Ebenezer congregation, and we are very eager for his arrival.
We arrived back in São Luís on January 12, and as yet have not completely unpacked our bags. While we search for a place to live we are staying in a spare house on a rural sítio owned by one of our church members. There, surrounded by fruit trees, exotic birds, and the occasional boa constrictor, we begin the second phase of our ministry in Maranhão.
Missions is adventure. And we give thanks to Go that we are able to share this adventure with our friends and colleagues of the BMMB North East Region.
Photo credit: Bill Kettlewell