Church Plant

Ministry Update: Ebenezer 2.0

If you read our most recent newsletter, you may remember that we mentioned a return to Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation we planted back in 2012. As of last Sunday, I was officially installed as pastor of the church. Itacyara and I have jumped back into ministry there with both feet, and are very optimistic about the possibilities in front of us.

A Little Background

We stepped aside from ministry at Ebenezer back in 2021, just before our last furlough, handing over the reigns of ministry to Pastor Francivaldo, who had served with us for two years. After two more years at Ebenezer, Francivaldo answered a call to be a missionary pastor in the nearby village of Raposa, and the church called another pastor. This was a milestone for the church, as it would be the first time the church was assuming the full support of their own pastor.

The new pastor came, and, to all appearances, things we going very well. He recognized the need for more visibility, and began a project for purchasing a new piece of property. You can read about that here.

In light of this, everybody was shocked when the pastor abruptly reigned in the beginning of December. A number of reasons contributed to his decision (none of them disqualifying). We urged him to reconsider, but to no avail.

Ebenezer is very dear to our heart, and so Itacyara and I made ourselves available to the church, and they readily expressed their desire for our return, made official by their unanimous vote last Sunday.

We have begun a series in Nehemiah, entitled “Rebuilding our Jerusalem”, with applications for the current reality of the congregation.

What’s Next

Because of the short notice given us (the pastor originally said he was going to stay until February, then abruptly decided that his last Sunday would be January 7th), we have been playing catch-up for the last two weeks, and we still find ourselves in that condition. We are visiting each of the church members one-by-one, listening to their points of view, and trying to encourage them as much as possible. We have reached out to people who used to attend, and for one reason or another have stopped since we were last there. We are re-learning the systems of the church (financial, administrative, etc), which have changed significantly (and often for the better) since we were there.

And there are some great things happening. Lord willing we will be receiving one lady into membership on the first Sunday of February. Itacyara is starting up a baptismal class for at least three, maybe four young people.

It appears that the project for the purchase of new property will continue without interruption. I will be updating you more as we go along.

On Sunday we revived an old tradition at Ebenezer: gathering in a circle and praying when the church, or people within the church, face a particularly challenging experience.


As we have talked with church members, two needs have risen to the top. First, the church needs to do more to reach the surrounding community. Some of our members are from nearby, but many drive a good distance to get to our church. Second, there is a desperate need to restart the children’s ministry. Fortunately, my secret weapon (Itacyara) is already formulating plans, and there are many exciting opportunities in front of us.

In a Q&A time two Sundays ago I reminded the church family that I have had three years to grow and mature since we last ministered at Ebenezer. But if I am “Andrew 2.0”, then the church, which has also grown and matured, is “Ebenezer 2.0”.

We know we can count on your prayers as we tackle this new and unexpected ministry.


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And be sure to read the action-packed adventures of Missionary Max: Missionary Max and the Jungle Princess and Missionary Max and the Lost City.

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