A Look Back

Barbara Hensley has served the Lord in Brazil, South America, with her husband AJ since 1996. They have worked with orphanages, started mission points, established churches, and are presently conducting a seminary for Brazilian pastors.

Dear friends and family,

Well, this month, we wives have been asked to write the letters. So, I have been thinking of my time as a missionary wife and all the different things I have done. But my mind returns to now and how everything has been put on hold because of the pandemic. I have been struggling with what to write in this letter so I think I will do a quick look back.

When we first came to Brasil our goal was to be helpers to Odali and Kathy Barros. We went to Vera Cruz, São Paulo, Brasil. There I walked to their house every day to help Kathy with the boys they had in their home. This was the start of the Orphanage.

Now I want to tell you that we went to Brasil without knowing the language, which is Portuguese. This is not something that I would recommend for a new missionary. So, we encountered many things that were language barriers in our day-to-day lives. For example, we learned how to say “bread”, but went to get some and did not know the word for how many we wanted, but we could hold up how many fingers. One day I wanted to make some bread and went to the store to get flour, but did not know the word for “flour”, so I looked for something that might indicate that it was flour but did not find anything. And this time, I could not figure out how to motion anything for that word. These are just two of the many challenges I faced.

I spent the majority of my days alongside Kathy, so she was my translator. But when I went home, we only had each other to communicate with. It was so funny. When a Brasilian tried to talk to us and we did not respond because we did not understand, they would just repeat it…only louder because they thought we did not hear them.

We moved later to the next city as Odali and Kathy moved to be closer to the Church and to have more space for the children. In these two places, my job remained the same: helper in the daily routine. We stayed in the house that we were able to rent for some time. Then in this town, we were to be able to get the use of an old abandoned hospital because the house that Odali and Kathy had was quickly getting too small.

In this place my duties became more intense as AJ and I became house parents to various boys. So then 24/7 we were in charge of the care of these boys. Their clothes, the managing of their chores, their studies, their bedtimes—well, you understand—all in. There were times I would sit up all night with a sick one, bake cookies at the last minute for a school party, etc.

After several years in Garça, we were invited to help another missionary couple start another orphanage. But after some time in this place it became clear that the Mayor of the town did not want Americans opening an orphanage in his town, so God moved us again.

This time we visited Odali’s brother and were invited to help him in his church. We have spent over 14 years in this town: Caraguatatuba. My work changed from a mother to boys at an orphanage to wife of a pastor. But in each phase of our lives, my main focus has been on the children. Whether it be in an orphanage or in a church, children naturally gravitated to me. It did not seem to matter that I am very strict with them; they seem to want this in their lives.

We have been just like all of you for some time, quarantined in a home in Florida, because it was from there that we were going to fly to Brasil. So, when this pandemic is over, our trips to Brasil for the Seminary will begin again.

I will close this letter with a story a Pastor here in Florida told me recently. He said when he heard at a Baptist Faith Missions Conference that AJ had been accepted as a missionary with BFM, he just shook his head. He thought AJ would make a good missionary, but he was sure that I would not last over a month. This pastor telling me this asked for my forgiveness at the Conference this year. Well I have, through God’s grace been on the field with AJ for 23 years. And with God’s grace, I think that I have a few more in me.

Thank each and every one of you for your faithful prayers and financial support—because missionaries do not do this on our own, it takes ALL of us working together.

In His service,
Barbara Hensley

Contact Info:
AJ & Barbara Hensley
Cell #s — AJ: 859-539-2302 / Barb: 859-539-1424
ajcaragua@gmail.com

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280 | Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.


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Waiting on the Lord of All

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

March 24, 2020

Friends and family,

Well, hope this letter finds you well. We are doing as well as can be expected in these trying times. We are like all you all, trying to keep our head above water and wait to see what God is doing in the whole world.

This past month we have had a funeral of my half-brother and now have had to review our whole schedule. We had two weeks of classes in Brazil in March that we have cancelled and then two weeks in April that we have decided to cancel also. Two of the tickets were booked on Brazilian airlines so it is not like the airlines in the States. We do not know if we are going to get a refund, get to re-book or lose all the money for the tickets.

We were so looking forward to starting the new classes in Manaus and Porto Velho in state of Rondonia. The state of Rondonia is where the fires in the rain forest were so rampant last month. The first two classes in April were to be there, and in Manaus, we were beginning a whole new group of students. We were starting our Masters of Theology program: Systematic Theology and Survey of the Old Testament. These were to be taught by Dr. Derek Coleman and Dr. Raymond Edge. So, not only am I, but our professors are doing hotel and travel cancellations and rescheduling. Then there is the procedure of trying to contact all the students and decide when we can try to reschedule, not knowing when this virus will be over. These students are from 5 different cities in São Paulo, Campinas, Garça, and the new classes in Manaus and Porto Velho. Sometimes life gets put on hold and we wait on God to put it to right. So please pray for the students, as it is our plan to reach Brazil for Christ through these Pastors and Church workers. Also pray for the professors, translators, administrators and other class helpers.

As far as the town where this Seminary gets its roots, it, too, is shut down. The main road that comes down the mountain has been closed except for necessary traffic. This is where Pastor Walmir and Mary and the grandchildren live. So, you see this virus is affecting the whole world.

As for Barbara and I, we are in Florida as we were planning to fly from Florida to Brazil because we found cheap flights from there, so we are now hunkered down here. We can wait on the Lord in any place as He is the Lord of all, and He is in control. So, God bless you all as we together wait for the next step of God’s plan.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua@gmail.com

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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Student Ordained; Planning Seminary Classes

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

February 18, 2020

Dear friends and family,

This has been a time of planning for the year of 2020. The calling, traveling to set new places for classes, and planning the dates has been much busier than expected.

However, that is AWESOME. This means that we will be reaching many more pastors and church workers than we reached last year—and to do this we need to be out and about.

Bluegrass Baptist Seminary is reaching new areas and this means that plans sometimes have to be changed, revised and sometimes we are having to say, “Not now, but please be patient. We will get to your area soon.” Bluegrass Baptist Seminary with its accreditation in Brasil is an AWESOME blessing for pastors and church workers. Pray with us as we attempt to reach as many “areas” of Brasil as is possible.

We are continually trying to find more economical ways to travel, find hotels, and rental cars so we may reach more areas and train more Pastors. One way all may help is to donate to BFM and designate your donation to Bluegrass Baptist Seminary. But the most important thing that you can do is pray.

We are in Brasil doing this work because of BFM and their support and all they do for missionaries. Without them this ministry would not be possible.

Let me digress for a bit and tell you about an AWESOME bit of news. We are posting a picture of a family in the mission point of Natividade da Serra. This family attended the Seminary about two years in Natividade da Serra and this month the husband was ordained to the Gospel ministry. This is just one more example of how God is using the Bluegrass Baptist Seminary in Brasil.

Our God is an AWESOME God.

We ask all of you to continue pray for the ongoing ministries in Brasil, for strength and travel mercies as we travel to the many locations, and also for the future locations that God is putting in our paths and the future students. We are excited about this new year and the ministries that God is sending our way.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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Traveling Stateside; Planning 2020 Classes

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

January 23, 2020

Dear friends and family,
When I was a young child and our parents said that we were going on a road trip we three boys would jump into the car screaming “shotgun”. This means that that person would get to sit beside the driver. And because we all said it at the same time, we would proceed to wrestle for the position.

It seems that for the last week we have been on one of those kinds of trips. We started in San Antonio Texas where we visited with an old Pastor friend, Jason Hamlin. We first met him in Brazil when he and his wife Stacey were searching for the area that God wanted them to serve in Brazil. They had a meeting with several Pastors and Missionaries and each of us gave them reasons why they should work in our work. As you can see, they chose us and Caraguatatuba. We had 3 to 4 years working together then Jason and family had to come home to the States because of health issues with his mom. He has since started to work with a non-profit organization and we got to meet those with whom he is working. We do not know if anything will come out of these meetings, but it never hurts to try plowing new fields for support.

From San Antonio we went to Bastrop, Texas. We spoke to a supporting church there. And met with Dr. Edge the pastor there and our seminary professors. Also, we were able to visit my brother on this trip as he and his wife are members of the church there.

From Bastrop we flew to Orlando, Florida, where we attended the Winter Conference for Baptist Faith Missions at Park Ridge Baptist Church.

During this time Barbara has not once called “shotgun” so I have always gotten the best seat during the trip. We both are feeling like gypsies, but we are having an AWESOME time. We are meeting new friends and renewing old friendships.

We are working diligently to put the schedule for Bluegrass Seminary together for the year 2020. It is going to be a VERY busy year. We will start out in São Paulo City, then on to Campinas in March. This trip we will give two classes, then we will return to the States. Then in April we will head to Manaus, and from there will fly to Porto Velho in another State. On this trip we will be doing four classes. After these classes we will return to the States. Then in June we will return to Garça, giving one class. Then in October we will do six classes spread out in São Paulo, Manaus, Porta Velho.

Pray for us as we endeavor to reach Brazilian Pastors and church workers. This is a very strenuous schedule and much travel, but the return is AWESOME.

Thanks to you and those who support Baptist Faith Missions with your prayers and your finances.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara Hensley

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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Christmas Miracles

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

December 12, 2019

Friends and family,

What an AWESOME year this has been! The Seminary has and is going wonderfully; it is because of so many wonderful people like you. Your prayers and giving have helped us minister to the wonderful ministers and church workers in Brasil. So, it is with a heart full of gratitude that I say to you all: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

As we reflect back at this time of year it is good to think of the Christmas Miracle: none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the reason for the season. And He is the reason for the Seminary there in Brasil. If we can train more and more Pastors in Brasil, just think how many Brasilians can be reached.
Barbara and I would like to take this time to wish one and all a wonderful, AWESOME, and happy Christmas holiday and New Year. May we all use the new year to be better servants of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I would like to mention one more miracle of this year—my last exam this year showed a non-detectable on my PSA. That means that God’s miracle for me and my family is that I am CANCER FREE. How AWESOME is the Lord we serve.

Looking forward to the upcoming year and what God has in store for the Seminary and all who are a part of it.

Thank you BFM family for the encouragement these past two years as I and my family have gone through this time of waiting on the Lord to heal me. Thank all of you who prayed for me and the outcome of this time. God is faithful.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Like them on Facebook.

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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Seminary Stats for 2019

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

November 20, 2019

Dear friends and family,

It has been an AWESOME month and one half for our Seminary. First of all, we have a new name. Because of the accreditation process there in Brasil, we have to have an American name. So, we are now Bluegrass Baptist Seminary. The students are having a good time discovering what bluegrass is.

I want to use this letter to give you a yearly report on our work in Brasil. The cumulative report provides impacts for the Seminary and preview of the upcoming work.

Here are the Seminary statistics through the Fall of 2019:

  • 32 classes, delivering 9 courses in 6 different cities since our beginning.
  • Total enrollment is 277 students including pastors, church leaders and missionaries.
  • Students are from 90 churches who have memberships of more than 10,011 people total
  • These Churches are located in 34 cities and in 5 States
  • 84 students have graduated with a certificate in Pastoral Ministries. This includes the first 4 courses: Systematic Theology, Survey of the New Testament, Survey of the Old Testament, and Pastoral Ministries
  • 51 students at 2 locations are enrolled in our Masters Program. We have students in São Paulo and Orlandia that are in the middle of their Masters courses and will continue these courses in 2020. There has been an increased interest in the Masters Program. HOW AWESOME is the Lord we serve!!
  • We have 3 new locations for classes in 2020: Ribeirao Preto in the state of São Paulo, Manaus in the state of Amazonas, and Porto Velho in the state of Rondonia. In Rondonia, we will be working with missionaries who work in missions established in the high jungle or North Western Brasil.

As planned in 2020, we are expecting to have an AWESOME year! It would be good to have you, our prayer warriors, praying for me and our Professors: Derek Coleman, Raymond Edge, Russell Zik, Terry Leap, Steven Scherer, and Greg Waltermire, as there will be much traveling this upcoming year. Also pray for the Churches of these pastors who send their pastors to help in this ministry. Without these Churches and these pastors, we would not have Bluegrass Baptist Seminary.

This ministry, Reaching Brasil, is made possible because of caring people like you giving to Baptist Faith Missions. Thank you for your generosity and your prayers.

Happy Holidays!

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Like them on Facebook.

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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Seminary Classes in São Paulo

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

October 27, 2019

Dear friends and family,

This month has been fast and furious. Barbara left on the 1st of the month and I and Pastor Russell Zik from Durbin Memorial Baptist Church left on the 10th. We went to Caragua to visit the grand kids and Pastor Zik preached at Caragua Baptist Church.
We left Caragua Monday morning, driving to Garça, São Paulo. We got there around 6:00 and the first class started at 7:30. We were expecting 5 to 8 students and God sent 20. There are so many times that we sorely underestimate the Lord. The class that was taught was Pastoral Ministries. Out of the 20 students there were 8 pastors. The rest were church workers. This class was to be the last class taught in Garça but God had other plans for this area. We now have 21 students interested in continuing the seminary there in Garça. Again, we underestimated the Lord. During this week, one of the students called us to ask if we could come to his work to present the gospel. We found out that he works at a prison and the warden wanted us to preach to the prisoners. We did not hesitate nor think twice. Pastor Russell brought a salvation message and there were 12 inmates that made commitments. These inmates were getting ready to be released so God’s Word will be going home with these 12 people. There are many ways to spread the Word and we do not think of not even half of them. We serve an AWESOME God!

Pastor Zik and Barbara came back to the States and I met Pastor Greg Waltermire and Pastor Derek Coleman at the airport. And with this, we begin another week. Pastor Coleman of Gardenside Baptist Church is headed to Campins where he will be teaching Survey of the New Testament. And Pastor Waltermire of Heritage Baptist Church will stay in São Paulo to teach History of Christianity.

There were 29 students in the São Paulo class. One of the students got to class late on Monday and he told us that he had left home at 4:00 in the morning and only got to São Paulo after 7:30 that night. How many of us would travel that far to study God’s Word? He is staying with local pastors for the week. Another of the students is the Doctor that was in the class last year. The students hosted a birthday party for her 83rd birthday. In this class there are 7 different denominations represented. Each of them will be taught Baptist doctrine this week and if they stay for next week’s classes, they will also hear the same Baptist doctrine. Again, God works in wondrous ways His miracles to perform.
In Campinas we were looking for 20 students and there were only 11 students that showed up. But like the preacher who preached his whole sermon when only one person came to church, when he was asked why, he explained it this way: if you went to feed your cows and only one came you would not go home without feeding that one. So, the students received the whole class even though only less than half of the students showed up.
In these two weeks we will have had 5 classes in three cities to 60 students. More than 25 of these of these are pastors, serving 22 churches. It is hard to say how many people will be reached through these men.

I told you last month of my doctor’s appointment. Well I have had that appointment and the report is as follows: the test for the PSA is non-detectable, which means the cancer is not showing up on their test. What an AWESOME God we serve. I will have another checkup in 6 months and I am expecting to hear the same news.

Here are some pix.

In His service,
AJ and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Like them on Facebook.

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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Bluegrass Baptist Seminary Spreads in Brazil

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

September 21, 2019

Friends and family,

This month has been more than busy. I will start with the end of the month and reconstruct it backwards.

Pastor Derek and I were invited to a Pastor’s conference in Goiânia, Brasil, where I was able to represent Bluegrass Baptist Seminary. This was an opportunity sent from God because we were trying to incorporate a visit to this area this year to spread the word about the Seminary. As a result, we were able to talk to representatives from six different churches. They are now going to send students to the Seminary in our location in Rebeirao Preto. This will be our first classes in August of 2020. This city is projected to be one of the permanent locations for Bluegrass Baptist Seminary. This is a very large city with an airport and in a central location to many cities. Pray for these new locations we are planning for the 2020 Seminary year.

The missionary conference in Goiânia, São Paulo.

Also this month we have put Manaus, Amazonas on our projected schedule for seminary classes. The invitation to Manaus came from the classes we are having in São Paulo, as some of the students had contacts in Manaus and spread the word about our classes. I have many friends there from language classes and work that I had done there for Pastor Paul and Wanda Hatcher.

This coming year promises to be a busy and productive one for the Seminary. Our plans are for being in Ribeiro Preto, São Paulo and Manaus, Amazonas as the new cities, and Campinas, São Paulo and São Paulo, São Paulo as the ongoing classes. With these four cities we will have eight different classes. Pray for all our professors and helpers. As you know our professors are Pastors here in the United States with their Dr’s and PhD’s and they are doing an AWESOME job. Because of their qualifications, they will help with our pursuit of accreditation for the Seminary. This is an AWESOME blessing.

My health issues continue to improve and I have an appointment in the coming weeks. Be in prayer for the latest results. I know that, as in all things, God is in control.

As you know, when you are trying to serve God, there are road blocks. My roadblock this month was on the road. Not literally, but I had an accident and totaled my car. The AWESOME news is that I escaped injury. Just a few bruises and minor scratches. Our God is an AWESOME God.

Just following up with Mary’s oldest daughter Chelsea, she went for a check-up last week and the Dr said that her spina bifida is getting better and she will not have to wear a brace. Prayer works!!! Continue to keep them in your prayers.

Please pray for Barb and I as we are going to be in Brasil for the month of October. Barb will go first to visit the grandchildren then to Garça with me for the first of three Seminary classes. Then I will finish the month in São Paulo and Campinas.

Thank you for your continued prayers for this endeavor for the Kingdom.
In His service,
Aj and Barb Hensley

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Like them on Facebook.

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online


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