Doors of Opportunity Unlocked Amidst Lockdown

The Tates have served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

May 20, 2020

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,

It’s still all Corona, Corona, Corona around here. And as a result of that not much has been altered since the last time I wrote a report.

Schools are all closed so the kids are all at home. Josiah is at home doing on-line schooling. He is finishing his final term as a senior at Rift Valley Academy. He has missed his interim trip, his senior trip has been canceled and his graduation ceremony is probably canceled as well. It is unlikely he will ever see any of his friends again before they all head off to their home countries and home continents. Chloe is home too. Julie is homeschooling her and I am assisting by teaching math.

Churches are all closed. I haven’t been able to meet with the folks at Upper Room Baptist Church for many weeks now except individually. Everyone I talk to wants to get our worship services started back up again but to do so would be against the lock-down orders. At what point do we say we have to meet anyway?

Nairobi is locked down. Nobody is allowed in or out.

At least we still have access to food, water, and medicines. Our supply lines are operating as normal and all the necessities of life are still readily available.

The one thing we are desperately trying to avoid is Kenyan quarantine. People who test positive for Covid19 AND everyone they come into contact with are quarantined in official Kenyan quarantine centers. We all hear that these places are nightmares – No care, crowded, Corona-contracting centers. Healthy people get quarantined and are not allowed to leave. They end up coming down with the virus. I was in town today and saw a sign at the store: “Help contain Covid19 – Donate here to send street kids to quarantine centers”. I had to shudder. 

But not all is bad news. There are opportunities as well. The other day I was in town picking up some supplies and I was at the store of a Hindu proprietor. He started talking about Corona and I said, “All I can do is pray, and trust God, and leave the rest in His hands”. The Hindu store owner stopped and said, “Yes, thank you. I guess we should be talking more about God than about Corona Virus”. Now I know that the “god” in his mind is different than the God in mine but we have small opportunities to talk to people these days in a way we might not be able to during a normal time.

Another opportunity is to invest in the lives of other people. As a result of the schools closing, we have two Kenyan teenagers studying here at our house and Julie is overseeing their education and I am teaching them Geometry. One is staying with us around the clock, including boarding here and the other comes every day for school purposes and then leaves at the end of the day. Yesterday, during their morning break, the four of us (myself, Josiah and the two Kenyan teenagers) sat on the veranda while they drank their chai and we just talked. And the most amazing questions and discussions came out. We talked about salvation, heaven, missions, f=ma and e=mc2, the movements of planets, English idioms, biological taxonomy, sin, grace verses the law, Jesus’ interpretation of the 10 Commandments in Matthew 5, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and what happens to morally upright Muslims who have never heard about Jesus. It was all done in a casual way and I didn’t lead them to any of these topics. We just talked about whatever came up out of their brains. What an amazing time to try and make sure they heard wisdom from a Biblical perspective on all of these topics. 

Let’s ask God to give us more of these kinds of opportunities during this chaotic and unnerving time of uncertainty. 

Blessings to you all, Roger, Julie, Amy, Josiah & Chloe

Contact Info:
Roger & Julie Tate
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200
rojuta@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.


Read more

A Month of Quarantine with 4 Kids in Brazil

Raquel serves the Lord with her husband Jud and their family in São Paulo, Brazil. Their main ministry is church planting.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this letter finds you well and joyful, despite the circumstances. As you can imagine, we also are facing the threat of this new virus. The city of São Paulo has been in quarantine since March 20th. All schools, public and private, were closed, as well as non-essential businesses. Those who can are staying at home as much as possible. Our kids transitioned from traditional schooling to online home schooling. That in itself has been a major challenge. I thank God for my husband, who has helped them adjust to distance learning, and daily assists our four children in their studies. We had two computers, now we are trying borrow two more in order to accommodate their needs. Overall, they are doing amazing. Laura had all A’s this past quarter, Sarah and Benjamin also had A’s and B’s. Melissa has more difficulties, as she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and memory problems, although she was also placed in the superior range for IQ. We ask your prayers regarding this subject. We do our best to find strategies and didactic approaches to teach her, but we notice that, in many ways, it has affected her self-worth. But we are blessed. Sarah turned fifteen on May 30th and Ben turned twelve on May 24th. Laura will be fourteen on July 20th, and Melissa will be nine December 1st. During this time of social distance, they have not left the house, so we try to keep them busy with different fun family activities, tasty meals and treats. They also enjoy videoconferencing with friends and family.

Hatchers at Home

Regarding myself, I have been substituting for a missionary friend in his coordination position of a Christian Fostercare Project. He asked me to replace him temporary, as he needed to be with his family. He and his wife have five children and one of them, a 10-year-old boy, has battled leukemia for almost two years. A few weeks ago, he received a bone marrow transplant, but he is in critical condition. He has been hospitalized for the past seven weeks. There are hundreds of people interceding for his life and for his family. Please, pray for them also.

Our church, like most of them here in Brazil, has been meeting online to pray and encourage each other. One of the ladies who meets with us also has cancer and she does chemotherapy. Pray for her, and her husband and daughter.

I would also like to share about another friend of mine; we were neighbors during my graduate school, and since then we have been best friends. One year and six months ago, she was diagnosed with cancer in her pancreas. During this time, she did all the treatment she could at John Hopkins Hospital. For some months it was in remission, and it seemed to be fine. But now, she is sick again, and with little hope any treatment will help. I have been supporting her during this long journey, and I feel very sad. She adopted a little boy just five years ago. I ask you to please pray for my friend, her name is Vanessa Martiny. She lives in Pennsylvania, she is a believer in Jesus, she has a strong faith, and she holds on to the hope she has in Christ.

We sure live in difficult times. But we remember what the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are the happiest people in the world because we know there is so much more ahead of us. Thank you for reading. Thank you for praying, thank you for supporting us with your finances, thank you for caring. May God give you peace and joy.

Much love,
Raquel Hatcher

Raquel teaching kids at church

Contact Info:
Jud & Raquel Hatcher
São Paulo, Brazil
judsonhatcher@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.


Read more

Looking Past the Circumstances

Charlene Wacaser has served the Lord as a church planter in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil alongside her husband Bobby since 1985.

 

Hello praying friends,

I have to say that I am writing this letter in the oddest moment in my life. Coming to Brazil in my early twenties was a very different experience from what I grew up with. Adopting two children and raising them in two languages and cultures was exciting, but offered its challenges. Standing by my husband, Bobby’s, side as he helped to care for his aging father after his mother’s death and then returning to Brazil was an unexpected turn of events. But, living under quarantine conditions during a Pandemic is certainly the most thought-consuming event that I have ever experienced.

We received travel alerts from the U.S. Embassy in Brazil that we had to make a decision soon about returning to the States because all commercial flights would be stopped and there was no way of knowing for how long the travel ban would last. Both of our children and our only grandchild live in the USA and we don’t know when we’ll be able to visit with them again. But we do know that God has called us to minister here in southern Brazil and that He is using this pandemic to open doors of opportunity to share the gospel that we have never seen before. Besides, we thought to ourselves, what kind of a message of faith and love would we be giving if we packed up and left because of negative circumstances? We are so glad that we have stayed. Bobby has had to learn to “pastor” the congregation through social media only. That is quite a challenge for him because he loves to interact with people on a physical level.

There are three texts of Scripture that comes to my mind that comfort me in the middle of all this: Deuteronomy 32:10-12; Psalm 17:8 and Matthew 23:37. In all three, the image that is conveyed is that of a mother bird using her wings to protect her babies. In that, I picture God in His great love and power caring for and protecting us in all our struggles.

There is the struggle of being bombarded daily with scary news reports about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In fact, one member of our church’s daughter caught the virus and the member herself is in the group of high risk. She is her late sixties and she has been through chemotherapy. Several of our church members have lost their jobs and others have lost a significant amount of their normal pay. What is exciting and encouraging is to see how our people have stepped up to put into practice the principles of God’s word that we seek to teach and exemplify. Without having to tell them to do so, some have called to let us know that they are willing to buy groceries for anyone needing them. Some have had to continue working because their jobs are considered “essential,” and at the same time they are exposed constantly to the risk of the virus and have to come home to their families.

I am challenged constantly to look past these circumstances and focus on the promises that God has given to use them all for my good and His glory. I know He will continue to care for me, even more than a hen cares for her chicks.

I do ask that you would pray for us to be wise and faithful in ministering in this new “environment”.

Yours in Jesus’ love,
Charlene Wacaser
 
Contact Info:
Rua Laudelino Ferreira Lopes, 279
Sobrado 1, Novo Mundo 81050-310
Curitiba, PR. Brasil
Phone: 55-41-99899-2333
bobbymichael_1@hotmail.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.


Read more

“MOTHERS IN ISRAEL” Judges 5:7

During this Month – read, honor, and pray for our Missionary-Wives…
“MOTHERS IN ISRAEL” Judges 5:7

Deborah, the judge, called herself “a mother in Israel”. She was not referring to her biological children because we don’t have written record, at least, that she and Lapidoth had any biological children. But, she was ‘a mother in Israel’ because of the spiritual leadership and nurturing she demonstrated during this time of spiritual declension. She provided the leadership of conviction, moral courage, and inspiration to trust and obey God – and she influenced and strengthened many.

So have our missionary-wives who have as faithfully and valiantly served with their husbands to be mothers, not only to their own children and families, but to countless others also. So, in keeping with the Mother’s Day tradition we observe here in the States, we have asked our beloved missionary-wives to write this month’s letters from their own distinctive perspectives. This is our way of recognizing them, honoring them, and rising up with their husbands and children to bless them! Proverbs 31:10-31


Read more
^