Seeing God’s Hand at Work in the Lives of Others

Missionaries John and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

July 14, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today is Bastille Day in France. It is similar to the 4th of July in the USA. This celebrates the overthrow of the monarchy in France. At this moment all is quite and at 11 o’clock in the morning it is 61 degrees Fahrenheit. While the western part of America has had extreme heat this summer, we have had unusually cool and rainy weather here.

The Lord has blessed the church meetings during the past month. It is good to see God at work in the lives of the members. There have also been some special moments that exemplify God’s continual work in our lives and the opportunities that He gives us to be His witnesses where He has placed us.

Last Sunday we had a surprise contact with Amelia, the first lady to make a profession of faith here. She has lived south of Barcelona, Spain for quite a while and it had been about 10 years since we had last seen her. We enjoyed having her in our home for dinner and having a time of fellowship with her. I am including the a “selfie” she took with us on her way out.

John Mark & Judy Hatcher with Amelia, the first lady to make a profession of faith in France

Earlier this week, we were at our local grocery store when a young lady in store worker clothing ran up to us (all wearing masks) and excitedly told us how great it was to see us and how she wanted to spend time with us and tell us about what is happening in her life. This girl was a school mate of our oldest granddaughter, Abigail, and for many years came to youth meetings. Judy invited her for dinner this past week and she poured our her heart. She needs Christ and the Lord has reopened this door. Please pray for I..s and our witness to her. The Lord will know for whom you are praying.

Judy and I just finished listening to a recent message by Brian Nussmeier. He and his wife Sherri became a part of our congregation in Evansville in the late 70s three weeks after he had trusted the Lord in the state of Washington. He had just completed service in the Navy and God led them along with two very small children to the church in Evansville, his hometown. What a blessing it was to hear his message on discipleship to the church where he is now an elder.

Our Heavenly Father has and is good to us beyond our imagination. My reading this morning in Romans included chapter five where Paul tells of God pouring His love into our hearts. May it overflow to those who are so needy around us.

We are inexpressibly grateful to God for placing you in our lives!

From Tournefeuille, France,
Judy and John Hatcher

Contact Info:
John & Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher@aol.com
Present USA phone 1-812-416-1033

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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Riots and Risks: Is It Worth It?

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

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,

A few events that occurred over the last month have caused me to stop and once again think about my current situation here in the country of Kenya.

First, I was traveling home from a supply trip to Eldoret and I was passing through a town about 15 miles from our house. Up ahead I saw a van stopped in the middle of the road and was annoyed with the driver as I drove in the ditch to get around him. As soon as I got around him and back on the road I noticed why he had stopped. A hundred yards ahead the road was blocked. Old tires had been hauled up onto the road, the smoke of their burning ascending into the sky. Dozens of men were gathered around them, yelling, jumping, and shaking sticks and clubs. It was a riot of some kind and I knew immediately and instinctively that I should not be there (Don’t worry, I live through this ordeal). One of the first things you learn when you come to live in Kenya is to avoid mobs and riots at all costs. They can be very dangerous. So, I immediately got off the road and turned around. I was surrounded by people (friendly people, mind you, but nerve-wracking nonetheless) who told me I could not continue up that road because there was a riot. That seemed obvious. They told me about a side “road” I could take to get around the riot to the other side. I should have just turned around and gone back to Eldoret, even if I had to stay the night there. But I decided to take the side road. All seemed well at first and the side road looked like it was taking me around the riot and would eventually take me back to the main road which, indeed, it was doing. I was following another car ahead of me which seemed to know where it was going, so this gave me some confidence. After about ten minutes I was about 1/2 of a mile from merging back onto the main road when I saw up ahead that this side road was also blocked by men and tires (not burning). They stopped the car ahead of me and I saw there was no place to go. After talking with that driver for a minute they pulled back the tires and made a path for him to pass through. Then they came towards me and I cracked the window open so I could talk with them. As soon as they saw me they began yelling and jumping and screaming to the men on the road up ahead “FUNGA NJIA!  FUNGA NJIA!  FUNGA NJIA!” (Close the path, Close the path, Close the path!). I didn’t wait to find out what they had in store for me once the path was closed. I took off while the men up ahead scrambled to get the tires back across the road. I drove off the road and through a field to get around their roadblock, raced as fast as I could back to the main road, got on the main road, turned toward home and left the mob, yells and smoke behind. Exciting missionary life, right? Right!  

The second thing that occurred happened right here in our own neighborhood where we live, within a half mile of our current house but only two doors down from our previous residence where we lived for 10 years. At only 8:30pm some men broke into a mission compound of some missionary friends of ours. Fortunately, this is only a mission station and no one actually lives there. Anyway, very early in the evening, certainly before everyone on the street was in bed asleep, the men broke into the compound, tied up the night guard and stole some things. Very unfortunately, before they left, they violently murdered the night guard. Dead men don’t talk. Exciting missionary life, right?  Right!

A third incident did occur as well (that I don’t have space to report) that turned out to be completely harmless but made me extremely nervous at the time.

When these things occur I wonder if I’m sitting on a powder keg that could go off at any time. I re-evaluate what I’m doing here and whether I should be putting myself at risk. Then I remember that there are risks and dangers everywhere, both here and the US. That many of you often put yourselves at risk as well. And I remember how much this fallen world needs the gospel and needs the love and saving grace of Jesus. I remember the cross and that Jesus came to redeem us. I remember that I and the Kenyan people need to trust him, love him and serve him. And then I remember that this is where I need to be.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie & 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.


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New Missionary & First Baptism Service of the Year

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Mike and Beverly Creiglow have served the Lord in Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil together since 1971. In addition to pastoring First Baptist of Cruzeiro do Sul, Mike builds his own boats and frequently travels up and down rivers to share the Gospel with those who have never heard.

July 7, 2021

Dear Brethren,

Time flies when you are having fun. It has been a long time since I reported to you. For several months there wasn’t much positive to tell. For most of this year, it has been kinda rough. Things are improving a little though, so here goes.

After the last trip to the Moa the rivers went down quickly. Just as I was to go to the upper Juruá River the bottom dropped out and things opened up for us to start having public services again. For the first six weeks I put in a lot of long hours on the building and sermon/lesson prep. At first, we were having all the services streamed live until folks could get used to coming back to the in house services. Now we stream just the Sunday night service. Attendance has not yet gotten back to normal levels. However, we feel that things are looking pretty good, given the level of fear that so many people suffered. We have services on Wednesday, Sunday AM and Sunday PM. For the 2 months that we have been back there have been at least 300 people in every service.

Sunday Morning Crowd

We had our first baptism service of the year. There were 528 people present and 41 new members were baptized. Pastor Ezi baptized the adults, and I baptized the children. We also observed the Lord’s Supper.

41 New Members

Here is a little side story about this particular baptism. My granddaughter Kayla came to my office to talk to me. She had already requested baptism at church, but wanted to talk to me about her baptism. First she gave me a pretty good lesson on the doctrine of baptism. Not bad for an 8-year-old. Then she got down to talking to me about what she really wanted. She wanted to know if grandpa could “bapticize” her. Now I am not sure that I got the spelling right, but I got the meaning!

She is Crissy’s only girl. Later Andrew’s youngest came with the same request. So that is how I came to baptize (or “bapticize”) the 17 children, Kayla and Devin among them.

Kayla’s Baptism

Last Saturday we had an activity here at the house. Occasionally we have what we call “Breakfast with the Pastors”. It is an opportunity for people to have some casual time with the 7 pastors. About 80 people showed up at 7:00AM. We spent a great couple of hours together. We had a surprise announcement during the gathering. One of our evangelists, who works at our chapel at Cruzeirinho, announced that he was going into full time mission work. His name is Jeverton. The pastor of the chapel and he had met with me 3 other times over the past few weeks to talk about the fields that are ready and waiting. He is going to be our itinerant missionary on the Juruá River from Ipixuna to the border. He will be checking in on all of our congregations and preaching the gospel house to house. Next, we need those other 2 missionaries, for those 2 other fields!

There have been one or more saved on all weekends since we started services again. Also, our youth (15-24) and Youth+ (25 and older) have started back. The nursery is also back. We are still not able to have our children’s programs, but hope to begin soon. The lockdown here has been severe, to say the least, but we are getting things back as soon as possible, trying not to have the authorities breathing down our necks. We still have whistle blowers reporting us all the time. We are doing our best at trying to be bold and wise at the same time.

Well, that is pretty much what is going on. Busy, tired and happy. Hope you are, too.

Thanks for all your prayers and support. God bless you as much as He has us.

In Christ,
Mike Creiglow

CONTACT INFO

Mike & Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
69980 Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre
Brasil, SA
mdcreig@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.


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News & Reports – July 2021

The Online Edition of the July 2021 BFM News & Reports is available at the link below. Read how God is working through the lives of our faithful missionaries and continue to pray for them.
*Remember you can click on any headline to view the post/story on our website.


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Wrapping Up Furlough Church Visits; Pray for Kitale

Nathan and Carrie Radford serve the Lord in Kitale, Kenya. Their main ministries include indigenous church planting, a prison ministry, and a hospital ministry for mothers with premature babies.

Dear praying friends,

Another month has come and gone, and we are halfway through 2021. Hard to believe how quickly time passes. I am reminded of Ephesians 5:16, which says “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” May we make the best use of the opportunities that the Lord gives us to serve Him, realizing that the time and opportunities are only for a short time. May God give us strength to serve Him faithfully each day.

Please pray for Kenya at this time of coronavirus. Things were going better for a time, and getting back to normal. Unfortunately, there has been a resurgence in cases in our county in Kitale (Tranzoia) and now things are closing down again for a month. No church services, public gatherings, increased monitoring of the virus, etc. They are going to reassess after this month-long shutdown, so please be in prayer not only for Kitale, but the rest of the country. Uganda has also gone into varying forms of shutdown, so Africa is getting hit hard with the coronavirus. We trust God in these challenging times.

Please pray for me as I (Nathan) have been doing a lot of long distance traveling for reporting on the ministries in Kitale. It is coming to a close, but it has been a very challenging past few weeks with the driving, staying alert, etc. Please pray for God to give me the strength I need to finish well, and to rely on the Lord for each trip. God has given grace and strength for the journey. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” Amen.

The family is doing well. We are so thankful for a good year of school and the progress that we are seeing in our daughters. McKenna will be in high school in a few years, so please pray for my wife as she seeks to get the best educational materials for her. My wife has a degree in education, so that is definitely a plus. Please pray for her and all the challenges of each year.

We will definitely keep you updated as we continue with furlough, as well as the situation with coronavirus in Kenya. God is in control. Thanks so much to each one for your prayers, sacrificial giving, and encouragement. You each mean so much to us.

Until next month,
Nathan and Carrie

Contact Info:
Nathan and Carrie Radford
naterad[at]yahoo.com
Furlough Address
1126 Smith Street
Milton, WV 25541

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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Finally in Brazil!

The Hensleys have served the Lord in Brazil, South America since 1996. They have worked with orphanages, started mission points, established churches, and are presently conducting a seminary to train Brazilian pastors.

June 21, 2021

Dear friends and family,

Well we are finally in Brazil. It took a lot of doing but we made it here on the 4th of June. We have been enjoying the time with the family, especially the granddaughters as it has been almost two years since we have seen them. Our time here in Brazil has reminded me of the luxuries that we enjoy in the United States. Some of these are Wi-fi, good cell reception — all the time. Then I start thinking about driving and its difference between the States and in Brazil. I truly do not miss all the challenges.

While here in Brazil I have visited many old friends, made new acquaintances, and talked with many pastors. It looks like there are some pastors here who have an interest in the seminary. God is AWESOME!!!

Finding pastors and leaders in churches to study in the seminary is not the problem we have with the Seminary, but where we are to have the seminary is the problem.

COVID restrictions are still very strenuous. And the people not yet received their injections for COVID. The churches where I have preached are in compliance with the restrictions. But with all these problems, the people are still very active and attentive for the gospel.

For us to be able to travel internationally, we had to jump through several hoops. All that being said, God took care of all our obstacles and most before we began our journey.

This month we are completing two Zoom classes and it has been great to have been here to help with all the problems. However, most of my help has been only with administration issues, i.e., classes students have taken, what do they need to finish, etc.

If all goes well, we are looking for October to be our first graduation in our Master’s program and that will be in São Paulo City.

As of now we are having classes in two cities and three other cities are waiting to be able to participate in person—this we hope to do in October. Several students have had complications and three of our students have died from COVID. Please pray for these families. Also continue to pray for all the students as they live through these problems as we do also. We do have more resources than they do. But one thing we all have in common is that we serve the same AWESOME God.

Our prayer requests: safe travels for our return to the US, the churches and their pastors here in Brazil, our Seminary professors, Dr. Derek, Dr. Edge, Dr. Waltermire, Dr. Scherer, and others who are planning to come on board. Thank you each and every one for your continued support through prayers and donations to us through Baptist Faith Missions.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

CONTACT INFO

AJ & Barbara Hensley
592 Emery Court
Lexington, KY 40505
AJ: 859-539-2302 | Barbara: 859-539-1424
ajcaragua@gmail.com

Click here to give online.


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Introducing Victor

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

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,

In my newsletter for this month, I would like to introduce you to Victor. He is the one in the picture that I have sent. It will be difficult for me to describe Victor to you because he is a complicated individual. However, although he is complicated, he is a special man and worthy of us knowing him.

One of the reasons I wanted to introduce you to Victor is because of his faithfulness; faithfulness to God, to me, and to the Upper Room Baptist Chapel. Victor is the only person I know will be at the Chapel’s services each and every week. In fact, there are some weeks that Victor is the only one to show up. I may not know who else will show up, but I know Victor will be there, encouraging me, supporting me, and teaching me things about Jesus.

I have said Victor is complicated. This is true. He is quirky and strange to the point of being annoying, in his own world, oftentimes unintelligible in his conversation, and misunderstood. Victor hasn’t always been like this, however. I have spoken to people that have known Victor for a long time, and apparently he used to be more of what we would consider mentally “normal” – a bright and intelligent young man. After a visit to Mombasa, however, he came back “changed”. The consensus is that Victor probably contracted cerebral malaria while in Mombasa, didn’t receive the proper care for it. The disease left him permanently “brain damaged”, at least to some extent. When Victor returned, he returned as I have described: “quirky and strange to the point of being annoying, in his own world, oftentimes unintelligible in his conversation, and misunderstood”.

When Victor first started attending the Chapel this was the only thing I saw about him. He would interrupt me while I was preaching and ask a question that was mostly unintelligible and completely unrelated to what I was saying. Or, he would get up in the middle of my lesson and start sweeping and mopping the back of the room. He would do other quirky things that usually annoyed me, and I would find myself trying to “manage” his behavior.

However, in describing Victor in this way (which is true) I am not giving you the full story about him. Here is the other half of Victor. He is one of the kindest, most trusting, gentlest, giving, and self-sacrificing men that I have ever met. And, more than anything, Victor teaches me about Godliness and Christ-likeness. From the beginning of his attendance at the Chapel, Victor would come early or stay late in order to clean the building. He would always try and do nice things for me like packing up my stuff after service while I was talking to other people (even though I didn’t want him to) or refilling my water bottle (even though the water he used wasn’t clean), or stacking chairs and moving them to the side of the room (even though I just had to move them back later). In all of these things Victor was not trying to be annoying (even though he was) but to be helpful, loving, and giving. He did these things from a pure and loving heart.

Victor

Later, as I spent more time with him (mostly because he wouldn’t leave me alone), I saw even more of his self-sacrificing heart. If we were walking through town together I might buy him a banana or a small bag of potato chips. Inevitably, he would stop and share his banana or his chips with a street boy, or a small child sitting with his mother, or a beggar, all the while speaking to them softly, lovingly, humbly and blessing them in Jesus’ name. When we are walking home together after services at the Chapel, everyone we pass on the road gets a wave from Victor, or a greeting, a handshake, or a blessing in Jesus’ name. When I take Victor for a coffee and “cake”, his coffee always gets cold before he drinks it. Why? Because he insists that I drink it and eat his cake (even though I have some of my own). When we moved the Chapel out of town and into its own building, Victor automatically volunteered to be the building and grounds caretaker. After a couple of weeks I noticed that he was tearing up some of the grounds and planting seeds where I didn’t want them. I asked him to stop (even though he didn’t). Now there are plants growing around the Chapel compound. Do you think they are for Victor? Nope. Every week someone who attends the Chapel goes home with some food: A pumpkin, some beans, sukuma (greens), kale.

He oftentimes tries to send me home with a pumpkin, a bunch of bananas, or avocados even though most times I am able to convince him that I don’t need them. Most Sundays Victor will come to the Chapel (he is always early while everyone else is always late) and he reads to me the Bible verses he had been reading that morning. He shows me his Bible which is all marked up with notes that he understands but I don’t. He and God are probably the only ones who understand those notes. But do you know something? I think God DOES understand those notes. And I think Victor understands something about God that most of us, including me, don’t.

Victor has become one of my favorite people in Kenya. God bless Victor.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie & 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.


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God’s Grace on Display in France

Missionaries John and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One month ago, we arrived back in France. God has continued to display His grace and we are greatly encouraged by the events of the past month. We crossed many of our neighbors and friends during the first 3 or 4 days back home. This continues to happen daily and, in some cases, God has given numerous effective encounters with people for whom we have praying a long time.

The Tournefeuille church, meeting in person and online, is in a two-pronged study series: Religions in France and Biblical Examples of Witnesses for Christ. The response has been very good. Yesterday the theme was the witnesses to the “non-Jews” in the book of Acts. You might like to read and meditate on Acts 8:1-4 and 11:19-26 (click to read). The narrative about these witnesses who broke the standards of the first church (while doing what Christ had commanded His apostles) is a great lesson to all of us. The results are glorious!

The Lord willing we will soon restart Bible studies in the city of Mazere. We had thought the door at this location was closed, but unexpectedly God reopened it. God gave us an effective outreach at this place in the past and we are excited to experience what lies ahead.

Two weeks ago we had a great time of fellowship with part of the leadership team at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston, WV. Judy and I enjoyed this video chat with them to be shown to the church. You can go on their church site and see the video (click here to watch). Mt. Calvary had supported us for many years and yet we only knew one of the five leadership individuals that spoke to us in the interview. I think that this practice of keeping the church updated with their missions team is an excellent practice.

One question that arose was how a house church works. As most of you know the Tournefeuille church meets in our home. All of our Bible studies meet in someone’s home. It really works just like any church meeting in any building. We use the main room of our house for the opening and adult meetings and, as needed, the bedrooms and kitchen for Sunday School classes. This is not an ideal model in all circumstances, but is an effective way to begin and maintain at low cost until more space is needed. There are several examples of this in the New Testament. A church is a body of disciples of Jesus Christ committed to serving Him together. The Sunday meeting is only one dimension of how the body builds up itself and reaches out to others.

We are grateful for each church and individual that our Father has given as part of our support team. God uses your prayers and gifts to touch many that you will one day meet in the presence of our Savior.

May God bless each of you and encourage you where you are.

Your fellow servants in Christ,
John and Judy

Contact Info:
John & Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher@aol.com
Present USA phone 1-812-416-1033

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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