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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News & Reports – June 2021

The Online Edition of the June 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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Visiting Churches on Furlough

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 now officially halfway through the year with the summer months coming ahead. It is hard to believe we are already into the summer months, and we love seeing the changing seasons and getting to experience them while we are on furlough. Each of you are such a blessing and we appreciate your interest in the ministry in Kitale, Kenya.

I (Nathan) have been busy traveling, scheduling, reporting on the mission work in Kenya, and preaching the Word of God. It has been a blessing to see each of you and I am genuinely thankful to each opportunity with the challenges of coronavirus. We know different parts of the country have been affected in different ways, and our prayer is that things will be back to normal all over America. Prayer makes a big difference. I love the quote “prayer changes things.” I think of Colossians 4:2, which says “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” and also Psalm 145:18, which says “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” May we call upon the Lord daily, trusting in His strength for the challenges of life.

My wife and our daughters are staying busy with homeschooling. My wife has a degree in education, and does a great job preparing and teaching our daughters. Homeschooling has been a great experience for her and our daughters.

Our understanding is that Kenya has reopened now from the previous restrictions of coronavirus. There are still cases in various parts of the country, but at least you can fly into the country now and not be restricted in any way. As I stated before, Nairobi and five other counties were on lockdown but those restrictions are now lifted. For this we are thankful. Please pray that the cases would continue to decline so that everything would get back to normalcy soon. That is our prayer for America as well.

We understand that there is a new supermarket coming into Kitale that stores many of the items that we like. We are excited about this and are hopeful that it will be opening soon. This is a big blessing for my wife and makes her weekly grocery shopping much easier, as she had to go to several different stores last term. What a blessing this is.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue in our time of furlough. We are thinking of you all as well and appreciate each of you so much. May we continue to trust the Lord day by day, month by month, year by year, following His guidance. I will leave you with the famous verses of Proverbs 3:5-6 which say, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Amen. May this be the desire of our lives.

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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Returning to Normal Amidst Flooding

Odali and Kathy Barros served the Lord in Sao Paulo, Brazil together from 1987-2013. In late 2013, they transitioned to Manaus in Northern Brazil to start sharing the Gospel and planting churches in villages along the river.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We pray and hope that all of you are doing well. We thank God for each of you for your prayers and support. Our ministry is greatly blessed through your encouragement.

Things here are getting back to normal but at this moment they are giving alerts of new cases of the virus, so we do our ministry being careful and taking the care necessary. 

One problem that we are having in some places is flooding. The Amazon and the Negro River have risen higher than it has for over 50 years. The community of Cacao where we have a church, the water has reached part of the building. At the village of Ubim, the water has not reached the church, but to get to the church we have to walk over a temporary bridge made to get into the village. The water still is coming up. Many places are really flooded.

Kathy wants to thank those who gave donations for the t-shirts for the kids of Ubim. The t-shirts are ready. The kids will be happy to get new ones.

The ministry at the mother church, Pedras Vivas Baptist church is back to normal. We have started back the music classes on Sunday morning. We plan on starting back the Friday night services in homes soon. Kathy and I are doing visitation to see people that might want services in their homes. One thing that we did in our church was to sing only songs from the hymnal song book. Seems like everyone has enjoyed the month. We also mentioned about some of the authors.

I have been working this month on encouraging the church and showing them the mission God gave each of us: to tell people about God’s love and what He did for man to be saved. Telling them the importance of evangelism. It is easy to get caught up in our busy life and forget to tell others about God’s Love.

May God bless each of you! 

Love in Christ our Savior,

Odali and Kathy

Contact Info:
Odali & Kathy Barros
Iranduba, Amazonas
Brasil, SA
odali_kathy@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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Training Leadership, Headed to the States

Jud and Raquel Hatcher are third generation missionaries serving the Lord in São Paulo, Brazil. They are part of the “SeedFactory” church planting initiative, which is a movement to plant churches in all 26 Brazilian capitals. Since 2006, 43 churches have been started in 5 states.

May 22, 2021

Dear friends,

In this month’s letter: Overcoming leadership training challenges, a Northeastern Brazil celebration visit in João Pessoa, “to COVID or not to COVID” and our plans to be in the US.  Thanks for reading.

Leadership Training

This month we had an intense one-week online leadership training with 23 people from three different cities. In his book J. Oswald Sanders ‘Spiritual Leadership’ said “leadership is influence”. Our in depth discussions dealt with the needed influence for maximum mobilization and teamwork for the Gospel. The pandemic forced us to use a new format for meetings and training. There is a benefit to online training though. As people familiarize themselves with this format, new leaders from around the country can participate in these seminars and bring a broader base of experiences into the conversation. The live feed provides real time interaction between people that otherwise would not be in the same room due to the geographical distance. It was a great success.

Church in João Pessoa

Pastor Helder and I flew 3.5 hours from São Paulo to encourage the church, the pastor and the leadership in João Pessoa. In 2003, my father (Paul Hatcher) and I visited and surveyed 5 cities in Northeast Brazil. As a result, a new church planting project began to reach Brazil´s Northeastern region. Families were equipped, teams were selected and sent from Manaus. João Pessoa was one of the cities that received a church planting team. It’s the capital city on the coast of Paraiba state, and is home to beautiful people. Pastor Mizael and Jaqueline (his wife) were part of the original three families that moved from Manaus as part of the project. This church was started 15 years ago and Mizael and Jaqueline have faithfully served with their family. They developed leaders and influenced the region with the Gospel. We met with their leadership team and presented Pastor Mizael and Jaqueline with a “Here Am I” award during Sunday’s worship meeting in honor of their faithful service to the Lord to reach people with the Gospel.  

Family Happenings

These last few weeks we´ve celebrated Sarah’s (16th) and Benjamin´s (13th) birthdays. It is hard to do much celebrating in the middle of a lockdown, but the Lord is faithful in caring for us and giving us great reason to rejoice.

Raquel, Benjamin and I tested positive with COVID-19. Our family remained in home lockdown for three weeks until full recovery. Benjamin was mostly asymptomatic, as he only had a congested nose for 3 nights. Raquel and I had fevers, inflammation of the joints and organs, coughing, and deep exhaustion. The Lord took care of us during this time through family and friends. We are now COVID free.  

Stateside Assignment

We travel to the States on June 17 to stay for a one-year Stateside assignment / furlough. We plan to visit supporting churches, friends and family during this time. We were originally scheduled to be in the States last year, but the pandemic lockdown hindered us from making it. We are grateful to our supporting churches, friends and to the BFM board of directors in assisting us during this process. We will begin in Orlando, FL by visiting my parents for a few weeks. We would love to schedule a time with you and/or your church. Let’s connect! Shoot me an email so that we can plan the details to be with you.

Grateful always,
Judson and Raquel Hatcher

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.


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Back 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,

We are back in France! A week ago, we stepped off the plane in France. What a delight to walk out of the baggage claim area to find Philip and three of our granddaughters waiting for us. Amanda and Camille were at our house putting finishing touches on cleaning and preparing lunch. We are thrilled to be back to the place that God led us to 22 years ago.

Though there are still many restrictions here because of the Covid virus, within a couple of days we encountered many of our neighbors. However, Sunday crowned our joy as we sang in person with the members of our congregation. Though we have been meeting online with the church at Tournefeuille, we could not hear each other singing. Sunday was a very small foretaste of heaven where numberless multitudes will be praising the Lord together.

Yesterday, we had lunch with the Veuillet family from our church. Jean-Luc is one of our teaching leaders. We had an excellent meal and time of fellowship together. This family is a great blessing and encouragement to us as musicians, teachers and committed believers. They just bought a house that is further from our meeting place by about 20 minutes on the road. However, this a small city that desperately needs a gospel witness. I am hoping that this could be the beginning of a church in that community.

We just learned that the house in which we live and hold our church meetings is going to be sold. The rental agent is to meet with us in a couple of weeks to discuss alternatives. Please, pray for us that God will direct our hearts in this matter. Or, if you would like to donate $500,000.00, we can just purchase the house. In case you are wondering, it is not a mansion. You can call Darrell Messer or Randy Jones who have been here for details.

We thank God for each of you and your faithful participation in what God is doing here.

May the Lord bless each of you,
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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Dedicated Students in Seminary Classes

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.

Dear friends and family,

What an AWESOME God we serve! I have so much to tell about the problems and blessings and answered prayers it is almost impossible to tell it all in a short letter. But here goes—in April we have completed two virtual Seminary classes. There were two different locations participating: São Paulo and Campins. These cities joined together to take these classes. Normally in São Paulo we have 32 students and in Campins we have 14 students. The virtual classes for April we had 29 students combined. This is an AWESOME blessing considering the problems with COVID—lack of work and lockdowns going on there in Brasil.

We all know that when God is at work the devil will pop up his ugly head when and where he can. To begin with, one of our primary Brasilian leaders and supporters, Pastor Marco de Silva and his wife both contracted COVID. His symptoms were milder than hers, so she has been hospitalized and has been intubated. So please pray for them (more on their conditions after the classes). He, however, took the classes. How AWESOME is that type of dedication.

Another student was still in the hospital yet he took the classes from his hospital bed. Many others have similar stories showing their determination to improve their Pastoral leadership. They are simply amazing, not only overcoming COVID problems, but many others, one of those major problems being financial with job losses and many places being shut down temporarily and others being completely closed.

Through it all God answered prayers. We reached out to various churches and individuals and many donations for these classes came in. We were able, with your help, to grant scholarships to every student in these classes. It is always AWESOME to see God work in these matters.

So let me now give you the testimony of a new student to Bluegrass Baptist Seminary: Matheus Godoy, a new student to BBS who attended the virtual courses offered April 19-23 and 26-30. Previously Matheus attended a Bible College in the town where he lived. He had only taken one course when the COVID pandemic occurred and, due to the pandemic, he lost his job and could no longer pay for any more courses at the Bible College. After several months of waiting and struggling, he was forced to move back home to live with his parents. Discouragement overtook him as he lost faith of fulfilling God’s calling until one of our students and translators, Maycon Ribeiro, shared with him about BBS. Maycon invited Matheus to attend the virtual class being offered in April. Matheus’ discouragement turned into joy, especially when he found out that he had been given a scholarship for not just one course but for BOTH courses due to the donations to support the students in the Seminary. Just when Matheus thought his calling would go unanswered, God provided a way through YOU for that calling to continue.

So let us all give thanks for the contributions given by Churches, Pastors, BFM conference and many others to sponsor these seminary students during their very trying times. AWESOME is the God we serve. Two classes completed, all passed, all received scholarships—that makes for an AWESOME month.

Pastor Marcos is recovering very well and his wife who was 6 weeks hospitalized, intubated, and later tracked, is now home recovering—PRAYER WORKS!!!

We have scheduled 2 more virtual classes in June and will need help for some more scholarships for these students. Barbara and I will be leaving for Brasil on the 3rd of June to prepare for the next in country fall classes. Please pray for us and our protection from COVID as we travel internationally.

Once again THANKS for your financial support as we continue to follow God’s calling in our lives.

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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