News & Reports – May 2020 [Online Edition]

The Online Edition of May 2020 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.

Note: You can also click on any headline to view the story on our blog. 

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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

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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Quarantined in Kenya; Concerns about MCHC

Carrie Radford has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya, with her husband Nathan since 2004. Their main ministries include indigenous church planting, a prison ministry, and a hospital ministry for mothers with premature babies.

Greetings from Kitale, Kenya!

I pray this letter finds everyone doing well and staying safe and healthy at home. Our board has asked the missionary wives to write the prayer letter this month as Mother’s Day approaches, in an effort to offer you a glimpse into our life from the wife’s perspective. We are thankful for the technology which allows us to remain in touch with our friends and family in the US during this time of quarantine and uncertainty. We are also able to watch the news and keep informed of events happening there and around the world. It is a blessing to feel connected with everyone.

Our little part of the world has seen some drastic changes during the past month. Our school, as schools in the US, had to close mid-March due to quarantine. Our family is coping with this by homeschooling. We are enjoying this time as a family and the girls are thriving as they continue their studies with mom as their teacher. However, we are concerned about our little school, MCHC. Private schools here operate through the school fees paid by the parents each term. Very few schools are ever able to “get ahead” and have money to cover in case of emergencies. MCHC is no different. Unless they are able to open for second term beginning in May, there are concerns that rent and teachers will not be paid. Please pray that MCHC is able to restart in the future when the quarantine ends. The school is so important for many families in the area that otherwise do not have access to quality education and hearing the gospel each and every day. 

Our family is handling the quarantine admirably so far. Nathan and I try to remain optimistic and upbeat around the girls, as I’m sure families in the US are doing as well. In addition to homeschooling, we are teaching the girls new board games and they are learning “life skills” in the housekeeping department.

A huge prayer request is for the spread of coronavirus to be limited as the medical facilities here are not adequate or able to treat this disease. While Kenya may be a more developed country in regards to other African countries, it is still third world and the lack of medical care is a major concern. There are very few actual trained doctors and the facilities and medicines available are extremely lacking. We don’t have access to ICUs or other specialized treatment centers here. And travel between cities and towns is very restricted now due to the quarantine in place. Please pray for Kenya, and Africa as a whole, that the disease will not spread as feared.  

In other news, we learned today that our favorite grocery store is closing. This particular store is the most convenient for us, as parking is available and safe. They also had the largest selection of food available. Parking in town at the other stores is much riskier due to crowding and security issues. We are disappointed in the store’s closing and we are concerned it’s just one of many stores that will probably close throughout the country as employment dwindles and people have less money.    

In closing, we ask that you keep the people of Kenya in your prayers. The spread of coronavirus here is a very real and dangerous threat due to inadequate medical facilities and unemployment. Many people here live day to day. They work for a day to feed their families. Many have no income beyond what they earn daily. We pray for all of you in the US as you continue through your quarantines as well.  

A verse that comes to mind for this time is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” We are thankful for each of you who prays for us and the people here.  God bless you all! 

In Christ,
Carrie Radford

Contact Info:
Nathan and Carrie Radford
P.O. Box 4150
Kitale, Kenya
East Africa 30200

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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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

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 at Work During COVID-19

Julie Tate has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya, alongside her husband Roger and family since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I write this letter sitting in my living room – where I have been doing a LOT of sitting (not unlike many of you!). It’s been many weeks now since the whole world basically shut down because of COVID-19, and while I can say I think we’ve settled in a little bit, nothing quite feels normal. I feel a bit like Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride when he says to the Man in Black, “Let me esplain. No, there is too much…let me sum up.”

Like most people, I’ve struggled with fear and uncertainty. There are so many unknowns. Just like in the US, schools are shut down here as well as all social/religious gatherings. It’s been bad timing in some ways (though I have to remind myself often that God’s timing is never bad). Milimani Christian Homeschool Community was – truthfully – a struggle, but we had a young lady who is a special education teacher from the US who was getting a work permit to come take over that aspect of our school (a huge load off my shoulders).  We were starting to get the hang of the high school, our dyslexic girl was reading and spelling, and our autistic boy was finding his stride and showing mathematical gifting. It’s very possible that COVID-19 is going to totally wipe out MCHC because of financial constraints. This in turn affects the chapel because we rent the MCHC building on Sundays. No MCHC, no building.

There have been a lot of changes at home as well. In all honesty, you all in the US have a lot more change to adjust to than we do here. There is never much to do around here anyway, and we often suffer from boredom. April is a month off of school in Kenya anyway; but there are many unanswered questions. Will MCHC survive? Will Chloe’s school survive? Will school even open back up in May? Likely not. Josiah’s school, Rift Valley Academy, is NOT opening up at all for the remainder of the school year (which ends in July). Instead, they will have an on-line platform. We didn’t know this, however, when Josiah and the other students were released from school two weeks early. He may never see his friends again; he may never see the campus again (which he loved). He doesn’t get to say good-bye.

Chloe, as usual, has had a difficult time adjusting to the change. Her behavior became aggressive enough that we had to consult her doctor. Being all “trapped” at home together without any reprieve has been a challenge to put it mildly.

Doing COVID-19 in Kenya has some additional psychological challenges, however. Currently, we have more deaths from police violence than we do from the corona virus. Forced isolation into some of the isolation facilities has been a nightmare. People are crowded together sharing the same facilities and even going hungry in some cases. Those who get a positive result have not always been removed from the group as a whole in a timely manner, and those who test negative after 2 weeks have not always been allowed to leave without paying a bribe. Who wants to get tested under those circumstances? Travel in and out of Nairobi is prohibited, so even if we wanted to fly out, we would not be able to (also because Chloe wouldn’t be allowed to leave, and we won’t leave without her).

HOWEVER…God is the Master at taking difficult things and working them together for the good of His people. Here are just a few ways I see God working.
1.  We were growing increasingly unhappy with the culture at RVA. I am really excited to have this time with Josiah – time we weren’t expecting and that we are very thankful for.
2. I know of two precious local families right now who have been struggling with family issues. This has forced them to spend time together at home because they don’t have the escapes they usually have in town or at work. It’s been good for them (not always easy, but good).
3. I’ve been able to work on some of the academic things Chloe was struggling with at school.  I’ve been able to help her with letter reversals, and she’s even starting to do some very preliminary reading and spelling.
4. Not being at work all day has helped me get back into a daily morning time of Bible reading and prayer – something I had been deeply missing.
5. Not knowing what is going to happen with MCHC has helped me see where some boundaries need to be set and where some of my priorities need to shift if MCHC does survive.

So, that’s where we are currently at. Here are some specific things you can pray for on our behalf. These are not in order of importance. First for the health of my family. I suspect we may have already had the virus, but there is no way of knowing for sure. Anyone with flu-like symptoms has the potential of being removed from their home and put in an isolation center. Second, that our financial situation stays somewhat stable so we can pay our rent. We have a good landlord, but there are no protections here like there are in some places in the US. Third, that our faith in our Good, Good Father would grow, that our love for Jesus would build up and effervesce onto others around us, and that we would draw nigh to Him in new and fresh ways. Fourth, that we – as a family – would find new and creative ways to invest in each other during this time of increased “forced togetherness.” 

In Christ,
Julie Tate

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

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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Life and Ministry at Home

Beverly Creiglow has served the Lord in Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil, together with her husband Mike since 1971.

Hello to all.

These past weeks have been very different, not to say “weird.” It has been just a little over three weeks that Brazil has called for the “stay at home” quarantine. That has not been too difficult for me since I do not go out much anymore. My life is centered around church activities, but now that this has been taken away, I have a hard time remembering what day it is! I do a lot of crafts and reading to occupy my time. I do not get to see my grandkids as much as before. I miss the hugs.

Mike and I usually start our day with a cup of coffee, sitting in our comfortable chairs in the living room. Each individually read the Bible and then we share and pray together. I enjoy this time.

We have no more flights in and out of Cruzeiro do Sul. The only way in or out of here is by road and they wanted to even shut that down. Thankfully, the federal government would not allow it. We would have been completely shut off from any kind of food supplies. We had not had any positive cases of the virus here until a couple of days ago. Hopefully it will not spread. The media here is doing as in the States, making people panic.

People have asked what my ministry here is. For the last several years, it has been taking care of Mike. That in itself is a big job!! Kidding. He tries to live his life as he did twenty or so years ago. His mind wants to do it, but his body just is not as young as it was then. Mike is still very active and it is a struggle to get him to slow down. He records several videos a week to keep our church fed spiritually. My mind and body have a hard time cooperating with each other.

Mike and I always have spent a lot of time together. At this different time in the world, we have taken advantage of watching some movies together in the evenings. He hardly ever had time to do that before. He always lets me have his new recliner to sit in. He is a nice guy.

We are praying for the presidents of Brazil and the USA. Please help pray for them both. They both have so much in common. The opposition has made both their lives very difficult.

Please continue praying for us here.
Love to all, Beverly

Contact Info:
Mike & Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
69980 Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre
Brasil, SA

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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Helping Those in Need

Kathy Barros has served the Lord in Brazil her whole life. Daughter of missionaries John & Alta Hatcher, she married Odali Barros and they 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,

I pray that all of you are well. The world is going through hard times but we know that our Lord and Savior is in control.

We are all doing well and adapting our life to the times in which we are living. Through this situation, we have been able to help different people with some of their needs. We stay in contact with our people by internet and send messages and Scripture to the people.

We went and gave fish to many people. And also we went and delivered some basic foods that were given to a member of the church to donate to whoever needed the food.

I really miss going to Ubim and having my time with the kids and having our studies. The other day when we went to take some food to the Indian tribe, I saw the kids from a distance. The chief was the one who came to receive the food. The chief asked, “Who is Kathy?”  I said, “It’s me.” He said, “The kids are over there calling you. They said to say ‘Hi’.” The Lord willing, we will be back to normal soon. 

I have been working with some of the young girls from the church and training them to work with the kids at church. It has been great to be with them. Pray that God will help them to grow more and more each day. They are new converts and were not brought up in church, so I work with them with their spiritual growth and with developing their abilities with working in Sunday school.

One of the difficulties in this area is the distance that people live. So everything takes time to make things work. Not everyone in the church has transportation, which makes things a little harder at times.

I thank each of you for your prayers and support. Pray that God will continue to allow me to serve Him and open new doors in new communities. We are still planning to do mission trips on the river. When I was a child I went on many trips with my parents. It was fun! I can’t wait for us to be able to go on our first trip. Pray for this also.

God bless each of you!

Kathy Barros

Contact Info:
Iranduba, Amazonas
Brasil, SA

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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Where is Light?

Judy Hatcher has been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France with her husband John since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

Hello praying friends,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Light in the dark…

Good morning from the land of lockdown! As the world experiences the uncharted territory (uncharted for us…the world has experienced plagues, etc., throughout history), the question arises, where is light? Can we shine the good news of Jesus while being distanced from others? Can we encourage one another to love and good works while being isolated? I would like to take a few minutes of your time and share with you how God has used what was meant for evil to do good in our corner of the world.

Since John and I are in Evansville caring for my sister, we try to be on the lookout for those God wants us to touch. We walk with trekking sticks in the neighborhood every day. Of course, that makes us an oddity! …but also opens doors to share (from a distance, of course). The COVID-19 has given an awareness to people of the frailty of life…of what is really important…and we have had opportunities to share the reason for the hope we have! Whether it’s on the street, in line to get into the grocery or the checkout lady, there are moments to point people to Christ, the only Hope.

Distance separates from our French friends who don’t know Christ, but we have internet connections and are able to say, “Hey, how are you doing? We are praying for you”. We want those we love to know that even though we are far away, our hearts and prayers are with them.

As a result of the virus, our church in France is not able to meet together as usual. They decided to get together online. They decided to meet in the afternoon for them, so John, Abigail (our granddaughter) and I could attend. Oh, the tears of joy that John and I shed as we sang, prayed and shared with our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world!

Our Christian friends in the Ariège keep connected and we can share with each other our needs and blessings…in short, be an encouragement to one another.

I would like to leave you with a verse God gave me through my reading this week: “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalm 27:14 NKJV

As we wait, we can be the light, knowing that the LORD is with us.

Yours together for the sake of Jesus,

Contact Info:
John & Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
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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