Reflections from Jonathan Turner

I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father and to Baptist Faith Missions for the wonderful privilege that I was given to travel to Brazil on the one-hundredth year anniversary of the Great Commission work of Baptist Faith Missions in that great nation. Accompanying me on this trip was my sister, Kimberly DePalma. She drove from Virginia to meet me. We left my home in Kentucky on Tuesday, September 5th to catch our first flight out of Saint Louis. My father-in-law, Ken Greenwell, who lives in Saint Peters, Missouri graciously allowed us to leave my sister’s car in his garage and then drove us to the airport.

We boarded our flight bound for Houston with much excitement and some trepidation. We were excited because I had not been able to visit Brazil for eighteen years and Kim had not been back for thirty-seven years when she left at the age of seventeen. We were filled with trepidation because I had not been able to renew my Brazilian passport. I have dual citizenship and we were not sure what to expect when we would arrive in São Paulo and would be required to go through immigration.

We left Houston in the evening hours and after an approximately 9-hour flight we arrived in the São Paulo metro area at the Guarulhos International Airport Wednesday morning, September 6th. We went through immigration, and I showed my American Passport. The Federal Police officer looked at my passport, typed some information into her computer, and then asked if I had any Brazilian paperwork. Kim and I had spoken to a Brazilian friend who advised me to take all my Brazilian paperwork with me including my Brazilian birth certificate. I am thankful that I listened to his advice. I showed the officer my birth certificate. She entered more information into her computer and gave me the okay to proceed through. What a relief that was and an answer to prayer! Thanks be to our God who put a friendly face in front of us and who opened the door for us to enter the country legally and without any problems.

From the airport we took an Uber ride across the great city of São Paulo where we saw miles and miles of skyscrapers many of them filled with people who need the gospel of Jesus Christ.  BFM has one missionary family, Judson and Raquel Hatcher and their four lovely children, who are trying to reach those folks. They are worthy of your support. The Uber ride took about two hours due to the distance and the traffic.

Upon arriving at the Hatcher’s Kim and I showered, changed our clothes, packed a few things into our overnight bags and drove with Raquel and her four Hatcher kids for six hours to the interior of São Paulo state. We arrived around 11:00 p.m. at the house of Pastor Sergio Balbo and wife, Cris. They were gracious hosts. We enjoyed our time with them, and I feel like we made some lifelong friends. He is the pastor of the Igreja Batista da Fe in the city of Garça. They will be building a new building soon, God willing. 

The next morning, we went with Pastor Sergio and Cris to the city of Lupércio to attend the one-day conference that Missionary Judson Hatcher had invited us to attend. It was well attended by several churches, their pastors, and pastors’ wives. I had the opportunity to preach that morning, Thursday, September 7th which happened to be Independence Day in Brazil. I was also privileged to sit on two different panels with Pastor David Pitman and several Brazilian pastors and answer questions from pastors and others in attendance. It was a very encouraging time with good music, good preaching, good fellowship, and good food. It was the first time this type of conference had been organized to bring the churches together. Many of these churches were started by faithful missionaries John and Alta Hatcher. The conference was organized to celebrate their shared heritage, to allow the pastors to network, and encourage each other. It was a well-organized event and they have already begun planning next year’s conference. I am so thankful to Missionary Judson Hatcher for the invitation to come and to participate. After a long day we returned with our hosts to their home where we spent the night again.

The next day, Friday, September the 8th, we were picked up by Raquel Hatcher and we made the drive back to São Paulo City. That night Kim and I were privileged to take the Hatchers out for a great meal and to enjoy some great fellowship. Saturday, September 9th, we left São Paulo and flew to Cuiabá. Cuiabá is the capital city of Mato Grosso, a state about the size of Oklahoma and Texas. Cuiabá is the place where Kim and I spent most of our childhood years. It is the place where in 1973 my dad, Missionary Richard Turner, traveled with Missionary John Hatcher to survey the city and to hold some evangelistic services. God blessed and land was bought, a church building was built, and God filled it with people. I would encourage you to visit the website bfmnow.org and read the history of this Great Commission work under our Legacy Library where all the previous letters of faithful missionaries have been digitized. You can read the letters that Dad wrote from this time. That church, Igreja Batista Boa Esperança (Good Hope Baptist Church) is still in existence and several other works have been started out of this church in other locations in the city of Cuiabá and in the state of Mato Grosso. Kim and I had the privilege of spending five days with folks that were saved, baptized, and added to a New Testament church during the ministry years of my parents in Brazil. They shared their testimonies with us and their memories of our parents. This Great Commission work in Cuiabá and the surrounding areas was a great work of God through faithful missionaries, Richard and Wanda Turner, Bob and Betty Creiglow, George and June Bean, and Harold and Ursula Draper.  While we were in Cuiabá, we visited several churches. I preached Sunday morning, September 10th, at the Boa Esperança church. That was a real honor and privilege. It was also a very emotional time for Kim and me to return to the church where we grew up. I was baptized in that church after being saved at the age of seven during our furlough in Lexington. That Sunday night we visited the Igreja Batista Bereana (the Berean Baptist Church). I had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes and share a little of BFM’s history.

Tuesday, September 12th, our host in Cuiabá invited family and friends to his house for a fish fry.  There were approximately 30 people present. He asked me to speak, and I gladly accepted.  Then several others gave testimonies of what my parents meant to them and how God used them in their lives.  Mission dollars from churches and individuals in the United States were used to send my parents to Cuiabá, to buy land, to build a building, to financially support my parents so that the gospel could be given to people in that city.  Some of those people were at that fish fry recounting God’s blessings and their salvation in Christ. Those dollars were not wasted! Let’s be encouraged to support missions, to support missionaries in places like Cuiabá and São Paulo.  There is still a great work to do.  Christ has not yet returned which means that the Great Commission still needs to be the focus of churches. 

Wednesday night, September 13th, we visited the Igreja Batista Jardim do Pinheiros (Garden of the Pines Baptist Church). This was a church started by Missionaries Harold and Ursula Draper.  This church is without a pastor and has been for about two years now. Pray for them.

Thursday, September 14th we began the long journey back to the United States. Our time had flown by, and it was difficult to leave, but we also were missing our families back in the States. We arrived safely back in Saint Louis, Friday, September 15th. My hope is to return, God willing, in a year or two to visit Cuiabá again but also to visit some other works in Brazil. I would encourage everyone to make a trip to the mission field and visit one of our missionaries.

Finally, let me quickly share some other ways God used my sister and me while we were in Brazil. We had some God-ordained appointments to keep that we were not aware of when we got on that first plane in Saint Louis. On our flight from São Paulo to Cuiabá on Saturday, September 9th we sat in a row with a young man named Gladson. Kim was the first to strike up a conversation and he was more than willing to talk to us. After a while, the conversation turned to spiritual matters. He shared with us that he had been raised in some type of Assembly of God Church. However, he could not give us a good testimony of salvation. He also shared that he had been taught and still believed that one can lose their salvation. Kim and I both were able to share the gospel with him. We are now friends on social media, and I am planning on sending him some gospel material. Pray for God to bless those efforts.

Our second God-ordained appointment was with a young man from Sweden. This young man had never heard the gospel. He was staying in the house where we were staying. He was in Brazil doing some volunteer work with two brothers of our host. He went with us to the Sunday morning service at Boa Esperança where I was preaching, and the gospel was given. Imagine that! God brings an American/Brazilian to Cuiabá, Brazil to preach in a service where a Swede who has never heard the gospel will attend a Baptist church service for the first time. Who but God! 

Our third God-ordained appointment was with an Uber driver. He was a young man who also had been raised in some kind of evangelical church but was not currently attending. During our conversation he shared that his mom still attended church, and he tried to do good, and that he said his prayers every day. We were able to share a little bit of the gospel with him during our short ride. Only God knows how those interactions will be used.

I pray this recounting of our trip to Brazil will encourage you and be used of God in some way in your life to bless you and increase your love for missions particularly the work that God is doing through the missionaries of Baptist Faith Missions.

The young man, Gladson, we met on our flight to Cuiabá and were able to witness to.
A view of the church started by Missionary Richard Turner and that has been used to start other churches.
Just a few of our friends came to see us off from Cuiabá to return Stateside. These are folks that were saved years ago and are still serving the Lord.
One view of the attendees of the conference in Lupércio, São Paulo. It was a great event.
A view of the skyline of São Paulo City where Missionary Judson and family are serving. This place is immense. 

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VMP: Bobby D. Creiglow


Bobby and Betty Creiglow served in partnership with BFM from May 1960 to May 1993. Bobby also served as Stateside Field Representative for BFM from 1998-2003.

Here is Bobby’s missionary service testimony: “We began our missionary service in Faith Baptist Church, Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil. This was our home base from 1961-1973. There were five other Baptist Churches in villages scattered up and down the various rivers, and only two had pastors.  My service included visiting these churches on a regular basis holding evangelistic meetings, and many times conducting VBS. During the same time period, I was the founder of two new churches, along with another that was started, but not formally organized until some time after I left the area. I visited there several years later and preached to a thriving Church.

Here are some of the churches we either established or nurtured during our 33 years of missionary service:

STATE OF ACRE [Served among these churches already established before I arrived…]

  • Faith of Cruzeiro do Sul
  • Faith of Moura Piranga
  • Faith of Japaim
  • Faith of Barao
  • Faith of Parana dos Mouras
  • Faith of Campo de Santana

I established these two churches during my first term:

  • Faith of Humaita (1962)
  • Faith of Colonia de Japaim (1963)


In 1974, I moved from Acre to Cuiaba, Mato Grosso to build a building and a congregation for fellow BFM Missionary Richard Turner, while he was on his first furlough. When he returned from furlough in 1975, I turned a congregation of thirty members over to him. I continued working with him on the building that was finished one year later. He organized that congregation into the Boa Esperanca Baptist Church in 1978.

In late 1976 or early 1977 I moved just across the river from Cuiaba to the city of Varzea Grande, where after a reasonable search, I found there was no Baptist Church, in the city of 40,000 people, where I set up shop once again. A church building was built for the new church that was organized in October 1978. I served as pastor of the church until 1983, at which time the congregation numbered around 130, and was turned over to a Brazilian Pastor. Two boys, one three years old, and his brother, seven years old, that were in Betty’s first Sunday School class, were years later called to preach and organized a daughter-church from the one I had organized.


Upon an invitation buy a lady saved in the Boa Esperanca Baptist Church who had moved 130 miles miles away to a city called Diamantina, I agreed to start a church in an area on top of the mountain from the city. I started this work by building the church house before ever having a preaching service. In fact, the first service was the inauguration of the new building. One year later, the Novo Diamantina Baptist Church was organized with 20+ members.

I am now a member of New Life Baptist Church, Lexington KY, serving every way I can to assist our pastor, Steve Wainright, and our fellow members.”
UPDATE, 2023:
Bobby will be 97 years old on 25 July. He is under constant medical monitoring and treatments. As he recently told one of his converts from years ago in an email exchange, “I’m living every day now between the doctors and Heaven.” He has been housebound for the past year, too weak to be out and about except to be taken to his numerous doctors’ appointments. Also, after suffering a fall in his home late last year, he was hospitalized, and it was discovered that he was acutely anemic. He received the first of what would be several subsequent blood transfusions to replenish his body’s blood supply. He was referred to a hematologist and was subsequently diagnosed with failure of his bone marrow to replenish his red blood cells. After other treatments were tried to rebuild and maintain his blood counts, his hematologist prescribed him to receive an injection that acts as a ‘booster’ to his bone marrow and his blood’s ability to carry oxygen to his body. He receives these injections weekly.

He is greatly encouraged also by numerous contacts that have been re-established over the recent years with friends, former church associates, and converts in Brazil who have ‘re-discovered’ and re-connected with him through Facebook. Some of these converts and former associates in the churches he ministered in go back forty or more years ago. He is overjoyed to correspond with them again and hear them tell their stories of how they are continuing to serve the Lord largely to the credit of his ministry and influence on their lives. One of them in particular has gone from Brazil to Mozambique, Africa to serve the Lord there. It fills his heart and these later years of his life with much gladness. As he said during a recent visit, “God is so good!” Please continue to pray that God will strengthen and encourage him as he remains faithful to Christ to the end – that he will finish well.

Pray for him! Reach out to him through every means you can (call, write, e-mail), and let him know you still appreciate him and his service. He would love to hear from you personally, or from your Sunday School class, or your church leadership.

BOBBY D. CREIGLOW [Betty is with the Lord]
279 Mockingbird Ln | Lexington KY 40503
859-278-1932 / home phone
606-425-1424 / cell phone

When you designate your offerings for ‘Veteran Missionaries Pension’ or for ‘Founder’s Month Offering’ [they are the same], they will be applied toward the continuing and on-going financial honor and support of these faithful life-long servants of Christ.

Click here to give now or you can mail your offering to:
BFM, c/o George Sledd
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280

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