Missionary Update: Mike & Beverly Creiglow in Brazil [November 2015]

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.

November 9, 2015

Dear Brethren,

There is a little bit of everything to send your way this month. There is plenty of good news and a little of the other kind, too.

The ladies had their big retreat with about 150 women and several saved. We also had a couple’s retreat with over 30 couples. This was more of a teaching retreat than evangelism. There were a few lost couples present though who heard the gospel.

I missed one of this month’s mission trips due to an overload of work here in town and at camp. Zico and Nelson made the trip to visit our works on the Moa River. Nelson is one of our military guys who served as pastor in a church in Rio de Janeiro. We always have a few of these families who are with us for a couple of years and then gone off to some other town. Most of these come here for a 2 year tour. They can extend their time by a year and sometimes more. Once they see the church, they all put in for the extension and would stay on if their career would let them. This was Nelson’s first mission trip. He came back charged up. Almost all of these military families had heard about the church and the mission work here through the internet. We have been privileged to receive and train many over the years. We miss them when they are gone, but proud of the training and service they take to other places all over Brazil.

Pastor Dauro (Mike's son-in-law) baptizing at First Baptist Church of Cruzeiro do Sul.

Pastor Dauro (Mike’s son-in-law) baptizing at First Baptist Church of Cruzeiro do Sul.

Three more ripe mangoes just came crashing down on the roof above my office. My yard is a mango lover’s paradise. There are tons of them on the trees and the ground. Although I try to keep the limbs trimmed back I still have a bunch of tiles to replace every year. Like the trees, but have come to pretty much hate the fruit. You probably really didn’t need that piece of news, but it is part of our life here in the rainforest.

The rainy season has started with heavy rains. It rained a lot yesterday, but we still had really big crowds in all services. There were 28 more baptized in the morning and 2 more saved at night. It has been like that all month long: a few saved and great crowds with many visitors.

We have been working at the camp property and new church property for several weeks now. We have had a lot of cleanup and fencing on both locations. The dry season is almost behind us and there were some urgent jobs to be done while the weather is still fairly dry.

Damage to Bro. Creiglow's jeep. The  right rear rim was completely split in two.

Damage to Bro. Creiglow’s jeep. The right rear rim was completely split in two.

One afternoon a few weeks ago I had just started down the highway when a pickup came flying over a hill and rear ended my jeep. No telling how fast he was going. He left over 100 feet of skid marks and his speedometer froze at 50 mph, so he was really moving when he piled on the brakes. He spun me around 180o into the grass on the other side of the road. He was carrying patients to the hospital in Cruzeiro do Sul. Fortunately, no one was injured seriously. His truck was pretty much totaled. The rear body and suspension on my jeep were destroyed. I have been without a work vehicle for 3 weeks now. Parts are coming from all over Brazil including the factory in Fortaleza on the east coast. Since my Troller T4 is built 100% in Brazil from parts all manufactured here it will cost less than half what any other vehicle would cost to repair. It still will set me back at least $2,000.00 just for parts.

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

In Christ,
Mike Creiglow

Mike and Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil 69980
mdcreig [at] hotmail.com

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Missionary Update: The Creiglows in Brazil [April 2013]

Mike and Beverly Creiglow have served the Lord in Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil together for 40 years. 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.

Dear Brethren,

Hudson and I made two major trips this past month. The first was up the Moa River. Even though the rivers are up this time of year, I decided to take a smaller boat and motor. The Moa can be out of its banks at the mouth, but be shallow up in the mountains. We ended up having pretty good water for the whole trip, but the 20HP outboard saved us on gas. We visited the congregations at the mountains and the congregation at the Nukini reservation.

The congregation at the mountains is actually in a national park. It was “created” in Brasília way back in 1989. It just exists on paper. Nevertheless the government has been pressuring the people who live there to get out. When I first preached the Gospel there in 1967, the state had a policeman stationed there. That family stayed there until last month. The last of the boys moved out the day I arrived for this visit. We still have about 40 believers there, but the group and population is shrinking. There is a humorous side to this tale. The Assembly of God has been jealous of our work there (as everywhere) and now they have announced that they are going to put up a building and start a work there! What vision these folks have! We won’t pull out until the last believers and settlers leave, but the handwriting is on the wall.

The congregation at the Nukini reservation is doing great. The population is more stable there. Our worker there is Aldenísio. He is in his 20’s, still single, but very dedicated young man. He just did house-to-house evangelism on the whole stretch of river from the reservation to the mountains. He also made a trip preaching house-to-house on the Zumira River. This is more of a creek than a river and not many folks live there, but they have all heard the gospel multiple times.

My last trip was along the Transamazon highway (highway = joke) to the city of Manoel Urbano. This town of 10,000 people is on the banks of the Purús River just about 3 miles downstream from the road. We have a team from our church that takes the Gospel and all kinds of activities to cities across our state and the state of Amazonas. Our team was 74 people strong. Besides the dozens of activities open to the public, the message of Christ was shared door to door in every house in the town.

Besides the souls that were saved, the most exciting thing about this trip was that all of the doctors, dentists and nurses were saved in our church. This was the first time that we did not have to fly a doctor or dentist from other cities of Brazil for this clinic. We had 2 doctors, 2 dentists and 3 nurses. One of the doctors and one of the dentists were born to church members and were later saved and actually grew up in First Baptist. We even have one more doctor in our church that was not able to make the trip. This has been in my prayers since we started these medical mission trips in 1996. When I stop and think about it, the answer to this prayer has been pretty swift.

Here is something most of you don’t know. When I was a teenager I had some very nasty health issues. I had some pretty close scrapes with death. At 15 I decided to become a doctor. Back then there were times that there weren’t any doctors at all in Cruzeiro do Sul. The Lord changed that plan when He called me to be his missionary. I was 17. Two things that I always wanted to do, be a doctor and work with the Indian tribes, are now a reality…through the others that He has called. I get to be there and see it all unfold, His way.

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

In Christ,
Mike and Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil 69980
mdcreig [at] hotmail.com

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Missionary Update: Harold Bratcher in Brazil [December 2012]

Harold Bratcher has served the Lord in the Amazon Valley since July 15, 1959. His dear wife Marie, faithfully served with him for 52 years until her death in February 2011. The Bratchers organized over 20 Baptist churches and many other missions in Brazil, and he currently serves at the 24th of March Baptist Church in Manaus.

Dear Brothers of the Blessed Lord and Sisters of the Savior:

Once again we greet you from the Amazon Valley of Brazil, South America. The 1 million 832 thousand and 423 residents of Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas are enjoying the pleasant weather of not-quite-so-hot, due to the frequent rains. The rainy season is in full force, with windstorms, flooding, blackouts, and even whole roofs being blown away.

During these last two months, each Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday evening, and some Saturdays, I have left my house and home and gone by the taxi of one of our members, Bro. Raimundo, or the car of Bro. Mario Jorge, to the 24th of March Baptist Church, where I either preached or heard a sermon by another preacher. My assistant pastor, Bro. Williams Mendes, was ordained to the gospel ministry on Saturday, November 10th. After the ordination sermon on: “The True Man of God”, I led the ordination prayer and over 20 pastors participated with an overflow crowd. Also, two Saturdays before, I attended in the wedding ceremony of dear Bro. Raimundo and Maria de Nazare Braz. It was a joy to witness this event after 25 years of living together. It was also Bro. Raimundo’s birthday. Continue to pray for them and for us.

This Mission Sheets month began October 5th and finishes today. During this period I preached 12 sermons, all at the 24th of March Baptist Church where I serve as pastor.

During this period I heard a total of 4 sermons preached at 3 different places. One was at the Second Baptist Church of Manaus where the pastors of the Amazonas chapter of the Brazilian Baptist pastors were offering a service of honor and celebration for my 53 and a half years of ministry here in the Amazon Valley. Pastor Norton Riker Lajes of the First Baptist Church of Manaus brought a most appropriate and inspiring message. Then we enjoyed the fellowship afterwards. The other 2 were at the Communion Baptist Church on November 17th, and 18th. On those nights, we were celebrating the ordination to the gospel ministry of Bro. Arao Alves Damasceno dos Santos. On Saturday night, I led the ordination prayer and over 30 pastors participated with many standing. On Sunday night, Bro. Arao was installed as pastor of the Communion Baptist Church in Manaus. Also, I was able to pray at Marie’s and Joel’s grave, on November 2nd, the “Day of the Dead” here in Brasil and hear Bro. Aurindo Folha preach at the grave site of E.A. Nelson, the Apostle of the Amazonia.

I conclude this letter asking that you pray for our future plans. At this time, we are seeking to purchase a house and car in the States. Our home of 47 years has sold, but I haven’t received the money yet due to many complications transacting the legal documents here. We appreciate the help of Bro. Paul Hatcher and Dave Parks in this matter and hope everything will be concluded by next week.

May we all continue to heed the pleas of Pastor Dave Parks for more offerings for the Baptist Faith Missions General Fund. I am thankful that during the remainder of this year of 2012 so far, he has not had to reduce the benefits and salaries that the missionaries of Baptist Faith Missions receive, and also for the good news of the raise, given and received by faith!

The Bratchers in Brasil need the prayers of those we love, as well as those that love us. I am doing well, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am looking to conclude my mission here, and continue it in my new Nineveh, as He sees fit. To God and Him only, be the Glory, for what He has done, is doing, and will still do through His humble servants.

Until next month, I am yours in the Service of the Savior,

Harold Bratcher
Rua Francisco Jose Furtado No. 2
Bairro de Sao Francisco
69.079-200 Manaus, Amazonas
Brasil, S.A.
harold_bratcher[at]yahoo.com

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History of BFM by H.H. Overbey (circa 1950)

H. H. Overbey wrote this undated article or letter apparently in response to an inquirer asking about Baptist Faith Missions. 

We are dating it ‘circa 1950’ because in the text of the letter, he states with reference to Brother R. P. Hallum: ‘In 1946 he made application to this mission and was accepted and went back to Peru in 1947.’  Then, referring back to the work in Brazil, he further states: ‘Just a few months ago, Brother Lawrence Smith, his wife, and baby went to Brazil as missionaries.’  

He also explains in this same letter how the missionaries’ newsletters came to be called ‘The Mission Sheets’.

This text is excerpted from the fuller original letter because in it he was also describing some of the logistics employed at that earlier time (for example, correspondence between the fields and the States and how the missionaries received their support funds, etc.) which have since been updated and streamlined – but our founding convictions, distinctives, and principles all remain the same.

We believe you will find it to be still very interesting “INFORMATION ABOUT BAPTIST FAITH MISSIONS”.

INFORMATION ABOUT BAPTIST FAITH MISSIONS
by Bro. H.H. Overbey (circa 1950)

How did this mission begin?
In 1923, J.F. Brandon went to Brazil with his family as a missionary under the Amazon Valley Baptist Faith Missions, which was started by Brother H.B. Taylor, who died about 1932.

After about 5 years on the field, Brother Brandon returned to the U.S. on furlough. He resigned from the AVBFM and went back to Brazil being supported full time by the First Baptist Church—Paducah, Kentucky—of whom the late Brother D.B. Clapp was pastor.

After four years Brother Brandon again returned on furlough and the First Baptist Church had split and part of the membership had organized another church, so the First Baptist Church gave up the support of Brother Brandon.

The Benton Baptist Church—Benton, Kentucky—of which Brother Dewey Jones was pastor sent Brother Brandon back assuming his support. Other churches joined in with the Benton Church and helped in the support. Brother Jones began to want the church to give up the work and to support the Co-operative Program instead, and in 1941 got the Benton church to vote to do so. This left Brother Brandon without support.

The writer lived in Wheaton, Illinois at that time and wrote to Brother Brandon to come visit in his home and discuss the work. Brother Brandon came and stayed for about two weeks and we discussed the work every night after I would get home from work.

Finally I told Brother Brandon that if he would write a letter to me about the work, I would mimeograph the letter and mail it out to those interested and since he was going on faith we would also go on faith on this end of the line and try to get churches and individuals to support him.

Brother Brandon and I came to Detroit and discussed the matter with Brother Z.E. Clark who was then pastor of Harmony Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. Brother Clark agreed to act as treasurer, I agreed to act as secretary and editor of the paper, and Brother Brandon went back to Brazil in 1942 on faith, believing that the Lord would supply.

In 1942 we sent out the first mimeographed letter, one sheet printed on one side to about 30 people. The next month we sent out more and the next a few more. The mimeographed sheet grew to be two sheets printed on both sides which made four pages. Someone referred to the mimeographed letters as the MISSION SHEETS, and that is how the paper got its name.  Finally we began to print the paper and then we enlarged the size of it as it is today.

What has J.F. Brandon accomplished in Brazil?
Brother Brandon has organized 11 Baptist churches in Brazil. He organized the first one in Cruzeiro do Sul in 1929, the second one in Japyni in 1951. Both of these are in the Acre Territory of Brazil. In 1932 he organized the third church at Coary and the fourth one in Esperanco, in 1934 he organized the fifth one in Codajaz. The sixth church was organized at Boa Fe in 1935. In 1935 he organized the church at Catua. These last five churches are all in the State of Amazonas and were taken away from Brother Brandon by the Convention in 1939. In 1943 he organized a church at Morapirango which was the eighth church, then in 1944 one at Parana and in 1946 one at Amonho for the ninth and tenth ones. These last three are in the Acre Territory, the same as the first two organized. Then on July 4, 1948, he organized the eleventh and last church at Manaus which is the capitol of the State of Amazonas.

In addition to these churches Brother Brandon had as many as thirty preaching points where he visited on journeys to take the gospel.

In 1949 Brother Brandon came back to the States with leprosy and is now a patient in the U.S. Marine Hospital in Carville, Louisiana, which is a hospital for lepers. This mission supports him and his wife and two youngest daughters, who are at home in school with their mother in Benton, Kentucky.

What about the work in Peru?
In 1935 Brother R.P. Hallum, his wife, and 15 year-old daughter went to Peru under the Amazon Valley Baptist Faith Mission, the same as Brother Brandon did in 1925. Brother Taylor had died and there were several thousand dollars left in the treasury.

Brother Hallum worked in Peru and organized the First Baptist Church in Iquitos, Peru and opened several preaching points on the nearby rivers that empty into the Amazon River.

No one took over when Brother Taylor died and Brother Hallum continued his work under the AVBFM until the funds that were left in the treasury ran out. In 1946 he made application to this mission and was accepted and went back to Peru in 1947.

He opened up a preaching point on his way back in Buenaventura, Colombia, and left it in charge of a native Baptist Colombian preacher. Since then, a church has been organized in that place also. There is also a native Peruvian preacher who is a missionary who works with Brother Hallum in Iquitos.

So as of today, we have works in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, which was started as explained above. Just a few months ago, Brother Lawrence Smith, his wife, and baby went to Brazil as missionaries and he is doing well with the language and is now ready to make a visit to the churches in the Acre territory and see how the work is coming along and to encourage the saints who have been alone since Brother Brandon left. 

How are the new missionaries sent out?
They go out under the authority of the church of which they are a member. They apply to this mission and the directors of the mission. These brethren question the new missionaries and if they find them to be sound, etc., they are accepted and then they are sent out on faith with the understanding that they will be supported as the Lord provides.

How is the Mission financed?
By freewill offerings from the churches and individuals who the Lord leads to give. No one is asked to give, no one is obligated to give, and those who give can quit giving if they want to without any interference from anyone.

How do those who support the churches know what the missionaries are doing?
They read letters which are directly from the missionaries in the monthly paper telling about the work from month to month and what is being accomplished, etc. This way every supporter gets a monthly letter from all the missionaries.

How can one support the work?
All a church or individual has to do to support the work is to send their offerings to the Treasurer… The mission work is as much theirs as it is ours or anyone else’s. There is nothing to join or unjoin and no one is obligated. It is a Baptist Faith Mission work.

Isn’t it possible for a church to send out and support their own missionary without having to have a mission such as Baptist Faith Missions?
Yes. But how would they do it? Or how many would do it? That would be the ideal way if the church was large enough to support their own missionary themselves. However, sometimes when a church changes pastors, the new pastor may now want to support missions that way and lead the church to do otherwise and then the missionary is without support.

Also there is so much red tape to sending out a missionary and keeping up with the work that it is more than a church can or will do…although we believe it to be sound and right.

[Download a BFM History by HH Overbey.]


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