Ministering to the Guarani Indians

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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.

November 20, 2021

Dear friends and family,

Since our trip to Brazil last month was a very long one, I thought I would just continue my relating about that trip. As I told you before, we met with many pastors and encouraged them and the other students, but I did not tell you how they were an encouragement to us as we traveled around. The stories that I heard this trip was one of how so many were thankful for the seminary and the training that they have received, and also how they are anticipating the next classes. You can only imagine how this has blessed our hearts to know that we are following God’s will in the continuation of this Seminary.

When we had finished the meetings with the Pastors about the new schedules, we had some extra time, so we went to visit our Pastor friend Valdival and his wife Rosa. They are the Missionaries to the Guarani Indians located near the city or Paraty, just over the state line of São Paulo into Rio de Janairo about 3 hours from Caraguatatuba (the city of our last church plant). We helped minister to this tribe with our Church in Caraguatatuba.

They are a group of Indians who have been placed on a reservation and are very much in need of all the basics: food, clothing, and other life necessities. They live in mud huts or other pieced-together houses (houses that they have gathered bits and pieces from everywhere). The mud houses are made of bamboo and mud and the process takes many different layers with time between the applications. The floors are just dirt, and many are just one room. Electric is furnished by the Government but there is no heat nor air nor running water. Many of the older Indians speak only their native language, but the younger ones also speak Portuguese.

While in our last church there in Caraguatatuba we visited this tribe with our church people and groups from the States, taking them some of those basic needs that I was talking about, and bringing the gospel to them also. We were encouraged to know that 7 of the tribe accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Here is where Barbara and I need some extra help. We want to purchase Bibles in their native language. We were able to do this a few years back, but there are none of these Bibles left. The wife of one of the women of the tribe said that she was the proud owner of three of these Bibles, but when someone from the tribe sees them, they have begged her to give them one. Needless to say, she has not refused to give two of her stash, but she says that she hides her last one now so she does not feel guilty for not giving it to those who ask. Because these Bibles have to be translated into their language and be special ordered they are expensive. Pray with us to be able to get these Bibles into the Caragua Baptist Church and then into the hands of the Guarani Indians.

After the holidays, we would like to start a fund to purchase Bibles for this tribe. If you or your church would like to help with this purchase, please donate to the Indian Bible fund. We thank you in advance for your help.

As always, we covet your prayers for us in general and for our health and safety as we minister and travel. Miracles happen because of prayers. Also pray for BFM and all who are involved everyone who contributes and all our missionaries. Remembering Philippians 4:6 says pray about everything.

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

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 Visit to Caraguatatuba

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.

July 22, 2021

Dear friends and family,

It has been totally AWESOME to have been in Brazil and then good to have come back to the States. Brazil is about where the United States was about 9 months ago with the COVID virus. Our travel was restricted, but while there, we found the enforcement was loosely applied.

The Church services were observing social distancing and using masks. It was a pleasure to get to preach in all services and to also visit other Churches to tell about the Seminary. Also was able to preach in those other Churches (while using no mask).

The COVID in Brasil is limiting the in-person classes and it is also limiting the classes financially as the Pastors are unable to work their second job and that limits their income.

AJ with the widow who helped them start the last church plant

While we were in Caraguatatuba, we were able to visit the widow that helped us as we began the last Church plant. It was on the very porch that this picture was taken that we had the first services. We remained there until we were able to rent a building. We were also able to talk with some more people that are interested in the Seminary classes. We are looking at holding these classes in the Hotel where we have held Pastors conferences in years past. The owner of the Hotel has always worked with us when we have asked for his help. He has also attended our classes in years past.

We have not let this COVID stop us from teaching the classes. We have used the same methods that many pastors here in the States have used: the internet. We have had 4 zoom classes but the pastors are chomping at the bit to get back to the face-to-face classes. Pray for the upcoming classes and the people who will be impacted by these classes. In everything we do, we see the AWESOME hand of God.

Thank you in advance for your continued prayers for the Pastors and others that will be continuing their learning about our Savior and how to spread the GOOD news about our returning Savior.

Continue praying for our granddaughters Chelsea and Ashley as they are going through some serious health problems. Also pray for their parents as they search for the right doctors to treat them.

Thank you for your continued support for us in prayer and financially. Thank you to Baptist Faith Missions for believing in us and for always giving us the added backing to continue the good fight.

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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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
ajcaragua@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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Prepared in Advance for What God Would Have Her Do

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

This month we missionary wives have been asked to write the letters for the mission sheets, so here I go with the many memories.

This year we will be completing 22 years in Brasil. It seems as though it was just yesterday that AJ started his campaign to convince me to go with him to be missionaries to Brasil. As many of you all have heard, in the beginning I was hard to convince, but God is faithful, and He worked on my heart. So, when AJ told me that he was going before the Church on Sunday night to tell the Church he was surrendering to be a missionary, God put these words in my mouth, “I am ready”.

I have not regretted—not once—that response. Our first place of service was in Garça, Brasil, with Odali and Kathy Barros. I helped Kathy with the children and AJ worked with Odali. There I used all the various skills that I had learned in Owsley County, Kentucky, as the daughter of Pastor H. W. Baker, who was a mission pastor. We stayed in Garça for 6 years being parents to up to 21 boys. There are many stories that could be told of those years. Needless to say, we have many children who call us Mom and Dad there in Brasil. We share that honor with their biological parents and with Odali and Kathy. Of all the boys that went through our care, some have their own businesses, some are lawyers, others are in the business world, and another is finishing his studies to become a veterinarian.

Me and some of the girls with the pillowcase dresses that the American ladies made.

Have you ever washed clothes on a wash board? I did as a teenager and again in Garça. Have you ever had to heat your water on a stove or in a big tub outside? I did as a teenager and again in Garça. Have you ever had to walk to Church? I did as a child and again in Garça. As I said before, God prepared me early for what He would be having me do later. In the words of AJ, “God is AWESOME!”

This is me with children at Jacareí.

After Garça, we moved to Jacarei, Sao Paulo, where we had plans to open another orphanage. As we worked through the paperwork, we started a mission church and there I continued to work with children. We had several families in the neighborhood who did not have transportation to get to a Church. They also had children, so I worked with them on Saturday and Sunday in Bible schools and Sunday schools. But after two years we realized that we were not going to be able to get the approval from the mayor for the orphanage, so AJ began to pray for a sign to stay or move on.

Maybe you have heard this story, but God answered these prayers with a sequester. You see, we were living on a farm way out in the country and were a target for theft. This gave AJ his answer, so we moved to Caraguatatuba. There we worked with Pastors in two churches and then we opened a new work there.

This is Matheus the young man who influenced our location for Caragua Baptist Church.

My service for the Lord continued to be with children. With the help of one of the boys from the orphanage in Garça who came to help us in Caraguatuba, we had Saturday Bible school in the homes of various members.

As we began to look for a place to open a new work, one of the children from these Saturday Bible schools, who started as a babe in arms in these Bible schools, stopped us on the streets. He stopped us on the street and said, “Mrs. Barb, when are you coming back to our neighborhood to teach us?”  So, guess what that sealed our decision as to where to start our new church.

Caragua Baptist Church came to life in this young man’s neighborhood. There again my job was with children. God sent many, many children to our location and we love them all.

So my time in Brasil has been an adventure where I have sat up all night rocking a sick boy, planned a wedding for one of the boys in our care, taken in people who are down on their luck, women who have been abandoned by their husbands and grandmothers whose homes are being flooded, and counseled women in their day-to-day problems…to name a few of the things that God has let me do.

I just want to say, “Thank You, God,” for working in my heart to make me willing to go on this adventure with AJ Hensley. We serve an AWESOME God. Thank you for all these memories and we look forward to many more.

In His Service,
Barbara Hensley

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Like them on Facebook.

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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Goal of Caraguatatuba Baptist Seminary

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

December 15, 2018

Dear friends and family,

In this letter I want to talk you about Caraguatatuba Baptist Seminary. I have told you some of the results and some of our plans but never about the seminary itself. Our purpose is to take basic evangelical seminary to underserved pastors and Church elders in Brasil.

Our goal is to provide these saints with solid understanding of God’s truth in scripture and equip them to effectively evangelize, disciple, and build God’s kingdom in Brasil.

Our object is through the generosity and love of many Churches here in the States who allow their Pastors time off and help them financially to come and teach these pastors here in Brasil.

And because of all this the seminary has had an AWESOME year. I would like to take time right here to thank all our professors who graciously give of their time and energy to teach these classes. These professors are: Pr. Derek Coleman, Pr. Steven Scherer, Pr. Chris Dortch, Pr. Greg Waltermire, Pr. Raymond Edge and Pr. Russell Zik. Along with the professors, we have helpers in the regions where we teach and the translators and the interpreters.

The seminary offers a four-course certificate in Pastoral Ministries and a twelve-course Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministries.

HISTORY: We have conducted courses in five cities—in those, we have had 257 students total. There have been 82 Churches represented with a total of 9,149 members in those Churches. They have been from 5 states from the Amazon to São Paulo. There have been a total of 23 classes conducted encompassing 8 courses. The classes were Systematic Theology, Survey of the New Testament, Survey of the Old Testament, Pastoral ministries, Theology of Discipleship, Old Testament Elective (Dead Sea Scrolls), New Testament Elective (Fundamentals of New Testament Soteriology).

Two cities have graduated students with a four-course Pastoral Ministries. Another city will finalize a four-course series in the summer of 2019! Two more cities have ongoing courses leading to a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministries. We currently have 57 students enrolled in the Masters program.

A big THANKS to all who help in the United States and in Brasil. Thanks to prayer partners and BFM—without your AWESOME help and assistance, this would not be possible. Our plans for the coming year will be presented in the upcoming letter. We have a big prayer request: we need more Professors with Ph.D./doctoral degrees. Pray with us about this, and if you qualify, and are willing to donate your time and talent, let us know.

Barbara and I would like to take this time to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a God-filled New Year.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Like them on Facebook.

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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Blessed by Group of Men from Durbin Memorial

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

August 15, 2017

Friends and family,

I would like to write one letter without having to say that something has gone wrong with one of our vehicles but this month is not going to be that month. This time it is Barb’s car—it is the wheel bearings and it is running hot and leaking oil. The tropical climate could have something to do with the hot problem and the speed bumps are the culprit for the leak. Long story short, we will fix the cooling system, replace the wheel bearings, and repair the leak…just another month (old cars are old cars).

This month we have had a group from Durbin Memorial Baptist Church with Pastor Russell Zik. What a blessing these men were for us. The Indian ministry was greatly blessed by this group. They purchased food baskets for the reservation. This time, instead of putting the food in baskets, we just divided the food into stacks. This way thirty families could receive the same thing.

These Indians do crafts so sustain themselves, so they depend upon visitors to purchase their items. We did not disappoint them, everyone made purchases. This tribe, although they live near other people, they live very primitive. Some live in just simple bamboo huts, one room, with an open pit for cooking in the middle of the room. We were able to visit in two of these homes. Taking the food gave us entrance to the homes where we prayed with these families and personally gave them their food. This is quite an eye-opening experience. This always leaves everyone remembering just how truly blessed we are. This tribe serves many different gods—but over the past five years we have seen seven of them come to know the one and only true God as their personal Savior. AWESOME!!!! The chief is one of those who now knows Christ as his Savior.

Talking about the Chief, he had requested that we bring him a guitar and he specified the colors to be BLUE and YELLOW. With the help from the group from Central Baptist Church in Paris, they were able to get the guitar to this group and we took it to him. He was totally surprised when we presented this guitar to him. Now here is an amazing fact about this Chief: he is 116 years old. He is now moving around slowly and this time he had to sit in a chair while we were presenting the guitar to him, but he is still active in the tribe. He and the others around him loved the guitar. They were excited to receive the guitar as the one they had had only few strings and it could not be tuned for them to make presentations in the city.

This group was an all men group. I especially had a great time as three of this group were firemen and we had worked together for the Lexington Fire Department. We spent many late nights talking about old times.

On Sunday, these men taught all the Sunday school classes except the small children. Then on Sunday night Pastor Zik brought the message. What a blessing!

These men came to work and work they did. They finished laying the floor tiles in the upstairs and it is beautiful. They were able to do some painting also to finish some projects that we had not been able to get to. The church building is really coming alive. How AWESOME is the God we serve!

Thanks Durbin Memorial Baptist Church and especially Pastor Zik, his father Bob Zik, Ron Logan, Charlie Davis and Bob Hendriks.

As always if you are thinking about a mission trip give us a call and come on down.

You will never know just how much Barbara and I appreciate your prayers and financial support. Without you and BFM, we could not do the things that we do here in Caraguatatuba, Brazil.

In His service,
Aj and Barb

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Click here to give. | Like them on Facebook.


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Praying for Sunday School Teachers & Helpers; Planning for Seminary

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

April 12, 2017

Dear friends and family,

What an AWESOME God we serve. As we left the States I completed my last shot (I thought); however, when I received that “last shot” my doctor said, “SORRY, but I would like you to have TWO more shots.” Oh well, life has turned around. I am so thankful for all the prayers for me during these cancer treatments. I would also like to exalt my God for the GOOD reports from the doctor. So, these TWO more shots will be on August 3, 2017, and the LAST one on February 3, 2018. God is AWESOME!!! So, thanks one more time for all the prayers that have been sent on my behalf. With Him all things are possible.

The ministry here is going wonderfully. Pastor Walmir and Mary K. are working very hard and the Sunday School has doubled. Worship service is also growing. They have started a Children’s Church on Sunday nights and this is going good. One of the kids came for the first time last Sunday night and the first thing he asked was, “Is there children’s church tonight?”

We have been in planning mode for next year’s classes for the Seminary. Two classes have been planned and we are just waiting to have the dates confirmed for two more. Here we need lots of prayers because this is an AWESOME way for us to reach Brasil. Training new Pastors and helping old ones to be more grounded in the Baptist doctrine.

Along with the ministry there is lots of maintenance and construction going on. The work on our new building is going very good, but as always there is more work to be done. We can always use more help in this. Are you thinking about a mission trip? Put us on your list of places to go. We are praying for more financial aid for the completion of the building. Maybe you or someone you know would like to be a part of this.

We started a training program for us to have more Sunday School teachers and helpers. This is one of the areas where we are lacking as some of our teachers have upwards to 40 students in their class and only one helper. So, we are in great need for more qualified teachers. God is great and He will supply our needs. Of this we are sure.

As usual car and bus maintenance are an everyday job. You can get one thing fixed and turn around and there are two more to fix. The urgent need for the bus at this time is new tires. We have noted since our return this time that everything has gone up–not only things for the vehicles, but food, Sunday School supplies, electric, water, and the list goes on and on. I would like to say thanks to Grasp International for help on the bus maintenance. Thanks Jason and family, you are greatly missed here in Brasil.

We would like to ask for special prayer for our granddaughters, they both have been having health issues. The doctors are not discovering what the problems are and, on top of that, they both have been suffering with a virus. The healthcare here is not like the States. If nothing else, I can tell you that “social medicine” is terrible. Treatment is minimal if at all—don’t let me get on my soap box about that. Just remember Chelsea and Ashley in your prayers please.

Like I say, come on down and see what your mission dollars are doing here in Caraguatatuba, Brasil. We will leave the light on and put some more water in the beans. As Barbara’s dad always said, we will treat you so many different ways, you will have to like one of them and come back.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara Hensley

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Click here to give. | Like them on Facebook.


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Heading Back to Brazil; Seminary Starting New Classes

The Hensleys have spent nearly 20 years serving in Brazil. They have established a church in Caraguatatuba and mission points throughout the city. They have also recently started a seminary to train pastors.

November 10, 2016

Friends and family,

Time has been a little slow this month as I have been in the “count down” to the last radiation treatment. I can now say “all done” with that radiation. God is so good. “AWESOME!!!!!” This word is better but still is not sufficient to describe our Lord and Savior! After it’s all over, it does not seem so bad. AWESOME is the God we serve!

I still have some more doctor stuff to do. We have to be back in February for doctor’s appointments and my last shot. Then we will return in August for my major exams and final check-up that will determine if all is well. For this I ask your continual prayers.

The work in Brazil is going well. Our reports from Pr. Walmir are very encouraging. They have been planning a missions conference there at Caragua Baptist. This will include a week end of preaching and then a promise faith offering. This will be given for the year to help national missionaries.

It is really humbling to me as I think about the members as they consider what they can contribute to the Lord’s work. And this is what it is all about. Pray…Give…Go…Send!

Lots of work still to be done on the Church—upstairs. This is where the kitchen and Sunday School rooms are located, although we also use the downstairs and a business across the street for class space. This is a good problem to have. We have just finished the sanctuary and we still need more space.

Ministry here is a pleasure, helping our members with personal needs, i.e., food, clothing, and other basics—it is a challenge!

So here is where I want to thank everyone for all the help: prayerfully, financially, materially. We cannot do this without YOU! So, a big THANKS to all.

We are looking forward to the return trip since we have been gone for a little more than 3 months. We are especially anxious to see our 2 Brazilian grandchildren.

Our Seminary will have another class in January and March. We will be having our first graduation in the fall. How AWESOME is our God. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has come along side with us and now we are able to give a Pastoral degree (an official diploma with accreditation). In this seminary, Caragua Baptist Seminary, our goal is to provide saints in Brazil with a solid understanding of God’s truth in the scripture, equipping them to effectively evangelize, disciple, and build God’s Kingdom through the local truth.

We have had a total of 154 students enrolled: 34 pastors and 120 church leaders exposed to God’s truth. The seminary impacted 58 churches with approximately 6,104 members located in in 19 cities in 3 Brazilian locations. What is the word? AWESOME!!!!

We have some partners in Brazil that provide direct support and benefits to the Seminary and our students:

  • VIDA NOVA: a Brazilian publisher that provides the seminary a 50% discount on textbooks that is passed to our students.
  • CENTRO DE STUDIOS THELOGICOSDO VALE DO PARAIBA: A Brazilian Seminary that recognizes Caragua Baptist Seminary and accepts our courses for credit in their Bachelor of Theology program.
  • FIEL MINISTRIES: Provides ministry resources throughout the world. Our students have access to their online educational information and their e-books.

Our plans are to open more Seminary sites this coming year, to continue our work with the rehabilitation sites, and we will be looking for other ministry starts.

Please continue to pray for our ministries, travel and health. And come on down to see what God is doing here in Caraguatatuba.

In His service,
Aj and Barb

Aj and Barbara Hensley
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com
Click here to give. | Like them on Facebook.


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