God is at Work—Even when the Devil Sticks His Nose in Our Plans

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.

July 17, 2017

Dear friends and family,

Most of the time all I have to say is how AWESOME is the God we serve—the same still applies for this month. However, it has been a month in which the devil stuck his nose into our plans. So, where do I start?

1st—BUS: We have a great bus and it is an awesome tool for our church to “reach-out” to our members and the community. You name it and we have had a problem with it. The problem with the brakes is solved. Then there was the problem with the suspension, springs and bushings (riding like a wagon). While fixing the springs, etc., we discovered that we need shocks. We are managing to pay this on our credit card. During all this we missed having the bus for another week but the Lord provides with our two cars and several trips to pick up the people. If anyone would like to contribute to the Bus Ministry, start with prayers and then let the Lord lead you in what He wants you to do.

2nd—School Project: Our plans were to go to a public school and do some painting and do a Bible School with our visitors from Central Baptist Church in Paris, Kentucky, and Pastor Steven heading the group. When we got there, there was a contractor that the city had hired to do some much-needed work. So, we pitched in and started to pressure wash the walls that we had planned to paint. But the contractor came and informed us that the cleaning and painting was in his contract so we put up the pressure washer. The principal of the school came to us and told us that the caretaker’s house in the back of the school property needed painting and asked if we would consider painting it. The devil tried to take away our pleasure in helping and God gave us another avenue to help. During this time, the others were having Bible School with the students. It was a great success and the children were able to hear God’s Word from someone other than us. The ways of God are AWESOME and we just have to be still and listen.

3rd—Member’s House: Central Baptist came prepared to put a roof on Martha’s front porch and there we encountered some minor problems with family trying to delay the project (her husband). We eventually overcame the problems and got the roof completed and in the end, we were able to get her husband to attend church. Pray for Jose as he needs salvation.

Our visit to the Indian tribe was our best ever. Another Bible School success!! While there I was summoned to the house of the Chief, and I did not know what to expect. It turned out that the Chief wanted to give me his testimony regarding his salvation. Absolutely wonderful, AWESOME, hearing a 116 year-old Indian Chief talking about his faith. This tribe believes in many gods but this Chief believes in the REAL GOD. Sometimes words are not enough to express or tell about how Lord and Savior is working in Brasil. Before we left, some of the tribe’s younger adults sang several songs for us. The Chief asked or told me that he needed a new guitar for the group. The guitar that they were using was held together with wire and string. He asked specifically for a guitar and the colors needed to be blue and yellow. How many guitars have you seen that are blue and yellow? Central Baptist Church has solved the problem when they returned to the States, one of the members bought a guitar and took it to a body shop and had it painted! You guessed it—Blue and Yellow. How AWESOME is the God we serve. This week we will receive another group from Durbin Baptist Church and they will bring the guitar. We will be able to present the guitar to the tribe and the Chief. We will send pictures.

We were also able to work at the Church building one day with some needed carpentry work. Sometimes I stand amazed at how things get done, people get used, and the Lord gets glorified. AMEN!!!

Come see what God is doing with your missionary dollars.

In His service,
Aj and Barbara

Aj and Barbara Hensley
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Stymied Approaches to Ministry


The Tate Family has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is indigenous church planting.

February 28, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I guess it’s time for me to step back again and reevaluate what we’ve been doing in this ministry…and where the ministry is going.

We want to see people who don’t know Jesus being saved. We also want to see New Testament churches of the Lord Jesus Christ being established and growing. I feel that in these endeavors I have been stymied and blockaded by insurmountable challenges.

The first three years in Kenya: During these three years, we took a “traditional” approach.  A quick summary of the traditional approach includes paying pastors a salary, funding all ministries, building new church buildings, etc.  It basically means that the missionary is paying for, and funding everything the church/ministry is doing. What stymied us in this approach? In a word, DEPENDENCY. You’ve heard me talk about it a hundred times. It builds dependency into the churches and this dependency paralyzes the churches from doing the work of the ministry themselves. It kills the growth and reproduction of the church from the very beginning. “Dependency” has almost become a curse word to me.

The next three years in Kenya: During these three years, I reacted to the problem of dependency and tried to change accordingly. To accomplish this, we really changed our approach to ministry dramatically. I decided to model for the Kenyan Christians only what they could reproduce on their own. We started groups and churches that met in people’s homes. We worked with “lay” pastors that ministered without pay. We worshiped without instruments. In short, I only did what the Kenyan Christians could do without western support and money. What stymied us in this approach? Something similar to dependency, but slightly different. I would summarize it in one word: EXPECTATIONS. Yes, it seems expectations would kill the groups and churches every time. Each time we would start a group we would have many people coming initially. They said they loved the simple and pure Bible teaching and they were learning a lot. They said they loved the simplicity of the worship and meetings as opposed to the “machine” of the local churches. But they always came with expectations. Expectations that we would give them money, gifts, food, school fees, business start-up money, etc. As soon as they realized these expectations would not be met, they were gone. “Expectations” is the next ministry curse word to me.

The last three years: During these years, I changed my approach once again. I wanted to avoid the dependency and expectations. I decided to teach and disciple men to go out into the villages and start the churches on their own. In this way, my presence would not adversely affect the new church start-ups. What stymied us in this approach? I can’t summarize it in one word but in effect I could not find men interested enough in starting churches from scratch in people’s homes. It was not lucrative enough for them. Church work and ministry here is a business and if the business isn’t providing enough profit then it should be scrapped. I guess I could say in two words that my approach was BAD BUSINESS.

My parents are arriving in Kenya in two weeks. I think their arrival in the country is timely. I am looking forward to sitting down with them and with my wife and getting their input and wisdom. My wife and my mother and father are godly and wise people whose input and help I desire and want. I am hoping that the discussions I might have with them over the next month will be used by God to help direct our future ministry here in Kenya.

Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Amy, Josiah & Chloe)

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