Coronavirus Update from Kenya

Nathan and Carrie Radford serve the Lord in Kitale, Kenya. Their main ministries include indigenous church planting, a prison ministry, and a hospital ministry for mothers with premature babies.

August 5, 2020

Dear praying friends,

It is hard to believe we are already in the month of August for 2020. Where has the time gone? Normally there would be so many summer activities, yet with coronavirus, so many things have been postponed or cancelled completely. I don’t think any of us have seen such an unstable time in years, if even in our lifetimes. God has been faithful through all the challenges and changes. This update will share current prayer requests as well as an update on the coronavirus in Kenya.

I (Nathan) need to give a little background on the decisions made on the coronavirus in the past few weeks. Last month, after a lockdown period of three months, the President of Kenya made the decision to reopen the country for a three week period, with the idea of assessment at the end of July to see what needed to be done, if anything. This was a welcome change, as we have been on lockdown since the month of March. So many things were different, with everyone wearing masks in town, having to sanitize all the time, getting your temperature taken, having limitations of passengers while traveling, etc. Nairobi, the capital city, was also on lockdown, and flights, both domestic and international, were cancelled. It was quite a challenging time, to say the least.

After the government decided to reopen the country, with fewer restrictions, the cases have increased dramatically. Some days there are nearly 700 cases just in a single day, and the total tally of cases as of the date of this letter is over 23,000 countrywide. Most of the cases are in Nairobi, as there are slum areas where people live so close together and it is difficult to social distance. Kitale has been spared the brunt of the cases, with just a few reported. We are so thankful for this, but we take nothing for granted, and are taking all necessary precautions, with keeping the family out of town as much as possible and away from crowded areas. We know you all are taking the same precautions in America.

The concern is that the cases will overwhelm the healthcare system and there will not be enough beds in the hospital wards to take care of the sick. This is a valid concern, especially in a third-world country with lower healthcare options in the best of times. Please pray for the doctors and the nurses as they are dealing with this new virus, and for the sick that need medical care.

Given all the current circumstances with the virus, we feel led to begin closing down for this term and begin planning for our upcoming furlough. We will have been here three years next month, so we feel our time has come. Please pray for us as we are in the process of closing down, as there is so much to do. Any missionary who is closing down for a term understands how overwhelming it can be and the need to make a large “to do” list to check things off. We are trusting God to keep us safe and in His care as we are in the process of closing down.

I will share more next month about some of the things the Lord taught us this term, and for the ministry progress that was made. I have been pleased and feel God has definitely led us this past three years. In regards to the global pandemic, may we take comfort in some verses from the Scriptures. I think of Psalm 57:1b, which says “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Also Psalm 119:114, which says “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy word.” May we trust God always, not just in times of a global pandemic. We will find that He is faithful each step of the way.

We appreciate each of you so much and will keep you updated.

Blessings,
Nathan and Carrie Radford

Contact Info:
Nathan and Carrie Radford
P.O. Box 4150
Kitale, Kenya
East Africa 30200
naterad@yahoo.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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God’s Providence in an Unexpected Delay

Bobby and Charlene Wacaser have served the Lord as church planters in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, since 1985.

August 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

Charlene and I got to experience a strange, but not-too-bad situation last month. We traveled to Florida to visit with our children and grandson for an eight-day stay. Well, that was the plan anyway. The COVID-19 surge caused our return flight to be delayed by over three weeks! We didn’t receive any messages from the airline about the cancelled flight, either, until we drove four hours to the departure gate at the airport. We had to return to our son’s house and wait the next 23 days with his family until an airline provided another flight. At first, we were concerned that we would cause ministry problems back in Brazil by our unexpected extended absence, but the Lord knew about this in advance, of course. It so happened that the city’s mayor decreed that churches couldn’t hold in-person services for several weeks and I was able to preach to my church via live Facebook programming.

We have returned to our work and we are thankful to the Lord that we have also been able to return to in-person services. Our members are thrilled to be back together again for fellowship and worship of the Lord as an assembled body of believers. 

There was also a surge in COVID cases in our city here in Brazil when we got back. In fact, we still have about 10 people who are sick with the virus. Most of those are from our traveling evangelistic team, Projeto Vida. A couple of them had to go to the ICU at the local hospital, but are showing signs of recuperation. We are extremely thankful to God for this.

We aren’t sure how much longer the public schools will be suspended, so we can’t plan to use that venue for our outreach, but we have been able to minister to some families in need who have suffered financial setbacks due to losing their jobs from the shutdown. We will continue to use the social media outlets that are available to us also, and we see a constant increase in our viewership.  

Charlene and I have both been well physically. The Lord is gracious and kind and has blessed us with protection. We hope we don’t contract the virus at all, of course, but we also know that God is greater than any sickness and is able to heal us even if we were to get it. 

We are so grateful to you who pray for us and make the sacrifice to contribute toward our ministries. We ask that the Lord would also bless you for your faithfulness and generosity. 

In Christ’s love,
Bobby and Charlene Wacaser

Contact Info:
Bobby & Charlene Wacaser
Rua Laudelino Ferreira Lopes, 279
Sobrado 1, Novo Mundo
81050-310 Curitiba, PR. Brasil
Phone: 55-41-99899-2333
bobbymichael_1@hotmail.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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The Wild, Wild West of Brazil

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.

July 22, 2020

Dear Brethren,

Four months and counting. Cruzeiro do Sul is still two months behind the rest of the world as far as the evolution of the virus is concerned. Last month the city and state went crazy doing all kinds of traffic stops requiring masks even inside your car. In one of these stops the city official opened the door to my jeep without my permission and the lady cop already had her hand on her gun and I was resisting or didn’t even have a chance to resist. MY MASK WAS ON! It has gotten really scary here in the wild, wild west of Brazil. The state has finally rushed to finish a new wing of the hospital. There are 100 new beds, including 10 new intensive care units and 20 more semi-intensive care complete with all new respirators and equipment. All beds in all medical facilities are full. They have quit publishing data. No test materials are available, so no new tests are being run. The death toll continues to rise. We are New York (of 2 months ago) times X factor of chaos.

 

Then 2 weeks ago they let all the stores reopen and churches to meet. Well that ought to work out really fine! I called for a special meeting with the pastors to discuss what we would be doing. We are not opening any time soon. Other churches started meeting, but with empty buildings. The people aren’t as stupid as the bigwigs think. The rules for reopening were draconian. The most troublesome was the presence of government monitors (spies) to check for compliance. In the past we have seen that the media do not show up to cover our mission programs, social programs, rehab programs or even our big Christmas or other events. I am sure that they would have been crashing the doors to check out our reopening. We don’t intend to give them or the state the satisfaction. We will come back when we feel that the Lord has led us to, in His time and in His way. The church is solid and doing well. We have actually seen an improvement in our giving. Our missionaries are being taken care of in a timely way and we are still able to do some minor work on our buildings.

 

We have authorized our small groups to meet and the band/praise groups to practice. Hundreds of our people have had the virus already. Supposedly many are already immune. We sadly did lose Brother José Nunes to this disease. We have many hospitalized.

 

Given the situation, most people don’t even go to try to find a doctor or the hospital. Most are just self-medicating based on what they see on TV and the internet. Those medications that are most highly recommended are not available here.

 

As for the Creiglows, we are trusting the Lord. We are being careful. We are still working though. In fact, I have been keeping my grandsons busy working for me. Just a couple of weeks ago, Alec (one of Andrew’s boys) got a full-time job. Andrew’s wife Eline is still employed. She works for GOL airlines, but since there are no flights she is at home with the little ones. Andrew continues to work. Crissy’s school is shut down for now. Dauro and I continue to work at camp. Actually, I have several construction projects going simultaneously. These are providing work for my grandsons and a couple of our church members. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep this up. Staying busy helps me out, too.

 

We have had quite a bit of really good family time and this, too, has been helpful.

 

Well sorry to bring such a gloomy report, but it is how things are right now. I sure hope things are better for all of you. We pray for you all the time and hope that you will remember us often in your prayers. Thank you again for praying for us and continuing to support us financially.

 

In Christ,

Mike Creiglow

Mike & Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil 69980
mdcreig@hotmail.com
Personal Site

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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Seeking a Place to Meet; Update on Josiah

The Tates have served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

July 20, 2020

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ,

As you read through my newsletter for this month you will probably say to yourself “haven’t I heard this before”? Well, even to me some of the things I will write about in this newsletter sound like a broken record – skip, skip, skip. I definitely feel like we have been through this newsletter before.

The reason for the broken record this month is because, once again, we are definitely looking for a new location to worship in for Upper Room Baptist Chapel. We started the Chapel in 2018, meeting in a room on the top floor (the “Upper Room”) of a building in town. In August 2019, while I was in the States taking Amy to college, we encountered problems with another church that had moved in across the hall and greatly disturbed our services with their amplifiers and speakers and loud music and screeching preaching. Not being able to resolve the problems with this other church we decided to move out.  In September of 2019 we moved into a house, sub-renting the place from a school that also met there. It was an excellent venue for the Chapel, and we all enjoyed meeting and worshiping there. The Chapel began to grow numerically and spiritually. Then, in March of 2020 the big boom hit – Covid19. The Kenyan government shut down everything as I mentioned in previous newsletters – schools, churches, government offices, etc. This shutdown ultimately caused the school from whom we were sub-renting to financially implode and subsequently go belly-up and shut its doors for good.The shutting down of the school left URBC in a quandary. Now we again needed a place to worship.  Because we liked the location so much, we considered taking over the entire rent of the premises and just using it entirely for the Chapel. We approached the landlady proposing the idea. It would cost us a lot more money, but it would cause the least disruption to the Chapel and since the Lord’s work is more important than money, we thought it was a deal worth pursuing. It turns out, however, that the owner of the building is a Somali lady. Now, I am not disparaging Somalis or putting them down at all, but the end result was not surprising. Somalia is 99% Muslim and the Somali owner is a Muslim. She was not mean about her decision and she was not discriminating against us because we are Christians but she felt like renting her place to a “Jesus church” was against her Muslim beliefs. She thought that her Somali community here in Kitale would persecute her if they found out she was renting her property to a church and decided not to rent it to us. That is her prerogative. But this did leave us in a familiar position – once again looking for a place to worship.

Since then I have been looking for a new place to worship but the available places are severely limited and expensive. I just looked at a place today that could meet our needs and be an OK place to meet but I feel like the property is overpriced.  I hope to look at another place tomorrow but I’m not sure how that will turn out either. Please be in earnest prayer that God would lead us to the right place, a place that would meet our needs at the right price and that could be used to glorify His Name, spread His kingdom here on earth, and provide spiritual and physical growth for the Chapel.

In other news, we were able to get Josiah on an evacuation flight out of Kenya and to the States. He needed to get back to the States in time to quarantine for 14 days before school starts but there have been no international flights out of Kenya since March, and none scheduled until sometime in August.  This didn’t give Josiah enough time to make it to school. Then on Friday, July 10th, we received an email from the embassy about the evacuation flight leaving on Monday, July 13th. Julie and I thought about it for two minutes and decided to get him on the flight. We booked the flight that day, Friday. Saturday, we spent getting everything ready for him to leave Kenya and get back to the States. Sunday, Josiah and I drove to Nairobi. Monday afternoon I put him on a plane leaving Kenya forever. This all happened very, very quickly, much too quickly for his mama and me. One day he was here at home with no idea of when he would be leaving and the next day, literally, he was gone – Flying from Nairobi to Qatar to the United States, flying for the first time by himself, and heading to America to start his new life without the help of mom or dad. Very hard for Josiah. Very hard for mom and dad. Please pray that God would be with him in a very special way, strengthening him, giving him courage, and filling him with His Holy Spirit.  Pray for mom and dad too.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie, Amy, Josiah & Chloe

Contact Info:
Roger & Julie Tate
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200
rojuta@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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Kenyans Receptive to Gospel Message

Nathan and Carrie Radford serve the Lord in Kitale, Kenya. Their main ministries include indigenous church planting, a prison ministry, and a hospital ministry for mothers with premature babies.

July 4, 2020

Dear praying friends,

Another month has come and gone, and we are now over halfway through 2020. Time seems to pass so quickly, and the days, months, and years just speed by. May we be busy in the Lord’s work, putting Him first, and working faithfully for His kingdom. Also, a happy fourth of July to all of you in America at this time. I am reminded of Psalm 33:12a, which states “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” Also, Proverbs 14:34, which says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” May we continue to pray for our country and for God’s leading in the future. This update will share current prayer requests and progress with the coronavirus in Kenya currently.

Currently, many restrictions are still in place in Kenya for the coronavirus. As of this writing, it seems the cases are spiking and increasing rapidly, with the capital city of Nairobi having the majority of the cases, although many are sick all over the country. There is still a curfew from 9 pm, no public gatherings (churches, schools, etc), and a lockdown within the capital city of Nairobi as well as other areas. We recently heard that schools will not be resuming until next year, probably January.

As far as ministry projections, there is currently no way to tell right now. The President is expected to address the nation on July 6th, and there are different thoughts about what restrictions could be lifted, if any. We will just have to wait and see.

It seems many Kenyans are receptive to the gospel message at this difficult and trying time, and many are taking the Swahili tracts that I have been passing out while going around. Even in a difficult time such as this, God will use it to bring glory to Himself. He will bring the increase. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6, where Paul says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” That is still true today. We can plant the seed, but we have to trust God to bring the increase.

Obviously, with all the restrictions, prisons are closed at this time as well. The prisoners live in an enclosed space close together, which is easy for the virus to transmit. Please be praying for the prisoners, and the staff there, for their health at this time. 

Our daughters are really enjoying homeschooling and are able to keep up with their current schedule. We are so thankful they can homeschool and will not get behind in their studies. My wife, Carrie, has a degree in education, so this is a very good use of her education and a hands-on approach. God has been so good to provide this homeschooling opportunity for them. We are also very thankful that the new family in Kitale is reaching out to our daughters and they are able to play with another American girl their age. This has provided the much-needed friendships they have needed for so long, so God has been so good to them.

We will update each of you on the progress next month. Please pray for the many businesses that have been impacted by the virus, even tourism and transportation industries. We hope and pray things get back to normal soon. We are thinking of and praying for you all in America as well at this time of difficulty. 

We appreciate so much your prayers, sacrificial giving, and thoughts for us. It means so much to us.

Blessings to each of you.

In Kenya,
Nathan and 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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Brazilian Believers Living Out the Bible

Bobby and Charlene Wacaser have served the Lord as church planters in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, since 1985.

July 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

We are so thankful to the Lord for how He has both guided and blessed during these months of living in challenging times. As I mentioned in my last correspondence, we began posting our services live and recorded on the internet and our outreach has continued to multiply. We now have over a 1000% increase in the number of people reached than we had before COVID-19! God is great! We have also learned how to get more usefulness out of our audio/visual equipment than ever before. Before, we used it as a secondary aspect of our services, but now it is our primary way of preaching, leading in praise, staying in touch with our members and evangelism. Even when we return to having our congregation present, we plan to continue using these tools that the Lord has shown us how to use for greater effectiveness.

Some of our members lost their jobs due to the virus, but so far, the rest of the congregation has stepped up to give assistance. No one has gone hungry or lost their homes for lack of payment, because their Christian brothers have pitched in to help them. I am so thankful for how the Lord has taught us how to live out in a very practical way the principles of His word.

Almost 29 years ago, the Lord gave Charlene and me the gift of our little girl, Jessie. When she saw some of my sketches, she asked if I would do one of her with me when she was a child. I was thrilled with the request and this one depicts me taking her on bike rides in a local park near where we live in Curitiba, Brazil.

I have continued to work on developing my sketching skills that I discovered a few months ago. I pray continually that God will show me the best way to use this medium to honor Him. I am very grateful to those of you who have expressed appreciation for the work I have shared.

Charlene and I have been blessed. She struggled with some allergy issues a few weeks ago, but has recovered fantastically, thanks to God. We are both doing well and are enjoying spending a little more time together since we can’t have as much contact out in public as before. At least, I am enjoying being around her more. I’ll have to let her speak for herself. 🙂

We thank you for your faithful prayers and support so that we may continue to minister here in southern Brazil.

In Christ’s love,

Bobby and Charlene Wacaser

Contact Info:
Bobby & Charlene Wacaser
Rua Laudelino Ferreira Lopes, 279
Sobrado 1, Novo Mundo
81050-310 Curitiba, PR. Brasil
Phone: 55-41-99899-2333
bobbymichael_1[at]hotmail.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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Testing & Trusting

Jud and Raquel Hatcher are third generation missionaries serving the Lord in São Paulo, Brazil. They are part of the “SeedFactory” church planting initiative, which is a movement to plant churches in all 26 Brazilian capitals. Since 2006, 43 churches have been started in 5 states.
June 27, 2020

Dear friends,

This season of COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a trying period. São Paulo City is a Coronavirus hotspot in Brazil. We went into an intense quarantine lockdown. Thankfully, we have a loving Father who cares for us and we can trust in His providence and sovereignty during uncertain times.

Our four kids began home online distance learning in mid-March. We only have two old computers, so we borrowed an additional two from friends. The first two weeks without all the necessary equipment was tough. In addition, the learning curve on how to use the educational platforms the school selected was rough, especially since the teachers were also learning how to use them and our internet speed did not cooperate. Thankfully, a technician eventually came to exchange the defective internet modem, the borrowed computers arrived, and teachers and parents learned the systems. Completing daily schoolwork assignments often took our kids 12 hours in a day. While this kept them (and us) “busy”, it was also concerning that it was so demanding on our time. Closing out the school year at home tripled our daily workload. As we reflect on all this, we are grateful for growing closer together as a family.

A couple months ago, Raquel suspected she had the coronavirus. She called the hospital to inquire if she had enough symptoms to go for a consultation and testing, or if she should remain in home observation. When she mentioned the hard time breathing the nurse said, “you need to come in immediately for testing.” The nurse went on to explain that difficulty in breathing was the requirement for going to the Emergency Room during the lockdown.

After arriving, completing the initial tests and waiting a couple of hours… test results returned positive… Raquel tested positive with a little baby. What? She didn’t have COVID-19, she was 4 weeks pregnant. Amid mixed emotions, we were overcome with joy and felt blessed with the gift of new life. We took a family portrait and celebrated the new family member with our children. Our four kids were elated with the news of a new sibling and family planning began for this next phase in our life.

At eight weeks of pregnancy, Raquel began to bleed… She went to the ER… The ultrasound detected no heartbeat. She had suffered a miscarriage. We were collectively heartbroken… 

Every life is precious and celebrated. We know we will see this unborn child when in glory. In the meantime, we rest assured knowing the Lord is faithful and true. We trust in Him.

Ministry wise, we continue to meet with our people in quarantine through video-conferencing apps, social media alternatives, delivering ready-to-eat meals, assisting people with physical and spiritual needs. Hygiene kits and groceries have been delivered to elderly and people in need, as financial means are possible to do so.

Trusting in the Lord is our strong fortress as we live through a pandemic here in Brazil. We are grateful to you for your prayers and support.

Grateful always,
The Hatchers

Contact Info:
Jud & Raquel Hatcher
São Paulo, Brazil
judsonhatcher@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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Getting Back to Normal

Odali and Kathy Barros 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.

June 22, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Hope that all is well with each one of you dear friends and supporters. Praise God we are all well here.  Things have been so different with what you can do and what you can’t do. But slowly, things are going back to normal. Almost all the services are back to normal. This week, two of the missions will start back.  While we could not have services, we maintained contact with as many as we could through internet, and for those who don’t have internet, we made quick visits. We tried to help as many as we could by giving food and taking fish to various families. Also, some food was donated by a family in the church to help other families in need. We are doing some remodeling at the church at Iranduba to solve some problems. There is a big problem with water there, so we need to build a tank to reserve water. The water only comes once a day and is very weak. At the church at the community of Cacau, we are still working fixing the church building. It was in poor condition when we took over the church.

Kathy went to Ubim today and washed the church building and cut the grass. Everything is ready for next week. Kathy visited around the community and talked to the people from the Indian tribe. She loved seeing all of them and they had fun seeing Kathy. Kathy talked to the leaders there and everything is ok to start next Monday.

For us that have so much freedom, it was kind of hard not to go to church and other places. Hopefully through this we can remember those in others places of the world that can’t do what they want when they want to—especially when it comes to the gospel. Our prayer is that all of us come out of this situation stronger in the Lord!

Since there was not much we could do outside our home, we took advantage and are working on our house doing some remodeling. Things are looking good!

We thank you for your prayers and your support. May God richly bless each one of you. Pray that as the ministries get back into the swing that we can reach more people and that they may see their need for the Lord in their lives.

In Christ,
Odali & Kathy

Contact Info:
Iranduba, Amazonas
Brasil, SA
odali_kathy@hotmail.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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