Missionary Update: Paul & Wanda Hatcher on Furlough from Brazil [August 2014]

Paul and Wanda Hatcher have been serving the Lord together in Brazil since 1974. Paul pastors Tabernacle Baptist Church in Manaus, Brazil. Their main ministry is church planting.

Paul and Wanda Hatcher have been serving the Lord together in Brazil since 1974. Paul pastors Tabernacle Baptist Church in Manaus, Brazil. Their main ministry is church planting.

July 30, 2014

Dear Friends,

Praise God for all His wonderful blessings. We are half way through this year; and, God has been so marvelous in providing each need. First, He has given us hope of eternal life by His side, and even now, the presence of His indwelling spirit. He also provides the very smallest needs of each day as well as the monumental ones. God is awesome – always good, just, and true.

At the beginning of the month, I was in Brazil for ten days meeting with pastors and staff concerning the planning and follow-up of projects underway. One of the special moments was Tabernacle Baptist Church’s celebration of our 66th homecoming. The church was organized July 4, 1948, under the leadership of Pastor Francisco Santiago (who also performed my baptism when I was a child). The church beginnings were very simple, in a small rented house, with backless, board benches, in a short alley called Beco Vila Mamão. The mother church was First Baptist Church of Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, that had been started by BFM’s first missionary to the Amazon, Joe Brandon. Pastor Santiago had been the first convert and baptized believer under Bro. Brandon’s ministry in Cruzeiro do Sul. By the way, Francisco Santiago’s intent when he went to Bro. Brandon’s street meeting was to interrupt and run him out of town. Upon hearing the word, he became motionless in his hiding place behind a bush and commented to a friend who had come along to help him, “This is not of the devil.” The next night they came back to hear more and were saved! A few months later, a statue in the local catholic church fell and broke and the believers were blamed for it; an intense persecution began. Francisco Santiago, along with his family, fled for his life. That’s how he wound up in Manaus, almost a thousand miles down river. Praise God; how marvelous indeed is our God. Sixty-six years later, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren churches have spread in more than half of the states of Brazil. Aren’t you glad to be a part of the great things God is doing through your giving and prayers? God is awesome!

God bless each of you. Thanks for your prayer and faithful support to the work of missions; may God be your great reward. We pray for you that your remembrance and knowledge of our Lord, the only true God, may abundantly increase, that your trust and faith in him may be steadfast in all things, and that the love of the Spirit may fill and overflow in your every word and action, with thanksgiving to God though Jesus Christ our only Lord and Life.

Paul and Wanda

Paul and Wanda Hatcher
615 Key West Avenue
Davenport, Fl 33897-6300
Click here to give.

Read more

2014 Spring Conference [Tuesday Evening]


The 54th Annual Spring Conference continued this evening at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. We were all thankful to be worshipping inside as it was raining and starting to get a bit chilly outside!

♪ Bro. Donnie Hamilton led the congregation in “Love Lifted Me” and in a new song by the Gettys called “Hear the Call of the Kingdom”. [You can listen here.

♪ Shirley Messer and Heather Messer Carrus sang “The Power of the Cross” just before the message. ♪ Took the blame, bore the wrath, we stand forgiven at the cross! 

Bro. Jim Orrick, Director of BFM, gave a history of the beginnings of BFM. Bro. Orrick has been at every Spring Conference since they started in 1961 (except for one when he had fallen off a ladder and broken his hip, but he still received a phone call from the pulpit so his perfect attendance would stay in tact!).

You can’t read the Bible without seeing that God has a heart for missions. In fact, God was a missionary. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son…” –Galatians 4:4 // John 3:17


BFM has been in existence for 72 years. Hundreds of churches have been established and are still functioning all over the world. 

It all began in the land of Brazil. Before BFM came along, at the end of the Civil War, some in the South decided to move to Brazil. A Confederate officer who had moved there with his family ended up returning to the States and wrote an article about the need for missionaries in Brazil. A man named William Bagley read the article and heeded the call, arriving in Brazil in 1881. He also wrote articles about the need for missionaries in Brazil, which were read by E.A. Nelson in Kansas. Nelson went to Brazil in 1891. With the help of Solomon Ginsberg, a saved Jewish man who was a missionary, they organized a church in 1897 and the first Baptist converts were baptized in the Amazon River. In 1900, Nelson organized the First Baptist Church of Manaus.

Meanwhile, in western Kentucky, a very mission-minded pastor, Boyce Taylor, had founded the Western Kentucky Bible Institute. His brother, WC Taylor, shared with him about “poor old Nelson” who was all alone down in the Amazon Valley. In 1922, WC went to Brazil and upon his return, the First Baptist Church of Murray, Kentucky, organized the Amazon Valley Baptist Faith Mission with the purpose to raise support for E.A. Nelson and any other preacher called to the Amazon. They raised $3,000 to buy a boat they called “The Buffalo”–it was the first oil-burning oil boat on the Amazon River.

In 1936, LM Bratcher (Harold’s uncle) went on a river trip with Nelson where Nelson became very ill and had to return to Manaus. He died in 1939 and all the stores in Manaus closed for his funeral.

The Amazon Valley BFM had sent out 8 missionary couples, but only 2 of them had stayed on the field any length of time. The first was Joseph Brandon who went to Brazil in 1923. He organized the first Baptist Church in all of the Acre Territory, where Bro. Mike Creiglow is now.

Brandon changed sponsoring churches often and ended up losing his support. He met with HH Overbey and ZE Clark and they agreed if Brandon would go back to Brazil, they would raise support for him. HH Overbey promised to print monthly mission letters. This was the beginning of BFM.

There were 30 copies printed of the first Mission Sheet in which the offerings were recorded (a grand total of $14.50 for the first month).

The second missionary was RP Hallum who went to Peru with his family in 1935. They were supported by leftover funds in the Amazon Valley BFM at First Baptist in Murray. In 1937, they organized the First Baptist Church of Iquitos with 11 members, the oldest Baptist Church in Peru.

There have been many missionaries who have served in different countries over the years, including a native missionary in Columbia, a family in Honduras, the Carvers in Korea, 3 families in the Philippines, in addition to our current missionaries who are serving in Brazil, France, Kenya, and Peru.

Our missionary family has not been large, but their service has been long and their faithfulness has been great. 

In closing, Bro. Orrick mentioned four things churches can do to help BFM.
1) Invite the missionaries into your churches when they’re home so you can get to know them.
2) Encourage people to read the Mission Sheets.
3) Promote offerings, special offerings, and projects
4) Give Memorial Offerings when people pass away

 ♪ Following the first message, we sang “Send the Light” and then the conference offering was given as Bro. Stanley & Sis. Emily Keyes from Illinois ministered in song through trombone, piano, and voice.  ♪ O What Love  ♪ (Lyrics)

There was a record number of BFM-associated families who were present and we recognized their years of sacrifice and faithful service. Missionary families represented included the Turners, Lauermans, Bratchers, Hatchers, Creiglows, Adams, Drapers, and Radfords.

Wanda Hatcher, missionary to Brazil, sang a beautiful version of ‘Tis So Sweet, part of which was in Portuguese.

Paul Hatcher, missionary to Brazil, brought the second message from John 17. He started by reminding us that it’s all about sowing and plowing, and sowing and plowing, and sowing and plowing, and eventually, there will be a harvest.

The Gospel has to be put out there and sown day after day. Even in all of our goof-ups and mess-ups, God has taken all of these things and has made it work. The Gospel has been sown and God makes it produce. From Christ to our day, people have been sowing and reaping and sowing and reaping. So here we are, sowing and reaping. And since we are sowing and reaping, there will be another generation who will sow and reap. The work doesn’t depend on us though–our Heavenly Father makes it all grow.

No one will come to salvation without knowing the Son. People have to hear about and be introduced to this wonderful Jesus.

How marvelous that He would choose to dwell in earthly vessels like you and me.

God loves sinners who don’t have anything to return. Our world is reciprocal and the love of the world is reciprocal. Give to them and they give to you. But that is not God’s love. His love is love because He loves. It is His nature to love. 

Our unity, which is a product of our love, is what will convince the world that Christ has come. “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved Me.” -John 17:21

What do you have that is different? God became a man and lives inside of you!

The day of salvation has arrived because you have arrived. But it’s not because of anything you have–but because HE dwells within you. 

We ended the evening by singing, “Jesus, I am Resting”.

♪ Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

We hope you can join us tomorrow! [Schedule]

Read more

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”.

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.]

Read more