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
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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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My “Raison D’être”

Missionaries John Mark and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

Missionaries John Mark and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

April 12, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Fussy babies, worried moms, scared friends, those with an uncertain future, those who are clueless to their need of a Savior, Bible studies with young Christians who eagerly desire to live for Christ, youth launching out into a future they hope is bright, empty nesters who, all of a sudden, wake up to realize that their home is void of what gave them purpose, children with minds waiting to soak up the teachings of the Bible, those who retire and wonder “now what?” Does this sound like the world that surrounds you? It’s the world that surrounds me!

My “raison d’être” is to share Christ in the place he has placed me, but how does that work out in my daily life, how do I prioritize, how do I keep my eyes on the goal? GOOD QUESTION!

First, by fixing my eyes on Jesus. How much does He love me? What are His plans for me? How did He interact with those around Him? What did He do when…?

As James 1:5 says, “…ask for wisdom…” Seeking God’s leading is first and foremost. Daily communication with the Father through prayer and Bible reading is necessary for my personal well-being and for being able to give wise counsel and how to share Him with people who don’t even consider that they have a need of Him.

Often “getting into people’s lives” requires making muffins, offer of babysitting, a dinner invitation, picking up mail, invitation to a church event, with the prayer of being ready to give an answer to the hope that I have. Often we stand in amazement when we are asked a question, seemingly coming from nowhere, yet knowing it is God as He does go before us. Oh how we rejoice as we see God open doors that normally would be nailed shut!

Again, you may say, “Hum your life is not much different from mine.” Yes! One difference is God has placed me here and you there for the same purpose, that His Good News of Salvation would be heard.

And, I can only be here because of your love for the Gospel and your generosity toward us. Thank you!!!! May God bless us all as we labor, each in our corner of the world.

With love from France,
Judy Hatcher

John Mark & Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.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 at Work through Each Stage of Ministry

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.

Greetings to all of you who are supporters of Baptist Faith Missions. I thank God for each of you. Missions is a joint effort of us missionaries and the churches that support us financially and also pray for us.

Being on the mission field is probably not as difficult for me as it may be for most missionaries as they arrive on the field. Since I was born on the mission field, this place has always been my home.

The different kinds of ministries that we have done have been a life of experience.

The beginning was in church planting, which is always wonderful when you see souls saved.  As we worked with teenagers in the missions, we saw the need to help them. That is when we started having them live in our home.

One of the first boys we helped is worship leader in his church and he is now our lawyer! There are many others that are doing well. Many of them stay in contact with us. Living in a place with over 100 people was not always the easiest thing for us as a family, but God was always present and giving us strength to keep on working. One of the things I thank God for each day is, that even though our children had to share us with so many others, they don’t have regrets. Also, they have a love for helping people in need. To God be the glory!

At the time that the children’s home was closed down, it was very hard to deal with the situation. The sensation of failure was hard to deal with. As time passed, God gave peace and comfort. To me it was like God saying, “You have reached those that I wanted here, it is time to move on.” We have moved on!! It is hard to believe that it has been five years since we moved to the Amazon. We live very near Manaus, the city where I was born. Living in the middle of the jungle has its positive points and, at the same time, some difficulties. The peace and calm we have is great. What is a problem is that you need good transportation because that is the only way to get around. All our ministries are an average of 15 miles from where we live. Needless to say, we spend lots of time on the road. For me as a pastor’s wife, I have enjoyed the new change in our ministry. Working with kids and youth in church, training teachers to help in the different ministries—that was something that I did not have time to do when we had the children’s home.

But I thank God for each stage in our ministry that we have gone through. It is wonderful to see God working each day. As I look back, I see so many ways God worked that at the time I could not see. Each day as I pray, I ask God to help me see with “His eyes”. Living in the crazy world it is easy to be blinded. I praise God for calling me to serve Him and caring for me, my life and my family.  May God bless you, supporters and friends, and continue to direct our ministry.

Kathy

Odali & Kathy Barros
Caixa Postal 1
Iranduba, Amazonas 69.415.000
Brasil, S.A.
odali_kathy[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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Amazing Opportunity to Reach the Lost

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.

Greetings from Kenya!

As I sit here typing this letter, the girls are at an art class they are taking during a break from school. We are so thankful another local ministry is providing this class for kids. The girls are enjoying it immensely and they have the opportunity to be around other kids. Breaks from school are difficult for kids here, as there are limited options of activities for them. Our school follows the Kenyan school calendar, which runs from Jan-Nov. The students are in classes for 3 months, then have 1 month off. We like the schedule as the kids retain more information and are less likely to need much refreshers at the start of the new terms.

Speaking of school calendars, we are so excited the girls have a school to attend now. Julie Tate, along with myself, and 4 Kenyan parents (directors) have seen the need for our community to have a Christian school for the children. We currently have 10 students enrolled, including our girls and a Hindu student. The school is such an amazing opportunity to reach the Hindu and Muslim population in our area. Not only do the students have a dedicated Bible class, but all their regular classes have Biblical principles woven into them. We are using a combination of Bob Jones University curriculum with Mystery of History and Math-U-See. All the students have enjoyed the year thus far and are anxious for classes to resume. As a mother, I am so happy to see our daughters thriving and enjoying their new friendships with kids in the Kenyan culture.

We are also very excited about a new family who is planning to move to our area sometime in June or July. There are 4 children in the family, including 2 girls close in age to our girls. McKenna and Cami haven’t had American girls here their ages, so this is a huge answer to prayer for them. We are praying for the family and their upcoming adjustments.

Speaking of prayer, a request we have as a family is for homesickness. The girls have been especially homesick lately, and it’s hard as a parent to see this. We want so badly for them to be happy, but we also recognize that God is able to work through the sadness and is teaching them things that will benefit them in the long term. School definitely helps as it keeps them busier and they are around kids, but still, they miss their family in the States. They don’t always understand why we are serving here in Kenya, so please pray for us as we lead and teach them.

As I close this letter, the sun is shining and the heat is rising. Kenya is in a bit of an emergency due to drought conditions. Please pray for rain and temperatures to cool soon. The farmers desperately need the rain for their crops and food prices are rising for everyone.

May the Lord bless each of you as you serve Him in the States. Thank you so much for all the prayers and encouragement you offer to us. We appreciate you all!

In Christ,
Carrie Radford

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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Missionary Update: Paul & Wanda Hatcher in Brazil [May 2013]

May 11, 2013

Hi there, folks,

This is a rare opportunity for us ladies to write this month. I’d like to share with you about two great recent events and a little about family.

“Loving as Christ Loved Us” was the theme of our ladies retreat from Tabernacle Baptist Church last month. This was just for women ages 20 and above at our church camp in the Amazon tropical rain forest, twenty-two kilometers after crossing the beautiful Negro River from Manaus. We spent two sunny days with lots of fun and play, good food, wonderful spiritual enrichment and sleeping in hammocks at night. Our daughter, Leigh, and I spoke for the four sessions on “As We Better Know Our God we Trust Him More” and as we trust Him more “We Love Others as Jesus Has Loved Us”. Wish you ladies could have been with us!

Then on May 4, we had the very special opportunity of seeing our daughter-in-law, Raquel, receive her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Regent University in Virginia Beach and then vacation with her and Judson for a week. Raquel has been a licensed psychologist in Brazil for several years already. She is a very good counselor. She is also a very good mother of four beautiful children. Congratulations Raquel!

Paul and Wanda Hatcher have been serving the Lord together in Brazil for 36 years. Paul pastors Tabernacle Baptist Church in Manaus, Brazil. Their main ministry is church planting.

Paul and I both were raised in missions and rarely saw our grandparents. Our own children also grew up a very long distance from their grandparents. So, I wasn’t really sure I would know how to be a grandmother; but, I’m enjoying it very much. 🙂

Luke, an affectionate, pre-adolescent eleven-year old, has already won a few friends to the Lord; Sarah, an energetic leader, is eight years old; wide-eyed, bubbly Laura will soon be seven; six-year-old Larissa loves to read and be read to – she has already been through The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; five-year old Benjamin is excited when he communicates and loves to make you laugh; smiley Melissa is seventeen months old and thinks she is as much of the party as her three older siblings; Noah will have his first birthday next month and already knows his way around on a computer or iphone. Luke, Sarah, Laura and Larissa have already trusted the Lord and been baptized. Great grandkids, yeh?

Come and see us or call me at home. You can call me on your regular long-distance plan at (229)529-8497. That’s a Georgia number but rings in our home in Brazil – will not cost you any more than any other long distance call. I call my mom in Kentucky every day and it only costs us US$25 a year. How about that for a missionary?

From my heart,
Wanda Hatcher

Paul and Wanda Hatcher
Avenida J. Carlos Antony, 172
65063-150 Manaus
Amazonas, Brasil SA
hatcher[at]argo.com.br

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Missionary Update: The Hensleys in Brazil [May 2013]

Hi to our friends and family,

This month the wives of the missionaries were asked if they wanted to write a letter because it was Mother’s Day. I agreed to do so and here is my letter.

As we look forward to the day that we celebrate our mothers, I want to start with a word about my mother. I have been on the mission field with AJ for 17 years, but if it were not for my mother, I would not have been such a good helpmate nor wife of a missionary. You see, I learned at the feet of my mother how to do this. She taught me by example. She to was the wife of a missionary there in Owsley County, Kentucky. I am now putting into practice all those things that Reba Katherine Baker taught me. Thank you, mom!!

We started our missionary journey in an orphanage where I could be a mother to many. Then we moved on to use that experience to try to help start another orphanage. Then I went on to be the wife of the associate pastor of two Baptist Churches. But now we are working for the Lord in a new mission work that we have started. AJ is the principle pastor and I am working alongside of him. Our new work started on January 2, 2013. As you know, we started in the home of one of the members and we have steadily grown. Our principle work is with children. We have found that if you train the children, the parents will see a difference and eventually come to see what is going on. This is one of the ways that you get the adults to come to Church. The mothers are the first to come and the fathers eventually come.

We are having services in the normal hours: Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. But our services are a little different. Our Sunday mornings are just Sunday School and for now, just for the kids. Also on Sunday mornings, we feed the children. This is just bread and butter and chocolate milk, but this may be the only food that some of them get for that day. We have found that you have to feed them physically before you can feed them spiritually. On Sunday night we have our big service with singing and preaching. Our Wednesday night service is dedicated to prayer. We are teaching the children how to pray and the importance of prayer (the adults too).

The Hensleys have spent 17 years serving in Brazil. They run a vocational school and orphanage in Caraguatatuba and have also established a church and mission points throughout the city.

As the pastor’s wife, I am singing in the praise worship team, leading the practice of this team, teaching Sunday School for the children, heading up the kitchen committee (which consists of 3 ladies) to help feed the children, leading the clean-up crew to make sure that the Church is always clean and arranged properly for each service, leading the Ladies’ Ministry, and being the counselor for those who need it. I love to host mission groups from the States also. This year we will host 7 groups and 1 apprentice. My job in this is to prepare where they will sleep, plan their meals, help in planning the projects that they will do, and make sure that they experience the mission field and Brasil. And in my spare time,  I do anything that needs to be done as the secretary for the pastor.

Many people ask how I do all this and my answer is always, “It is not me, but God who is in me.” I am very happy in the Lord’s work here in Brasil. But as you know, I was not the first one to jump on the wagon when AJ first started to talk about coming to Brasil to be a missionary. I have stated many times that I was happy in my comfort zone there in the States. But now if AJ were to say that we were going back to the States to live, I would be crying all the way back. I love the work that God has given us to do here. As you can see,  the work here is very demanding and so I ask for your prayers. They are the help that we need on the days that we think we can not take another step.

You have heard now the side of the wife of a missionary. If you would like to see both sides,  come on down and see what God is doing here in Caraguatatuba. All this is because all of you keep us lifted up in prayer and because of the financial support that you give us. Thank you because without both of these things we would not be able to do the work that God has for us to do. When you come, we will feed you rice and beans and if you get tired of that, we will switch it around and feed you beans and rice. Our doors are always open for visitors who want to participate in mission work. I am sure that when you come you will go home tired out but with a feel of what goes on here on the mission field. If you want to experience this, it is yours for the asking. Just plan your vacation and come and see.

In His service,

Aj and Barbara
ajcaragua[at]gmail.com

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Missionary Update: The Stantons in Peru [May 2013]

From Anita Stanton – April 29, 2013

Dear Friends,

Today is April 29, 2013. On April 29, 1983, we arrived in Iquitos, Peru to begin our ministry. Thirty years have passed quickly.

Thirty years ago, people dressed up when they took a plane trip. I clearly remember my polyester dress, panty hose and heels. Our children were dressed up too. I can’t remember what Sheridan wore, but I am sure I had him dressed up also! I vividly remember disembarking the plane in the jungle town of Iquitos. As I approached the door of the plane, the heat and humidity felt as though they were about to smack me to the ground. I can’t say for sure, but that might have been the last time I ever wore a polyester dress and panty hose!! Adjusting to the jungle heat was something that I really never did well. When one is cooking over a kerosene stove and the temperature outside is 115 degrees and there is no air conditioning indoors, it can get very unpleasant.

I have come a long way in adapting to our adopted country. I remember the sounds and smells of my first market visit. And to tell you the truth, that hasn’t changed in 30 years. Our first house was a long, narrow structure with adjoining neighbor walls. We had two rooms in the front, a living room and the children’s bedroom. The middle part, the bathroom, did not have a roof, and the back part of the house was the kitchen and our bedroom. One night after going to bed, I saw a family of rats crossing our bedroom rafter to get to the neighbors. Sheridan had seen those critters nights before and was trying to figure out a way to get rid of them before I saw them. Now, he not only had a problem with the rats, but also with me! We tried poison, traps and other suggested devices, but finally settled on an air rifle. We would sit in bed in the dark and wait for them to start across the rafter. I had the flashlight and he had aim with the rifle. At the precise moment, (when Sheridan said “now”), I would shine the light on them, they would freeze and he would blow them away. Living in the jungle for 7 years, I became accustomed to killing scorpions, tarantulas and many types of bugs, but I never overcame my fear of rats. I saw a dead rat on the street the other day, it had even been flattened by a car, and I was still afraid!

Naturally, I survived the jungle, and in 1990, we moved to Lima. There was a huge contrast between the capital city and the jungle town of Pucallpa. In Lima, our children were blessed to attend the Fetzer Memorial Christian Academy for their schooling. The school was a blessing to all of us. Even though Lima was a much more modern city than Pucallpa, we had to learn to contend with the enormous problems of a city built for three million people but home for ten million. There were constant black outs, water shortages, (many times no water at all for days), horrible traffic problems and congestion and a city full of pollution. Still, we were blessed as a family. God blessed the works, leading to their organization, and to date, they remain strong and growing. It was in Lima that Sheridan began traveling one week a month to a different town where we have established works to teach the pastors. This was the beginning of the Bible Institute.

Today, there are over 140 pastors studying. When the sessions are held in Huánuco, I have the pleasure of cooking for about 50 of them.

Sheridan and Anita Stanton have served the Lord in Peru since 1983. Their main ministry is church planting and they have helped establish churches all over the country. Sheridan also works to train pastors and Anita works with the ladies’ ministry and developing children’s material.

When our children graduated and left for the university in the States, Sheridan and I moved to Huánuco. Huánuco is a huge contrast to the jungle and the coastal city of Lima. We live at 6,300 above sea level, and enjoy the best climate in the world. Our temperatures average 70 – 90 degrees year round with 0% humidity! I have a wonderful view of the Andes Mountains from my kitchen window.

Our move to Huánuco came with the empty nest. During the years our children were at home, I did what time allowed me to do in the work. My belief was always that my family came before the work. I was always involved in teaching children’s classes, but I realized that my own children would soon be gone and I needed to focus on them.

Huánuco offered a new branch of service. With an empty nest, I could give much more time to various aspects of our ministry. I became very involved with women’s ministry and through the years, it has been rewarding. I am preparing to teach a women’s conference the first of June. Huánuco is where I have found time to develop a two year Sunday School curriculum for five different age groups. This project is not complete, but I am getting there! I offer the materials free of cost; they even come with accompanying music CDs, to anyone who is burdened to reach children.

When we arrived in Peru in 1983, we had no language training. We had listened to others who advised us to learn Spanish here. We soon found this advice to be a mistake, and I would never recommend that to any new missionary. However, we struggled and with the magnitude of our work, I guess we learned well! We had no one to guide us. We really spent our first year or more learning by trial and error. I often told Sheridan that if I had the chance to help new missionaries, I would gladly be there. God has given me various opportunities to serve in this capacity. I have had the honor to teach young missionary wives how to cook from scratch, how to make a substitute for some food or cleaning item, how and where to shop and hopefully some good advice on adjusting to the cultural differences.

Through the years, we have hosted many mission teams in our home. Someone once asked me if I got tired of taking care of so many people. Well, the truthful answer is, yes, I get tired, but when I see the fruits that the mission trips reap, my part seems very small. When I return to the States and a young college student says, “That trip changed my life”, it is worth much more than any physical sacrifice that I might give.

When our children left for college, we realized that our time with them was over. Yes, over the years we have spent time with them, but not much! It meant holidays, birthdays, births of grandchildren and family time as a whole family was over. Last year, while on furlough, I spent my first birthday with my daughter in 16 years! When our children left, we missed them, didn’t have e mail, Facebook, magic jack phones or any other technology to stay in touch. A phone call was very expensive and happened very few times. Still, it was a natural process. After all, isn’t that the goal of parenting to guide and instruct our children to maturity so they can learn to live on their own? However, when grandchildren started to come, we realized how “far away” we were! It’s great to have technology to see them grow, but it would be really great if that technology allowed us to physically touch, hug, kiss, squeeze and play with them! I recently told my daughter that I think God might just give missionaries a little extra “grandparent time” in heaven!

I close with love and thanksgiving for each of you for your love and support for the past thirty years.

In Him,
Anita Stanton

Sheridan and Anita Stanton
Apartado Postal 860
Huanuco, Peru
South America
(614) 500-8823 – Internet Number

sestantonperu[at]hotmail.com – Sheridan
arstantonperu[at]gmail.com – Anita

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Missionary Update: John Mark & Judy Hatcher in France [May 2013]

April 24, 2013
Tournefeuille, France

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

April 11 was Judy’s sixtieth birthday. We have had the privilege of spending a good many of those years together. The scriptures say that “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown” and “a prudent wife is from the Lord.” I can undoubtedly affirm this tidbit of truth in testifying of God’s blessings on my life through Judy. When I was not yet a teenager, my mother emphasized in our family devotional time that we should pray for a spouse from the Lord. I began doing this on a regular basis and God fulfilled my request. So, if you are not yet married and want to be, I suggest that you ask God.

Just after I wrote the above paragraph, Dave Parks reminded us that this month, in honor of mothers, we were going to ask the missionary wives to write a few lines. So, I will let Judy share her thoughts.

Bonjour and merci from Tournefeuille, France. Each morning John and I thank God for you who give so sacrificially so we can share the gospel in France. Many of you we will never have the privilege of meeting until we are together in heaven, but know that today we are thankful for your many years of support. In my philosophical moments I ponder, “What influenced me, a common Kentucky girl from a not so known small town on the south side of the Ohio river to be a missionary in France?”

The answer is simple, my parents, Jim and Pansy Foster. How? By living out Christ in their lives.

Judy Hatcher with granddaughters who live in France, Amanda their mother and wonderful missionary, and Amanda’s mother, Lisa Fallwell, who is visiting her family in France.

What I learned from my parents… love the Lord your God with all your heart… it wasn’t just what they said, it was the way they lived. One of my earlier memories is of waking each morning and seeing my mom in her chair and my dad in his chair both reading their Bibles. God’s Word was important. Often I would hear my parents talking in their room as if someone else was there. One night, on peeking into my parents’ room, I saw them knelt by the bed, my dad’s arm around my mom, praying. “God’s will” was something active. You follow His path because He is good and He loves you, even when it meant blessing your 19 year old daughter to go to Brasil 6 weeks after marrying John Hatcher! (John wasn’t the question, Brasil was too far for an overnight visit.) Twenty-five years later, when I told my mom that we believed that God was leading us to France, her words were, “If that is what God wants, that is what we want.” My mom had just been diagnosed with cancer.

Love your neighbor…even though my dad pastored the First Baptist Church, Garrison, Ky and later Emmanuel Baptist Church, Oldtown, Ky., it was after I was grown. My parents had a lumber and hardware store. At times this meant being kind to those who were demanding, being “at your service” whenever, and paying off bills that were owed by someone else. I saw “love covers a multitude of sins” in action! Visiting the sick, nursing homes and giving a helping hand to those in need was just what you did because it was the right thing to do.

I was given “missionary eyes”. Often in the evenings I would sit with my mom looking at the Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia. We would examine far away lands. The question would usually arise, “Do these people know about Jesus?” Often the answer was, “No, not unless someone goes and tells them.” Closer to home, my dad spoke of the areas in eastern Kentucky with no gospel witness. Whether across the sea or across the street, it was emphasized that people need the Lord.

Often people ask, “What can we do for you?” Moms and dads, live Christ before your children, give them missionary eyes, grandparents, share with your grandchildren what great things God had done in your lives, aunts and uncles, influence your nieces and nephews to follow God wherever He leads, Sunday School teachers and neighbors, share the love of Christ with the children whose lives you touch. With God’s help we can pass on what has been so freely given to us.

With love and thanksgiving,
Judy and John Hatcher

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

Click here to donate to BFM.


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