News & Reports – May 2020 [Online Edition]

The Online Edition of May 2020 BFM News & Reports is available at the link below. Read how God is working through the lives of our faithful missionaries and continue to pray for them.

Note: You can also click on any headline to view the story on our blog. 


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Quarantined in Kenya; Concerns about MCHC

Carrie Radford has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya, with her husband Nathan since 2004. Their main ministries include indigenous church planting, a prison ministry, and a hospital ministry for mothers with premature babies.

Greetings from Kitale, Kenya!

I pray this letter finds everyone doing well and staying safe and healthy at home. Our board has asked the missionary wives to write the prayer letter this month as Mother’s Day approaches, in an effort to offer you a glimpse into our life from the wife’s perspective. We are thankful for the technology which allows us to remain in touch with our friends and family in the US during this time of quarantine and uncertainty. We are also able to watch the news and keep informed of events happening there and around the world. It is a blessing to feel connected with everyone.

Our little part of the world has seen some drastic changes during the past month. Our school, as schools in the US, had to close mid-March due to quarantine. Our family is coping with this by homeschooling. We are enjoying this time as a family and the girls are thriving as they continue their studies with mom as their teacher. However, we are concerned about our little school, MCHC. Private schools here operate through the school fees paid by the parents each term. Very few schools are ever able to “get ahead” and have money to cover in case of emergencies. MCHC is no different. Unless they are able to open for second term beginning in May, there are concerns that rent and teachers will not be paid. Please pray that MCHC is able to restart in the future when the quarantine ends. The school is so important for many families in the area that otherwise do not have access to quality education and hearing the gospel each and every day. 

Our family is handling the quarantine admirably so far. Nathan and I try to remain optimistic and upbeat around the girls, as I’m sure families in the US are doing as well. In addition to homeschooling, we are teaching the girls new board games and they are learning “life skills” in the housekeeping department.

A huge prayer request is for the spread of coronavirus to be limited as the medical facilities here are not adequate or able to treat this disease. While Kenya may be a more developed country in regards to other African countries, it is still third world and the lack of medical care is a major concern. There are very few actual trained doctors and the facilities and medicines available are extremely lacking. We don’t have access to ICUs or other specialized treatment centers here. And travel between cities and towns is very restricted now due to the quarantine in place. Please pray for Kenya, and Africa as a whole, that the disease will not spread as feared.  

In other news, we learned today that our favorite grocery store is closing. This particular store is the most convenient for us, as parking is available and safe. They also had the largest selection of food available. Parking in town at the other stores is much riskier due to crowding and security issues. We are disappointed in the store’s closing and we are concerned it’s just one of many stores that will probably close throughout the country as employment dwindles and people have less money.    

In closing, we ask that you keep the people of Kenya in your prayers. The spread of coronavirus here is a very real and dangerous threat due to inadequate medical facilities and unemployment. Many people here live day to day. They work for a day to feed their families. Many have no income beyond what they earn daily. We pray for all of you in the US as you continue through your quarantines as well.  

A verse that comes to mind for this time is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” We are thankful for each of you who prays for us and the people here.  God bless you all! 

In Christ,
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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A Month of Quarantine with 4 Kids in Brazil

Raquel serves the Lord with her husband Jud and their family in São Paulo, Brazil. Their main ministry is church planting.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this letter finds you well and joyful, despite the circumstances. As you can imagine, we also are facing the threat of this new virus. The city of São Paulo has been in quarantine since March 20th. All schools, public and private, were closed, as well as non-essential businesses. Those who can are staying at home as much as possible. Our kids transitioned from traditional schooling to online home schooling. That in itself has been a major challenge. I thank God for my husband, who has helped them adjust to distance learning, and daily assists our four children in their studies. We had two computers, now we are trying borrow two more in order to accommodate their needs. Overall, they are doing amazing. Laura had all A’s this past quarter, Sarah and Benjamin also had A’s and B’s. Melissa has more difficulties, as she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and memory problems, although she was also placed in the superior range for IQ. We ask your prayers regarding this subject. We do our best to find strategies and didactic approaches to teach her, but we notice that, in many ways, it has affected her self-worth. But we are blessed. Sarah turned fifteen on May 30th and Ben turned twelve on May 24th. Laura will be fourteen on July 20th, and Melissa will be nine December 1st. During this time of social distance, they have not left the house, so we try to keep them busy with different fun family activities, tasty meals and treats. They also enjoy videoconferencing with friends and family.

Hatchers at Home

Regarding myself, I have been substituting for a missionary friend in his coordination position of a Christian Fostercare Project. He asked me to replace him temporary, as he needed to be with his family. He and his wife have five children and one of them, a 10-year-old boy, has battled leukemia for almost two years. A few weeks ago, he received a bone marrow transplant, but he is in critical condition. He has been hospitalized for the past seven weeks. There are hundreds of people interceding for his life and for his family. Please, pray for them also.

Our church, like most of them here in Brazil, has been meeting online to pray and encourage each other. One of the ladies who meets with us also has cancer and she does chemotherapy. Pray for her, and her husband and daughter.

I would also like to share about another friend of mine; we were neighbors during my graduate school, and since then we have been best friends. One year and six months ago, she was diagnosed with cancer in her pancreas. During this time, she did all the treatment she could at John Hopkins Hospital. For some months it was in remission, and it seemed to be fine. But now, she is sick again, and with little hope any treatment will help. I have been supporting her during this long journey, and I feel very sad. She adopted a little boy just five years ago. I ask you to please pray for my friend, her name is Vanessa Martiny. She lives in Pennsylvania, she is a believer in Jesus, she has a strong faith, and she holds on to the hope she has in Christ.

We sure live in difficult times. But we remember what the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are the happiest people in the world because we know there is so much more ahead of us. Thank you for reading. Thank you for praying, thank you for supporting us with your finances, thank you for caring. May God give you peace and joy.

Much love,
Raquel Hatcher

Raquel teaching kids at church

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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God at Work During COVID-19

Julie Tate has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya, alongside her husband Roger and family since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I write this letter sitting in my living room – where I have been doing a LOT of sitting (not unlike many of you!). It’s been many weeks now since the whole world basically shut down because of COVID-19, and while I can say I think we’ve settled in a little bit, nothing quite feels normal. I feel a bit like Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride when he says to the Man in Black, “Let me esplain. No, there is too much…let me sum up.”

Like most people, I’ve struggled with fear and uncertainty. There are so many unknowns. Just like in the US, schools are shut down here as well as all social/religious gatherings. It’s been bad timing in some ways (though I have to remind myself often that God’s timing is never bad). Milimani Christian Homeschool Community was – truthfully – a struggle, but we had a young lady who is a special education teacher from the US who was getting a work permit to come take over that aspect of our school (a huge load off my shoulders).  We were starting to get the hang of the high school, our dyslexic girl was reading and spelling, and our autistic boy was finding his stride and showing mathematical gifting. It’s very possible that COVID-19 is going to totally wipe out MCHC because of financial constraints. This in turn affects the chapel because we rent the MCHC building on Sundays. No MCHC, no building.

There have been a lot of changes at home as well. In all honesty, you all in the US have a lot more change to adjust to than we do here. There is never much to do around here anyway, and we often suffer from boredom. April is a month off of school in Kenya anyway; but there are many unanswered questions. Will MCHC survive? Will Chloe’s school survive? Will school even open back up in May? Likely not. Josiah’s school, Rift Valley Academy, is NOT opening up at all for the remainder of the school year (which ends in July). Instead, they will have an on-line platform. We didn’t know this, however, when Josiah and the other students were released from school two weeks early. He may never see his friends again; he may never see the campus again (which he loved). He doesn’t get to say good-bye.

Chloe, as usual, has had a difficult time adjusting to the change. Her behavior became aggressive enough that we had to consult her doctor. Being all “trapped” at home together without any reprieve has been a challenge to put it mildly.

Doing COVID-19 in Kenya has some additional psychological challenges, however. Currently, we have more deaths from police violence than we do from the corona virus. Forced isolation into some of the isolation facilities has been a nightmare. People are crowded together sharing the same facilities and even going hungry in some cases. Those who get a positive result have not always been removed from the group as a whole in a timely manner, and those who test negative after 2 weeks have not always been allowed to leave without paying a bribe. Who wants to get tested under those circumstances? Travel in and out of Nairobi is prohibited, so even if we wanted to fly out, we would not be able to (also because Chloe wouldn’t be allowed to leave, and we won’t leave without her).

HOWEVER…God is the Master at taking difficult things and working them together for the good of His people. Here are just a few ways I see God working.
1.  We were growing increasingly unhappy with the culture at RVA. I am really excited to have this time with Josiah – time we weren’t expecting and that we are very thankful for.
2. I know of two precious local families right now who have been struggling with family issues. This has forced them to spend time together at home because they don’t have the escapes they usually have in town or at work. It’s been good for them (not always easy, but good).
3. I’ve been able to work on some of the academic things Chloe was struggling with at school.  I’ve been able to help her with letter reversals, and she’s even starting to do some very preliminary reading and spelling.
4. Not being at work all day has helped me get back into a daily morning time of Bible reading and prayer – something I had been deeply missing.
5. Not knowing what is going to happen with MCHC has helped me see where some boundaries need to be set and where some of my priorities need to shift if MCHC does survive.

So, that’s where we are currently at. Here are some specific things you can pray for on our behalf. These are not in order of importance. First for the health of my family. I suspect we may have already had the virus, but there is no way of knowing for sure. Anyone with flu-like symptoms has the potential of being removed from their home and put in an isolation center. Second, that our financial situation stays somewhat stable so we can pay our rent. We have a good landlord, but there are no protections here like there are in some places in the US. Third, that our faith in our Good, Good Father would grow, that our love for Jesus would build up and effervesce onto others around us, and that we would draw nigh to Him in new and fresh ways. Fourth, that we – as a family – would find new and creative ways to invest in each other during this time of increased “forced togetherness.” 

In Christ,
Julie Tate

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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Life and Ministry at Home

Beverly Creiglow has served the Lord in Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil, together with her husband Mike since 1971.

Hello to all.

These past weeks have been very different, not to say “weird.” It has been just a little over three weeks that Brazil has called for the “stay at home” quarantine. That has not been too difficult for me since I do not go out much anymore. My life is centered around church activities, but now that this has been taken away, I have a hard time remembering what day it is! I do a lot of crafts and reading to occupy my time. I do not get to see my grandkids as much as before. I miss the hugs.

Mike and I usually start our day with a cup of coffee, sitting in our comfortable chairs in the living room. Each individually read the Bible and then we share and pray together. I enjoy this time.

We have no more flights in and out of Cruzeiro do Sul. The only way in or out of here is by road and they wanted to even shut that down. Thankfully, the federal government would not allow it. We would have been completely shut off from any kind of food supplies. We had not had any positive cases of the virus here until a couple of days ago. Hopefully it will not spread. The media here is doing as in the States, making people panic.

People have asked what my ministry here is. For the last several years, it has been taking care of Mike. That in itself is a big job!! Kidding. He tries to live his life as he did twenty or so years ago. His mind wants to do it, but his body just is not as young as it was then. Mike is still very active and it is a struggle to get him to slow down. He records several videos a week to keep our church fed spiritually. My mind and body have a hard time cooperating with each other.

Mike and I always have spent a lot of time together. At this different time in the world, we have taken advantage of watching some movies together in the evenings. He hardly ever had time to do that before. He always lets me have his new recliner to sit in. He is a nice guy.

We are praying for the presidents of Brazil and the USA. Please help pray for them both. They both have so much in common. The opposition has made both their lives very difficult.

Please continue praying for us here.
Love to all, Beverly

Contact Info:
Mike & Beverly Creiglow
Caixa Postal 24
69980 Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre
Brasil, SA
mdcreig@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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Looking Past the Circumstances

Charlene Wacaser has served the Lord as a church planter in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil alongside her husband Bobby since 1985.

 

Hello praying friends,

I have to say that I am writing this letter in the oddest moment in my life. Coming to Brazil in my early twenties was a very different experience from what I grew up with. Adopting two children and raising them in two languages and cultures was exciting, but offered its challenges. Standing by my husband, Bobby’s, side as he helped to care for his aging father after his mother’s death and then returning to Brazil was an unexpected turn of events. But, living under quarantine conditions during a Pandemic is certainly the most thought-consuming event that I have ever experienced.

We received travel alerts from the U.S. Embassy in Brazil that we had to make a decision soon about returning to the States because all commercial flights would be stopped and there was no way of knowing for how long the travel ban would last. Both of our children and our only grandchild live in the USA and we don’t know when we’ll be able to visit with them again. But we do know that God has called us to minister here in southern Brazil and that He is using this pandemic to open doors of opportunity to share the gospel that we have never seen before. Besides, we thought to ourselves, what kind of a message of faith and love would we be giving if we packed up and left because of negative circumstances? We are so glad that we have stayed. Bobby has had to learn to “pastor” the congregation through social media only. That is quite a challenge for him because he loves to interact with people on a physical level.

There are three texts of Scripture that comes to my mind that comfort me in the middle of all this: Deuteronomy 32:10-12; Psalm 17:8 and Matthew 23:37. In all three, the image that is conveyed is that of a mother bird using her wings to protect her babies. In that, I picture God in His great love and power caring for and protecting us in all our struggles.

There is the struggle of being bombarded daily with scary news reports about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In fact, one member of our church’s daughter caught the virus and the member herself is in the group of high risk. She is her late sixties and she has been through chemotherapy. Several of our church members have lost their jobs and others have lost a significant amount of their normal pay. What is exciting and encouraging is to see how our people have stepped up to put into practice the principles of God’s word that we seek to teach and exemplify. Without having to tell them to do so, some have called to let us know that they are willing to buy groceries for anyone needing them. Some have had to continue working because their jobs are considered “essential,” and at the same time they are exposed constantly to the risk of the virus and have to come home to their families.

I am challenged constantly to look past these circumstances and focus on the promises that God has given to use them all for my good and His glory. I know He will continue to care for me, even more than a hen cares for her chicks.

I do ask that you would pray for us to be wise and faithful in ministering in this new “environment”.

Yours in Jesus’ love,
Charlene Wacaser
 
Contact Info:
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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News & Reports – May 2019 Issue [Online Edition]

The Online Edition of our May 2019 BFM News & Reports is available at the link below. This special edition features letters from our missionary wives in celebration of Mother’s Day!

Click here to read the BFM News & Reports – May 2019 edition!


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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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