Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell - August 2017 Update
Dear friends at The Outreach Foundation,
The grace and peace of the Lord be with each one of you. Dorothy and I are doing well. In July, we attended the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU) which was held in São Paulo. Our Regional Liaison, Dennis Smith, and Valdir França, PC(USA) Mission Coordinator for the Caribbean and Latin America, were present as well. The IPU invited us back for another term beginning in January 2018. This will be the first time in over 23 years of ministry in Brazil that we have been invited back to the same location (Mangabeira) in which we have been serving. We are comfortable with that decision. We have served in seven different locations during our time in Brazil as a couple.
During our first two years here in Mangabeira, the adult group at our church lay dormant. This year they decided to come alive and participate in the life of the church. They plan special events and commemorations and are in charge of making things happen. They were instrumental in helping one of the ladies of the church, Dona Maria, celebrate her 80th birthday with a devotional and cake. She was most appreciative. For Mother's Day, the ladies in the adult group made aprons to put clothespins in to make it easier to hang clothes to dry since folks where we live do not have dryers. The group provides food and fellowship during Sunday School and recently organized a covered dish lunch following Sunday School. It was well-received, and a number of people participated. They also coordinated diaper donations for new mothers and food donations for needy people.
In June, we took our vacation and saw each of our three children, who are spread out all over the United States. We visited the Grand Canyon with our daughter and son-in-law who live in Phoenix. It was most impressive. We are not familiar with much of the U.S. west of the Mississippi River, so it was nice to visit a place we had never been. We visited our son in South Carolina, and we visited our son in Jacksonville, FL where he serves as a U.S. Navy officer. We also attended a Gartrell family reunion. Two of my cousins died last year within a week of each other, so we thought it was important to get together this year. There were about 50 of us gathered on a lake in Alabama for the weekend. It was great seeing cousins and their families and meeting the next generation.
It has been four months since Dorothy had brain surgery to stop the epileptic seizures that she has had since a bicycle accident at the age of nine. Prior to surgery, she would have small seizures every few weeks for a few days, then she would be all right until the next time. In January, she had a grand-mal seizure. I had to get help to get her in the car and to our local emergency room. The doctor gave her two shots that caused her to sleep off and on for the better part of three days. Her neurologist in Salvador was not at all happy with the treatment she received. He said if she had another one here, it would be fatal.
On the doctor’s recommendation, we went to a teaching hospital in Ribeirao Preto in the state of São Paulo for evaluation for surgery. The surgeon there has been doing this type of surgery for 30 years. After monitoring her brain for a couple of days, they knew exactly what part was causing the seizures and were able to remove that spot. After the surgery, Dorothy was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. I was able to stay with her the whole time. God provided us with not one but two churches to help us while we were there. Dorothy has been seizure-free since her surgery. The Lord has healed her of her epilepsy. She will continue taking her medications for about a year since she has been taking them for over 40 years and will need to come off them slowly.
Dorothy and I will be on Interpretation Assignment for six months beginning in December of this year. We plan on visiting as many supporting churches as possible and exploring potential new church partnerships as well. We plan to make Mission Haven in Decatur, GA our home headquarters.
We really appreciate The Outreach Foundation being part of our support system since we were first appointed in 1990. After serving two churches in the States over a period of ten years, the Lord opened the door for us to come to Brazil for evangelism and church planting. We returned to the States for a while in 2008, but in 2012 we were reappointed as missionary co-workers with the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil. God is good. I always wanted to come back to Brazil because my parents served the Presbyterian Church of Brazil as missionaries for thirty-one years.
“To God be the glory, great things he has done.”
Grateful for your partnership,
Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell
Read more about the Gartrell's ministry by clicking HERE.
Outreach is seeking $25,000 for support funds for Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell.