Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell - February 2018 Update
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19
Dorothy and I are in the United States for six months speaking at churches about our work in Brazil, where we are PC(USA) missionary co-workers working in partnership with the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil. We are working in leadership development in the local church as well as evangelism. We have been in Governador Mangabeira in the state of Bahia for the last 2½ years, which is a couple of hours from Salvador on the coast.
We arrived in the U.S. the first week of December. We spent several days at headquarters working on our talks and being oriented by the staff. Everyone was focused on Christmas in December, so we took advantage of that and went to see our children. We started in Jacksonville, FL where our son and his family live. We were able to spend precious time with our first granddaughter, who will be two years old in March. Our oldest son, who lives in Spartanburg, SC, joined us for Christmas with our daughter and her husband in Phoenix, AR. Being from the southeast, I have had very little exposure to the western part of the United States so it was good to get to know a little bit more of the west, the desert, and cacti.
In January we hit the ground running. We are booked with Sunday speaking engagements from the first Sunday of January until May, except for Palm Sunday and Easter. We will be happy to be sitting in the pew those Sundays. Our time in the States is supposed to be a time of sharing about our work in Brazil, but we are also supposed to take some time for ourselves to recharge our batteries. We will do a little bit of that in between speaking engagements. We do have weekdays that are open and we are willing to speak to PW groups, family night suppers, etc.
While we are away from the field for these six months, the session is taking on the responsibilities for Sunday School, worship and mid-week Bible study/prayer meeting. One Sunday a month, a pastor will come and celebrate Holy Communion.
Jaime joined the church during our time there. He is a retired school teacher. We asked him if he would teach the young adults, a challenge he promptly accepted. He has turned out to be a wonderful Bible teacher. While we are gone, the adult and young adult Sunday School classes have joined, and he is teaching the joint class. One night a week on his own time, he is teaching a Bible class to friends in the next town. Before we left, he asked us for more material to teach. God is raising up new leadership in the church, and Jaime is one of our emerging leaders. He is well-known and respected in town. When we need things done at the church we speak to Jaime, and in his own quiet way he sees to it. He was instrumental in getting the right people to install a fiberglass ceiling in the sanctuary. The church has wanted this for a very long time, but they did not have the resources to put a ceiling in, or so they thought. It took about a week to put the ceiling in. They will pay for the ceiling in six months. One little lady asked if she had to contribute a certain amount for the ceiling. I said, “No. We want everyone to contribute what they can so everyone will be able to say, ‘I helped with the ceiling.’” Some people are able to contribute more, others less. What is important is that they all have a hand in it and feel that it is their project and not mine. The ceiling has made the sanctuary cooler, and the acoustics are much better.
I would like to tell you about Adilson. His wife has prayed for him for 40 years that he would finally accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Many pastors have come and gone during these years. Evidently, he has been watching us closely. One day he told his wife, “I want to join YOUR church.” He participated in the communicants’ class, and he and four others joined the church. Adilson has made church attendance a priority. He is there Sunday morning for Sunday School and comes back in the evening for worship, when it is cooler. He comes to the Bible/prayer meeting during the week, as well. He is a new Christian. He still has difficulty finding the Bible passage we are going to study. If we do not end prayer meeting with the Lord’s prayer, he feels something is missing.
Dorothy and I have been reappointed for a four-year term that began this January. The Outreach Foundation has been part of our support system for twenty-five years. We are thankful for your prayers and financial support, which in turn makes it possible to do the work God has called us to do.
1. for travel safety as we itinerate in churches in the U.S.
2. for those leading the church in Brazil in our absence
3. for wisdom for us to know what God wants us to do when we return to the mission field, possibly new work in the next town
Thank you for your strong support for our work in Brazil. We want to see the church of the Lord Jesus continually grow. We want more and more people to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. God calls us by name to come, “Follow me. I will make you fish for people.”
We will be returning to Brazil the first week of June. In all our years, this is the first time we will be returning to a place we have already served. The local church is happy for us to return, and we are happy to be there as well.
Yours in Christian service,
Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell
Read more about the Gartrell's HERE.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking $25,000 for support funds for Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell.