Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell
Dorothy and I have been in Belem at the mouth of the Amazon River in north Brazil for six months. We have been working closely with Pastora Cilene from First Church and also with the congregation in the Sacramenta neighborhood where we live. We felt we needed to be doing more to help the Sacramenta congregation grow. So beginning in August, Dorothy and I assumed responsibility for the Sacramenta congregation. We are continuing with the children’s program on Wednesdays and worship remains on Sunday nights. We have added Bible study for adults Thursday evenings and church school Sunday mornings, for all ages. That way the church is open more, and people realize we really are serious about the things of the Lord.
We have had several celebrations in the congregation. In May the children put on a nice Mother’s Day program. They sang, read poetry, and gave a small gift to their moms. In June we had two days of Vacation Bible School. This year Dorothy and I observed how the church folks do VBS. Next year we will be able to help plan Vacation Bible School.
Father’s Day in Brazil is the second Sunday of August, and we had another celebration honoring fathers. We did this on Saturday night. The children practiced some songs and had poems ready for the dads. When it was time to start, there were just a few people present. About a half-hour later one of the children said, “Let me go get my mom.” She ran home got her mom and told the neighbors, “They are ready to start.” Twenty people showed up. The children did their presentations, and Dorothy said a little something about her dad. I gave a short homily, and we ended with prayer and refreshments. In October Brazil celebrates Children’s Day, so there are more celebrations in the near future.
We need continued fervent prayer for our work. It has taken a while for the neighbors near the church to accept us. They have been asking, “Who are you? What are you doing here?” We are making progress in that area. After the Father’s Day program, one of the dads said, “You sure are doing good work with our children.” We are still very much in the beginning phase of our work here in Belem. The enemy is working double-time to keep us discouraged and keep us off guard by causing conflict within the church families. Our God is Greater and Mightier than any of that. Thank you for standing with us as we serve the Lord here in north Brazil.
In Christ's Service,
Dorothy and Gordon Gartrell