Posts tagged Brazil
Developing South-South Mission Partnerships - Update

Dear friends,

What follows is adapted from an article by Rev. Mario Gois, who is a minister of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB, by its initials in Portuguese). It appeared in the latest issue of “O Estandarte” (“The Beacon”) which is the official monthly publication of the denomination. The IPIB is the partner church of The Outreach Foundation in the country.

It was a true pleasure to lead the trip and to see how God’s people in both Brazil and Ghana continue to strengthen their relationships in mission. Because of the trip, the youth at one of the Brazilian congregations have raised support to help fund the education of Ghanaian lay leaders. Outreach’s South to South efforts are avenues through which new global initiatives and collaborations can be initiated and expanded. I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did!

Read More
José Carlos Pezini - June 2018 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Let me begin by thanking you for your prayers. God has been great to us. After spending some time in the U.S., I returned to Brazil at the end of May to find that the SARA Retreat Ministry for Pastors continues to grow. In this update I want to share with you the testimony of a fellow pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, the Rev. Marcio Tenponi, whom God gave me the privilege of helping in his ministry. This is the Rev. Marcio’s testimony:

At the age of 17 I began to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I served the church as a lay leader until I received God’s call to the pastoral ministry. I surrendered to God and went to the Presbyterian seminary.

Read More
José Carlos Pezini - April 2018 Update

Dear friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Let me begin by thanking you for your prayers. God has been great to us. In January I had prostate surgery. Thanks to God’s grace, I recovered well. Within two weeks of the surgery, I was ready to return to my regular ministry activities including my international travels. Odete and I are so thankful for your lives and the care that you have demonstrated towards us.

The SARA ministry has grown exponentially in these last couple of years. Today there are 13 mentoring core groups spread out all over Brazil. Each one of them has two retreats per year. This year alone, we have scheduled 26 different retreats. It is through God’s mercy that we have already reached around 500 pastors in 13 different denominations. We have helped them through their daily struggles. Many of them have testified that through our personal mentoring and spiritual formation retreats, they have been able to conquer depression and other signs of burnout. As they recover from their personal burnout, they feel motivated to perform their ministry with enthusiasm and great joy again.

Read More
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.

Read More
New Church Development in Brazil - January 2018 Update

Reaching Younger Generations Through New Churches

“Each church has its own style but each one of them needs to have two main characteristics: It needs to be centered in the Gospel, committed to it, because that is what gives it integrity. It also needs to engage people that are not part of any church by identifying deeply with what they are going through.” With those words, Ricardo Agreste challenges Brazilian Christians to become actively involved in planting churches that welcome new generations who are not part of any congregation. Ricardo serves a Presbyterian church that was started fourteen years ago and which has now planted twenty additional churches. He is also one of the directors for the Center for Training of Church Planters (CTPI is its Portuguese acronym) which effectively equips pastors among several denominational traditions.

Read More
José Carlos Pezini - December 2017 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

This year has been very busy for Odete and me. We have been traveling all over Brazil, teaching, training, consulting, leading pastors’ retreats, coaching, and mentoring pastors. We have witnessed the action of God in the lives of many pastors. They have shared with us their struggles and difficulties. Many of them have thought more than once about leaving the ministry. Others are discouraged and still others are suffering from depression. During these three years we have helped more than fifty pastors get out of depression.

Our retreats have served as a place where they are encouraged and challenged to seek God first in their lives. A great number of pastors seem to be doing ministry on “autopilot.” They are tempted to read the Bible only to prepare sermons and not as a means to a devotional relationship with God. They see themselves as working for God rather than working with God. 

The good news is that pastors who have mentors through the SARA ministry and who participate in our retreats are being transformed. Their devotional life has been rescued, and their passion for ministry has returned. They have shared with us their joy and say that they cannot live without attending retreats and being accompanied by a mentor in ministry. As a result of their participation in retreats and mentoring, their churches have grown and because of this, they have regained their confidence as servants of God.

Read More
José Carlos Pezini - October 2017 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

It is a joy to share some great news with you. Three years ago, Steve and Kay Wright came to Brazil to visit the church planting projects that their church, Zionsville Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, has supported. I had the privilege of accompanying them and during the days we were together, they shared with me about the Great Banquet, a retreat ministry which had greatly impacted their congregation. They invited me to attend a “Great Banquet,” and I did so the following year. Seeing what God was doing through this three-day weekend largely led by lay people, I heard the Lord whispering in my heart that the Great Banquet would be a wonderful gift to the Church in Brazil.

Steve Wright agreed with me, and we began planning for a Brazilian version. Zionsville Presbyterian Church started inviting Brazilians who spoke English to its semi-annual banquets to become the seed group of a Brazilian leadership team. In two years twenty people, ten men and ten women, traveled from Brazil to attend a Great Banquet. Steve and Kay returned to Brazil two years ago to guide this leadership group in preparing for the banquet. Then, with the blessing of God, we set the date for the Great Banquet in Brazil.   

Read More
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. 

Read More
José Carlos Pezini - May 2017 Update

The ministries in Brazil are going well. In fact, they are growing more quickly than I can handle. When I started working with pastors here, I had no idea that so many of them were experiencing burnout. About a third of the pastors who participate in the three-day SARA retreats suffer from this, and many of them are taking anti-depression medication. So, there is a real sense of urgency for a time of healing and wholeness for God’s servants within the SARA retreat ministry.

SARA is working in three different areas. Our main focus, of which the retreats are part, is mentoring more than two hundred pastors. In order to be able to care for each of these 200 pastors, I have trained 40 other mentors but even this number is not enough to meet the great demand. The mentors offer to their mentees one hour of conversation per month, while the mentees commit to participate in two SARA retreats each year. 

Read More
Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell - March 2017 Update

Dear friends and family,

We are south of the equator, so this time of year is our summer. It has been very hot and unfortunately seriously dry. Our church work, however, has NOT been dry, but lively and refreshing. Presbytery meetings here are held yearly and last from Friday to Sunday, beginning with committee meetings on Friday afternoon. We have only seven churches in our presbytery spread out over this large state. The last few meetings have been in a meeting center in the capital, Salvador. We hosted the January 2017 meeting. It was a wonderful experience for us and those who attended. There were about 40 people there. Our church members have the gift of hospitality and are realizing they can serve the Lord by opening their hearts and homes to others. They are good cooks, so their meals are delicious. The attendees spent two nights and ate five meals with us. They slept in our homes and ate together at the church. Our church used to have an elementary school, so it has a small but nice kitchen in which large meals can be cooked. The presbytery meeting began with a meeting of the Adult Group on Friday afternoon.

Read More
José Carlos Pezini (Outreach) - December 2016 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was a very busy and stressful year of my ministry here in Brazil. SARA Ministries is growing so fast that it is almost impossible to respond to all the demands. The number of pastors who are being mentored is growing day by day. This year I have trained more pastors to be mentors, bringing the total to thirty-eight. Each one of these new pastor-mentors serves an average of five pastors. 

Read More
José Carlos Pezini (Mission Staff) - August 2016 update

It is truly amazing what God has accomplished through the SARA ministries this year. The number of pastors in the mentoring program is growing every day. In this update I would like to tell you about a mentor training retreat we held in May in Curitiba.There were thirty-three pastors from six different denominations in attendance. SARA works with the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, Lutheran Church, United Presbyterian Church, Bethany Evangelical Church and Congregational Evangelical Church. 

Read More
Tim and Marta Carriker (PCUSA) - December 2015 Update

Dear friends, 

Soon Marta and I will return to the U.S., in the Charlotte area, to conclude our current term of service in Brazil. We would love to have the opportunity to visit you between December and March to share with you how God has been at work in and through our partnerships and to personally thank you for the support you have given us over the years. Our prayers these days focus especially on our current transition in ministry. We covet your prayers as well. Let me explain.

Read More
Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell (PCUSA) - December 2015

Dear family, friends and supporters, 

Thank you for your support of our ministry. It’s going well, and good things are happening. More people are worshiping with us each week. It’s nice to see young folks in the church, too. Without your prayers and support, these people would not be learning about the Lord.

However, we recently received a letter from World Mission of the PC(USA) informing us of the current financial situation. Giving is down, and the endowment funds have run out. In the 1960s endowments and Shared Mission Support made up 80% of co-worker support. In 2014 they paid for 16% of missionary support. We realize that many of you give to our support, and we are grateful. We were surprised to learn that only 15% of congregations give directly to mission support. Up to 40 co-workers (of 162) could be downsized next year!

Read More
New Church Development in Brazil - September 2015 Update

Dear Friends,

For many years the principal partnership of The Outreach Foundation with the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil was in relationship to the IPIB’s church-planting initiatives in the semi-arid interior of Northeast Brazil (Sertão), in the river communities of the Amazon Region, and in the largely unchurched southern (Gaucho) part of Brazil. 

Read More
José Carlos Pezini - April 2015 Update

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends in Christ, 

Peace be with you all from our Lord Jesus Christ. My wife, Odete, and I are full of joy as we reflect on what God is doing in our lives and ministry in Brazil. The retreat and mentoring ministry we started three years ago, “SARA” (meaning “healing”), is multiplying every day. 

Read More
José Carlos Pezini (Mission Staff) - December 2014 Update

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends in Christ,

Merry Christmas to you all. I pray that God brings much joy to your heart during this Advent season.

As this year comes to an end, I would like to thank you for your love, prayers and support for our ministry. This year was a blessing. God is multiplying our ministry since we returned to Brazil. As this year comes to an end, I would like to thank you for your love, prayers and support for our ministry. 

Read More
Rev. Dr. José Carlos Pezini (Mission Staff) - October 2014 Update

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends,

Greetings in the name of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ! I am writing this update with much joy and enthusiasm as I think on the opportunities that I have had to mentor and coach pastors all over Brazil. The demand is great. Every single day I receive phone calls and emails from pastors asking for help. Many of them are facing burnout.

Read More