Adapted from Bill and Dorothy Kettlewells’ November 2018 prayer letter. As they approached retirement in early 2019, Bill and Dorothy shared stories of leaders that the Lord used them to reach and train during the Kettlewells’ nearly 50 years in northeast Brazil.
Serving the Lord in church-planting missions is all about Love and Trust. For us it began with the love of God that provided our salvation and commits to our transformation into the image of His Son. Foreign missions is an obvious extension of that Love and Trust as we pass it on. It is seen in evangelism and instruction in obedience. You love those new believers and trust the Lord to grow them into the leaders of tomorrow.
We joyfully give of ourselves and our substance as the Lord provides. This is where that Love and Trust must exercise wisdom, just as parents teach their children to walk, ride a bike, drive a car, or step out in life alone. With that said, together with you, we continue to partner with three Brazilian families as they serve the Lord. Through you, the Lord has allowed us to continue to not only support them with our prayer, but also with our substance.
Ageu entered our lives as a teenager when we first arrived in Aracati in 1996. After every message, he had questions. Each of those answers inspired a never-ending chain of more questions. Within three months, he accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord. His growth and dedication to the Lord led him to Bible college to prepare for ministry. During his last two years in Bible college, Ageu assumed the leadership of a small, struggling congregation 40 miles from the college. After Ageu’s graduation, that congregation called him to be their pastor.
Ageu and Irlana accepted that call and moved to Milagres, trusting the Lord to supply their needs. Under his leadership, that congregation is now an organized church. The church outgrew their building, leading them to rebuild to better accommodate a growing church. Even with all of this growth, the church has never been able to fully support Ageu and his family financially. Irlana’s serious health problems has contributed to this shortfall.
Justino might be referred to as a ‘spiritual grandson.’ We met him in Aiuaba in 2005 while meeting with the church and introducing them to Bible Training Centers for Pastors and Leaders (in-church training that Bill provided). It was a thrill to sit there with seven growing Christian men who wanted to learn biblical leadership. Two years later, Justino was one of the five men who completed the course. Though qualified to pastor, Justino just wanted to help the others in leadership.
About a year later, I received a call from a deacon in the São Domingos church informing me they needed a pastor. For many reasons, pastors did not last more than two years in that very poor rural community of about 1200 people. I called Justino and asked if he could fill the pulpit that next weekend. He willingly accepted the invitation, which meant riding his motorcycle, with his wife for an hour and a half on dirt roads. They asked him to return the next weekend; he has been doing that for almost 10 years. It is a joy to see this man of God exemplify Love and Trust as he pastors this church. This church, barring special divine intervention, will never be able to fully support Justino and his wife.
Francenildo is another servant that has come from the Aiuaba church. We met him when he was a faithful, loving, and trusting Sunday School teacher. He supported his family with a bread route that he maintained on his motorcycle with a very big basket tied on the back. That bread route was also his opportunity to spread the gospel. On Sundays he would take off the basket and make several trips to pick up children, two and three at a time, for Sunday School. Francenildo has now completed the Bible Training Centers for Pastors and Leaders and is the church’s missionary pastor in the neighboring town of Barra. For Francenildo, Love and Trust means that he continues to work to provide for his family and carry on the work the Lord has for him.