Greetings in our Lord, Jesus Christ,
We want to share with you one way that your gifts have multiplied the number of people who hear about the Lord. You have given and can continue to give gifts toward our financial support and to enhance our work. In 1995 we were working in one church and, with the help of a lay evangelist and his family, beginning a new church. The lay evangelist, Edivan, was a well-known and respected mechanic from another part of the state. His wife, Vanda, and their four children completed his team. They each played a strong part in the ministry. The children each play a variety of instruments and sing beautifully. Edivan’s sermons informed listeners about the Bible and challenged them to live stronger Christian lives. Edivan was ready to learn more about the Bible.
In Brazil, seminary is on the college level. Edivan had never received a high school diploma. He had taken all the courses but never took the finals for two classes. In answer to many prayers, he was able to take the tests and receive a diploma days before he needed it. We were able to direct some of the work funds from PC(USA) churches to help Edivan and Vanda attend seminary.
The adults and two younger children moved 600 miles to attend seminary. Each member of the family was able to participate in special learning opportunities. Today they are starting a new church in a south-central state. Vanda preaches some and works with the children. Their children are active in the music program, playing the violin, guitar, keyboard and drums and leading the singing. They each participate in their appropriate fellowship groups. A youth group here can be for people up to the age of 30 or so.
As for our current ministry, in January, the month of school vacation, the church held Vacation Bible School for children for the first time in a number of years. Each day was begun with lots of active singing. Figurines of a soccer team and the words were projected on the wall for a song in which Jesus was the coach of the soccer team. It was followed by a Bible story, evangelism story, memory verse activities, games and a snack. The number of participants varied from 11 to 23. The church youth were home from college, so they led the singing.
We have lived in six states since 1990. We have found that the state of Minas Gerais and our city of Pains offers much better services than other cities and states where we’ve lived. When we first moved here the health department visited us and wanted to know about any special needs we had. Gordon, who is a Brazilian citizen, was given one of his diabetes medications. He didn’t want it since we have wonderful health insurance, but they assured him there was plenty and he wouldn’t be taking what someone else could use.
We have a hospital facility here that is more like an emergency room and a doctor’s office. While we were packing to leave Belem last April, Gordon’s eye hurt. When we arrived here, as soon as we got off the bus, we were taken to the hospital and the doctor prescribed medication for his eye infection. In January Dorothy, who is not a Brazilian citizen, fell coming out of a store. As a result of that fall she received chest x-rays, an ultrasound, injections for pain, and prescriptions for pain relief medicine. All of this was free.
The children from the entire county are brought to Pains for school. Each year the children in this county are given uniforms and school supplies and daily they receive lunch, if they study in the morning, or an equivalent meal before leaving in the afternoon. Fresh fruit and healthy foods are a part of these meals. Every other place we lived all these things had to be purchased. We are grateful!
Currently Gordon is leading a new-member class with a young woman who participates in all the church activities, wants to know more about the Bible, and wants to work to improve the church. Dorothy recently met with the deacons to talk about their responsibilities and how they can achieve them. The deacons hadn’t met for over five years. They looked at the responsibilities and decided how they, as a team, can do them. One of the deacons is illiterate, but monthly she prepares Communion. Another deacon, Raquel, owns a drug store and works long hours. She has worked out a system with the church’s paid cleaning woman. The maid takes the list of needed supplies to the drugstore so Raquel can buy them and leave them at the church after work. Two women have agreed to help Dorothy plan the children’s education activities. The church members now know that if they see a problem they can alert one of the deacons and she will take care of it. The deacons were excited to know what their responsibilities were and see how they could meet them.
Thank you for your prayers, letters and financial support. We are here because of your dedication to the spreading of the gospel. We will be coming to the U.S. for Interpretation Assignment in November. We will be available to visit you from November 2014 through April 2015.
If you would like to know more about our work or how to give a gift, you can go towww.presbyterianmission.org/gordon-and-dorothy-gartrell
Dorothy and Gordon Gartrell
Rua João Batista Velosa, 652
35582-000 Pains, MG
Individuals: Give online to E200489 for Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell’s sending and support
Congregations: Give to D506355 for Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell’s sending and support