Be A Missionary Right Where You Live

Corrie Ten Boom is attributed to saying, “a person is either a missionary or a mission field.”  We understand that every person on planet Earth is either saved or lost.  If you are a Christian, the Great Commission is telling YOU to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).  This verse is not directed solely to full-time missionaries that live in a foreign country.  It doesn’t matter where one may live, or the occupation from which one receives a paycheck, every Christian has the duty and responsibility to share the Gospel with those that are lost and without Christ.

With today being January 1st, I want to challenge you, not to make a New Year’s Resolution, but to make a commitment to try and win (at least) one soul to Christ this year.  That’s not expecting or asking a lot.  Look back over the past year and see if you can remember when the last time was that you handed someone a Gospel tract, or even shared the Gospel with someone.  If you did not share the Gospel with anyone last year, never handed out one tract, or didn’t invite anyone to church last year, then shame on you!

Church growth should be more of a result of evangelism than by receiving people by letter from another church.  If every Christian in your church would win someone to the Lord this year, your church could double in size in 365 days.  Determine that in this new year that you are going to be a missionary right where you live, and stop acting like a “mission field.”

December 2017 Prayer Letter

Dear faithful partners in the ministry,

One year ago today, we arrived back in Brazil to begin our fourth term of missionary service.  It’s hard to believe how quickly this year has flown by.

We have seen God do some wonderful things in the work here in São Paulo, as well as in the neighboring city of Arujá.  Working with the Deaf is often slow and difficult, but during the course of this year we have seen fourteen deaf adults and two hearing children make professions of faith.

Back in October, Becky began an evangelistic Bible study with a young deaf lady by the name of Janine.  Becky often uses the Wordless Book Visualized to teach salvation to the Deaf, and Janine was faithful to come to the Bible study each week.  She is unemployed, and that has enabled her to read and study the Bible at home on her own.  Janine would often send Becky a text message and ask questions about a particular word or verse.  On Thursday evening, December 14, Janine came early to prayer meeting so that Becky could give her another Bible study about salvation.  Before Janine went home that night, she prayed and accepted Christ as her Savior.

We would appreciate your prayers for our co-workers, Jon and Hannah Speights.  They are on furlough now, but still need to raise additional support before returning to Brazil.  They would like to return in April, and we would also like for them to return in April.  Thank you, in advance, for adding them to your prayer list and remembering them in your prayers.

We are busy planning for 2018 at the Bible Baptist Church for the Deaf in São Paulo, and also for the work in Arujá.  There is much to do in a city this size, and we are still praying for two more couples/families that would come over into São Paulo and help us.

As we come to the close of 2017, once again we want to express our sincere appreciation to all that have prayed for us faithfully, and have given financially to our ministry.  We are most grateful to those that gave a Christmas offering, and also gave a special offering toward our vehicle fund.  We are blessed to have you on our team, to partner with us here in Brazil, and we don’t take you for granted.  May the Lord grant you a fruitful, blessed, and HAPPY NEW YEAR as you enter 2018!

That all may “hear,”

Dan & Becky Bennett

Christmas Time

The Christmas season is upon us.

You don’t have to exchange presents.

You don’t have to put up a Christmas tree.

You don’t have to listen to Christmas music.

You don’t have to decorate or put up lights.

You don’t have to wish people, “Merry Christmas.”

You don’t have to celebrate with family and friends.

You don’t have to go caroling with the other church members.

You don’t have to make Christmas cookies, or have a Christmas dinner.

You don’t have to wear Christmas sweatshirts, ties, earrings or necklaces.

You don’t have to watch Santa Claus, Frosty, or the other Christmas specials.

But, if you are a Christian, you should celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  No, Jesus was not born on December 25, but Jesus WAS born, and He DID live, died on a cross, was buried, and rose from the dead!  If it wasn’t for the BIRTH of the Savior, there would be no death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior.

God never commanded us to celebrate HIS birth, but celebrating the birth of the Savior began on the day He was born when the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, saying, “Glory to God in the highest.”  I celebrate Christmas because I celebrate Jesus. The birth of Jesus was important back when He was born more than 2,000 years ago, and it is still important today.

October 2017 Ministry Report

October 31, 2017

Dear co-laborers in the Lord’s service,

Please join with us in praise to our great God, that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Since our last prayer letter, we have seen God do some wonderful things in our monthly Bible studies in Arujá.  On September 16, we saw three deaf people make professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

In September, special recognition is given to the Deaf community around Brazil with a theme entitled, “Blue September”.  To coincide with Deaf awareness, we had the first-ever “Blue Sunday” in our church on September 24.  We had 64 in attendance, 6 first-time visitors, and 11 total visitors. One of the first-time visitors was a young deaf lady by the name of Jéssica, who Becky led to the Lord after the service. Jéssica said that no one had ever taught her how to be saved.

In October, we had the privilege of having our pastor and his wife, Dr. Kenneth and Christine Walters (Becky’s parents) here with us in Brazil.  Pr. and Mrs. Walters are from Southside Baptist Church in Rock Hill, SC.  It was a pleasure to have them here.  Dan asked Pastor Walters to preach the service in Arujá on October 14.  Dan translated as the Gospel was given, and a deaf couple, Aloísio and Avani, put their trust in Jesus Christ after the service.  Also, Becky was able to lead Guilherme to the Lord, a six-year-old hearing boy of Luiz and Rafaela, the deaf couple that was saved back in April.  The three pictured here are the ones that were saved in October’s meeting.  The deaf couple is showing their free Bibles they received that were printed at the First Baptist Church in Milford, OH, and donated by a dear couple in Woodruff, SC.

Every month, the deaf people in Arujá that go to the Bible studies beg us to start a church out there.  Please continue to pray that God would send forth laborers in the needy harvest field of São Paulo.

In our last prayer letter, I mentioned the need for a newer vehicle, and some have generously responded.  Our pastor also sent out a letter to some of his church contacts, and even suggested that churches take up a special offering for a Thanksgiving or Christmas project.  For that reason, our pastor suggested that we wait to purchase a vehicle until all special offerings have been received, so we will wait until January to purchase the right vehicle.  Please keep praying that God would provide the finances for us to be able to purchase the right vehicle at the right price, and that God would give us wisdom in making this decision.

We greatly appreciate every church and individual that invests in the Lord’s work in São Paulo.  We pray God’s blessings on you for your love and generosity to your missionary representatives in Brazil.

That all may “hear,”

Dan and Becky Bennett

Teaching the Deaf to Read

I grew up in DeBary, Florida, a small city in central Florida.  My father was the pastor of the First Baptist Church, a small church consisting mainly of retired people.  My parents loved missions, and taught the church people to love missionaries, too.

Approximately 20 miles away was located a “Boot Camp” for New Tribes Mission in Oviedo.  They had chapel services each Tuesday night, and many times throughout the year my Dad would load up the family to go to Boot Camp.  Our whole family loved going out there and meeting those pioneer missionaries that had given their lives to reach the unreached.  They sacrificed a whole lot more than most missionaries in that they were preparing to embark on a difficult, and often dangerous, task of going into tribal areas, learning how to build huts and thatch rooves, kill and prepare wild animals of all sizes, and at the same time maintaining a friendly relationship with the “savage” indians.

However, what fascinated me more than anything was that these missionaries were preparing to go to unreached tribes that had no written language, and attempt to learn their tribal dialect.  They wanted to phonetically learn the language so that they could translate a Bible into the tribal dialect, and teach them the Word of God, and teach them to read in their own language.  Having to spend many hours doing this type of arduous work to teach them the Word of God required dedication, sacrifice, and commitment.  Having the ability to read and write is something that most people take for granted.

In some ways, this is very similar to reaching the Deaf.  In Brazil, the only language that many deaf people know is Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS).  Many have not been taught and have not learned to read and write the Portuguese language.

We tell the church members that they need to read the Bible, but that is like arriving in a remote, unreached tribal village, handing the tribesmen a King James Version of the Bible, and telling them they need to read it.  They must first be taught to read, before they can read the Bible.

My wife has a burden for the Deaf, and a desire to teach the Deaf how to read, so that they can read and understand the Bible.  This afternoon she started a “Portuguese Class” for those interested in   learning how to read, beginning with the “A,B,C’s.”   This is quite an undertaking, but if just one deaf person can learn to read the Bible, then it will be worth it.

I know that Becky would be most grateful if you would pray for her as she teaches Portuguese to our deaf people, with some being in their 70’s, and one deaf lady in her 80’s.

Thank you, and God bless!

“Inactive Ingredients”

I woke up this morning with a muscle pain in my back, so I went to the cabinet to get some acetaminophen (generic Tylenol).  I know that some medications are not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, so I began to look for any type of warning on the label regarding this information.

At the top of the label, printed in bold letters, were the words, “Drug Facts.”  Underneath “Drug Facts” it read, “Active ingredient (in each caplet), Acetaminophen 500 mg.”  That’s it.  There was one active ingredient.  The stated purpose was, “Pain reliever/fever reducer.”  That’s what I needed.

As I quickly read the uses stated on the label about relieving minor aches and pains, there was also a liver warning if one exceeded the recommended dosage, and an allergy alert.  The label gave strict instructions about who should not use the product, and who should consult a doctor or pharmacist before use.

However, what got my attention was at the bottom of the label.  Interestingly enough, these words were printed so that everyone could know what is in the medication, besides the acetaminophen: “Inactive ingredients.”  (I will not state them here, but you can read them for yourself on the side of the bottle the next time you go to your medicine cabinet, local pharmacy, or Wal-Mart.

“Inactive ingredients?”  Really?  Why were inactive ingredients added to the acetaminophen?  Who decided to add random components that have no medicinal purpose to the pain reliever?  I was surprised to read that in each caplet there were NINE inactive ingredients, while there was only ONE active ingredient.  Think about it: 90% of what is in each caplet is inactive, or useless, while only 10% is active, or useful.

As I thought about this, it made me think of a lot of churches that have some, “inactive ingredients.”  Many church members (90%, or even more) just show up, but are inactive and have no purpose.  They are inactive in Sunday School, the choir, visitation (more like 99% inactive for visitation), and even tithing.  An inactive member is a useless member, much like the inactive ingredients in acetaminophen that serve no purpose.   It’s probably church members like this that cause the pastor to run to his medicine cabinet for acetaminophen!

Christian friend, don’t be a random “inactive ingredient” in your church, but rather, be an “active ingredient” that actually serves a purpose, even if you are only one in ten that does.  Who knows?  You may be the one that relieves your pastor from a headache caused by 90% of the inactive members.  You can be sure that your pastor will be grateful that you are an “active ingredient” in the work of the Lord.

Pray for Laborers

It is recorded in Matthew 9:37 and 38 that Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus said these words.  The harvest is still truly plenteous, and the laborers are still too few.  However, there’s not a lack of laborers because I haven’t prayed for them.  Are there still too few laborers because YOU are not praying to the Lord of the harvest and asking, or rather, BEGGING Him to send more laborers?

Please, pray with us that God will send more laborers in the needy harvest fields around the world.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

As a child, I was taught in my public elementary school that if you were to ever catch on fire, the three things to remember are: 1) STOP, 2) DROP, and 3) ROLL.

Unfortunately, it appears as if there are many Christians that have taken this to a spiritual level.  I know some Christians that used to be “on fire” for God.  However, they managed to put their spiritual fire out when they decided to STOP reading their Bibles and praying, DROP out of church, and started to ROLL in the mire of the world.

Christian friend, get out of the pigpen of the world, get back in church, and start having your devotions again.  Get on fire for God as you were before, and never STOP, DROP, and ROLL spiritually ever again.

August 2017 Ministry Update

Dear faithful ministry partners,

In our last prayer letter, we told you about the monthly Bible studies in the home of one of our deaf couples that live over an hour away in the city of Arujá.  On April 15, we had a wonderful day at the evangelistic Bible study at the home of Ademir and Rita.  After Dan had preached for two hours, Luiz and Rafaella (a deaf couple) wanted to talk more with us about salvation. After another hour, they both repented of their sin, asked for God’s forgiveness, and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. It was a “GLORY, HALLELUJAH” kind of day!

On March 19, Becky began a Bible study with Graciete, a sweet deaf lady who is low verbal.  She loved learning, but she had such a hard time understanding as she really had no language.  Becky began using the Wordless Book Visualized that we brought from the States, beginning slowly with Heaven, then moving on to sin, what it is, where it started, who sins, etc.  Becky then moved on to the One who could take the punishment for Graciete’s sin.

Just as they were getting to the Cross, José Joaquim and Cláudia, a new deaf couple, joined in on the Bible study.  When these two began coming, Becky started over again with Heaven and sin, the Cross and then the Resurrection.  This was spread out over about ten weeks of continual, repetitious Bible study. On May 28, all three deaf had come to the point where they were understanding and needed to be confronted in a personal way about Heaven and Hell. They each knew that they wanted to be saved, that they wanted Heaven, and not Hell, but they still were not sure how to be saved. Becky showed them the video that Deaf Evangelist Ronnie Rice made for Silent Word Ministries, and they watched with interest. After watching the video and asking more questions, each of these three deaf people, one by one, asked Jesus to forgive their sins and to be their Savior!  It was a glorious day! 

On August 5, we went to a birthday party of a little boy that just had his first birthday.  There were a lot of people there, many whom we did not know.  Shortly after we started eating, Angelo (one of our deaf men) came over to me with a hearing boy and told me that the boy wanted to know about Jesus.  Diogo told me that they attended an Assembly of God church, and he thought that he was on his way to Heaven.  As I began to explain the Gospel to this boy, tears began running down his face when I told him that Jesus paid the penalty for his sin.  After several interruptions, Diogo bowed his head and trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.  While we went to a birthday party to celebrate the birthday of a one-year-old, we also celebrated the new birth of an eight-year-old.  Praise the Lord!

A few weeks back I sent out an email because our home church pastor, Dr. Kenneth Walters, recommended that we write a letter to our supporting churches to inform you of our need for a newer, more reliable vehicle.  Since our last prayer letter, I have had to call a tow truck three times to take our van to the mechanic.  We really are in need of a reliable vehicle that has a minimum seating capacity for seven people.  Would you please pray about what God would have you to do to help us with this need?  If you would like to help us with a monetary gift, you may send a check to BIMI.  You may also give online by going to bimi.org, and pay via PayPal under the “Giving” tab.  Please include, “DAN BENNETT #814 – VEHICLE FUND” when giving.  To those of you that have already given toward our vehicle fund, THANK YOU!

We have so much for which to praise the Lord, and a big part of what we are able to do is because friends like YOU are investing in the ministry of which we are co-laborers here in Brazil.  Thank you for partnering with us!

That all may “hear,”

Dan & Becky Bennett

Prayer Letter/Ministry Update

Dear faithful co-laborers,

“Only one life twill soon be past – only what’s done for Christ will last.”  (Missionary Charles T. Studd)

As I sit here and begin to write this ministry report, it’s hard to know just where to begin.  God has been so good to us, and has blessed us with many spiritual blessings.

Since our return to Brazil on December 30, 2016, we have been going “full throttle” in the work of the ministry.  The theme of our church for 2017 is “Revival of Prayer,” and so we began in January to have a separate Bible study for the men, and for the ladies on one Saturday of the month.  Dan is teaching the men, Becky is teaching the ladies, and we both are teaching on the subject of prayer.

We also have another evangelistic Bible study one Saturday a month in the home of Ademir and Rita, a faithful deaf couple who are members of our church.  They have been coming to our church for many years by public transportation over two hours each way.  They invited their deaf friends in their neighborhood to church, but it was too far away, and no one came to church with them.  In September of last year, Ademir and Rita began to open their home and invited their deaf friends to the Bible study.  After the very first Bible study, one young hard-of-hearing man named Luciano trusted Christ as his personal Savior.  In November, another deaf man, Robert, made a profession of faith after the Bible study.  A couple of weeks ago, Gabriely, a deaf lady wept for joy as Becky led her to the Lord on March 18th.  Ademir has a small, five-passenger car, so he makes three trips to bring the deaf to his house for the Bible study.  The deaf out in the city of Arujá are hungry to learn to Word of God, and even after preaching for 90 minutes, they beg me to keep on going.  I have been asked several times, “When are you going to start a church out here?”  Our co-workers, Jon and Hannah Speights, are leaving for furlough next week, so the start of a new congregation may have to wait until they get back.  Please pray with us about the logistics of starting a new church out in Arujá.

We have begun to use Facebook Live to be able to live-stream our Sunday worship service.  On the very first Sunday, a Brazilian deaf lady that lives in Switzerland watched the sermon, and was thrilled because there is not a good church where she lives that preaches in Portuguese sign language.  Imagine that!

There is much work to be done among the Deaf in the greater São Paulo area, but the fact remains as it did some two thousand years ago when Jesus stated it so well in Matthew 9:37.  Jesus told His disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.”  He then went on to say in verse 38, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”  We are praying for TWO FAMILIES that would surrender their lives to come over into São Paulo and help us reach the deaf.  Would you please add this prayer request on your prayer list, and join us in prayer for these two families?

As I mentioned earlier, our co-workers over the past three and a half years will be going on furlough next week.  Jon and Hannah have been a tremendous help and blessing to us in the work, and they will be greatly missed.  Please pray for them as they travel, report to supporting churches, and raise additional support.

We understand the importance of each person that gives to missions, and prays for us.  We could not do what we do without you.  THANK YOU!

That all may “hear,”

Dan & Becky Bennett