October 2018 Prayer Letter

October 11, 2018

Dear Faithful Co-laborers in the Ministry,

We have good news to share with you so that you can praise the Lord with us.

On Sunday, September 30, we had a special “Blue Sunday” to commemorate Deaf Awareness during the month of September. We had seven first-time visitors, and four other visitors that had come some time ago. There were 67 people in attendance, and one hearing eleven-year-old girl named Emily, that comes with her deaf grandmother, made a profession of faith. It was a, “Glory, Hallelujah,” kind of day!

A couple of months ago, a young family started attending our church because they found us by doing a search on the internet.  Alan is a very nice hearing man, married to Danielle, a precious deaf lady.  This sweet couple has a three-year-old boy named Miguel.  I had been trying to schedule a time when Becky and I could go and make a visit with them, but for one reason or another, we hadn’t been able to schedule anything until October 2.  At church, Alan told me that they liked our church, and they were interested in becoming members.  When I asked about their salvation, they assured me that they were saved.  When we arrived at their house, we were graciously received, had some small talk, and then began talking of spiritual matters.  Alan gave a clear testimony of salvation, but Danielle was unclear regarding why Jesus came, and how to be saved.  When Becky explained to Danielle that Jesus suffered and died in her place, it was as if the “light” came on, and Danielle began weeping when she understood that Jesus took her sin upon Himself.  With tears running down her face, Danielle repented of her sin, confessed her sins to God, and asked for God’s forgiveness.

On Saturday evening, October 6, we visited in the home of Ewerton, a single deaf man that lives with his hearing parents.  Ewerton has been coming to our church for months, is saved, intelligent, and has a hunger for God’s Word.  However, his parents are Catholic, and Ewerton has a burden to see his family saved.  On that night, we went over and spent four and a half hours at their apartment, and much of it was spent talking about spiritual things.  We showed them Bible verses, but their Catholic teachings were hindering them from receiving the Truth.  We left without seeing them saved, but we made a friendship with them, and were invited to go back next month.  Please pray for the salvation of Luiz and Magali.

On October 7, the presidential election was held in Brazil.  A person is declared the winner only if he/she receives 51% of the votes.  Since no one received 51%, there will be a runoff vote for only the top 2 candidates on October 28.  Your continued prayers would be greatly appreciated.

On October 21, 2018, a new church plant will begin in Arujá!  This will be a daughter church of our church in São Paulo.  Our co-workers, Jon and Hannah Speights, will begin holding Sunday services in their home each week.  Please pray for the Speights as they teach, preach, evangelize, and disciple the Deaf in this new church in Arujá.

The harvest among the Deaf is plenteous, but the laborers are VERY few.  We need some EXPERIENCED people that are surrendered, and that have a burden to teach, win, and disciple deaf people.  We ask that you continue to pray with us regarding the need for more laborers among the Deaf of São Paulo.

Thank you for partnering with us, and for allowing us to be your representatives in Brazil.

That all may “hear,”

Dan & Becky Bennett

July 2018 Prayer Letter

July 26, 2018

Dear Faithful Co-laborers in the Ministry,

What an honor it is to serve the Lord in Brazil!  We have much for which to praise the Lord.

First of all, we would like to start off by conveying our utmost gratitude to those that have given toward our vehicle fund.  We have found and purchased a 2006 Hyundai H1 Starex, a twelve-passenger (diesel) van in good condition, and with low miles/kilometers.

Thank you for praying for our co-workers, Jon and Hannah Speights.  They returned to Brazil on May 9th, and have found a house to rent in Arujá, the city where Jon began the Bible studies back in September of 2016.  The Deaf out there are excited about a new church being planted in the near future.

Update on Fran…You may remember reading about Fran, the lady who was watching our services via Facebook in the state of Acre. She and Becky began communicating over Messenger and finally began talking over Skype with video. Becky began talking about church and salvation. She asked Fran if she was saved, and she said, “yes,” so Becky asked her how she knew and what she did to be saved. She told Becky that she had been baptized and became a member of her church. When Becky told her that, according to the Bible, baptism could not save her, her mouth dropped open!  Becky then invited her to do a Bible study over the internet via Skype.  She was very interested, so they began meeting on Skype three times a week. On March 30th, the Friday before Easter, Fran was truly saved!!

This past February, as a distraction from Carnaval, we held a special day at church with food, games, and a devotion.  Marlene, a deaf sister of one of the men in our church, came to our get-together. On that day, Becky was able to talk with her and invite her to a Bible study.  She began coming the middle of March and began learning the Wordless Book.  On April 22, Marlene became a child of God!

We love how God is using the ministry of Facebook Live around Brazil. Toward the end of March, some Christian ladies in Curitiba, a city six hours south of us, began commenting on our services. We later found out that one of the ladies had taken a sign language course in her seminary up in the northern part of Brazil, and through our Facebook livestream ministry, God had touched her heart to do something with what she had learned.  She began a sign language class at her church on Sunday nights after the service.  She recently showed a video of her class signing a special music presentation.  There were 26 people signing!  God seems to be lighting a fire for the deaf and deaf ministry in Brazil.  Pray that the fire would burn long and that God would bring us new families to Brazil who are burdened to see the deaf saved.

We appreciate the birthday cards that some churches send to our family.  However, our four oldest adult children, Rachel, Joseph, Nathan, and Anna, are living in the United States now, so it is no longer necessary to send birthday cards to Brazil for them.  Deborah, Matthew, and Christine are still with us in Brazil, and they love receiving cards, letters, and small packages in the mail.

Thank you for the opportunity to come to Brazil as your representatives in this vast, needy harvest field.

That all may “hear,”

Dan & Becky Bennett

 

March 2018 Prayer Letter

March 29, 2018

Dear co-laborers in the harvest,

What a privilege it is to serve the Lord!  Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil.  It is now the Fall/Autumn season in Brazil, so we are seeing some cooler temperatures (lows in the mid 60’s) and rain almost every day.

I would like to start off by conveying our utmost gratitude to those that have given toward our vehicle fund.  We are looking and praying for the right one, so please pray with us about that.  We would love to be able to include a picture in our next prayer letter.

Back in January two deaf men started coming to church.  Ewerton, is a deaf man that was saved in 2005, but Eduardo was not saved.  Ewerton is a friend of Janine, the deaf lady that we told you about in our last prayer letter, and who was saved in December of last year.  Janine told Ewerton about the church, so Ewerton brought Eduardo to church so that he would get saved.  After a few weeks and much prayer, on Sunday evening of February 4 we spent two hours explaining the Gospel to Eduardo.  What a joy it was to see Eduardo pray to receive God’s forgiveness on that special day.

Thank you for praying for our co-workers, Jon and Hannah Speights.  They are on furlough now, but have purchased tickets to return to Brazil on May 9.  They could still use some additional support before returning to Brazil.  I spoke with Jon a few weeks back regarding their return, and he told me that they plan to look for a house in Arujá, out where he began the Bible studies back in September of 2016.  We will be going to Arujá on March 31, and the Deaf out there will be so excited when we tell them that the Speights will be moving there in May.  Please join with us in prayer about their need for a reasonably priced house to rent, spacious enough so that they could begin to hold services there, and in a quiet neighborhood. The last house where they lived had some noisy neighbors that had loud parties, sometimes until 5:00AM.  I know they would appreciate your prayers.

Last Monday, a deaf lady by the name of Fran contacted Becky on Facebook Messenger that lives in the city of Rio Branco, in the state of Acre in northern Brazil, about 30 miles from the northern border of Bolivia.  Fran told Becky that she was watching the preaching that we show via Facebook Live, and really seemed to enjoy it.  Rio Branco in Acre is almost 2,200 miles from our church.  Just for reference purposes, that is about the distance it is from New York City to Salt Lake City.  Although I’m not a big fan of Facebook, I’m glad that we can use social media and modern technology to preach the Gospel in other parts of Brazil, and the world.  Fran said that she wants to read the Bible, study, learn, and watch the preaching.  Please pray for the salvation of Fran.

Thank you for the opportunity to come to Brazil as your representatives in this vast, needy harvest field.

That all may “hear,”

Dan & Becky Bennett

“Let Not The Sun Go Down Upon Your Wrath”

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”  We often hear this taught or preached in regards to married couples, that they should resolve any and all “issues” before going to bed at night.  While I agree that a couple should not go to sleep if there are any unresolved problems, this verse goes way beyond a husband and wife relationship.

Without writing out a whole message to preach right now, I just want to add one point to this.  I believe that, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath” can also apply to your relationship with your children.  If you have had some harsh words with your children that left them discouraged, you need to resolve those hateful, hurtful words before sending your kids off to bed.  Let the last words they hear at the end of the day be these kind, loving, tender words: “I love you.”  (However, they may need to be preceded with, “I lost my temper.  Please forgive me.”)  I would rather for my children not to have hurt feelings when they go to sleep at night, but with peace in their hearts.  If you make peace with your children, you will sleep better, too.

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.