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

Live-stream Ministry

Pastor, if you have a “live-stream” ministry in your church, praise the Lord!  You have an opportunity to preach to the world.  That’s amazing!

However, even though there may be more people watching you around the world than those sitting in your congregation, don’t forget that you have the awesome responsibility and privilege of being the pastor-shepherd of your own flock, the local church.  Don’t get distracted by the people you CAN’T see, but rather focus on the ones that you CAN see.

Missionary of Tomorrow

In March of each year we have a month of emphasis on Missions.  Each Sunday in March during our worship service, my colleague spoke about a missionary from the past, where and to whom they ministered, and other interesting things or quotes from the featured missionary.  As I was preparing the bulletin for last Sunday, I was about to text my colleague to ask him, “Who is the missionary for tomorrow?”  However, when I first tapped out the message on my cell phone, it came out, “Who is the missionary of tomorrow?”

As we look back in time to see the faithful, hard-working, pioneering missionaries about whom we love to read, I came face-to-face with this question: Who will be the missionary of tomorrow?  Where are the committed Christians that are willing to forego their own plans, goals, and dreams?  Where are the young men and women that will plant churches, start Bible schools, and open orphanages?  Where are the “millennial” Christians that are willing to leave their “safe spaces” to go out into hard places?  Who will come after me and take my place?  I know that I must be training nationals here in my field of service to continue the work, but where are the NEW missionaries that will come and plant new churches?  Wherever you are, “missionaries of tomorrow,” why not surrender today?  Although we needed you here on the mission field with us yesterday, we will be happy to see you “tomorrow.”

The Angels are Singing Again

I want to praise the Lord for the salvation of a young deaf lady on Saturday afternoon, March 18, that took place in the home of a deaf couple that live a long way from the church. From our house it took more than an hour to get there, and Becky and I were running low on faith since it was raining hard, not really expecting much of a crowd. Well, there were 35 people that showed up, 11 being children. I preached to the adults, and Becky taught the children. The man of the house has a small car, and he made three trips going around to pick up their deaf friends to bring them to the Bible study. It was rainy and cool, but the Son shone brightly today in the heart of Gabriely, as she put her faith in Jesus Christ. There was also another lady that wanted to talk to Becky, but she had to leave. We have scheduled another Bible study for April 15. Thanks for your prayers!

Electronic Devices in Church

To give your child an electronic device (cell phone, iPad, tablet, etc.) during the church service to keep them still and quiet is a bad idea. Not only does it teach them that what is going on in the church service is unimportant, but it also teaches them that they don’t need to listen to the sermon. Instead of giving them an electronic device to keep them still and quiet, TEACH them to be still and quiet at home so they will know how to act when they go to church.

However, if the parent is checking Facebook during the service, well now, that’s another post for another day…..

The Spider’s Web

Right outside my office window lives a big, beautiful garden spider.  I don’t like spiders, but she is beautifully colored.  She has made a web, and patiently waits for an unsuspecting victim to get stuck in her web.  I have tried to get her to come out of her hiding place by touching her web with a stick, but she knows the difference between a stick and a meal.  It’s amazing to watch, although I do feel sorry for her prey.  A few minutes ago, it appeared that something flew into her web.  The spider quickly came out to inspect the movement on her web.  Whatever it was either escaped, or was very still.  The spider waited, but after a couple of minutes, she retreated to her hiding place.

I have seen a moth get caught in the spider’s web, but the more it struggled to get free, the more it got stuck in the sticky entanglements of the web.  The spider quickly scurried down to the frantic moth, gave it a quick bite, and then wrapped it into a burrito to eat later.  It would have been better for the moth to have remained still, but the natural instincts tell it to fight for freedom, but to no avail.

Christians also get caught in sticky entanglements of sin’s temptation.  They either don’t heed the warnings of the Bible and their pastors, or they think that they won’t get caught because they are too sly.  The “beautiful” enemy has set a trap just for the Christian, waiting for him to fall into the web.  The best thing to do is to stay as far away as possible from the temptations around you.  When you do fall to temptation, it’s best to stop immediately right where you fell, without struggling to resolve the problem all by yourself, and pray.  Struggling alone usually makes the situation worse, but when you confess your sin to God in prayer, He will forgive you and release you from the perilous grasp of destruction.  There are consequences to giving in to temptation, and sometimes the scars remain the rest of your life.  However, there is hope, and you need not think that you are alone.  God is nearby, waiting for you to cry out to Him in prayer.  He won’t always break down the web and kill the spider, but He will hear and help you when you do get stuck in the entanglements of sin’s temptation.  Don’t struggle, but be still and pray, for God is only a prayer away.

Our Trip Back to Brazil

 

Happy New Year from sunny São Paulo, Brazil!  I was planning to write this update from 37,000 feet in the air on our way back to Brazil on December 30.  However, I waited because I wanted to include as many details as possible before sending this out.  I have also been terribly sick, and have just not felt like having to sit at a computer.  Anyway, here is an actual account of God working on behalf of our family these past few days.  This is lengthy, so you may want to grab a cup of coffee, or a big glass of sweet tea before continuing this epistle.

Back in August of 2016 we began to look for tickets for our return to Brazil.  We prefer to fly in and out of Charlotte, NC, but the airfare was more than we could afford.  We checked the fares from different airports with 200 miles of Charlotte, all to no avail.  Our best affordable option was flying out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which meant that we would have a ten-hour drive from our home church to the airport.  It was half the price of what we would have paid if we had left from Charlotte.  We diligently searched for good ticket prices, and all of a sudden we saw business class seats that were cheaper than economy.  We snatched them up in a hurry!  We then had tickets for Friday, December 30, meaning that we would be back in Brazil for Sunday, January 1, 2017.  We were thrilled!

When we first bought the tickets, we weren’t sure about the logistics of getting us and our luggage down to Ft. Lauderdale, Becky’s mother said that she and my father-in-law would take us down there.  That was easy, but I knew it would be a long, tiring drive for them.

We had the privilege of seeing all four of our older children (and our new son-in-law) before we left the USA.  Anna and Ryan came the first weekend of December, and then Rachel, Joseph, and Nathan were with us over Christmas weekend.  Becky packed like crazy to get everything we were taking back to Brazil in suitcases, duffle bags, totes, and carry-ons.  Since Becky was doing the packing while I was out of town, I didn’t realize how much we had accumulated to take back for us, and also the ministry.  We knew that a minivan would not be sufficient to carry everything, so we rented a truck to transport our luggage down to Florida.  Due to the death of a church member in our sending church, my in-laws were unable to go with us down to Florida to help with luggage.  One of my brother’s-in-law and also a good friend of ours volunteered their time to help us, so we had two men and a truck to drive our luggage down to Florida.  Honestly, I didn’t know how much luggage we were taking, and neither did Becky.  Wednesday, December 28, the day we were leaving for Florida, I checked the airline’s website, but they did not have any limit as to how many checked bags a person could have, but we did know that we were going to have to pay for excess baggage.  Relieved to see that there weren’t any limitations on luggage, we headed toward Daytona Beach to find a place to stop for the night.  Thursday morning, we set the GPS for Ft. Lauderdale, and finally found a hotel with vacancies after looking for a long time.  Seems like a lot of people had already reserved rooms in the Miami area due to the Orange Bowl taking place on New Year’s Day.  While we were waiting to check in, Becky called the airline to ask about luggage, but the person on the phone told us differently than what we saw on their website.  The lady on the phone told Becky that we were allowed up to five checked bags per person.  That’s 25 bags for our family, but we had more than that.  How much more?  We didn’t know.  I thought we had 32 bags, but wasn’t sure.  I began to fret a little, even get somewhat discouraged.  Would we have to send seven bags back to South Carolina?  It was then that we asked people to pray again for us.  We had already asked people to pray for other reasons, but this was huge.  We knew God was able, but would He change the hearts (and rules) of an airline?  All we could do was pray.

The next day was Friday, our day of departure, heading back to Brazil for our fourth term.  But would all of our luggage go, too?  We were up at 3:30AM, left the hotel at 4:30AM, and arrived at the airport a little after 5:00AM.  We got help at the airport with our luggage, and two guys took everything in and made a line of luggage in front of the airline’s counter.  They asked if this was all ours, and how many pieces there were.  I told her that it was all ours, and we had about 32 bags.  I then decided to count the luggage.  There were 36 pieces of baggage!  I began to pray some more.  They may have had a little bit of mercy with seven extra bags, but probably not eleven extra bags.  The lady told me that they allowed 25, but I very nicely explained to her what their website says.  She went over to a different computer, and about ten minutes later (or, so it seemed), she came back and told the guy checking us in that they would make an “allowance” for us.  Praise the Lord!!!  We did pay for the extra luggage, but at least the extra eleven pieces did not have to go back to South Carolina and be shipped to us later.

We were still praising the Lord as we went through security, and then down to the gate before boarding.  When we sat down in those business class seats, we knew the Lord had worked this out, as well, as we were exhausted, and I was sick and miserable with a bad cold.  I was able to lay my seat out flat, and I was almost asleep before we became airborne.  We had an amazing flight, even arriving in Campinas 25 minutes early.  Those extra minutes proved to be a blessing a short time later.

The next hurdle would be entering Brazil with that much luggage, going through customs, and praying that nothing would end up missing.  The luggage came off in two different places, thankfully not too far away from each other.  I think we had eight luggage carts that the four of us were trying to wrestle with, and two cleaning ladies even offered us their help.  The Lord answered yet another prayer, and after being questioned about the convoy of luggage, he allowed us to go without asking to see anything.  Praise the Lord!

Our colleagues in the interior of Brazil, Garry and Pam Tyler, and Coy and Nancy Shaw, met us in Campinas to pick up a couple of things that they needed to be brought in.  After greeting them, they helped us transport our luggage over to where we were going to catch a bus to take us to São Paulo.  Then there was the question as to whether the bus would have room for all of our luggage, or not.  We surely did not want to split up, because it would be another hour before the next bus came.  Within ten minutes of getting our luggage over to the shuttle bus pick-up, the bus arrived and piled all of our luggage in the belly of the bus.  We used up most of the luggage space, but besides our family there were only three other people on the bus.  If the bus had been full, all of our luggage would not have made it on the first bus.  Praise the Lord!  Also, we made the first bus by ten minutes because we arrived 25 minutes early.  The Lord was orchestrating our whole trip.

We arrived in São Paulo at 10:05PM, and within one minute of getting off the bus, our co-worker, Jon Speights, comes strolling down the sidewalk.  He had two men and a truck lined up to take our luggage to the house, and within five minutes we were loading our belongings in the truck.

After a very long and tiring trip, we made it “home” to our beloved rental house in São Paulo.  We had a wonderful furlough, saw some wonderful sights, visited some wonderful churches, and saw God work in wonderful ways.  However, the most wonderful part of our furlough was leading our six-year-old, Christine, to the Lord on Christmas Eve!  Praise the Lord!

We are anxious to get started again, and looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in us and through us during our next term in São Paulo, Brazil.

Happy New Year!  God bless!  Praise the Lord!