Prayer Letter – August 2022

Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil!

Over the past few months, we have been staying busy in the work here. As I mentioned in our last prayer letter, our family went to the Deaflympics 2022 in the city of Caxias do Sul. Silent Word Ministries out of Trenton, GA purchased and provided us with thousands of tracts to take and distribute. We were able to hand out many Gospel tracts, talk with a good number of people, and several deaf people made professions of faith.

On May 30, Amilton, one of our faithful deaf men, died unexpectedly at the age of fifty-one. He had just celebrated his fifteenth “spiritual birthday” the day before. Back in November of 2021, Amilton invited a deaf couple to church named Gilson and Marileide. This couple had visited numerous other churches, but when they visited our church, the Gospel was clearly presented to them, and they trusted Christ as their Savior. We praise God that Amilton invited these people to church before he went to Heaven. One person can make a difference!

We have been invited to go to a church two hours northwest of us next month in the city of Boituva. Dan will be preaching, and we will be presenting our ministry among the deaf. The pastor seems to be interested in starting a deaf ministry in the church, so we are excited about this opportunity.

September 25th has been designated as “Blue Sunday.” This is a special day in Brazil that celebrates and brings awareness to the deaf and their culture. Each year, we invite Deaf from all over São Paulo to our church, and Dan will preach a simple, evangelistic message, followed by a small party to show our love for the Deaf. Please pray for Deaf to be saved on this special day.

Our two remaining children at home are doing well. Matthew began his senior year of high school, and Chrissy started seventh grade. Becky not only stays busy with our own children, but also with the children at church. She is often requested to attend doctor’s appointments to interpret for our deaf ladies, and that can take up several hours in a day as we trek all around São Paulo. Thank you for praying for our family!

One important prayer request we have is that God would send us someone to come and work with us. We would love to have a Brazilian man to come and eventually take over as pastor. Dan has begun to work with one of our men who has preached a couple of times, but he hasn’t had any “formal” Bible training. Dan plans to spend more time training this man, but someone to work alongside of us with experience would be a huge blessing.

Also, please pray for our colleagues, Jon and Hannah Speights. They have two children with some serious health issues, but it seems as if numerous medical exams have been unable to find the root causes. Your prayers for this family would be greatly appreciated.

Once again, THANK YOU for allowing us to represent you as we labor among the Deaf in São Paulo. We are extremely grateful for your prayer and financial support.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     That all may “hear,”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Dan & Becky Bennett

How Do You Identify?

It’s incredible that in today’s world, a person can identify as anything he wants to identify as, and it doesn’t even have to be a person. Men are identifying as women, women are identifying as men, and some people are even identifying as animals.

The same type of thing is happening in Christianity. Some people identify as “Christians,” and an increasing number of Christians are identifying as unbelievers.

You can read about the unbeliever that identifies as a believer in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus said that there will be those who stand before God that sincerely identify as Christians and will even point to their good works as “proof,” but Jesus will sadly say, “I never knew you.”

 On the other hand, there are Christians today that, by their lifestyle, are identifying as unbelievers to their peers.

For example, police officers have a badge, a uniform, a gun, and some other pieces of equipment that will identify them as law enforcement officers. Military personnel are easily recognized by their uniforms, as well as their strict military demeanor and discipline.

Unfortunately, there have been imposters that have put on a uniform to either draw attention to themselves, or to receive honor and respect of which they are unworthy. They have identified as something they are not, but they are not what they want you to believe they are. These types of people are often referred to as, “wolves in sheep clothing.”

Going back to the example of the Christian identifying as an unbeliever, the person who has been saved but does not act like a Christian causes the Holy Spirit of God to grieve. The Christians that want to fit in with the world are like, “sheep in wolves clothing.” I cannot understand why a Christian would want to identify as a “wolf.” There is danger in hanging out with the wolves because they will identify you for who you are, and they will eat you up!

Does the music you listen to “identify” you as a Christian or an unbeliever? Do the clothes you wear make it easy to identify you as a Christian, or do you look like the rest of the unsaved world? What about the movies you watch and the words you say? When other people look at you and listen to you, when they see you at certain places that are questionable, how would they identify you?

It greatly concerns me to see that so many Christians are completely comfortable and “feel at home” among people that are drinking, dancing, going to worldly concerts, listening to rock, funk, rap, and country music. More and more Christian women are copying the fashion of the world in regard to short skirts and dresses, tight jeans, and bikinis. When Christian men want to flaunt their manhood with tight clothing, going around shirtless, and sporting tattoos, this is not an indication that, “after all, this IS the twenty-first century,” but rather an indication that we may be living in the end times.

In today’s world, the feeling of many people is that they don’t care what other people think of them. There is a growing trend among Christians that says, “I am who I am, and I don’t care what you think because I am who God made me to be.” The problem with that thought process is that, even though God made you and saved you, He didn’t mean for you to stay the way He found you. He certainly doesn’t want you to copy the world and be identified as an unbeliever. Yes, every person is unique, but the Christian needs to be very careful about not caring what others think of you. You are supposed to be copying Jesus Christ, and your identity in Christ is what others must see in your life.

The Bible says, “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15,16). In 1 Peter 1:16 and 17, the Christian is commanded to, “be holy” in all aspects of life. If a Christian is living a life that is unholy and sinful, and also loves the things of this world, then he or she is not “identifying” as a Christian at all. Don’t identify as a Christian on Sunday and identify as an unbeliever the rest of the week. Love God. Hate the world.

Christian friend, what you identify as is very important. What other people identify you as when they see you is also extremely important. How do YOU identify?

April 2022 Prayer Letter

April 28, 2022

Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil.

It’s an honor to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!  Next month will mark our 23rd year of being in Brazil. God has been so good to us, and we praise Him for His faithfulness to us.

The last week of March was our annual BIMI Field Conference. Since our Brazil Field Director, Sean Lunday, took over being the Director over all South America, our Field Conference was attended by nearly eighty people from five different countries (six, if you include the USA). As always, it was a blessed time of fellowship, wonderful preaching, fun activities, good Brazilian food, lots of laughter, and spiritual refreshing. We met some new friends and got reacquainted with old friends. It was great to get our spiritual “batteries” recharged to continue the work of the ministry.

Samuel, a deaf man that visited our church back in October of 2021, has been coming off and on for the past few months.  He told Dan that he didn’t own a Bible, so Dan was able to give him a Bible that was paid for by a church in the USA through the ministry of BEAMS. Dan encouraged Samuel to read the Gospel of John three times, and he said that he would.  On April 17th, Samuel was back in church, and after a visual, Easter/Gospel message, Samuel placed his faith in Jesus as his Savior. Hallelujah!

A few weeks back, Becky was contacted by Danielle, a lady in Pompéia, a city about six hours northwest of São Paulo. We had met this family several years ago through some mutual friends, so they knew that we worked with the Deaf. A couple weeks ago, they contacted a man to do some work, and when he came to their house, he brought his deaf cousin to help. The deaf man, Gabriel, doesn’t know sign language, and Danielle’s family became burdened for Gabriel.  Danielle then got in touch with Becky, and after several conversations Becky agreed to teach this family Brazilian sign language (LIBRAS).  They had their first class on April 19th via Zoom, so please pray that Gabriel could be reached with the Gospel by this family as they learn sign language, and then teach him.

The Deaflympics (Deaf Olympics) will be held in Brazil on May 1st through May 15th. We just found out about this a short time ago but dismissed the idea of making the trip since we didn’t know of anyone else going among our missionaries. However, we felt the Lord leading us to go and be a part of reaching Deaf from around the world with the Gospel.

Dan sent a voice message to his brother, David Bennett, to ask him for advice about going to the Deaflympics. David has organized a couple of groups that went to two previous Deaflympics in other parts of the world, so we knew that he would be able to help. To make a long story short, David was able to get a big, plastic tote on a plane the following day, full of tracts, DVDs, and Gospel literature in several languages. David’s daughter and son-in-law, Brian and Christa Pate, are missionaries in Brazil, and they were leaving the very next day to return to Brazil after their furlough. Dan picked them up at the airport the next day, and also sixty-five pounds of Gospel “Seed” to be scattered around the Deaf world.

Please pray for us as we meet deaf people from around the world, and as we put the Good News of Salvation into their hands. The Gospel could go to Communist, Socialist, and Islamic countries. Only God knows how far the outreach will go. Pray that we would be Spirit filled, and that God would give us wisdom as we share the Gospel with those to whom we can minister. We can communicate in English and ASL (American Sign Language), as well as in Portuguese and LIBRAS (Brazilian Sign Language). Pray for us as we take the Seed of the Word to the Deaf of the world, that Jesus Christ would be magnified, and that souls would be saved. He promised that His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11), so let us pray for a bountiful harvest of souls for the glory of God.

Thank you for having such an important part in the ministry among the Deaf here in Brazil!

May the Lord continue to bless you there in your community as you faithfully serve Him.

                                                                                    That all may “hear,”

                                                                                    Dan & Becky Bennett

Pray for Ukraine

(Written on 25 February 2022)

It’s 11:00PM, and all is quiet, except for the neighbor’s dog that is barking. He barks at everything. He barks at nothing.

One thing at which the dog is not barking is the sound of explosions. There is no gunfire. There are no missiles. There are no tanks. There aren’t any military jets or helicopters flying overhead. The city is quiet, except for the annoying, barking dog.

I walked out of my office and spent a few minutes walking on our back patio (it’s a slab of concrete). The cool, night air was refreshing. I thought about the war that was waged by Vladimir Putin, president of Russia. I prayed for the Ukrainian people as they prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. The people of the Ukraine are asking for help. They are imploring other countries for help.

I have seen news videos of the war that is going on. “God, have mercy on those people.” I am upset over a power-hungry man. I am saddened over the way the people of the Ukraine have been ignored by their allies.

One video showed a young man, twenty-one years of age, guarding a footbridge by himself, alone, waiting for the Russian troops to arrive. He has only fired sixteen rounds of ammunition his whole life. He fears for the life of his family. His family fears for his life. They may never see each other again.

I have seen Facebook posts by people that know missionaries and pastors in the Ukraine, and I even saw a video of a Brazilian man who is a pastor in the Ukraine. My heart breaks for those people, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Their faith is great. They don’t complain. They are trusting God. They are praying fervently.

Do you even wish that there was something that you could do? But wait; there is something that you can do. You can pray. You should pray. As the Brazilian pastor said on the video, “It’s not time for talk; it’s time for prayer.” As you go to bed tonight, say a prayer for the people of the Ukraine. Not a short, hurried prayer, but a compassionate, heartfelt, caring prayer. Pray in the same manner that you would want people to pray for you if you were in that situation.

Lives have already been lost. Sons, grandsons, brothers, fathers, husbands, dads, and uncles have died. Senior citizens have died. Children have died. Women have died. More will die needlessly. You may think that there’s nothing that you can do, but if you pray (with a clean heart), your prayer can move the hand of God.

When you turn off your phone tonight, don’t forget to lift up the Ukrainian people – and the Russian people, too – in your prayers.

One day, they might just thank you.

To whom are you submitting?

Although every Christian is not called into full-time ministry, every Christian should be involved in some ministry of their local church on a voluntary, part-time basis. When you were saved, you were separated from the world in order to serve the Lord. A Christian that is not serving God will not hear, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” at least, not from the mouth of Jesus. Could it be that you’ll hear those same words from the devil? Of course not, because Satan will not be present when you stand before the Lord.

However, what if the devil were to be in the near vicinity when you stood before God as rewards are given out? Would you hear the Lord say to you, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” for a life that has been faithfully active in serving God? Or, would you hear Satan scornfully say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant,” because you did nothing in service to God?

Just as Joshua told the children of Israel, God’s chosen people, to choose whom they were going to serve, it’s possible to be a child of God, and at the same time be serving Satan. The word, “serve” is a verb, a word of action. It’s also a word that denotes that someone has authority over you to whom you must submit. Are you actively serving God, or have you submitted to Satan? To whom are you submitting?

Those who do not submit to God are, “by default,” submitting to Satan.

Don’t be a child of God, while at the same time being a servant of the devil. If you’re saved, serve God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Serve God with everything you are, and everything you have. Serving God is loving God. If the only thing you do at church is to show up in time for the service, and then leave at the final, “Amen,” you’re missing out on an opportunity to serve the Lord. You’re not only missing out on being a blessing, but you’re also missing out on receiving a blessing. Serving the Lord is one of the best things you can do after you are saved.

I know that every Christian is not called to be a full-time pastor, missionary, or evangelist, but every person who is saved is called to be a full-time Christian who is serving God in some capacity of ministry.

Are you fulfilling your calling? If not, determine to stop serving the enemy, and start serving the Savior today!

Discouragement or Encouragement?

“Discouragement” is a dark and awful place. Don’t go there. You may be tempted to go there when things aren’t going your way. When you have a loved one that is sick or having problems, Discouragement is the last place you need to go!  When someone breaks your heart, stay far, far away from Discouragement. When it seems as if the world is crashing down around you, you don’t need to run to Discouragement, for it is a lonely, sad place. I know that many people are there, but they are sad and lonely, too.  “Misery loves company,” and they will only make you even more miserable than you already are.

When the storms of life hang dark and heavy, instead of running to the place of Discouragement, you should head straight on over to the place called, “Encouragement.”  I know you won’t feel like going there, but it’s the best place to go, and you’ll be glad you went. There are happy people there that will help you. They can’t dispel the storm clouds in your life, but at least it won’t be so gloomy. 

When your storm passes, and you feel encouraged, then it would be good if you went over to the place of Discouragement to try and help someone that may be stuck there.  Discouragement is an easy place to go to, but difficult to leave. There are many people there that need help leaving the muck and mire of Discouragement. Only a person who has been to Encouragement can help a person leave Discouragement.  YOU can be that person!

Friend, I don’t know where you are today, and I don’t know what is going on in your life. Run to the place of Encouragement, for Jesus is the King there, and He is all about loving and helping and encouraging you.

The king of Discouragement is the devil, and he wants you to avoid King Jesus and Encouragement.

Every day you make choices in life. You will choose who you’re going to be with, what you’re going to do, and where you will go. Choose to go to Encouragement and choose to go with those that will encourage you.  Those who are discouraged will try and lure you to that horrible place of Discouragement.  Don’t go!

When things seem to be going “all wrong,” stop in your tracks, turn around, and make a beeline for Encouragement.  Someone will be waiting for you with outstretched arms, a shoulder to cry on, and a listening ear.  When things go wrong, go right to the place of Encouragement.  You’ll be glad that you did.

Two Years of COVID

In March of 2020, the whole world came to a screeching halt with what is now called, “the pandemic.”  Schools, businesses, and churches were closed as governments around the world ordered their citizens to stay at home.  And stay at home we did.  Fear gripped the world as the COVID plague was out of control.

It’s been two years.  For a good part of the past two years, people have spent countless hours playing online games, watching innumerable movies, and being “glued” to an astronomical amount of YouTube videos. While many people have done workouts and learned to cook new recipes, I would venture to say that a large percentage of people have “wasted” nearly two years of their lives.

I’m not going to do a Google search of things that you can do in two years, but I know that it’s possible to get an Associate degree from your local community college or technical college in two years. I understand that those colleges were also closed part of the time, but while it seemed as if life had come to a standstill, time did not.

Now that businesses and schools are open again, let me encourage you to consider either taking an online class, or even going to a class in person.  Maybe you started college but never finished.  Think ahead to the NEXT two years, and consider the possibilities of learning a trade, or getting an Associate degree, or even finishing college.

Don’t waste the next two years playing Minecraft or Call of Duty. Don’t throw away your life watching endless movies or videos. Think, plan, and get up from the couch to start living a productive and meaningful life.  

In two years, your life can be completely different, and you can be going to places of which you’ve only dreamed. Or, in two years, you can still be sitting on your couch, doing the same old thing, and going nowhere.  Don’t be satisfied with doing nothing, when you could be learning, growing, and going places.  You’re never too old to learn something new.

Let me challenge you to make some goals and make some changes in your mundane way of living. Perhaps in two years you will write me to say “thank you” for encouraging you to get busy and do SOMETHING.  I hope so.

The best time to get started is now, so don’t waste another day.  The past two years of the pandemic are history.  The future lies straight ahead, full of adventure and opportunities just waiting for you. Are you going to miss out?  I hope you don’t. Make a decision to improve your whole being (spiritual, physical, mental), and begin this two-year journey today.  In two years, will you look back with satisfaction and gratitude, or will you look back with regret?  The choice is up to you. 

“Evangelize? Who? Me?”

What is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you?  If you are a Christian, your answer should be when you got saved. We’re talking forgiveness of sin, not going to “Hades” (a literal place of fire and suffering), but going to be with Jesus your Savior for all eternity.  Stop and think about that for a moment. Isn’t that the greatest and best thing that has ever happened to you? Of course, it is!

Now, do you know anyone who is not saved?  Sure, of course.  Do you want them to spend eternity with Jesus, or with Satan?  If you thought, “Jesus,” then what are you doing to introduce them to the Savior?

You know how you were saved, but can you explain to someone else how they can be saved?  If you do, then when was the last time you tried to win someone to the Lord?

I know that’s none of my business, but it is YOUR business, and it’s YOUR responsibility to take care of YOUR business.  If you don’t know how to share the Gospel, let me encourage you to learn.  Ask God to give you one person with whom you can share the Good News of salvation.

Don’t be surprised if God gives you more than one person, and more than one opportunity. The world is full of people who need Jesus.  Pray, “Lord, please give me one person.” If every church member would do that, your church could double in size this year. That’s my prayer, and I hope that you will make it your prayer, too.

“Live Chat Café”

If I was a businessman, I would open a “Live Chat Café.”  This would feel like stepping back in time, to the age before smartphones.  It would be a coffeehouse for “old people,” a place for people who actually want to have a “live chat,” a conversation in person, face to face, without having to check their phones every 20 seconds. Oh, young people could go there, too, but I would somehow have a place to store the patrons’ phones while they are there.  Some people who are dating, or engaged, or newly married might go there. This would be a place where the people at the table would give their full attention to the other people in the conversation, and not be distracted by their phones. 

Probably 99% of what screams for your attention on your phone doesn’t require immediate attention.  You see, I would open this coffee shop for those who want to be “all in” on the conversation they are going to have.  I get tired of seeing people seated around the table who are off on another planet, playing a game, or scrolling on Facebook.  You know, the “important” stuff.

This could be successful for a while, at least until all the “baby boomers” died out. Then it would become just a thing of the past, too, like meaningful conversation has.

I know I’m old, and some of us old-timers don’t fit well in the 21st century, but we won’t be here for very much longer.  Your older parents and grandparents would love my coffeehouse, and I am sure that they would love it even more if their children and grandchildren would take them there to just talk, and listen, and be engaged in the conversation.

You know, like it was before smartphones.

Don’t Multi-Task in the Prayer Closet

When I was growing up, a popular phrase was, “killing two birds with one stone.”  This was not referring to the actual death of two birds, but it meant getting two things done at the same time.  I’ve not heard that expression in a long time. 

In today’s fast-paced world, no one is satisfied with only doing two things at once because everyone is just too busy.  In the twenty-first century, people pride themselves of being able to “multi-task.”  I jokingly tell my adult kids that, when I have fifty tabs open on the browser of my laptop, I am multi-tasking.  In some cases, multi-tasking may be alright, but if someone is talking to you, and you’re scrolling on Facebook, it’s rude to not give that person your full attention. 

Sadly, it seems that “full attention” is a thing of the past.  Even Christians don’t give full attention to God when they pretend to have their devotions.  People have told me that they pray while driving to work, or they listen to the Bible being read as they race off to an appointment.  The purpose of the “prayer closet” is to have an uninterrupted and undistracted time alone with God.  Doesn’t God deserve your undivided attention?  Of course, He does!  There’s nothing wrong with praying while driving, and with the crazy drivers wherever you go, you need to pray while you’re driving.  I’m not against listening to the Bible in your car, or on your smartphone while you’re taking a walk.  That’s fine and good.  My concern is that so many Christians are multi-tasking when God doesn’t want you to multitask, but He wants you to give Him your full attention. 

Many Christians don’t even have a “quiet time” with the Lord anymore because their lives are too “noisy.”  Many are getting up before the sun does, and going to bed a little before midnight.  The problem is that you have not given God hardly any of your time, your love, devotion, worship, and praise.  Other than a sporadic prayer at the red lights, or having an audio Bible playing in the background as “white noise,” your time with the Lord is basically meaningless.  When you are just “going through the motions” with your relationship with the Lord, you’re missing out on the greatest relationship you could ever have.

I’m not against multi-tasking, but let me encourage you to start multi-tasking only AFTER you’ve given the Lord your full attention for more than five or ten minutes.  God has never neglected or forsaken you, so don’t take it for granted that you have the privilege of being able to spend time with God. 

If Christians would get back to the prayer closet and have a daily quiet time with the Lord, giving God their full attention, there’s a good probability that your day would be less chaotic and stressful since He will be at your side.