Highlights 2012 – Click the link to download PDF version of this update.
[one_half]Toth Family – Brazil[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Fields of Harvest Church[/one_half_last]
“Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth, do you not see it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. These people I have formed for Myself, that they may set forth my praise.”
New River Church Birthed in Bujaru!
When 2012 began, we knew that this would be the year to plant our first river church. Miracles began to happen in May when God opened doors by giving us an ideal port property for our first river church and future medical boat. Even before the church building was started, meetings were being held in a home near our church property. God began to move. People started sharing testimonies of how God healed them in the meetings. After three weeks people began responding to the message of the love of Jesus and prayed to receive Jesus.
In July, a team of 22 people from Fields of Harvest Church in Texas came to raise the first church building on the Guamá river’s edge. The financial gifts that many of you sent, the love, the sacrifice, and the hard work of this Texas team, all made this first church possible. Since the building of this new church, the response in Bujaru has been tremendous. There are 25 children and 30 adults that are coming regularily to the services who have found a new hope in Jesus.
The city people here ask, “Why did you build a church on the edge of the river? There is no electricity and nothing but a muddy trail into the property! The people along the river are so poor, you’ll never get enough tithes and offerings from them to support a church there!” Our answer is that missions is giving and investing where God calls us and where the needs are the greatest – not where it is convenient.
Missions is doing whatever it takes to reach the lost. These are people who have no access to city churches. For years the enemy has enslaved the river people in drugs, prostitution, violence and incest. They are looking for hope and freedom from the misery they live in – now is the time for us to reach them. Boats, churches and travel expenses are costly but the value of just one transformed life is worth way more than anything we give up.
José, 27, is one of the new believers who is now a caretaker on our church property. Coming from a family of 9 children, his parents lived a life of drinking, partying, and immorality. Drawn into this lifestyle, José dropped out of school at 6th grade and supported himself with odd jobs, stealing and selling & using drugs. At 18, he met Vanessa, a pretty 15 year old 6th grader that was going to school near where he hung out with friends. After two years of dating, Vanessa decided to drop out of school too and move in with José, his mother and his 8 siblings. They had a rocky relationship with 2 separations and 3 children over the next 6 years.
Then the team from Texas came to build the first Hope Ministries church in Bujaru, and two of José’s siblings were baptized. Hearing about the need for a caretaker, José offered to stay for 2 weeks until we could find someone permanent. But at the first service he attended, God touched his heart with a vision of a new direction and hope for a better life. José stood up and confessed his need for Jesus, asking for prayer for deliverance “from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, marajuana and everything else”.
At first his family laughed, thinking that he could not be sincere. Six months later, José is continuing to follow the Lord and testifies that “everything” has changed in his life. He was baptized on October 28 along with his wife, Vanessa. José continues to faithfully serve as a caretaker at the church property. He and his wife are studying the Word together and allowing the Lord to free them from the destructive habits of their old life.
Lourival and Dulce are José’s aunt and uncle who were also baptized along with their two teenage children on October 28. Freed from drinking, partying and living for himself, Lourival is for the first time is being a husband and father and providing for his family. Besides faithfully coming to church, Lourival and Dulci have opened up their home for a midweek Bible Study to reach out to more family and friends. Their youngest daughter, Clarissa, is learning about Jesus in the Saturday night children’s meeting at the church. These are just 2 of the families in Bujaru who have found new life and hope in Jesus!
Vitor, 16, is one of the committed young people that have come to know Jesus in the Castanhal church this year. Vitor never knew his real father. His mother wanted to abort him, but a friend of his father pleaded with her not to abort him and offered to raise him. His adoptive father is an alcoholic who beat him since he was little with belts, breaking broom handles on his back, and beating his head against the floor. Vitor received Jesus as his Savior last August and was baptized in September. He has found true love and a real family in the young people of the Castanhal Church. Deborah and Denis have opened their home for fellowship for the young people every Sunday night after church. They planned a special Christmas eve party for the young people like Vitor who had no family to celebrate Jesus’ birth with. Vitor tells Deborah and Denis that he wishes that they could be his adoptive parents!
Today Vitor plays guitar on the worship team at church. Even with all the abuse he received as a child, Vitor has found the grace to forgive his adoptive father. Because of his good testimony at home, Vitor’s father came to visit our church to hear for himself the message that has changed his son’s life.
“Aunt” Joanna, 70 years old, is another dear sister in Christ who was baptized this year. Joanna is from the city of Russas, Seará, 900 miles from Castanhal. When family members told Joanna of our church in Castanhal, Joanna traveled 26 hours by bus to come to hear about Jesus who saves and delivers. Joanna stayed in Castanhal for 2 months during which time she received Jesus as her Savior and was baptized. We praise God for one more precious life who now belongs to Jesus!
This year of 2012, Hope Ministries has been able to give out over 200 Bibles to new believers and those seeking to know Jesus who are not able to afford a Bible of their own. We want to thank those of you who have made this ministry possible through your gifts. God says “My Word will not return void…”
Castanhal Church Prepares Leaders and Missionaries
From the beginning of the year, our church in Castanhal focused on training youth to be missionaries for the river work. Since we began to pray last year asking the Lord to send workers, we started to see more people getting saved and the church begin to grow. The youth in the church have a passion for Jesus and many have already heard a personal call from the Lord of the Harvest to help plant river churches
Renata, Francy and Lucas (pictured right) are 3 of the quality young people that have heard and responded to this call. Francy is 25 and a lawyer, Renata, 24, is a receptionist at one of the Castanhal hospitals, and Lucas, 25, just graduated from college in electrical engineering. Francy and Renata help with the children’s meeting and worship, Lucas helps with worship, the sound system and the generator. All three dedicate 10 hours every Saturday afternoon and evening to drive to the Guama river, cross on the barge, and then wade through mud, rain and fire ants to evangelize people living near the Bujaru church and minister during the services.
New Missionaries from New York
The last day of December, brought a crowning blessing for the year of 2012! David and Rachel Garza and their 2 year old son, Gideon, have joined us for at least 3 months (and maybe many more as the Lord opens the doors for them.).
David and Rachel, from Upstate New York, are dear friends of ours for many years – Rachel’s parents, Pastors Bert and Jeanine Hallancia have brought teams and ministered with us many times since 2003. David has come specifically to set up a web site for Hope Ministries – so we will keep you posted and let you know as soon as it is available.
In the few weeks they have been here, David and Rachel have already been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to us!
God has blessed us with one more beautiful grandchild this year. Jonathan Israel Benathar was born to Marçal and Rebekah on August 7, the very same day that God birthed the Bujaru church with its first service. Christian Angelo, our first grandson, is now a very active and energetic one year old – we love it when he and his parents, Christina and Higor come from Belem to visit.
Rachel, our oldest daughter, graduated from Vanguard University this May with a degree in psychology. She is currently working as a secretary at Life Without Limbs Ministry in California (Nick Vujicic) and is preparing for ministry to children here in Brazil. Our other children continue to serve with us here at Hope Ministries as well as continuing with their studies in the medical field and for Philip and Havilah, high school and grade school.
Scott and Michelle were able to take a short 3 week furlough in December to visit family, churches and supporters. Philip and Havilah accompanied us on this furlough – it was a special time for Philip as he had not been to the US for 10 years while waiting for his permanent visa to be granted! As well as sharing with many of you who have contributed over the years, God gave us some tremendous new contacts who are interested in helping with raising funds for the medical boat. God is faithful!
• Pray for daily direction, strength from the Holy Spirit and boldness for those of our family who are working in ministry.
Scott and Michelle – ministry directors, pastoring Castanhal Church and planting river churches
Rachel – direction for future ministry in Brazil
Marçal and Rebekah – pastoring Bujaru Church and planting river churches
Bethany – office work and accounting
Higor and Christina – as they study and prepare for future medical ministry
Denis and Deborah – leading worship team, youth, and deacon ministries in Castanhal Church
Philip – playing keyboard for worship team and helping with youth group and youth camps
Havilah – singing on worship team and overseeing nursery and children activities
• Pray for Fields of Harvest Church Castanhal.
Pray for the youth to grow in commitment and winning other youth.
Pray for family groups and evangelism outreach.
Pray for the Lord to raise up many missionaries for the river work.
• Pray for the Bujaru Church and River Ministry
That demonic strongholds would be broken in Bujaru and the Guama River region.
Direction from the Holy Spirit for planting next river church.
• That God would touch the hearts of people to donate towards the medical boat.
• Completing the Castanhal Church building – Lighting and ceiling for the sanctuary, finish Sunday school rooms.
• River Ministry – Dormitory for pastor training and youth camps at Bujaru Church property. Funds for smaller evangelism boats and for supporting river pastors.
• Medical Boat Fund – We have received 25% of the funds needed for a 50 ft medical boat with 2 treatment rooms that will be used to reach hundreds of river communities that have no medical care. Doctors and dentists will be welcome to volunteer time on the boat to reach the river people with medical care and the Gospel.
• Bibles – Used for evangelizing and as a gift for each new believer.
• Toth Family Support– Thank you for your faithful support that meets the needs of our family and makes it possible for us to continue serving here in Brazil!
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or Mail Checks to:
P.O. Box 77
La Porte, TX
Checks for both personal family support and for Hope Ministries donations should be made payable to Hope Ministries.
All donations are tax deductable.
Please pray with us and contribute as God directs you towards reaching the Amazon river peoples. May God bless you as you share in reaping the Harvest Field of His Kingdom!
Scott, Michelle and Family
“May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” Psalm 33:22