Happy New Year!

Dear friends and partners in ministry,

We hope you were able to enjoy Christmas with family and loved ones.

After our December module at the Escola Bíblica de Expositores (EBEx), we came to Goiânia where we were reunited with Elsiene’s family and with our church in Goiânia for the first time in two years.

With Elsiene’s father on his birthday this week.

 

Upon our arrival, a dear family friend with whom we have been sharing the gospel, and for whom we have been praying for many years let us know she has trusted Jesus for salvation!

“I threw out all my saints—they weren’t doing anything for me!” she said, referring to her old collection of statues and images.

January 1st, we return to Fortaleza. Here’s what we are looking forward to:

  • I’ll be teaching New Testament Introduction for our first cohort (batch) of students—who are in their third year.
  • Our school is receiving our second cohort of students—I personally will get to work with these students starting in April for our module in Hermeneutics (How to interpret the Bible).
  • One of our students, a local pastor, has invited me to preach at his church, end of January, on the topic of “missions”—something I love to do!  🙂
  • Our own children will be beginning at a new school—for the fourth time in two years!

We appreciate prayer for all these upcoming events/transitions.

Also, the apartment we are renting in Fortaleza we have to vacate beginning of February. Please pray that God would provide something more stable as a “homebase” for our family in ministry.

We thank the Lord for each of you who partner with us in this ministry through your gifts and prayers, and we wish you abundant blessings in Christ Jesus in the new year!

Yours in Christ,

Matthew & Elsiene Carroll
Action International Ministries

Donate online:

3-min. Video Update from the Carrolls in Brazil!

We arrived in Brazil just over a month ago, and have seen the Lord provide in a number of ways: from a problem with Isaac’s travel documents that the airline was willing to overlook, to a school that was willing to enroll our children even though they didn’t do so well on the Portuguese-language placement exam.

Our biggest prayer request is for a place to live—we’ve been renting short-term while searching for a more long-term house or apartment. Please pray for God to provide the right place for us! Also please pray for Elsiene—the move back to Brazil stirred up a neck injury from a car accident many years ago, and she’s been experiencing a lot of discomfort. In general, please pray that the Lord would help us to get settled once more in Fortaleza.

Last week EBEx, the Escola Bíblica de Expositores, held an intense one-week module on Old Testament Introduction, taught by Dr. Grisanti from The Master’s Seminary.

Ronaldo is a Brazilian missionary serving in East Timor, a Portuguese-speaking nation in Southeast Asia. While Ronaldo and his family are on furlough, he is able to benefit from our classes at the seminary. Did you know that your partnership with us in Brazil is also growing the church in East Timor?!?

With Ronaldo and Dr. Grisanti

 

While Dr. Grisanti was with us, I had the opportunity to ask him about training pastors overseas. I hope you’ll enjoy this brief, three-minute video with Dr. Grisanti!

Thank you so much to each of you to pray for us and support this ministry!

Yours in Christ,

Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,

Action International Ministries

BrazilCarroll.org

P.S. If you would like to give a special year-end or Christmas gift, we are saving up for a down-payment towards our own home or apartment in Fortaleza. You may make a donation online here:
https://www.actioninternational.org/donate-now/?id=7208

Thank you!

October 30, 2017 Update — Back to Brazil!

One week from today, Lord willing, we end our furlough and begin our trip back to Brazil! We fly out of Los Angeles the night of November 6, have a layover in Miami, and arrive in Fortaleza the morning of the 8th. Please pray for our trip!

R. is a friend I met five years ago on our last furlough in 2012. Originally from São Paulo, he works in agricultural research for the University of California. Elsiene and I had taken our family to the park and overheard another family speaking Portuguese. We introduced ourselves to R. and his wife, who have a son about Nathanael’s age. The next day was Thanksgiving. They said they had never celebrated an American Thanksgiving, so we invited them to join us.

I asked if R. was a Christian. “I believe there is a God,” he said, “but religion is a coping mechanism some people need to get through life. It’s not for me.” We met a couple times before we returned to Brazil and then lost touch.

Presenting a “Missionary Moment”
on our work in Brazil

Fast forward to this furlough: When we enrolled our children in school in Visalia, the principal told us, “Oh, we have another Brazilian family at our school!” Later she introduced us to the mom. “I know you!” I said, “You’re R.’s wife!”

It’s good to be back in touch with R. and his family. R. still told me, “Religion is fine for some people, but I don’t need it.” But he brought his family to hear me preach in Exeter. And he visited our church in Visalia when I presented a “Missionary Moment” on our work in Brazil. Afterwards he invited our family for a wonderful homecooked Brazilian meal!

Last week we met for coffee. We opened the Bible and R. read for himself what is written about God’s holiness, man’s sinful condition, Christ’s saving work, and what man must do to be made right with God. He also asked me about the reliability of the biblical documents, and a current moral cultural debate.

As we wrapped up he said, “I have never had a conversation with anyone who could give me a reasoned answer from Scripture to these questions!” He went on, “I read the Bible a little bit when I was a child. Maybe I should pick it up again.” I encouraged him to start by rereading the list of verses that explain the gospel. Please pray for R., that he would indeed read the Bible and that God would grant him repentance and faith!

Teaching AWANA clubbers about missions!
Support update
When we arrived on furlough last November, we were at 60% of our budget. Now we are close to 95%, and are returning to our work at the Escola Bíblica de Expositores.We praise the Lord for how he is providing for us through the generosity of his people. In addition to eighty families and individuals who support us in ministry through their prayers and gifts, we are also grateful for Rocky Hill Community Church (Exeter, CA), Eastridge Baptist Church (Kent, WA), Sovereign Grace Chapel (Youngstown, OH), Grace Baptist Church (Wilmington, CA), Open House Fellowship (Visalia, CA), and of course our own home church and primary sending church, Visalia Evangelical Free Church.
Sunday at Visalia Evangelical Free Church,
the elders and Missions Committee prayed
for our family and for our return to Brazil
Housing update
Our last year in Fortaleza we were renting a house in a neighborhood that was neither very safe nor very clean. Several people were assaulted on our block, and sewage flowed in the gutters from a district uphill. When we left, we put all our belongings in storage with a friend from church. Now returning, we’ll be renting again, but hopefully in a safer, healthier location.As a husband and father, the Lord has impressed upon my heart the importance of providing a safe, stable home for my wife and children in the location of my assignment. Frankly, if I don’t provide a home for my family on the field, I will always be “short term.”ACTION designated an account where we are receiving special gifts towards the purchase of our own home in Fortaleza. To date, we have $4435 in that account. Our goal is to save up $50,000 for a down payment on a property valued at $200,000.If you would like to make a Christmas or year-end gift to assist us in getting into our own home in Fortaleza, we would be very grateful for your special gift at this time. Click here to donate online.

Many of you already partner with us on a monthly basis, and we are aware that there are other worthy ministries that you support as well. Therefore, we are all the more grateful!

As we return to Brazil, we thank the Lord for the many friends and supporters we got to see. But there are many more we were unable to see. Please know that even if we didn’t get to see you in person, we appreciate you and thank the Lord for you!

Each one of you who pray for us and partner with us in ministry are very dear to our hearts.

Yours in Christ,

Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,

Action International Ministries

BrazilCarroll.org

P.S. Please visit BrazilCarroll.org, under “The Good News”, for the gospel presentation I shared with R.!

August 2, 2017 — Ministry & Furlough Update

David introduced me to Jarold… “This is Matthew, the guy who got me started studying theology. Four years ago he pointed me to all kinds of great resources to help understand the Bible!”

At 6 a.m. on a Friday morning, showing up at church to study theology is not the first thing on the minds of many men, but David and Jarold are faithful and eager to learn the truth of God’s word, even if that means getting up extra early to do so.

6 a.m. Men’s Study in Systematic Theology
at Visalia Evangelical Free Church
taught by Pastor Will Costello

David was also being very gracious in his introduction of me—I know David has had other good teachers who have spent much more time with him than I have been able to do. “When you and I met,” I said, “all I did was pass on to you what I learned from Pastor Bob when he read Systematic Theology with me back in 1999.”

“I know,” smiled David, “that’s exactly what you told me at the time. And now I’m passing it on to Jarold.”

I couldn’t have been happier to see 2 Timothy 2:2 in action, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

“From Pastor Bob,” I pointed out, “to me, to you, David, and to Jarold…”

Jarold and David, faithful men
entrusted to teach others

“And there’s more,” Jarold added, “I have a step-son, and the things I’m learning from our study of theology I take home and share with him.”

What a privilege to catch a glimpse of God at work across generations of “faithful men” as each, like runners in a relay race, passes forward the baton of the gospel!

Furlough & Support Update
When we arrived in the States on furlough last November, we came with the plan of renewing our relationships with partners at home and returning fully-funded to Brazil in July. That has been a good experience, and we have chosen to extend our stay in the States a bit longer to finish the task well.

In addition to time with our home church, Visalia Evangelical Free Church, we have had the opportunity to visit and share our ministry with many wonderful people at other churches in the area, some of whom the Lord has led to join our team of ministry partners.

It is still our goal to return to Brazil in time for me to teach New Testament Introduction at the Escola Bíblica de Expositores in Fortaleza this fall semester. The wonders of theological education in the age of Internet mean I can send the reading assignments on ahead and teach the lecture portion as a week-long module when we arrive in Brazil.

Please continue to pray for God’s provision and our timely return to Brazil.

Sharing our ministry at Colony Covenant Church
in Kingsburg, California

The joy of hearing the gospel
Luis lives next door and gives us a hand with yard work from time to time. A couple weeks ago, I explained the gospel to Luis and his girlfriend and her sister. They all were amazed and said they had never heard anything like it and that they wanted to turn from sin and follow Jesus.


Please pray for Luis and the two young ladies who so eagerly heard the gospel, that they would be like the good soil in the parable in Mark 4, where the Word was planted and grew to maturity and bore fruit many times more than what was planted!

We are eager to return to Brazil. But it is good to be in the US for a season, and “whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” Grateful for opportunities to minister, we immediately thank God for each of you who pray for us and give so generously. You are not mere spectators of this “relay race” but partners in the gospel from the first day until now (Phil 1:5).

Yours in Christ,
Matthew & Elsiene Carroll

Action International Ministries
BrazilCarroll.org

P.S. To give a donation online, please do so at our ACTION Donation page. Thank you!

June 9, 2017 — Update from the road

Here is a brief update from the road, as we visit new churches and share what the Lord is doing in Brazil…

Hitchhikers!
After visiting the churches in Modesto and Hickman, since we were nearby, we decided to see Yosemite National Park. It was our first time as a family to see Yosemite, and with the good rains California had this winter, the park was exceptionally beautiful!

Leaving Yosemite at night, we rounded a curve and our headlights briefly illuminated two figures on the shoulder with their thumbs out. Just as quickly, they were gone as we zoomed downhill. Elsiene and I began to express our doubts out loud—something didn’t seem right. These didn’t look like the hitchhikers one normally encounters on California roadways.

We found a place to turn around and returned to the hitchhikers, “Do you need help?” I asked.

“We missed our bus to San Francisco,” the young man said, then, almost afraid to ask: “We need a ride to Merced, … or Stockton?”

“You’re going to freeze out here,” I said, noticing they were not dressed for temperatures in the 40s. They did not understand me. “It’s very cold…” I rubbed my shoulders, “Get in. We can give you a ride to our hotel.”

Alan and Sherry (as they introduced themselves in English) are two university students from China traveling in the United States. I asked if they were married, and they both quickly blurted, “No, no—we are friends!”

At our hotel lobby, they met someone who could give them a ride to San Jose the next morning. When we got to our room Eliézer brought Gideon’s Bible and said, “This is our Bible. That’s how we learn about Jesus.”

In the morning over breakfast, I read Genesis 1:1, and explained we believe in God, who made Yosemite Valley, the stars Alan had photographed the night before, the food on our table, and even we ourselves—all of it for God’s glory and our enjoyment—and I prayed, expressing gratitude to God that he had kept Alan and Sherry safe, and allowed us to meet.

Sherry said she had begun to read the Bible once, and knew about Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. Alan said he likes to read Nietzsche but has a relative in San Jose, who goes to church every Sunday.

I gave them a gospel tract, and we traded e-mails. We said good-bye, and Alan and Sherry left to meet their ride. Apparently, something didn’t work out, because an hour later, we spotted them on the highway in front of the hotel, climbing into a different car.

Our new friends, Alan and Sherry

During family worship that day, our reading brought us to John chapter 4, where Jesus tells his disciples, “One sows and another reaps” (John 4:37). We thanked God that we got to meet Alan and Sherry and “sow” the word and the love of Christ, and we prayed that God would bring still more believers across their path towards the harvest, that is, when God grants them belief unto salvation. Please pray with us for Alan and Sherry, for their safe travels in America and ultimately for their salvation in Christ!

Furlough & Support Update

  • This Sunday, June 11, I am preaching at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Glendale, California.  
  • June 18, Father’s Day, we’ll be worshipping at our home church, Visalia Evangelical Free Church.
  • June 22 and 25, I’ll be preaching and we’ll present our ministry at Rocky Hill Community Church in Exeter.

Currently, we are 77% funded for ministry in Brazil. Our tickets are already set to return to Fortaleza July 17, which is barely a month away. Please pray with us for God’s provision and timing as we trust him and look forward to returning to the field. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more about our work equipping pastors, church planters and national missionaries in Brazil, we’d love to tell you about it!

Prayer requests

  • Please thank the Lord with us for the opportunities he’s given to share with others what the Lord is doing in Brazil.
  • Please pray for Alan and Sherri, for their safety and salvation.
  • Please pray for the Escola Bíblica de Expositores, the other teachers and students, as they continue teaching and studying while we are on furlough in California.

Thank you so much to each of you who so faithfully partner with us through your prayers and financial gifts!

Yours in Christ,·

Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,

Action International Ministries

April 4, 2017 — Update from Shepherds’ Conference, TMAI & furlough in California

TMAI Ibero-americas (banner) april

Diego is a remarkable leader, the pastor of Maranatha Baptist Bible Church, a vibrant, missions-minded church in Fortaleza, Brazil. In January 2016, Diego enrolled in the Escola Bíblica de Expositores to further develop his skills as an expository preacher. It was my honor to have Diego in my Hermeneutics class.

IMG_8674 (cropped)
With Pastor Diego and Pastor Roberto
at Shepherds’ Conference

Last month I reconnected with Diego at the Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. Diego brought me up to date and told me that he and his wife Vanessa have been approved with a Brazilian mission board to go as missionary-church planters to the south of Brazil—a region that does not have many strong churches. Diego is currently training two men to take his place and carry on ministry at Maranatha Church when he and Vanessa are sent out.We also got to spend time with Roberto, our dear friend and the pastor of Evangelical Christian Church in Goiânia. We thank the Lord for a ministry partner here in California who extended a generous scholarship for Pastor Roberto to attend Shepherds’ Conference. I just received word from Roberto that yesterday in Goiânia, they launched a brand-new church-based Bible training center for discipling believers and raising up new leaders in the church.

Pastors like Roberto and Diego are my heroes. These are Brazilian pastor-teachers with missionary zeal who do the “heavy lifting” day in, day out proclaiming the gospel and equipping the church for the work of the ministry. It is merely my privilege to come alongside these national pastors and missionaries to serve and encourage them as the Lord gives opportunity, that Christ may receive glory in his church both in Brazil and around the world!

The Master’s Academy International (TMAI)
In the days just prior to Shepherds’ Conference, EBEx’s academic director Diego Ramos and I participated in several meetings with TMAI, a fellowship of seventeen like-minded ministry training centers around the world. Though our Escola Bíblica de Expositores in Fortaleza is not yet a member school of TMAI, we were blessed to be able to participate in the meetings.

The banner image above shows representatives from TMAI schools in Mexico, Honduras and Spain as well as from other like-minded training ministries in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to gather with “brothers in arms” to pray for and hear from each other our experiences on the field “… as iron sharpens iron.” We are hopeful that EBEx may be officially recognized as a TMAI member school by the end of this year.

Furlough & Support Update
We have enjoyed the opportunity to share with many people the work the Lord is doing in Brazil. March 5, we were guests at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Glendale. March 26, we presented our ministry at Grace Baptist Church in Wilmington. While at Shepherds’ Conference, I met with the leadership of Eastridge Baptist Church from Kent, Washington. We praise God that Eastridge Baptist Church has chosen to make us an extension of their missionary outreach.

GBC Wilmington w Brian Opre 2017.03.26

At Grace Baptist Church in Wilmington with Brian Opre.
Brian serves as an elder at GBC and is
a missionary on his way to Italy.

Currently, we are 72% fully funded to return to Brazil in July 2017. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more about the ministry in Brazil, we’d love to tell you about it!

Housing update
Last September we shared with you our goal of purchasing our own home in Fortaleza. We are trusting the Lord to provide $50,000 as a down payment. To date, we have received $3,230.16 in gifts designated for this purpose. If you would like to make a special gift earmarked towards purchasing our own home on the field, you may donate online. Please just include a comment mentioning “home downpayment.”
Thank you!

Prayer requests
Please thank the Lord with us for the opportunities he’s given us to share with others about the work he is doing in Brazil.
Please pray for Brazilian pastors and missionaries, men like Pastor Diego and Pastor Roberto, that the Lord would equip and strengthen them to boldly proclaim the gospel and build up the body of Christ.
Also remember the Escola Bíblica de Expositores, the other teachers and students, as they continue teaching and studying while we are on furlough stateside.With our first group of students now in their third semester, our leadership is fine-tuning our program and recruiting the next cohort, that is, our second group of students. We’ve enjoyed a blessed start with our first batch of students, but I’ll feel like we’ve knocked off the “training wheels” when we start with our second batch of students. 🙂

May God be pleased to make our work fruitful training up Brazilian pastors and missionaries. We thank the Lord for each one of you who so faithfully partners with us through your prayers and financial gifts!

Yours in Christ,
Matthew & Elsiene Carroll

P.S. If you’d like to make a donation online, you may do so at our ACTION donation page. Thank you!

March 2, 2017—Video update from furlough in California

Carrolls in Brazil on Furlough 600

Actually, the picture above is not Brazil—it’s California where we are currently on furlough. This has been an exciting and busy season for us, and we didn’t want to leave you without an update.

We started to create the video below last week on our drive to Los Angeles to attend the 2017 International Symposium of The Master’s Academy International (TMAI) and the Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church.

Now the week is almost past, but we are still eager to let you know a bit of what we are up to while on furlough.

If you’re in the area, this Sunday, March 5, I’ll be preaching at Calvary Presbyterian Church on Glendale Blvd., in Glendale, California, as well as sharing about our ministry in Brazil.

Save the date, also, for May 20 and 21, as we will be the guests at the missions conference at the Visalia Evangelical Free Church.

Please pray for us as we look forward to traveling within California to connect with churches and renew our relationships with our ministry partners.

Our plans, Lord willing, are to return to Brazil in July. Please pray for God’s provision and guidance in this regard.

We are thankful to each of you who uphold us in prayer and who partner in this ministry through your faithful gifts.

Yours in Christ,
Matthew & Elsiene Carroll
Action International Ministries

Happy Thanksgiving from Matthew & Elsiene Carroll

img_1640-sand-dune-banner-1200

We hope your Thanksgiving was a time of enjoying and recalling God’s blessings. We are grateful for many safe miles of travel from Brazil, and to be reunited with loved ones in California.

We left Fortaleza November 15 for a time of rest and renewing relationships in the US. We had grand intentions of driving through Florida and across the United States via Interstate 10. However, after five days in Florida, with two weeks ahead of us on the road, we were overcome by exhaustion, and opted to catch the next flight to California, arriving in Visalia Monday, November 21. We’re disappointed there are so many people along the road we didn’t get to see, but thankful for the number we saw, and who ministered to us in Florida while we were passing through. Thank you!

Arriving in Miami

Escola Bíblica de Expositores
In Fortaleza our first year at EBEx came to a good conclusion. I finished teaching the second half of Greek Grammar. Classes will continue in 2017 taught by my colleagues. We plan, Lord willing, to return in July. Starting in August I’m scheduled to teach New Testament Introduction and Systematic Theology III, which covers the biblical doctrines pertaining to Man, Sin, and Salvation.

I am especially happy that Dr. John LeProhon, pastor of Eastridge Baptist Church in Kent, Washington, will be teaching a module on Pastoral Ministry, February 13-18, and preaching Sunday the 19th. John is a friend and classmate from The Master’s Seminary, and though I won’t be there, I know he’ll be well-received by the students and faculty at EBEx, as well as by our friends at church.

Visit from ACTION
In October we received a visit from colleagues with Action International Ministries. Mario Jr. Milhomem is the director of ACTION Brazil. Kyle Hansen works in mobilization at the USA office. Filipe Matias, with his wife and family, ministers to at-risk children in a favela in São Paulo, and is a skilled communicator through photography and video.

Mario Jr., Kyle and Filipe were traveling around ACTION ministries in South America, getting better acquainted with the work and recording video interviews. Elsiene and I got to show them a seminary class as well as take them to the new property the church is working to purchase. The vision is that the new land would be home for Igreja Bíblica Batista do Planalto, as well as the seminary, EBEx. The new land would also accommodate two other ministries associated with the church: a biblical counseling ministry and the offices of a Brazilian missionary sending board, which maintains about 30 missionaries in a dozen countries. There would also be several apartments to provide housing for Brazilian missionaries while home from the field. Elsiene and I count it a privilege to have a small part in this exciting ministry project, and to get to give our colleagues with ACTION just a taste of it!

With Kyle & Mario Jr. at the property the church
in Fortaleza is working to acquire.

* Isaac was snoozing just off-camera. 

Furlough plans
Now that we are in the States, what are our plans?
It has been almost four years since we were last in the US, so our main purpose is to renew our relationships with friends, churches and ministry partners here. Also, the last year in Fortaleza we passed through some challenges in our health as well as the upheaval of the move from Goiânia, so we hope to get some rest and refreshment while here.

While we were overseas, our primary sending church in Visalia has gone through some significant changes, so we look forward to spending time with our home church.

I am especially looking forward to attending the Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church, February 28 to March 3. I expect to see my colleagues from Fortaleza, Pastor Jenuan and Pastor Humberto. I’m also especially grateful that my friend and pastor from Goiânia, Pastor Roberto, will be able to attend Shepherds’ Conference due to a partial scholarship from a generous donor. Thank you!

The year 2017 marks 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. To help explain the importance of the Reformation, guest lecturer Dr. Carl Trueman will be teaching at the winterim session at The Master’s Seminary, January 10 to 14. As an alumnus of TMS, I get to attend winterim tuition-free. I expect this will be very profitable, especially since for next October back in Brazil, a church in São Luis de Maranhão has invited me to speak on the Reformation at their church’s anniversary celebration and conference.

Other invitations while we are in California include speaking at Henderson Avenue Baptist Church in Porterville, January 29, and at Rocky Hill Community Church in Exeter and Harvest Bible Fellowship in Modesto (dates TBA).

If you or your fellowship are interested in learning more about the ministry in Brazil, we’d love to tell you about it!

A special opportunity to give
We praise the Lord that to date we have received $3082 in gifts designated towards a down payment on a home upon our return to Fortaleza. We are trusting the Lord for $50,000 to help us get into a place of our own there.

If you would like to make a Christmas or year-end gift towards our ministry, we would be very grateful for your special gift at this time. You may give online or follow the instructions in the left side-bar for how to partner with us. If you wish for your gift to go towards our down payment on a home on the field, please leave a note in the “comments” section on the giving page. Thank you!

Prayer requests
Please pray for us as we get settled and adjusted to life in the States. Please pray for our physical health and strength. Pray also that the Lord would enable us to be a blessing and encouragement to our friends, churches and ministry partners. Please also pray for wisdom as we work through details of things like children’s schooling and such.

We rejoice in the Lord, and in his goodness and care towards his children. We are thankful to each of you who uphold us in prayer and who partner in this ministry through your faithful gifts.

Yours in Christ,·

Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,
Action International Ministries

Matthew.Carroll@actionintl.org

BrazilCarroll.org

P.S. If you send out a Christmas greeting card, we’d love to receive yours! 

September 20, 2016—Big News!

img_3338-swing-at-jangadas-da-caponga-banner

We are now in our second semester at EBEx, the Escola Bíblica de Expositores, in Fortaleza. In our first semester, I taught Hermeneutics and Greek Grammar. In June, I taught Theology Proper as a one-week module. Originally, that was to be taught by my colleague Pastor Humberto, but he was working on a deadline for his PhD, so I got to teach the class.

This semester, I was to teach Theology 2 (Christ, the Holy Spirit, Angels & Demons), but due to a scheduling issue Pastor Humberto got the class—now we’re even! 🙂

Of the five students who began Greek with me last semester, one caught the Zika virus and three more stopped due to demands of work, ministry and family. I don’t blame them, for I recall the challenges of my own time in seminary. I also feel sorely my own weakness as a first-time Greek teacher to help my students master the material. I would love to see these students again and I trust by God’s grace, I will be a better teacher when we meet again.

My one brave Greek student, Júnior!

But I do have one brave Greek student who continued with me this semester! Angércio, or Júnior as everyone knows him, is a civil engineer who over the summer left his job with a construction company to serve as a ministry intern with our church. That was a step of faith because Junior and his wife Carol were expecting their third child!

Later, I took Elsiene to visit Carol and the baby. Standing outside I asked Júnior his story: By God’s grace Júnior was saved at a church in his neighborhood. But as he grew, he observed that many of the leaders in the church had little interest in Scripture. In fact, there was no consistent preaching. The director of the service would call on any person at random to “bring a word.” Júnior was always afraid of being called. If he didn’t have a few thoughts jotted down on a scrap of paper, he’d hide in the back and hope to escape notice.

Then through a friend, Júnior was invited to the church where we also now serve. Not only was Júnior struck by the clear and careful proclamation of God’s word, but also by the priority the church places on equipping and sending new pastors and missionaries. Now Júnior himself is being equipped for pastoral ministry as the Lord leads!

4th-semester Greek (Exegesis) with Prof. Diego Ramos

 

Publishing
Outside of teaching, I help Pastor Humberto with Editora Peregrino (a small publishing ministry) as liaison to stateside publishers for titles we seek to translate and publish in Brazil. Current “irons in the fire” include: Rediscovering Expository Preaching, by John MacArthur; Premillennialism and Has the Church Replaced Israel?, both by Michael Vlach; Counseling the Hard Cases, by Heath Lambert & Stuart Scott; and One with a Shepherd, by Mary Somerville.

Preaching a couple weeks ago at church

 

Furlough
The big news is that we are planning a furlough! It’s been almost 4 years since we were last in the United States. Our plan is to be based mostly in California from this December through June or July 2017. We are really looking forward to seeing as many of you as we can, and reporting back to as many of our ministry partners and supporting churches as possible. If you’d like to schedule a visit, please contact us!

Help us get into our own home in Fortaleza!
Upon our arrival in Fortaleza last December the Lord provided a house for us to rent. When we leave on furlough, we will put our belongings in storage and turn the house over to the owner. At the end of our furlough when we return to Brazil, we would like to purchase our own place—to settle in our own home in Fortaleza—for our family’s health, protection and effectiveness in ministry.

A recent study ranked Fortaleza as the city with the highest rate of violent crime in Brazil, and the 12th most violent in the world. Ultimately we know that the Lord is our protection, but security is a concern as we consider where to buy. Several places we have looked at in Fortaleza are in the range of $200,000 US. We are asking the Lord to direct us to the right place, at the right time, and trusting him to enable us to make a down payment of $50,000.

Please pray with us that the Lord would provide a home for our family in Fortaleza. Action International Ministries has set up a special account for us to receive designated gifts towards a down payment for our own home. If you would like to make a special contribution towards this need—perhaps a Christmas or year-end gift—we would be very grateful. You may give online at ACTION, or mail a check to one of the addresses listed in the left side bar.

Please pray also for our students, like Júnior and Carol, as well as the other faculty and students at EBEx. And pray for the details of our furlough, that the Lord would bless our travels and give us a good time renewing our relationships with our family, friends and ministry partners.

We are grateful to each of you who uphold us in prayer and who partner with us through your faithful gifts. We thank the Lord who enables us to do this work, and we count it a privilege to be an extension of your ministry—in Brazil.

Yours in Christ,·

Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,

Action International Ministries
BrazilCarroll.org

P.S. To make a gift online, please click to the Donate page at ACTION.

June 23, 2016 — Video Update from the Carrolls in Brazil

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Here is a very brief [2:45] video update on our ministry and family in Fortaleza, Brazil. The transcript is available below. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!

TRANSCRIPT:
Today is Thursday, June 23rd, 2016. I’m Matthew Carroll with a brief update from Fortaleza, Brazil.

Our first semester at EBEx, the Escola Bíblica de Expositores has finished well. We began in January with our president Pr. Jenuan bringing a one week module on an Introduction to Expository Preaching.

Then during the semester I taught an Introduction to Greek and Hermeneutics, that is, How to Interpret the Bible. My colleague Diego Ramos taught Intro to Biblical Hebrew as well as Greek Syntax.

Next week, all day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I’ll be teaching Systematic Theology 1. That covers, for example, how the Bible came to us, and the Bible’s inerrancy and authority. We’re also going to talk about Theology Proper, that’s about God: His character and attributes.

Please pray for me and for our students. This will be the first time I’ve ever taught 3 days running, back-to-back.

Following my class, we’re going to have about ten days of other seminars and a Bible conference at our church and seminary covering topics such as Biblical Archaeology, the question of “Has the Church replaced Israel in God’s plan?”, and also looking at the question of Christian Ethics.

Please pray also for our family: We arrived here in Fortaleza in December, and we hit the ground running. By now the “adventure” of living in Fortaleza, the newness has sort of worn off, and we’re tired, we’ve been sick lately, and some of us are missing our hold home in Goiânia more than ever before.

So pray for us: For our ministry and our family, that in all things we would trust the Lord, that God would meet all our needs, and that God would strengthen us for this great task before us.

We count it an immense blessing to be here in Brazil as an extension of your ministry, and we give thanks to God for your prayers and for your faithful gifts to us in ministry.

So from Elsiene, and myself and our children, thank you very much and may the Lord bless you!


Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,

Action International Ministries
BrazilCarroll.org

P.S. To make a gift online, please click to the Donate page at ACTION.