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
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
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