Monthly Archives: February 2014

This day, nine years ago…

On this day, nine years ago, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.

Elsiene and Matthew

Elsiene and Matthew (March 2005)

A mutual friend introduced Elsiene and me to one another February 27, 2005 at about 10:15 AM. It was Sunday morning between first and second service at Grace Community Church where I worked for the bookstore. Elsiene was also hired on to work for the bookstore during Shepherds’ Conference. We ended up working together that week, and well… the rest is history.

… History, and a little bit of koine Greek.

In God’s timing, a couple weeks prior, I was assigned to study and solve an interpretational issue in 1 Thessalonians 4:4 for my Greek Exegesis class at The Master’s Seminary.

The King James Version for 1 Thes 4:4 says, “Every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.” Most modern translations say something like, “Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (NIV).

I, however, in my study in the Greek text, became convinced that “know how to posses his vessel” very likely ought to be translated “learn to acquire a wife” or “learn to live with his own wife.” The translation that most closely reflects this view is the Revised Standard Version: “that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor.”

If you’re curious, the NIV has a text note referencing this as a possible translation. The Baker New Testament Commentary and The New American Commentary on the letters to the Thessalonians are both fine places to start if you want to get the gist of the argument over this passage.

Anyhow, convicted that I needed to obey God’s will clearly revealed for me in Scripture, I set out in earnest to acquire a wife. And God did not disappoint. Before the month was over, I had met her, and before the year ended, I made her my wife.

After my own salvation in Christ, Elsiene is God’s greatest gift to me, and the one whom my heart loves.

Some people claim that studying Scripture in the original languages is no longer practical or relevant today. I beg to differ. Can you share an experience where sudden clarity on a passage in Scripture marked a turning point in your life?

February 21, 2014 Newsletter

Pastor Mathews-98 banner

Dear Friends and Family,

Here in Brazil, “summer vacation” is December and January. All the same, we’ve been busy.

CL Folder 200In our last newsletter, we mentioned the Evangelho e Ação Centro de Liderança—in translation, the “Gospel & Action Center for Leadership.” In 2006, Pastor Roberto founded Evangelho e Ação as a non-profit Christian mission organization. To the northeastern state of Piauí, the mission brings the gospel and practical aid. Locally in Goiânia, the mission had the Centro de Liderança, a mobile training center for equipping pastors. In 2007 Roberto was called upon to assume the pastorate at our church in Goiânia, and the following year he discontinued the training center to focus on the needs of the church. Now, Roberto and I are reopening the Center for Leadership (CL). The Gospel & Action CL will serve evangelical pastors within needy churches by equipping them for ministry through training in biblical leadership, and expository preaching.

The first seminar in the CL is on Abiding in Christ from John 15, because apart from Christ, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). While studying this passage myself, I was invited by Pastor Alden Laird, from Visalia Evangelical Free Church to preach via video January 5 for our home church in California.

Sermon on John 15:1-16 (45 min.)

Pastor Roberto also asked me to preach John 15 for our church in Goiânia February 9, while he was in the United States at a conference. Last May, Dr. John Street from the Master’s College & Seminary came through Goiânia and I introduced him to Pastor Roberto. Since then, Roberto has dedicated himself to equipping our church in Goiânia in the area of biblical counseling. Last semester he taught a two-hour lecture each Monday night to a group of 40 members from the church, towards a vision of planting a church-based counseling ministry.

Preaching at ICESO 600 - IMG_0275

In order to deepen his own understanding and have more to give to his class, Roberto participated in a biblical counseling training conference last week at Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana. A fellow pastor (a graduate of The Master’s Seminary) and his family very hospitably welcomed Roberto into their home during the conference. We are very grateful for the warm reception, because that week in Indiana it reached -30°F—a far cry from our Brazilian summer! Roberto reports that the trip was very profitable; he wants to add a Biblical Counseling module to the Center for Leadership catalog. Roberto even bumped into some old friends, also from Brazil, attending the conference. I am absolutely delighted how God works out details, great and small.

Looking ahead to August, we have invited biblical counselor and author Lou Priolo to Goiânia to give a three-day conference on conflict resolution. Dr. Priolo has just written a new book on the topic, and we are seeking a local publisher to have the book available in Portuguese in time for the conference in August. Goiânia’s First Presbyterian Church has also expressed interest in sharing Dr. Priolo with us. Some of the details are still pending, but the current plan is that Sunday morning he’ll teach at our church, Sunday evening at the Presbyterian Church, and then Monday through Wednesday, August 18-20, we’ll host the conference with Dr. Priolo for the benefit of both churches and for the Gospel & Action Center for Leadership as well.

In March I start teaching two new classes at church. I’ll be teaching Fundamentals of the Faith in Portuguese for new believers on Sunday morning and Monday night. Also, we are going to start an English-language evangelistic Bible study Friday mornings before business hours. Many Brazilians are motivated more than ever before to learn English, especially as they prepare to receive the world on their doorstep for the FIFA World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016. Our strategy is that a believer from the church would bring a non-believing friend or colleague to the English group.

Zuzu cake 310 - IMG_0312On the home front, Nathanael enjoyed his Brazilian summer vacation and is now back to school and in 2nd grade. Danilo was climbing the walls here at home, so we put him in a free gymnastics class. He gushes about it so much that Nathanael wants to skip school to attend gymnastics. Eliézer just turned three, and spends all his waking hours affectionately smothering a kitten we adopted from the street. Elsiene, my precious bride, heroically keeps all us crazy boys fed, clothed, clean and loved.

Please pray for the relaunch of the Center for Leadership, for the new classes starting in March, and for the counseling conference in August. Please also pray for our family for continued health, gospel witness and effectiveness in ministry.

Our family is grateful beyond measure to God for you—for your prayers, and gifts of support. Without you, we could not be here. Thank you for letting us be an extension of your ministry in Brazil.

Much love in Christ,
Matthew Elsiene Carroll signature (for web)



Matthew & Elsiene Carroll
Action International Ministries | Brazil
Pastoral Leadership Development