Cesar* dropped in for an unexpected visit last week—he says he feels terrors at night that rob his sleep. In his teens, he has one uncle who takes him to catechism classes at the Roman Catholic Church, and another uncle who takes him to a church where the pastor wants to perform an exorcism on him. Cesar is confused. He asked about our church and what I thought he should do. Beginning with the definition of the church as a “called out” people, called by God and purchased out of slavery to sin by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, I presented to him his need to turn from his sin and trust in Christ for salvation.
The next day, Cesar returned and we studied from Scripture who God is, what is man’s position before God, what has Christ accomplished, and that sinners must repent and believe in Christ to be saved. Cesar nods that he understands, and follows up with more questions, but it appears that he is still looking for certain works he must perform to earn God’s favor. Please pray for Cesar, that God would open his spiritual understanding to grasp and to love the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Christ!
Our biblical counseling conference is coming up, June 22-24. In our February letter we announced our guest speaker would be Dr. Robert Somerville. Unfortunately, Dr. Somerville had to cancel his travel plans to Brazil. In his place, the Lord has provided Andrew Rogers, pastor of counseling at College Park Church in Indianapolis, to take Dr. Somerville’s place as our speaker. Originally Dr. Somerville was to speak on “Depression,” and we were to feature his book (already at the publishers!). Andrew Rogers is not only prepared to keep the same theme, but is also eager to give Dr. Somerville’s book a hearty recommendation! We praise the Lord for his provision, and are delighted to receive Andrew and his wife Jenny as our guests in Goiânia in June!
Big move coming up!
In March, Elsiene and I received an invitation to join a team of Brazilian and American pastors and missionaries opening a new seminary in Fortaleza, Brazil. The Escola Bíblica de Expositores (“Expositors’ Bible School,” abbreviated EBEx), will begin offering classes in January 2016.
The seminary president, Pastor Jenuan Lira, and academic director, Diego Ramos, have an excellent line-up of visiting instructors to rotate in to teach modules. Elsiene and I are invited to move to Fortaleza so I can serve as a member of their resident teaching faculty. Our local and international leadership enthusiastically approved us to move to Fortaleza to help launch EBEx while continuing with Action International Ministries. Our goal is to move our family from Goiânia to Fortaleza end of this year to help launch this new seminary to train Brazilian expositors of God’s Word.
One aspect of the ministry in Fortaleza important to me is the goal for EBEx to become a member of The Master’s Academy International (tmai.org), a fellowship of pastoral training centers around the world united by a common doctrinal perspective and approach to ministry. To join TMAI, one of the requirements is that there be at least two graduates of The Master’s Seminary on the faculty. EBEx already has one graduate from TMS, academic director Diego Ramos, and I will be their second. My participation will thus facilitate EBEx’s admission to the TMAI family of schools.
Diego Ramos, Jenuan Lira, Bret Laird (representing TMAI) and I.
The Master’s College, January 2013
Another strength of the ministry in Fortaleza is it does not depend on me to launch the whole effort from scratch. Over the past two years, I have grown to where I am now teaching and preaching regularly in Portuguese. Together with Pastor Roberto, we have established an annual biblical counseling conference. (For 2016, we have confirmed Dr. John Street, and at a separate event, Dr. Tedd Tripp.) Out of our conference, we drew a group of pastors that meet for prayer and encouragement. But for the next stage in forming a seminary, I sorely felt my own lack of experience and was praying for a colleague to share the load and expand our skill set.
Then came the invitation from EBEx president Pastor Jenuan who, in addition to many years as a pastor and professor, also has experience leading a seminary. Between Jenuan and Diego, they have already assembled a strong seminary faculty. In fact, EBEx already has 10 prospective students ready to begin studying Hermeneutics, Hebrew Grammar, Greek Syntax, and the Fundamentals of Expository Preaching. By joining forces with EBEx, we will benefit from the strength of their team, and (by God’s grace) bring a valuable contribution as well. I am scheduled to begin in January, teaching Hermeneutics, i.e., “How to Interpret the Bible.”
I wish to make clear we still depend upon your prayers and gifts through ACTION. In order to move to Fortaleza to join EBEx, we need to be fully-funded for ministry. Now more than ever, we urge you to support the training of pastors in Brazil through your prayers and gifts to us at Action International Ministries!
Thanking the Lord for your partnership with us,
Matthew & Elsiene Carroll,
Action International Ministries
* “Cesar” is a pseudonym.