“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and unwise” (Romans 1:14)
In this new year of 2019, we send greetings in the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to all our friends and those who are our supporters in finances and prayers. We thank God that we have completed 2018 doing the work of missions in Brazil. Back on October 6, the Garanhuns Fundamental Presbyterian Seminary was inaugurated. Rev. Kim also preached there on December 22 for the seminary graduation. Last year there also was a baptism of 14 people at the Castainho Brazil Fundamental Presbyterian Church in Garanhuns, where Rev. Kim also presided at a wedding ceremony on the same day. We often remind ourselves that we are not young and are lacking in wisdom and health. Still, we give thanks to the Lord for His wonderful blessings and faithful provisions. We thank you for your prayers and support as we bear testimony to the power of Christ here in Brazil.
Many missionaries entered into Brazil after the American Methodist missionary, Daniel Parish Kidder did in 1837. Later, the American Presbyterian missionary, Ashbel Green Simonton entered Brazil on August 26, 1859. He was 26 years old. He founded a first Brazilian Presbyterian Church in 1862. I want to talk to you about the city of Garanhuns. Garanhuns is in the state of Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil. It has a very special part in the history of the Brazil Presbyterian Church. American missionary, Jorge William Butler came to this area. He was a medical doctor, and evangelized the areas in Garanhuns, Jupi, Lajedo and Caruaru. Lamentably, Dr. Butler’s Brazilian collaborator, Negro Velho, was killed by Ne Villela, who was a supporter of the Roman Catholic Church. He was guided by a father, Joaquim Alfredo, of the Saint Bento Church in São Bento, which is very close to the cities of Garanhuns and Lajedo.
The story goes that Ne Villela planned to kill Dr. Butler as he was riding his horse to an evangelical assembly. The assignation failed however, as he was intercepted by Negro Velho. This Brazilian collaborator, Negro Velho, therefore became a first martyr in Northeast Brazil, instead of the American missionary, Jorge William Butler. This report spread instantly across all of Brazil. It was an event that had caused great concern and prayer for the cities of São Bento, Lajedo and Garanhuns. But today we can report that many people have been saved and are part of the evangelical church in Garanhuns.
Soon after American missionary William Calvin Porter and his wife, Kedrin, came to Garanhuns. Mrs. Porter founded a Presbyterian high school in Garanhuns on November 15, 1921. These days, this high school has become the best high school in Northeast Brazil.
With that history, we became interested in Garanhuns. As you know, we constructed and inaugurated the Fundamental Presbyterian Seminary, a Nursery and Illiterate school here in Garanhuns. Now we have six Fundamental Presbyterian churches in Garanhuns, a city with a population of only 100,000 people. But God has blessed this work. Hallelujah!
Graduation Ceremony of Garanhuns Seminary
We thank God that He gave us 11 graduates at the seminary. The ceremony was held on December 22, and the 11 graduates all received a Bachelor’s of Theology degree. Because the local Calvary Fundamental Presbyterian Church was not big enough, we rented the Forum of Garanhuns. Rev. Kim preached and many pastors, students and other church members in Garanhuns participated in the ceremony. Rev. and Mrs. Kim provided wrist watches as graduation gifts. After the graduation, we invited all the participants to the banquet.
Baptisms and Weddings at Castainho
Rev. and Mrs. Kim went to the Castainho Fundamental Presbyterian Church in Garanhuns, where Rev. Kim baptized 14 people back on December 23. Just as before, the Lord used the testimony of the children of the Bethesda Nursery and the students of the Bethesda Illiterate School to evangelize these people. We are thankful to God that we have baptized new believers in this area each year. By the grace of God we have baptized 167 people since 2009. Brazil has a very large Roman Catholic population, so it is by God’s grace that each is saved.
Also on December 23, Rev. Woo Sun Kim presided at the wedding ceremony. The service was in the Castainho Brazilian Fundamental Presbyterian Church soon after the baptisms. We thank God that the couples were all new believers. They accepted the Lord as their Savior, were baptized and now married. Up to now, we have presided over 15 wedding ceremonies here since 2011.
Cambirimba Church Building Needs to be Enlarged
The Cambirimba Brazil Fundamental Presbyterian Church had its inauguration on December 14, 2006. Since then church membership has increased by the grace of God. Therefore, the church building cannot accommodate all of it members and new attendees and needs to be enlarged. This case is not usual in Brazil. Pray for this need.
Rev. Woo Sun and Mrs. Sook Ja Kim