We just recently returned from our trip to Argentina and Brazil. I have a number of things I would like to share with you; however, if I put it all in one email, no one would read it.
AMANDA IN ARGENTINA
The first leg of our trip took us to Cordoba, Argentina. As I had mentioned in my previous email, our daughter Amanda was going to Cordoba for a three-month trip, in order to serve as a nanny for one of our missionary families.
We left on Wednesday, January 25. We arrived in Cordoba around 11:00 a.m. the next day. We were met at the airport and taken to the home of our friends, Jason and Kami Wright (Reaching & Teaching missionaries). We stayed with the Wrights five days, helping Amanda settle in.
During our time in Cordoba, we were able to see the part of the city where Amanda would be living. (Cordoba is the second largest city in Argentina.) The Wrights’ home is in a nice, residential section of the city. There are a couple bakeries within easy walking distance, as well as coffee shops and other small stores.
We were able to visit their church on Sunday. (Their service is an evening service.) One of the leaders of the church is Sam Masters, founder of William Carey Seminary. In addition to sound doctrine, the church was extremely warm and welcoming. We are excited for Amanda to get plugged into such a good church.
Kathy and I left Cordoba late Tuesday night. (Our flight was at 1:55 a.m. Wednesday, February 1) That was very difficult, both for us and for Amanda. As we thought about it, we realized we were leaving our 16-year-old daughter with people whom she didn’t know. While the Wrights are good friends of mine, Amanda really did not know them very well at this point.
Over the next few days, Amanda had a number of opportunities to begin serving in her role as nanny. Between handling various responsibilities and car shopping, Jason and Kami had an immediate need for Amanda to watch the children. This also gave Amanda the opportunity to bond with the children pretty quickly. As a reminder, the Wrights have three children – Kayden (age 7), Carley (age 3), and Brielle (age 1).
Amanda has also been able to develop a friendship with Kami. A couple of times, Amanda has sent us a message, saying she and Kami spent time together at the coffee shop, taking care of laundry, grocery shopping, etc.
Please continue to pray for Amanda, for Jason and Kami (and their language studies), and for their children. This is a wonderful opportunity for Amanda to serve as part of “the mission.” (Amanda will be sending out occasional updates. If you would like to be added to her list, send me an email. I will pass your address along to her.)
TEACHING IN ANAPU BRAZIL
After leaving Cordoba, Kathy and I headed for Northern Brazil, where we would meet our good friends, Larry and Jean Meers. Larry had partnered with me in teaching Modules Two and Three in Anapu.
Following a somewhat challenging flight schedule, we finally arrived in Anapu early Thursday afternoon (February 2). We were treated to a nice lunch at the home of some of our friends from the local church. After eating, it was time to get to work.
Let me give a little background. On our October 2016 trip, Pastor Elson (pastor of the host church in Anapu) told us of others who would be very interested in attending the training. However, in order for them to attend, they would have to come and stay in Anapu the entire time. I told Pastor Elson that, if they could do that, we could teach them Module One in the mornings, and then they could join the others for Module Four in the evenings. (In July, they could do Modules Two and Five, and then Modules Three and Six in October. Then, they’d be on track with everyone else.) That is exactly what happened.
Thursday afternoon, we did an abbreviated session with the new students, telling of the program and what our focus would be in Module One (Bible Intake and Old Testament Survey). Then, Thursday evening, we began Module Four (Bible Memorization and Meditation and Church History) with the entire group.
Maybe I’m getting old, but I found the schedule a bit grueling. Each day, after a quick breakfast, we would begin the morning teaching session around 8:00. Following the teaching, we would travel to a church member’s home, where we would be treated to lunch. We would visit with the folks a bit and then head back to the hotel. We would usually have a little bit of down time before being picked up to go to another church member’s home for a “snack.” (Their “snacks” are more like full meals!) Then, it would be time for the evening teaching session. We would often arrive back at the hotel between 10:30 and 10:45.
On Sunday, Larry and I had the privilege of teaching in local congregations. Larry preached in another church plant in the town of Anapu. I traveled to preach in a small church in the town of Nazaré.
In addition to our sessions, our wives also had the opportunity to spend time with and provide teaching for a number of the ladies in Anapu. Jean taught from the book of Ruth, and Kathy taught on the Gospel. Their presence went a long way toward deepening our relationship with the folks.
In closing, I want to “introduce” you to a few of the newer students:
Pastor Weldo and his wife Regina live in the town of Porto de Moz. To travel to Anapu from Porto de Moz, they must take a boat (four hours by speed boat or ten hours by regular boat) and then travel four hours by car.
Pastor Cassimiro and his wife Meirian serve in a community called Placas, which is an eight-hour drive from Anapu. It was his testimonial that I quoted at the beginning of this email.
Comments like his, combined with the overall response of those attending, provide great encouragement. I want to specifically thank those of you who have taken an active role in partnering in this ministry.
A Commitment to Good Communication – Your role as a partner in this ministry demands that I keep you regularly informed about what the Lord is doing so that you can better pray for and rejoice with us.
A Commitment to Good Stewardship – Your financial commitment is significant, both for you and for those to whom we are ministering. I promise to steward your resources well and to give myself wholeheartedly to the work of the gospel through Reaching & Teaching.
A Commitment to YOU – You can count on my commitment to you as a valued partner in the work of the gospel. I am eager to hear from you – your personal prayer requests – so that we can move forward together in the service of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
(Include a note: “Preferenced to Dean Bertsch Ministry Support”)
To partner online:Go to reachingandteaching.org/give.
Select “Give Online.” Then select “Dean Bertsch” from the drop down menu.