Dean Bertch – Feb 16, 2016

Hi Everyone.

I wanted to get this information out to you.  It contains both an brief overview of my trip to Haiti and a prayer requests for my upcoming trip to Northern Brazil.

Haiti Trip Review

“I’ve been searching for someplace to learn more of the Word of God, so that I can be a better pastor for my people.”  These words were spoken by one of the pastors who attending our training last week in Haiti.  I had the privilege of joining Pastor Nick Wilson (from Plainview, Minnesota) and Terry Spenst (from Wichita, Kansas) as we completed the first module of Reaching & Teaching’s nine-module pastoral and leadership training program.

The training was held in Port-au-Prince; however, many of those attending came from the more rural countryside of Haiti.  This site came about thanks to Nick Wilson.  During each of the past two years, he had traveled Haiti and built relationships with a number of the pastors, especially the pastor who is the key “mover and shaker” of the Ligue (association of churches).

Terry started off the training each morning by covering the spiritual discipline of Bible intake.  Terry did a good job of emphasizing the importance of listening to, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word.  He also led the group in some exercises, giving them opportunities to practice the discipline.  I was very encouraged by Terry’s lessons.

Nick and I shared the teaching of Old Testament Survey.  Nick is an excellent Bible teacher.  I found myself wishing I had audio or video taped his lessons.  His emphasis upon the Bible’s being one story, with one subject, carrying one message was crystal clear to the students.

Personally, in some ways, it was my most challenging teaching trip.  This was due in part to suffering from some pretty serious dizziness on Monday andTuesday.  Each of the two mornings, I was genuinely concerned as to whether I would be physically capable of teaching.  However, by God’s grace, both days’ sessions went pretty well.  In fact, the entire week of training was extremely well received.  This looks like it’s going to be an excellent site, providing training for people who are hungry to be taught.

Haiti was by far the most impoverished country I’ve visited.  Unemployment rates are extremely high, and many employed still struggle to earn a livable wage.  One of the pastors who traveled a number of hours indicated his monthly income to be about $50.  We then found out that he spent $22 in transportation costs to attend the training.  His story was similar to a handful of others.

Political instability has compounded the many problems.  Violence and protests have been common.  On the day we arrived, the president was scheduled to make an announcement as to his future.  By God’s grace, he announced he would be stepping down.  Had he not, there were expected to be major protests and rioting in the streets.  Transportation, especially from the airport to the pastor’s house, would have been extremely dangerous.

All in all, the trip was an absolute success.  Please pray for those whom we taught.  Many of them were chosen to represent their geographic area in the training.  Now, their job is to share what they learned with the other pastors in their area.  May God bless them as they do this and as they continue to minister to their congregation.  Any hope for Haiti will be found in hearts changed by the Gospel.  Let’s pray to that end.

Students, working in small groups
Teaching the men (yes, wearing a tie)
These men could teach us to sing!

Brazil Trip Prayer Requests

Tomorrow (Thursday) I will leave for Anapu, a small city in Northern Brazil.  I will start by flying from BWI to Miami.  There, I will be meeting up with Jason Wright, who will be traveling from Abilene, Texas.  After a six-hour layover, we will have an overnight flight to Brasilia (the capital city of Brazil).  We layover for four hours there, before boarding a flight to the city of Maraba.  We will be picked up (at least that’s the plan – and our hope!) at the airport and then head to Anapu – a five hour drive.  We should arrive in Anapu sometime Friday evening.

Our teaching schedule for the week is not yet fully confirmed.  We are sure we will be doing the first module of our Reaching & Teaching pastoral and leadership training program.  However, we will find out the exact schedule – days and times – when we arrive.  I do know we will be speaking a couple of times on Sunday.

I am excited about this week of training.  I had visited Anapu for a week last summer.  The pastor of the Baptist church in Anapu is a wonderful, hard-working man.  He took me to a number of surrounding villages; some had churches and some did not.  The pastors that I did meet expressed a hunger to be taught more from God’s word.  Plus, there are a number of men at the church in Anapu who we are hoping and praying God will call to plant churches in some of the villages.

We will return to Maraba sometime Friday because we have a 6:50 flight Saturday morning.  Upon reaching Brasilia, Jason will head to Rio de Janeiro for some meetings with leaders from the Brazilian Baptist Convention.  I will have a 13-hour layover in Brasilia, before my overnight flight to Miami.  There, I will catch my last flight to Baltimore, where Kathy will be waiting for me.

Please pray for all the travel logistics.  As I was typing some of the details, I was reminded of how much we must rely upon God for his mercy while traveling.  As James 4:15 says, “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Please pray for the training.  Pray that the schedule is worked out such that many are able to attend.  Also pray that we are able to teach clearly and that those attending stay focused.

Please pray for the interpreters.  There has been some question as to who will be interpreting for us.  I received an email today from one of our interpreters from last year indicating that she would be there.  (She did a terrific job!)  Also, her father, a very highly respected pastor who used to serve in this area, will be there.  I am eager for the privilege of meeting him.

Please pray for our families.  Jason has a wife (Kami) and three young children (Kayden, Carley, and Brielle).  Kathy and Amanda will be holding down the fort at home.  Glenn will be at his job in Virginia; however, he will be traveling to a homeschool convention in North Dakota later next week.  Josh is extremely busy, juggling his studies and his new job at a Chick-fil-A in Louisville.

Thank you so much for your partnership, both in prayer support and in financial support, in this ministry.



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