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Church Members Share Spiritual Gifts

A letter from Dorothy Gartrell, serving in Brazil

October 2017

Write to Gordon Gartrell
Write to Dorothy Gartrell

Individuals: Give online to E200489 for Gordon and Dorothy Gartrells’ sending and support

Congregations: Give to D506355 for Gordon and Dorothy Gartrells’ sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).


We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is … serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently;
if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:6-8

Dear family and friends,

We want to share with you some of the spiritual gifts we are seeing in our church. Our members inspire us by serving God and others generously, diligently and cheerfully.

One woman has developed leadership skills and is using them to enhance others’ participation in the church. In her committee meetings, people share ideas, and as a group they enhance them and bring them about. Her committee plans meetings that bless others, such as prayer meetings and gatherings that honor children, mothers and older adults. At her suggestion, her committee planned a celebration of Grandparents’ Day, a holiday widely celebrated in Brazil. More than half the people in our church are grandparents! We honored them in worship, had a soup dinner and gave them a gift. This inspirational woman’s husband also uses his gifts for the good of the church. He encourages others and invites people to attend worship, Bible study or special meetings. He offers them rides so they don’t have to enter the church alone.

One of our church’s new members is a talented teacher. He is teaching the young people’s Sunday school class and leads a weekly Bible study that began with him teaching an extended family in one of their homes. Now friends and neighbors have joined the group because they know how effective he is in helping those he teaches to grow spiritually. He is also a “silent server.” When the session needs price quotes, they can ask him and he quickly gives them some without expecting anything in return! He has lots of friends in town, so they rapidly respond to his questions and do favors for him.
One woman who seldom leaves her house spends a lot of time reading the Bible and praying. She often calls friends to ask them how things are going and gives them encouragement and advice on how they can improve their lives. She also prays for them. We know that if we need prayer to help us through something, she will pray for us as soon as she receives the message.

And we appreciate the spiritual gifts of our older members. One older woman shows LOTS of mercy. She encourages everyone in their walk with the Lord and their service to the church. A man in his mid-80’s is a taxi cab driver in town and knows the town and the townspeople well. He doesn’t charge much, as he finds joy in helping people, especially older people who cannot pay much. He is kind and gives Gordon and me a ride whenever he encounters us in town and his car is empty.

A mother has taught her children how to use their gifts as they go about their everyday lives. They live on the edge of town and have a large number of fruit trees, crops and chickens. They share things with many people. She has taught them to play their part in blessing others. Her daughter often brings things to church to share and her granddaughters deliver large amounts of food in their bike baskets. Because of the way they were raised, it comes naturally to them. Everyone is amply blessed.

Two women have flowers in their yards. They coordinate when they will bring flowers for the sanctuary table. One grows beautiful roses, lilies, tulips and other flowers. Her arrangements are strikingly beautiful. The other woman’s flowers are more natural but beautiful in their own way. She arranges them so that a variety of colors, shapes and textures reveal God’s beauty.

A retired teacher who was the principal of an elementary school enjoys providing snacks for the Sunday School children. She knows children need healthy snacks and that many children want sweets. The children have been spoiled by cakes and cookies bought in stores, but she spends time and money to make a natural treat. One Sunday, she made a local fruit into a milkshake type drink. The children thought the snack was delicious, as you can see in the picture. They had no idea that the snack was healthy, too.

Not only are we heartened by our church members’ Christ-like actions, but we are inspired by the vision of the larger United Presbyterian Church of Brazil. Recently, we attended its general assembly meeting. Dennis Smith from Argentina, who serves as our PC(USA) regional liaison, and Valdir França, the Latin American area coordinator, were there and encouraged us to enhance our work. They shared new possibilities for our future ministry. Our presbytery, the Presbytery of Salvador, sent many representatives. It was an enriching display of leadership from the churches. Anita Wright Torres was elected as the moderator—this will be her second three-year term. She is a special friend, as she was an international student at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education with Dorothy in 1983. As moderator, Anita will visit churches to encourage us and offer new ideas.

We will be in the United States from December 2017 to May 2018 on our interpretation assignment (IA). We have set up speaking engagements at a variety of churches. If you would like us to share the story of our work with you, we will be glad to do so. We have many available dates—weekdays, weekends, Sunday mornings or Sunday nights. We are anxious to visit lots of churches because our work has been a wonderful experience. When we visit churches, we enjoy sharing about our work, but we also learn a lot about how the members of each church have used their spiritual gifts. We experience the exercise of such gifts when people help us by offering rides and plane tickets to get us to their church; when they allow us to borrow a car or rent one for us while we visit; and when they provide us with good food. And we are blessed with good fellowship each time we visit the States. We always deepen existing friendships and make new friends.

We want to thank you for your interest and support. Thank you for lifting us up through encouraging letters and prayers as we serve in Brazil. And thank you for your financial support that allows us to carry out God’s work with the people of Brazil. Please continue supporting God’s mission with your spiritual and financial gifts. We are thankful for all that you do.

Love in Christ,

Gordon and Dorothy

Please read this important message from Jose Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Dear Friend of Presbyterian Mission,

What a joy to send this letter! As Presbyterian World Mission’s new director, I thank God for your faithful support of our mission co-workers. The enclosed newsletter celebrates the work you made possible by your prayers, engagement, and generous financial gifts. We can’t thank you enough.

After I began in April, I met with mission co-workers and global partners and was blessed to see firsthand the mighty ways God is working through them! Our global partners are asking us to help them move forward with life-changing ministries. Because of your support, we can say “yes” to these creative and exciting initiatives.

I write to invite you to make an even deeper commitment to this work. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? We need your gifts to end the year strong. With your help, we filled two new mission co-worker positions and plan to recruit for others. The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer the call to serve.

Second, would you ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s mission budget for 2018 and beyond? Our mission co-workers serve three-year or four-year terms. Your multi-year commitment will encourage them greatly.

Our mission co-workers are funded entirely from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours. Now more than ever, we need your financial support.

In faith, our mission co-workers accepted a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission sent them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts?

With gratitude,

Jose Luis Casal

P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!

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