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We Hope We Can Study!

A Letter from Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell, serving in Brazil

September 2019

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“Our brothers have studied, now we want to study! We hope our parents listen to the missionary!” These words were spoken years ago by two women who go to our church, the United Presbyterian Church (A Igreja Presbiteriana Unida do Brasil). The girls yearned to attend school—elementary school first, and later nursing school. Would their dreams come true? A PC(USA) mission co-worker in Brazil named Roger Perkins tried to make it so. He began a church and offered scholarships for the girls to study at different PC(USA) schools that met their educational needs. Years ago, our town didn’t have schools and going to Salvador, the capital, to go to school was expensive. All over Brazil dreams were and continue to be fulfilled by scholarships from churches!

Another church member, Nanne, was offered a scholarship at about the same time to a different school by a different PC(USA) missionary. Education has been the center of her life: her own education, her children’s, the neighborhood children’s education and that of children living in rural neighborhoods. Later her grandchildren, church children and learning English herself have been her learning priorities. Learning lots of different things is important!

In the church we are helping many people fulfill their dreams of learning more. Gordon preaches and teaches Sunday school and new member classes. Additionally, he teaches Bible Studies and fulfills others’ desires to learn more through other classes. Currently in the church Dorothy teaches the children’s Sunday school class and often teaches Bible classes during worship. Nanne’s heart is dedicated to her students. She teaches the elementary students who live in the neighborhood at the edge of town. She picks them up Sunday morning, jam-packing them in her car. She makes sure they have an extra snack with lots to take home and when an adult asks for clothing and necessary home supplies she often provides. Some days after Sunday school she takes them to her farm to swim and/or to her home for lunch.

One of Dorothy’s English classes is for participants in the APAE, a program that helps intellectually disabled adults and children. She has classes Tuesday and Thursday mornings with students ages 13-55. It has been a challenge to teach English to people who can’t read. They have good memories, so if material is presented in the right amount and manner, and repeated, they learn it. When they see Dorothy in the community, they like to speak a few English words. Initially they were scared to try to speak English in the community, but what she says in class has proven true: each time they say a word, it sounds easier to understand.

Our English classes are for a variety of people. One of our English classes has high school and college-level learners, along with English student Nanne, now aged 79. Other English classes are for elementary-aged students. Nanne finds the study of English very challenging, but Dorothy often helps her with her homework and makes sure that she understands the lesson. A good deal of learning is taking place.

We will have a three-month Interpretation Assignment in January- March 2020. We are in the process of setting up our speaking engagement calendar. Please email us ASAP to see if we can include you, too. We will be speaking on weekends, weekdays, mornings, afternoons and evenings. We will be glad to speak individually or both of us whenever you need us. It’s a pleasure to share about our work.

In Christ,

Gordon and Dorothy

Please read this important message from Sara Lisherness, interim director of Presbyterian World Mission

Dear friend of Presbyterian Mission,

Greetings in Christ! As the interim director of Presbyterian World Mission, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of PC(USA) mission co-workers.

The above newsletter bears witness to some of the many ways in which God is at work in the world through long-standing relationships between global partners and the PC(USA). These partnerships are nurtured and strengthened by the presence of mission co-workers in over 40 countries; you are an important part of this partnership too, as you learn about and share how our church is involved in global ministry; as you pray for our partners and mission co-workers; and as you take action to work with others for God’s justice, peace and healing.

I write to invite you to continue joining us in partnership in three ways. First, your prayers are always needed. Please pray that God will continue guiding the shared work of the PC(USA) and global partners as we engage together in service around the world. Pray, too, for mission co-workers, that they may feel encouraged in the work they are doing under the leadership of global partners.

Second, please consider making a year-end gift for the sending and support of at least one mission co-worker.

Finally, I encourage you to ask your session to include one or more mission co-workers in your congregation’s mission budget for 2020 and beyond. PC(USA) mission co-workers’ sending and support costs are funded by the designated gifts of individuals and congregations like yours; your gifts allow Presbyterian World Mission to fulfill global partners’ requests for mission personnel.

Faithfully in Christ,

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry
Interim Director, Presbyterian World Mission


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