Byron's Prayer Letters

The Athas in Brazil
Taking the Living Water to the desert Northeast
Maranata Baptist Church 
Rua Araras 12 / Sobradinho, BA / 48925 
55 74 98806 9559

Fall 2017

Greetings in the Name above all names.

     There's a lot to tell as a lot has happened since last I wrote. 
Just the report for one survey trip is 22 pages. I should probably
summarize. At the end of our last letter I asked for prayer regarding
our future ministry.  Because of our boat experience with the island I looked into the Amazon region. Eventually I got an invitation and ended up on a 25 day, 7000 mile survey trip. Though you'd never guess it, the trip was planned out - how else would I know what all went wrong. I was particularly interested in the needs of "ribeirinhos" (he-bay-REEN-yous, small groups of people living along the rivers). Most towns are well churched, but the costs and complications of travel leave even nearby villages abandoned. I saw numerous ministries and several major rivers. 

     However, trip complications hampered my access to the interior,
especially a boat breakdown the last week. I wrote up a travel diary
which is posted with pictures at 

I also have a Word version with a little more detail.

     What's interesting is the trip there opened my eyes to the similar
situation here.  Research showed a low percentage of evangelicals in a county called Irec√™ (ee-re-SE). As in the Amazon, the cities have every kind of church you could imagine. We spent 8 days driving through this part of our state stopping at most every cluster of houses. The first day we only got about 85 miles - and for some of that we were lost on an empty road. Most nights we pulled over when it got dark and slept in the car. In all, we stopped at around 200 communities, nearly 80 of which have no church of any kind. Fewer than 10 had a non-Pentecostal work. One near-by group with about 25 houses nearly begged us to come. We hope in the last days before furlough to convince the church here to adopt
them and start some kind of work there.

     The new pastor has been installed.  To my surprise and
consternation there is great resistance to ordination among the pastors here in the area which foiled my intentions for the congregation to ordain him. Not even the missionaries are ordained, though to be fair, one came here to be a school teacher and does not call himself "pastor".  I was rather taken aback by the fervor of the reaction and level of arguments against it. So on Oct. 29 the mother church officially recognized Maximo as its pastor. He and the church are adjusting well and he and I have a good relationship.

     Speaking of relationships, one of the un-wed couples is set to wed just days before we leave. It will not be an easy relationship, but the desire to obey God, be baptized and to be able to serve are factors in the decision. There are several finishing baptism classes and he'll get dunked the day after he takes the plunge. The other un-wed couple appear to be going to separate. Pray for them.

  And last, as I've mentioned a couple of times, we'll be back in the
US for furlough for the first half of 2018. There will be weddings and a graduation and most importantly, time to see you. And that's where I need your help. Pause right now and check your church calendar and see when is the best time for us to visit and give a report of this term.

See you soon,
The Athas in Brazil

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