Anapu, Brazil, Trip Overview

I’m typing this as I sit on my last flight (Dallas to Dulles), heading home from our training in Anapu, Brazil.

This will be a longer update than usual. A number of you have expressed a desire for more details about the teaching trips. I am hoping to accommodate these requests. (Others can always skim. ?). If you ever want more information/details than I provide, please write to me. I’ll be glad to correspond with you individually.

As is usually the case with traveling to Northern Brazil, the trip had its highlights and its challenges.

HIGHLIGHTS

Immediately upon arrival (see “Challenges” below), we were taken to a countryside community, approximately a 40-minute drive on mostly dirt roads. We arrived to a crowd of about 150 people. I had the privilege of preaching on “Not Ashamed of the Gospel” from Romans 1:16.

We began the training module on Friday evening. We then taught Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, and Monday thru Thursday evenings.  Pastor Larry Meers (Abilene, Texas) led the entire “heart” section of the training, primarily focusing upon the spiritual discipline of prayer. Larry and I shared the teaching of the New Testament Survey. Larry taught on the four Gospels, and I covered the remainder of the New Testament books. We were extremely encouraged by the attentiveness to the teaching and the eagerness for more.

On Saturday night, the church in Anapu celebrated an anniversary. I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 2:19 — ” The Church Is a Family.”  There were between 400 and 500 in attendance.

After our time of teaching on Sunday morning, everyone walked down to the river (Rio Anapu).  The church baptized seven people – two couples and three young men. What a blessing to be able to witness this!  After the baptisms, the church celebrated with a great feast.

Sunday night, Larry preached on prayer from James 5, again to an audience of about 500 people. The response to his message was extremely encouraging.

Each day, we were welcomed into different homes, some in Anapu and some out in the countryside, for lunch and dinner. These believers take seriously the opportunity to practice hospitality. Let’s just say we ate very well. Think Brazilian steakhouse — daily. ?

CHALLENGES

As usual, the primary challenges surrounded travel.  First, due to some misinformation from the airline, I almost missed my connection. Then again, I did arrive at the gate about five minutes before Larry, who came in from Abilene (through Dalles).

We made it to São Paulo; however, our luggage did not. We left our homes on Tuesday, and we received our luggage Friday night. The airline sent the luggage to Altamira. A friend who is a pastor there (his daughter and Amanda have become good friends) picked up the luggage at the airport.  He and his family made the two- to three-hour drive to Anapu to deliver our suitcases in person.

Our last flight on our way there Wednesday evening was from Belem to Altamira. The flight was delayed due to some ventilation problems. Just before midnight, we finally boarded. Without exaggeration, the temperature on the plane was at least 110 degrees. We sat on the plane for about ten minutes; then they decided to cancel the flight.

The airline took us to a hotel, where they provided lodging for us. It was good to get a couple hours sleep in a nice bed.  The next day (Thursday) we were able to make it to Altamira. IMB missionary Jonathan Edney met us at the airport and took us straight to Anapu.  Within minutes of arriving in Anapu, we were picked up and taken out to the countryside church for the service.

Some of our teaching times were cut short, primarily due to festivities surrounding the church’s anniversary celebration. We had to make some significant adjustments.

Teaching with Jonathan Edney interpreting
Larry Meers, teaching
on Tuesday evening
ANTONIO CARLOS AND MONICA

I do not have much new information on Monica’s health. (In my prayer request, I noticed it said Monique. Her name is Monica. Thankfully, God knows for whom we’re praying.)

We did get to see them as they were about to leave on their ten-hour drive to Belem. Monica had a couple of rough days, particularly suffering with some severe headaches.

A number of you had written to me, expressing your commitment to pray for them. I was able to tell them of your concern.  That truly was an encouragement to them.

One man from a church in Belem had come to Anapu to help serve as an interpreter. He is going to check in on Monica and Antonio Carlos, and then give me updates. While I don’t want to fill your Inboxes with emails from me, I will pass along updates.

Standing with Antonio Carlos
WORDS OF THANKS

First, I want to thank Pastor Larry Meers.  The amount of effort he put into preparing for this trip was evident. His willingness to be flexible, his many words of encouragement, and his friendship were a true blessing.

Also, special thanks to Jonathan and Rebecca Edney. We were so humbled by their willingness to be inconvenienced in their service to us. These people are my heroes! Please pray for the Edneys (Jonathan, Rebecca, Benjamin, Matthew, and Gabriella) as they prepare to move to Manaus and continue to faithfully serve our Lord.

I want to thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support. Without you, this trip (as well as the others) simply could not happen. Yes, there were challenges. Yet, I can confidently say that God’s churches in that region of Northern Brazil were strengthened through your partnership.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to say “Thank you!” to my family. Their prayer and encouragement, their willingness to have me be away for periods of time, their understanding my being out of the country for two consecutive July 4 celebrations — I am truly blessed!

PARTNERING FINANCIALLY

To partner by mail (make checks payable to “Reaching & Teaching International Ministries):
Reaching and Teaching International Ministries
PO Box 122
Wheaton, IL 60187
(Include a note: “Preferenced to Dean Bertsch Ministry Support”)
ECFA
To partner online:
Go to reachingandteaching.org/give.
Select “Give Online.”  Select “Dean Bertsch” from the drop down menu.

Baptism in Rio Anapu
Do you remember the Wendy’s commercial?  Where’s the beef?
We put in a lot of miles on these roads
Teaching the book of Hebrews on Friday evening
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