Greetings in the Name of the Lord,
We recently attended the General Assembly of our partner denomination, the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU). It was wonderful to become better informed about the issues before the church. Some of the issues were: ensuring that Brazilians without health insurance and retired people under the government plan would be able to be treated within a decent amount of time, that children’s Sunday school curriculum could be written and printed, and that the IPU will continue to work with the PC(USA) even though they don’t agree with the recent marriage decision of the PC(USA) General Assembly. It was wonderful to see friends and make new friends too.
Anita Wright Torres was the moderator of the IPU for the past three years. She visited most of the denomination’s 48 churches and went to the United States, Beirut, Lebanon, and Korea, representing our church in various meetings. Anita’s grandparents and parents were missionaries in Brazil. Her grandparents came to Brazil around 1915, starting new churches in very rural areas. Her parents began their service in 1945, starting new churches, teaching in the seminaries, and serving as leaders in the Brazilian church. Her father also wrote a book about the history of the IPU church. It is wonderful to see how the work of these missionaries is continuing.
In Nov. 2014 to April 2015 we will be in the United States on our Interpretation Assignment (IA). We will be available to visit churches and groups to talk about our work. We hope to share about our work with MANY people in a variety of ways. We will be available to visit throughout the week and on weekends. We do not need an honorarium, as we will be receiving our salary, but we will need help with transportation expenses. For this reason we hope we can make one trip and visit a number of churches in the same area to reduce travel expenses. One way to reduce the cost would be by using frequent flyer miles from a church member. Also, if you are a small church or if a cluster of churches can plan events in the same week, there are scholarships available for our travel. We hope to hear from you as soon as possible so we can visit you on the date you desire. The best way to reach us is through email.
We have always enjoyed our chances to meet our supporters and make new friends who are interested in our work. We enjoy sharing about our work with a variety of people in a variety of opportunities:
• participate in a worship service (preach, minute for mission, children’s sermon)
• teach adult, youth or children’s Sunday school classes in which we can answer questions, show a PowerPoint program, share pictures and display items from Brazil
• Speak at a church night supper
• Share with the session or Mission Committee
• Talk to the Presbyterian Women or Men’s group
• Talk about our work at a Prayer Breakfast
• Speak at a presbytery meeting, either a Minute for Mission or longer
• participate in a Mission Fair
• or any other way we can share about our ministry
Please note our U.S. address will be 235 Inman Drive, Apt. 2B, Decatur, GA 30030—and begin using it now for “snail mail.” Sometimes letters come in two weeks, but some have taken three months. We will be leaving Oct. 10 to participate in two meetings before we arrive in the United States. Someone has agreed to check our mail sent to Decatur and let us know if something needs immediate attention. The BEST way to communicate with us is via email! We look at it daily and try to respond to letters quickly.
Before arriving in the United States we will attend two meetings in El Salvador. The first one is for mission workers implementing Community Health and Evangelism. It will be a training session with lots of new ideas that we can use when we return to Brazil. The second meeting is a PC(USA) Regional Gathering for mission workers from Latin America and the Caribbean. We will learn about the issues before the PC(USA) and be informed about the changes in mission personnel responsibilities and commitments.
Thank you for your prayers, letters and financial support. We will continue to need your financial support for this part of our ministry—interpreting God’s mission in Brazil to our U.S. partners. We have a prayer request as we get ready for this transition. Before we come to the United States we have to pack our things and find a storage space for them. Possibly the national leaders of the IPU will decide before we leave where they would like us to work when we return. If they decide, we can either store our things here or move them before we leave. Please pray that we will be able to pack carefully and find a good, inexpensive storage location. Thank you. We look forward to visiting with you while we are in the United States.
Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell
Note: The Mission & Social Witness Committee of SIPC is working to bring Gordon and Dorothy to our congregation in early 2015. Stay tuned for more!