The Home Stretch of 2023

Closing chapters and starting new ones in our lives is an ongoing process. December closes the chapter of my first year in Brazil. It also closes the chapter of our home renovations! That’s right! We are living in our newly renovated home! This exciting new chapter in our lives has been in process longer than we expected, but the results are beautiful and comfortable. We are filled with gratitude for what God has given us. We rushed through this month starting at sunrise each morning and ending our labor late each night. Between property maintenance, discipleship, church ministry, and home renovations, we pushed ourselves hard. Now the Yelles have returned, and the heavy load has lightened a bit. Christmas was a blessing to celebrate our Savior and New Year’s Eve was fun. With summer vacations and holiday trips, our numbers were (and usually have been) rather small, but we continue to see church growth and visitors. We are exhausted but we are healthy, and God really blessed us in 2023.

Something we deal with here are the Ferias (holidays). For every holiday and day off (especially Christmas and New Year) everyone goes on vacation. Brazil also gives all laborers the right to one full month of paid vacation. This means that a lot of businesses close from December 23rd through January 8th. As I said, it usually means lower numbers in attendance. Even our discipleship was put on pause for our disciples’ two-week vacation. It’s very similar to the United States during Summer but throw two major holidays in the middle of it. And for some reason, the epitome of vacation for every Brazilian is going to the beach. Many things get put on pause, but the people usually come back. Please pray that our members return faithful and refreshed for this new year.

For the past few months, we have been working to make a choir ready for a Christmas special. I am very grateful for my upbringing in music and for the voice lessons Joneia and I have taken. Music is not nearly as universal here in Brazil as it is in the United States. I remember growing up with music classes, piano lessons, band, etc. None of that is offered in schools here, not even extra-curricular. As a result, a lot of Brazilians don’t know how to match a note let alone follow a tune. This created a challenge for trying to teach a choir how to sing parts, a challenge that has not been accomplished in the thirty years of ministry here. So Joneia made a strategy: let’s try to find a song that none of them would know, and keep them all separate to learn ONLY their part, and bring them all to sing together later. One week, Joneia took the sopranos, the next week the altos, and I switched between our tenor and bass. We taught them basic breathing, warm ups, breath support, matching notes, and ONLY their specific part repeatedly. About three weeks before Christmas, we brought them all together…and it worked! With some work, focus, and practice, they all were able to sing their own parts together! There were tears of joy over their accomplishment, and they all became excited to sing such beautiful music together for our God. We were so proud of them for their diligence and hard work.

For New Year’s Eve, we had a small group of seven (including us four) and played games and fellowshipped, and then we prayed through the New Year. We look back together at 2023 with fondness, and look forward to what God has for us in 2024. Thank you all for your prayers, and God bless you. 


Contact Us:

+1 (206) 849-3874

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Sending Church:

Worth Baptist Church
Pastor Tyler Gillit

4900 Campus Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76119

+1 (817) 534-0787


Mission Agency:

Independent Baptist Fellowship International (IBFI)

PO Box 151259
Fort Worth, TX 76108

+1 (817) 367-3422