A Trying Time

It has been a long time since we have felt this stretched: emotionally, physically, and mentally. The Good News! As of January 26th, we have been on the mission field for one year! It is such an achievement for us, and a joy to be in Brazil. At the same time, this city is a spiritual challenge. There’s a reason most missionaries do not make it here. Satan has a foothold in Caxias do Sul, and he doesn’t like missionaries. We have been sleep deprived, heartbroken, been at funeral homes and the hospital, all while still working hard in our church, home, and property. There have been many successes! The cost on our wellbeing has felt…overwhelming.

I witnessed my first funeral in Brazil. The grandmother of one of the men in our church had passed away, and we went to the funeral to support him. He and his sister have been saved from their Catholic background, and show desire to do right, but many times choose to follow their own desires rather than the Bible. Please pray for Tobias and Julia that they would not only know what is right, but that they will choose to remove sin from their lives, pursue righteousness, and invest in their spiritual lives. The funeral was very…educational for me. It was a Catholic funeral full of chantings and traditions. We continue to pray for their family.

The next Sunday morning at 4am, Joneia woke up screaming with an intense pain in her lower abdomen. Fearing it may be appendicitis, we rushed her to the hospital and spent the whole day waiting on tests and evaluations. Thankfully, it was not appendicitis. The tests revealed little more than an educated guess. We believe Joneia was victim to an ovarian cyst that burst and filled her lower abdomen with fluid. There was nothing to do but give pain meds and pray it doesn’t happen again in the future. Please pray that God will heal her body and that this will never happen again.

A source of great distress this month as well: we got a puppy. Guard dogs are an excellent source of protection in Brazil since firearms are not easily accessible to foreigners (or citizens for that matter). We will also invest in alarms and cameras, but dogs add a threat, and are a common security measure here. We invested in a Doberman, the fifth smartest dog breed, because of its trainability and breeding. However, Dobermans are very stubborn; it is a great trait to have as a personal protection dog, but not great when she wants something she can’t have. Until this last week, when she was ready to get out of her bed at 4-5am, she let us know about it… she’d scream and whine and complain like I’ve never heard a dog do before. All instructions say to try and wait it out…two hours later, she still wouldn’t stop. She’d grab her cage, growling and pulling with all her might. She’d bark, then whine, then howl, then growl. After a late church night, where we don’t return until after 11, this was very unwelcome. Thankfully, in this last week, she has figured out the schedule, and now stays quiet until we are ready to get out of bed, which means she very trainable!

Though sleep deprived and physically exhausted, our work continues. We finally finished the piping for our septic field and have buried it. We are currently preparing our property for our teen camp next week. We are physically exhausted, and emotionally exhausted. Many of our members have been dealing with health issues and other crisis. One member was abused, another shattered her foot two weeks ago and is still awaiting complete treatment. One of our teenagers ingested 15 prescription sleeping pills, and we don’t know why. We are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Joneia is continuing to translate our discipleship material, but with the long hours of work and exhausted, she has trouble finding time during the week to sit down and translate. A week’s worth of translation gets loaded into one day. I continue to study Portuguese, an exhausting process by itself. A year later, I am not as fluent as I wish I was. I have plateaued in a pre-intermediate level of fluency and can’t push past it into intermediate Portuguese. I have now signed up for a Portuguese class that begins in February. With all of this work, Joneia and I feel like we have had limited time to focus on each other. Satan is actively working to exhaust us so much that we fall apart personally, and eventually fall apart from each other. We recognize it, and we refuse to let that happen. Satan can destroy a ministry by destroying the family. 

As such, we have a long list we need you to pray – 

Pray for Joneia’s and my endurance.

Pray for protection in our relationship.

Pray for renewed strength and energy every day.

Pray for our members and people of our church: Tobias, Julia, Clovis, Ivone, Suzette, and Isabely.


Continue to pray for our discipleship with Lucas and Fernanda. They are showing incredible spiritual growth. Praise the Lord!

Pray for the Yelles as they have made so many hospital visits this past month, and are probably feeling the same exhaustion we are. 

Pray for our teen camp this next week.

This month’s blog is very heavy to me, but thank you for reading it. We are well. God is good. The work continues, and much of our load is behind us. We look forward to what God has in store for us in February.

God bless you.


Contact Us:

+1 (206) 849-3874

BRT (UTC/GMT -3 hours) Time Zone



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