“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting, he who goes to and fro weeping carrying his bag of seed shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” — Psalm 126:5-6
The end of the year of 2017 was very full of activities as we in the Jardim Santana Church celebrated the 500 years of the Protestant Reformation during the entire month of October. Each Sunday there was a speaker from church teaching on a different part of the Reformation to the entire congregation of about 80 people, and on the fifth Sunday Gary spoke on ‘The True Gospel and Distortions in the Gospel Today’, followed by a church dinner for 80 people to end this special month.
“Preach the Word in season and out of season” (II Timothy 4:2) is a verse that is very much applied in the life of the Bryars. All this past school year, on Saturday afternoons, Gary had a group of students at his atelier on the church property to learn art, the teaching of which he has combined with evangelism. On 23 November, Gary was invited to hold an art exhibition at the Campinas Academy of Letters. The entire evening — attended by over 200 people, including the academics from the Academy — was a program dedicated to our great God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, to Whom was given all the glory, honour and praise due to His name. At the opening of the art exhibition, Louise played the piano. The first piece of music was an arrangement of the sacred hymn ‘Oh Lord My God’, which expresses Gary’s paintings through the beauty of nature as a work not of men, but of the Creator and Artist of the Universe. Later on in the evening before the Vernissage (a preview before the exhibition, which was organised by our daughter Marylu), a few young adults of our assembly in Jardim Santana (including our son Giovanni) were invited to sing ‘Oh Lord My God’. Before this hymn, Giovanni gave a brief powerful message about our Saviour and Creator. During the same week of the art exhibition, Gary was invited by a class in a public school to give a lesson to the students on painting a picture. So he combined art with the gospel…
The last Sunday of November was the anniversary of the Hortolandia Assembly and it was a very special evening. The speaker, Morega, who works in Mozambique, gave an excellent study. The choirs from different churches were very uplifting, and Gary was also asked to give a testimony of how the Lord helped and strengthened him when he had his stroke, praising God that there were no after-effects. Brazil is a country with no national barriers, and how wonderful it is that the Lord has bought with His precious blood peoples from all tribes, languages and nations (Rev 5:9). Speaking about no barriers, two Sundays ago Gary spoke (with translation) at the Mandarin Evangelical Church of Campinas, where he is asked to minister the Word every once in a while. For 25 years Louise had a Portuguese Bible study every Sunday with these young adults in our living room, and it is encouraging to see most of them still going on strong in the faith, marrying, having their own families and passing Biblical principles to the next generation. Since 1991, this same group of Chinese young adults have had a spiritual retreat every year at the Chalet in Campos do Jordão in the Mantiqueira mountains.
On Sunday 17 December 2017, we had our Annual Fellowship End-of-Year Christmas Party at Camp Bethel, and Gary had the privilege of baptising seven candidates — six young people and one adult — in the pool at Camp Bethel. Gary was very emotional as some of the young people whom he was baptising were the third generation, he having baptised the grandmother, Dona Isabel, at the beginning of the work. It was a very emotional time for us all, and in the morning Giovanni, who led the meeting, gave the opportunity for testimonies. There were some incredible testimonies of what God has done in the lives of the members of the Jardim Santana Assembly during this past year. including in the life of Dinalva. She has been liberated from demon possession, which was a very hard battle, and she came to know the Lord as her Saviour. She and her daughter Giovanna were baptised, but we are still praying for the conversion of her husband Marcos, who comes out to all the Sunday night meetings but has not made a profession of faith yet. Carol Becari is finishing law school and very active in the Jardim Santana church. She was the first to be saved in her family was saved and baptized about seven years ago. She never gave up on praying for the salvation of her family, and neither did we as a church. God is faithful — we must never give up praying for the salvation of our loved ones.
There were about 120 people present on the day of our Christmas party, because some of the members brought their family members who would otherwise not hear a gospel message.
We were very blessed with a fantastic camp season — during Kids Week there were 70 children and 15 professions of faith, and during Teens Week we had 85 teenagers with 10 professions of faith. Please remember these new believers, that they may remain strong in the faith as they all come from non-Christian homes. They are being counselled to attend a good faithful church that preaches the Word of God.
Gary and Louise Bryar