Prayer Letter March 2022

Dear Praying Friends,

We are constantly amazed at what God can do in His Church in spite of who we are. So much is happening in the Bessa church and it is so wonderful to see God’s blessing. We would like to mention some of those ways the Lord is working.

In our last letter we mentioned our desire to begin a couples ministry at the church. We believe that strong Christ-centered couples and families are essential for a strong church. The couples ministry is already a reality. Couples from the church and visiting couples are now meeting once a month to be equipped with God’s Word and to spend time in fellowship over a meal. These meetings have been a wonderful opportunity to reach unsaved spouses with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you pray that this group will grow and that unsaved husbands and wives will come to know the Lord through this important ministry?

When we arrived at the Bessa church we realized the need for strong men who could help lead the church. There were some godly men who were active in ministries, but the need was great to see more guys step up. Right away Jeff began a men’s prayer breakfast once a month (see picture to the right). The group of guys is growing and we can see God at work. Where there was once only one deacon now God has provided three quality Christian men to serve in this important office.

After the last men’s prayer breakfast, one of our unsaved guys came up to Jeff asking for a moment. That moment turned into nearly two hours of meaningful conversation where the Gospel was once again shared with Assis.Please pray for Assis. He told Jeff that he was close to making a decision for Christ!

Then there are the ministries that Ivana has with the ladies of the church. This is the fastest growing group in the church. The ladies are on fire and excited to serve in various ministries in the church. (pictured left)

As I write this, the church is planning on starting a Bible club for needy children in a nearby neighborhood. God continues to bless us and we must continue to reach out and be a blessing to others. Please pray for this children’s project ithe district of Jacaré.

And so I begin to run out of space on this page. Please pray for our upcoming eschatological conference with missionary Tim Franklin. Perhaps in our next letter we can talk a little about the teens ministry and the Gospel Team. So much to say… so little space. To sum it all up… GOD IS AT WORK in spite of who we are. Thank you once again for being a part of it all!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (for the girls)

Prayer Letter November 2021…

Dear ones in Christ,

Does numerical growth in a church equal spiritual health? Does numerical growth mean that God is blessing? Should growth be my objective? These are questions that we who are in ministry must continually be asking ourselves. Our prayer has been, “Lord, please give us healthy growth at the Bessa church and may that growth come from Your hand and not from ours.” Is God answering that prayer? We believe that He is.

We have seen several believers join the membership of the church in recent months. This year Jeff has taught two membership classes and he is getting ready to begin a third class. And what is even more exciting is that we have seen several people come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior in the past three months. This has been so exciting not only for Ivana and Jeff, but also for the church as a whole. Visitors are coming nearly every service and a few new families are attending regularly. Within those families are several husbands who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior, but they hear the Gospel every Sunday night and we are praying that they too will come to Christ. Will you pray for the salvation of Assis, Gustavo, Patrick, and Alison?

We are also fired up about the new youth group meetings that started up last month. We are calling this new youth ministry Project E.12:1 based on Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth…” In our first meeting there were 16 youth present and many do not know the Lord as their Savior. Please pray that these teens, many of whom are atheists and evolutionists, will come to the Lord.

The church has a Gospel Team that is heading into the community twice a month to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are using a tract that is of our own publication thanks to a generous gift that came from the USA. Since the beginning of this ministry thousands of tracks have been distributed and many have been encouraged to come and hear the Good News preached every Sunday at church.

In October we had our yearly Missions Conference and our first ever “English Church”. These two ministries challeged our church in missions outside our walls and brought a unique mission field into the pews of the church.

Our hope is to begin a couples’ ministry that is very needed at church. As God blesses us here at Bessa, we understand that the enemy will ramp up his campaign against families and specifically against our couples. Spiritually strong couples and families are the key to a spiritually strong church. We need God to give us the wisdom to get this new couples’ ministry up and running in the months ahead.

A lot is going on in ministry around here, but if it is just our family running around ministering, staying busy, and pouring our own life, “talents”, and time into this church rebuilding project… all that is happening will last for just a brief moment. Pray with us that the Lord will give us healthy growth at the Bessa church and that that growth comes from His hand and not from ours.” For “… neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:7). May our growth come from the Lord!

Thank you so much for being partners with us in ministry. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

In Him!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (for the girls)

July 2021 Prayer Letter…

Dear praying friends,

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men…” (Matthew 5:15-16a)

A couple of months ago we got a pretty heavy rain here in João Pessoa that did substantial damage to the light-posts on the street in front of the Bessa church. The front of the church that was once well lit at night became a dark and shadowy place. Jeff thought the city would fix the problem right away seeing that it is a heavily trafficked area that requires good lighting at night. Well, it’s been about two months and the street lights are still not fixed, but there is a blessing here as well.

We have recently put up a four meter high self-illuminated vertical church sign (see picture) that stands out more than it could ever stand out if those street lights were working properly.

And what is true with the church building is also true with the Church of Christ as well. In my few years of ministry I have never witnessed a time of greater darkness. Darkness is all over the world. What was shameful is now celebrated with pride. What was once hidden is now dancing in the streets. And we can look around discouraged by the invading darkness, but there is a blessing here as well.

We as Christians can shine more now than ever before in our lifetimes. Think about it… what an opportunity. Will we seize it? We are “the light of the world” and a “city that is set on a hill.” What are we doing to shine in this darkness? It is our desire to shine in the dark corner of the world where the Lord has placed us… for His glory. Here are a few things that the Bessa church is doing by God’s grace to take the light of Jesus to a community that is soaked in sin and murky shadows.

Ivana, along with two other ladies from church, head up the Barnabas Project which distributes food donations to many in need every month. Jeff recently finished up a discipleship class and the Bessa church is getting ready to receive new members. There is already a group lining up for another discipleship class. The evangelism team is working on a Gospel tract that is designed specifically for the Bessa church. The church is preparing for a missions conference in the month of October. 

Please continue to pray for the challenges of this new ministry. By God’s grace we desire to see this church back on its feet with a Brazilian pastor at the helm and a mature and vibrant membership in the ranks.

Allow us to share a need with each of you. The Jacumã church is doing very well under the leadership of Pastor Maxwell. However, as some of you know, we are still raising funds for a parsonage for that ministry. Praise the Lord we have received a donation of ten thousand dollars which puts the parsonage within striking distance. We need just two to three thousand more to make this project a reality. If you wish to help get us to our goal please send donations to our building fund at BMM. If you have any questions regarding this or any other ministry, please reach out to us.

Thank you so much for partnering with us through prayers and giving. God is working. God is blessing. May we shine more than ever for His glory.

In Him!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner… for the girls

June 2020 Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

Greetings from João Pessoa, Brazil.  In the last two months so much has happened.  Brazil continues to be hammered by the pandemic and we are still under an order by local authorities not to open our church doors.  Yet, the Lord’s church moves forward.  Our services are online through live video conferencing and on-demand messages.  The word is getting out to people that may never have entered through the doors of our church.

During this time, our family has been very busy making a move north into the large capital city of João Pessoa.  We now live on a cobble stone road!  It’s a luxury for a family that has lived on a dirty/muddy road for the past 15 years.  However, we have not moved here for the comfort of it.  We are here because we believe the Lord is placing before us several potential ministry opportunities.  We are so well located that two districts that need a church plant are now well within reach.  Will you pray that the Lord will show us just what opportunity to take? Our goal is to have the Jacumã congregation 100% nationalized before the end of the year and begin a new ministry at the start of 2021.

In the midst of the pandemic, as Jeff was producing video messages for the Jacumã church, God placed on his heart the desire to begin a broader reaching video ministry.  The goal for such a ministry is to reach both a Portuguese and English speaking audience.  Jeff is slowing transforming his office into a mini studio in order to make this goal a reality.  Please pray for this new opportunity.

Ivana has been working hard transforming the new house into a home.  She worked with the girls getting them through the school year.  Now Nicole and Emilie are on summer break.  Their days are wide open with plenty of time, but, due to the pandemic, they have nowhere to go.

Words cannot express our gratitude to each one of you who prays for us and gives to this ministry.  We would not survive a day here without your prayers and support.  Thank you so much.  May the Lord bless and keep you.  Stay safe.  It’s a messed up world out there, but be of good cheer, our Lord has overcome this world.

In Him!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (for the girls)

João Pessoa, Brazil

Prayer Letter April 2020…

Dear praying friends,

What a year 2020 has turned out to be. The temptation is to write about how Covid-19 has changed the way we live and do ministry here on the field, but then I realize how we are all bombarded by Coronavirus information minute by minute, day in and day out.   Let’s take a break from it all and talk about what God has been doing in our lives and in our hearts in recent months.

Out of the 17 years we have ministered here on the field, 2020 has been the hardest and most soul searching of them all.  The quest for knowing what God has for us after we leave the church plant in Jacumã has been the heaviest burden we have carried in a very long time.  The desire to do God’s will and the fear of stepping out of His perfect plan for our lives has been the theme for our lives thus far in 2020.

Need is everywhere.  If we step to the right, we can’t minister to those who are on our left; if we step to the left we end up turning away from those we love on our right. Powerfully pulled in two directions, we have wrestled over what God would have us do. Missionaries are Christians just like you.  At times we are stumped, confused, drained, and in tears.  No super-Christians here, we are just real people trying to find where God would have us in ministry and sometimes it’s not very clear.

One seasoned missionary told us, “When I pray and pray, but still cannot figure out what God would have me do, I just go back to work.”  So where are we?  Well, our noses are to the grindstone in the ministries here in Jacumã working with this dear church plant getting them ready for the soon approaching day that the missionaries move on.  At the same time we are surveying two areas to the north of our location for our next church plant opportunity.  Will God show us specifically or is He giving us a choice? One thing is for certain, need is everywhere.

Dear friends, I have opened up my heart a bit in this letter without getting into the intricate details.  I hope that you see that your missionaries struggle just like you do.  This is why we greatly need your prayers.  Our desire is to be used of the Lord wherever He ends up placing us. May God give us wisdom to see where He is leading. Pray with us.  Pray for us.

Thank you so much for your concern and care for us.  We know we have an army of supporters and prayer warriors behind us.

In Him!

Jeff Reiner (for Ivana and the girls)

Jacumã, Brazil

Prayer Letter September 2019

Dear praying friends,

Greetings from Brazil. Yes, we are back on the field. We arrived in Brazil about a month ago and for the first three weeks or so we hammered away at getting situated back on the field. They were some interesting weeks. When we returned to the field we found that our water situation was shaky at best.

After our arrival we soon realized that something was wrong with our pump. Sometimes we had water, but most of the time we didn’t. We spent days trying to figure out what the problem was. During this troubleshooting process we pulled the pump out twice. Now, pulling a heavy pump, wiring, and piping some 40 yards up a narrow well shaft is not the easiest of tasks, so we called the well guys.

Long story short… after being told that we would have to wait about 30 days to get warranty work done on the pump Jeff decided to forfeit our warranty and have the pump opened up somewhere else. I mean, you can only go without a shower for so long. People were starting to keep their distance from us J. The pump is now fixed and in the well. It’s nice to smell good again. We want to thank all of you who prayed us through this dilemma.

We found the Jacumã congregation doing well under Pastor Maxwell’s leadership. He has come a long way in his preaching and teaching and has shown much maturity in dealing with the flock. Maxwell’s wife Spray is also such a help to the ministries here and we cannot help but praise the Lord that this couple is a large part of our ministry team.

Jeff has been very careful not to come in and take over the bulk of the preaching and teaching in the church. Though it is not easy for Jeff, he has kept Maxwell in those positions of leadership so that our people will begin to see that the time for missionaries is coming to an end. Ivana has also kept herself from taking over the keyboard and the music department. The congregation has the leadership and the personnel to handle ministry without us. Now it is time to let the church know that we feel that our time here in Jacumã is coming to a close.

On September the 11th Jeff will be having a heart to heart with the believers here letting them know that we will be with them for a limited period of time and then we will be moving on to what the Lord has next for us. This will not be an easy service for the church or us. There will be those who still will not understand the need for us to step aside. It will not be easy for us as we tell these dear Christians and this dear Brazilian pastor and his wife that it is time for them to begin stretching their wings and flying on their own.

How long will we be here in Jacumã? We are not sure, but we know that when God opens the next door in ministry we are going to walk through it by His grace and through His strength. Pray for us.

 

In Him!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (for the girls)

Prayer Letter May 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;

for He is faithful that promised.” – Hebrews 10:23

It has been a while since we last updated you on our ministry as we travel and visit our churches this furlough.  We have put many thousands of miles behind us visiting churches in Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Florida and Ohio. February through March was an extremely hectic period, but now we find ourselves coming into the final lap of our journeys.  There are some trips ahead, but we are finding ourselves going into preparation mode to head back to the field of Brazil.

Tickets have been purchased for late July and Ivana has already organized a yard sale to get rid of some things that we cannot take back with us.  It is amazing how much one can accumulate in a few months here in the USA.

Last letter we asked you all to keep three requests before the Lord.  We want to include them in this letter as well.  These prayer requests are important as we seek God’s will for our lives as to where He would place us next.  So here are our top three requests once again…

  • Pray that we will return to find the congregation healthy and strong.
  • Pray that we will find that the congregation no longer needs our help.
  • Finally, pray that the Lord will show us where He wants us next.

Upon our return to the field we will be working out some final details in Jacumã.  One big item on our list is a parsonage for the church.  I mentioned this need last letter and God moved one of our churches to send in a gift for this project.  Praise the Lord.  If your church would like to participate in this project please contact us at jeffreyivana@yahoo.com.

We look forward to the blessings and the challenges that await us in the land of Brazil.  These transitions are always bittersweet.  Through them all, the Lord gives us joy and courage.  He is trustworthy…  to Him be all glory… for He is faithful that promised.”

Thank you once again for standing with us in ministry.

In Him!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (Nicole and Emilie too!)

December 2018 – January 2019 Prayer Letter…

Dear ones in Christ,

By the time you receive this letter, Christmas may well be past and the New Year may have already come. It is our hope that each one of you has had a Christ-centered Christmas and a blessed start to the New Year.

Our furlough is about half spent and we have traveled to various churches, but the bulk of travel is yet to come.  Early 2019 will be a busy time and we are asking for prayer as we rack up miles traveling from New York to Virginia to Florida to Ohio.   However, all the miles are worth it as we reunite with our churches that have stood by our side in prayer and giving for many years.

We hope to return to the field in the summer of 2019.  We have been praying for the Lord’s leading in our lives.  As you know, Pastor Maxwell has taken well to his role as shepherd of the Jacumãflock. We praise the Lord for Maxwell and his wife Soraia.  They love the ministry there at the congregation.

So, Ivana and I are in prayer seeking what God has next in our lives.  We want to be in the center of His will.  Here are three specific ways we are asking you to pray

  • Pray that we will return to find the congregation healthy and strong.
  • Pray that we will find that the congregation no longer needs our help.
  • Finally, pray that the Lord will show us where He wants us next.

It is hard to think of moving on in ministry, but it is our prayer that God will be crystal clear as He shows us His timing and direction in our lives and in the Jacumãcongregation.

There is still an item that needs completion in Jacumã.The church still needs a parsonage.  Over the years we have been raising funds for this project and we want to thank the individuals and the churches that have given to this need. However, we still need considerable finances for this project.  If your church is looking for a fund-raising project, please consider the Jacumã parsonage. For further details please contact us at jeffreyivana@yahoo.com.

Thank you so much for partnering with us in ministry.  We do not take your prayers or support for granted.  We realize that we could not do what we are called to do had the Lord not raised an army to stand with us.

May the Lord draw us closer to Him in 2019.  May we be faithful.   May this be the year He returns!

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (… for the girls)

Winston-Salem, NC.

August 2018 Prayer Letter…

Dear praying friends, 

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” – 3 John 1:4

Greetings from North Carolina. Yes, we are home on furlough and we are adjusting to life here in the States. Ever heard of reverse culture shock? Well, it is real and we are just now getting over it after being home for a few weeks.

So many of you have been so encouraging to us with regards to Ivana’s miscarriage. For those who have not heard, three days before our departure from Brazil we went in for a routine ultrasound and, to our surprise, we found that the baby had no heartbeat. The baby had died in the womb three weeks prior and we had no idea. It was a very long day in the hospital as Ivana underwent doctors’ visits and procedures.

We know that all things work together for the good to them that love God and to them that are called according to His purpose. We lost the baby, but Ivana is in good health. You see, we could have traveled home not knowing that Ivana had had a miscarriage and Ivana could have become very ill here in the States. The Lord made sure we found out about the miscarriage at the right time while we were still near Ivana’s gynecologist in Brazil.

We were choosing names. We had plans, but God’s ways are perfect. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words of comfort to both Ivana and myself.

We rejoice as we continue to hear good things from the Jacumã Congregation. Pastor Maxwell is doing the work of a faithful pastor. He cares for the flock and the church can see that care in him. Soraya is a faithful pastor’s wife and is working so well with the ladies and the children. The church is growing in its love for this couple and we feel only joy as we see that the Lord is meeting the needs of that church plant we love so much. Our time in Jacumã may be coming to a close.

We left the field feeling that the Lord is bringing our 15 years of ministry in that church plant to a close. It is a wonderful feeling. Please pray that God will continue to bless that church with spiritual and numerical growth. Pray that we will return to the field to find that we are no longer needed in any capacity in the Jacumã church.

Where do we go from here? Pray with us for His perfect leading!

Well, we look forward to hearing from churches that have not yet scheduled with us. If you have not contacted us yet, please do so. We would love to come and give a report!

God bless each one of you.

Jeff and Ivana Reiner (for the girls)

Winston Salem, NC.