Order of Services:
*Prelude of Music, Photos of Ministry: Mickey and Shirley Hyder
*Welcome and Recognition of all churches present: Bro. Mickey Hyder
*Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness
*Prayer and Introduction of Speakers: Dr. Asa Mark Bratcher
*Scripture Reading: “The Great Commission” Matthew 28:16-20 by Bro. Jerry Bishop
*Baptist Faith Missions Report and Greetings: Bro. Dave Parks
*Music of Praise: “Grace Medley” by DFBC Choir
*Interview with Harold, Marie, Asa, and Stephen Bratcher
*Hymn: Blessed Assurance
*Message of Celebration: Dr. Wesley K. Smith (“Behold My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.” -Isaiah 42:1 > 1 Thessalonians 2)
*Music of Praise: How Great Thou Art” sung by Bro. Stephen Bratcher in English and Portuguese
*Laying on of hands Renewal: All ordained ministers present
*Closing Hymn: Send the Light
*Postlude: Kathy Matthews-Spencer
“The Bratchers of Brazil” by Dr. A.M. Bratcher
On February 5, 1919 Dr. Lewis Malen Bratcher arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This event began a 90 year love ministry of the Bratchers in Brazil that continues to this day. For the next 35 years, Dr. L.M. Bratcher would labor faithfully in the cities and on mule trails preaching the “good news” (as boas novas) of the saving Gospel of his Lord Jesus Christ. In June of 1939, he traveled to the Amazon Valley to begin a long awaited and planned Amazon River missions trip with the pioneer Baptist missionary Erik Alfred Nelson. Soon after the trip began, on June 15, 1939, E.A. Nelson, 76 years of age, went home to be with his Lord. He served in Brazil for 48 years. After assisting at the funeral at the First Baptist Church of Manaus that Nelson founded in 1900, Dr. L.M. Bratcher decided to continue the river trip, this time having to inform the Brazilian people of E.A. Nelson’s death and “home going.” He stated in his memoirs, “Just Longing,” (Saudades) that he would never forget the reaction of the villagers at each stop. Tears would come to their eyes, and the sorrowful question would be asked “Now who will come and tell us about Jesus?”
Exactly 20 years later almost to the day, Harold Foley Bratcher answered that question, arriving in the Amazon Valley on July 15, 1959, to begin a 50 year love ministry with the people of Brazil. Harold Bratcher, 82, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 24, 1927. His dear wife of almost 55 years, Hattie Marie Moore Bratcher, 82, was born in Richmond, Kentucky; they met while Harold was pastoring Newby Baptist Church, and were married on December 27, 1954. The Lord blessed their union with three sons: Dr. Asa Mark Bratcher, 53, of Manaus, Brazil, missionary to Brazil for 32 years; Pastor Stephen M. Bratcher, 49, of Ocala, Florida; and Joel Bratcher, now residing in “Glory,” who at the age of 6, drowned in the Amazon River on August 17, 1971. His body is buried in the St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Manaus, Brazil, only a few feet from the grave of Missionary E.A. Nelson, “The Apostle of the Amazon,” where both “await the sounding of the trump” on Resurrection Morning.
During these 50 years, Harold, with the help of his son Asa, has organized over 20 Baptist churches and many other missions in the Amazon Valley. Together they have baptized thousands of Brazilian people.
This afternoon, June 28, 2009, we pause to honor Harold and his beloved Marie Bratcher for their 50 years of faithful service to the Brazilian people. Behind many a great man, serves a great woman. Marie, while stating she “never received a specific call to be a missionary,” strongly affirms her call of being a faithful and loving wife to Harold, an endearing mother to her sons and an esteemed mother-in-law to Lucianilda Auzier Bratcher, 48, of Manaus, Brazil and Saleth Nunes Bratcher, 50, of Ocala, Florida. She is the loved Grandma to Marica Luciana Bratcher, 25, of Bridgeport, CT, Lucy Marie Bratcher, 23, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Stephen Matthew Bratcher, 17, of Ocala, Florida. She has a dog, Blackie, of Manaus, 4 grand dogs, Nina, Elvis, Walter and Otto, and a great-grand cat, Clooney.
Thus, please join me, Stephen, Pastor Mickey Hyder, and the David’s Fork Baptist Church in expressing your appreciation to this giant in the faith, one of those of Hebrews 11, “of which this world is not worthy of.” May our Lord see fit to give the Bratchers of Brazil many more years of ministry and love for the people of Brazil.
Miuto Obrigado (Thank you) Pastor Haroldo, “Apostolo do Amazonas” (apostle to the state of the Amazon) and Marie for 50 years of dedicated, loving service to the people of Brazil and to our beloved Savior, all glory and honor. Amen.
Dr. A.M. Bratcher
Our Gift to the Bratchers