Hannah & Tim
Serving Marginalised Communities in Brazil and South Sudan
Hannah & Tim
We support Hannah and Tim and their work for Latin Link in Brazil.
Do you work in Brazil or South Sudan?
Both! We live in Brazil but make visits to South Sudan every year. God has given us a heart and long-term vision for both countries.
Where do you live in Brazil?
We live in Custódia, 5hrs inland from Recife in Northeast Brazil's semi-arid sertão region. We work with the Betel Brasileiro denomination with a focus on outreach to quilombolas in Sabá and Cardoso, parts of the Serra da Torre quilombo.
Who are quilombolas again?
Quilombola communities are predominantly Afro-Brazilian communities formed as an act of resistance to slavery and racist oppression, often hundreds of years ago. It is estimated that there are over 5,000 quilombola communities in Brazil. Quilombolas are considered an “unreached people group” in Brazil.
Hannah & Tim's Christmas '21 News
We write on day 9 of our 14-day quarantine at home in Custódia, Pernambuco, having arrived back in Brazil on 15th September. We might not have chosen to do a 14-day quarantine, but we are extremely grateful that, in contrast to those arriving from Brazil to the UK, we can do our quarantine at home. We are also thankful for many of the opportunities this time provides, especially for time to start adapting and transitioning to a new place, climate, diet and way of life after more than a year in the UK, without the pressure of attending services, seeing people or starting activities straight away. Moses was only 8 months, and Rita 3 years old when we left.
Latin Link, the mission agency we are a part of, has encouraged members to think about resilience during this season. One way we can build our resilience is by intentionally practising gratitude. That is not the same thing as pretending everything is ok – in fact, gratitude, praise and worship can be protests against the suffering we experience; a refusal to let life be defined purely by suffering. While this last year in the UK has been hard for all us, we are personally thankful for so much that God has blessed us with. So we thought we would use this newsletter to thank God for some of these things.
We are grateful for family and for All Nations Christian College who provided us with places to live during our 13 months in the UK, and that Rita could attend nursery from March until July. We are grateful for the way Rita and Moses have developed in the last year: for Rita’s interest in and passion for God and God’s justice, for Moses’ sweet disposition and affection for us and Rita.
We are grateful for the opportunity to join in significant family occasions, especially Tim’s brother’s wedding, and Hannah’s parents’ 40th anniversary.
We are grateful for how God has preserved the lives of friends who might have died during this year, whilst grieving for those who did pass away.
We are grateful for God’s material provision through our spiritual family during this year, especially of cars!
We are enormously grateful that Fr Biong got his visa and was able to spend 6 weeks in the UK with us during the summer holidays. It was really good to spend time with him outside of Abyei, and in a context where most conversations weren’t in some way about ministry. We were able to take him to see sights in York, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Canterbury, and to visit several South Sudanese people in the UK. We trust he returns to his studies in Rome rested, refreshed, equipped with resources for his studies. After visiting several playgrounds with Rita and Moses, he has also been inspired to construct a playground in Abyei! There is a possibility of him returning to the UK at Christmas for 2 weeks to assist with a local church.
We are reminded that when we exercise hospitality (in our case, a fraction of the hospitality that Fr Biong and other South Sudanese have extended to us over many years), God blesses us in unexpected ways. One of these ways was the friendship formed between the two Biongs (Fr Biong and Moses Biong Flatman). Moses, like many lockdown babies, has not had much opportunity to socialise and has been very wary of contact with people other than us and Rita, but formed a strong bond with Fr Biong. We have subsequently seen how that friendship has also helped Moses to open up to others a little more.
We are grateful for a sizeable donation that allowed us to increase the number of schools supported in Abyei from 2 to 4, and also to support the Episcopal Church in Abyei in doing coronavirus prevention work. Funding to support teachers in Noong and Aganytok schools is guaranteed (in fact, has already been sent) until the end of 2023, though we still need to fundraise to continue the annual support that goes to teachers in Mijak and Rumamer schools, and will next be due in January 2022. We are also grateful for the possibility of another partnership between the UK and Abyei.
We are grateful that Gisele, a Brazilian from São Paulo, will be coming to work with us as a Latin Link member for 2 years. She will arrive on 4th October, and spend a few days in our home doing some orientation with us before dividing her time between Serra da Torre quilombola community and the church Compassion project in Mutirão community. We’re also thankful that Raquel, a Brazilian who has served in the UK for a year, passed an English test and so far, all looks good for her to return to the UK and continue serving on a different visa.
We are grateful that we have several good local options for Rita’s schooling from October (and Moses’ potentially from next year) – we just have to decide which is best!
Finally we’re grateful for others in the Latin Link community in Brazil, the UK and elsewhere, especially for the culture of graciousness towards one another in the face of competing challenges, perspectives and interests. We are especially grateful for Paul Turner, who as International Team Leader has guided Latin Link through this time with his typical grace, humility and gentleness. We’re excited about what God will do through Suzanne Potter, who has been elected as his successor.
Teachers at Noong Primary School, Abyei, receiving financial support, chairs and tables through the Teachers for Abyei programme, thanks to a generous donation.