John Hatcher preaching at Chapada Baptist Church in Manaus,
where his son David is now pastor. (circa 1960)
The idea of
the ministry was not mine. It was between my mother and the Lord before I was
born. At the end of 64 years of missionary work I am thankful to the Lord and
my mother. After three years in the Merchant Marines during WWII, I enrolled in
Georgetown College. There I met my wife, Alta, and in six months we were
married. Our missionary life together began. My first work as missionary was in
Shelbyville, Kentucky at the Second Street Baptist Mission. I went to
substitute for another and the first day there was the big crowd of one
twelve-year-old girl. I prayed that God would give me that mission. He answered
my prayer and the next week there was a hundred percent increase in attendance.
The girl brought her eight-year-old brother. (I was hooked on church planting
ministry.) In a year and a half, 47 persons were baptized and the Second Street
Baptist Church was established. (Today it is the Highland Baptist Church.)
While there, Alta and I were married and our first daughter, Lynn, was born.
While at Georgetown a veteran missionary from Brazil, W.W. Enete, spoke and
told of the great need for missionaries in Brazil. That night I surrendered my
life to Brazil.
After three years in Shelbyville I was called to pastor the Beattyville Baptist Church
where there were six missions. After three years I was called to pastor the
Peoples Baptist Church in Alton, Illinois. At Alton our fourth child, David,
was born. God indicated to us that it was time for us to go to Brazil. God had
given me a godly wife who was saved at seven and gave her life to be a
missionary at nine. We made application to go through Baptist Faith Missions
and in two months we were on our way. I went by boat because of baggage and
Alta flew to Belem, Brazil with our four children.
There are 26 states in Brazil, whose territory is larger than the 48 continental United
States. We have work in more than one-half of these States. Today, I have 64
years of ministry. Alta has more than 250. She has been a godly wife and godly
mother who produced and trained five children to be missionaries. Lynn, with
her husband, Ross McGary, a missionary to mentally deficients. Paul and David
missionaries in Brazil. John Mark, missionary in France with other works in
Spain and Portugal; and Kathy, and her husband, Odali, missionaries in Brazil.
PROGRESS IN THE WORK:
Manaus had about 70,000 population when we went there. Today, it has about two
Paul is pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist in Manaus. They have established more than
forty new churches.
David is pastor of the Chapada Baptist Church that was founded in 1956 with 24 members.
(It was the first church plant we made in Brazil. David, our son, was one of
the charter members.) Today, the church has a weekly attendance of about three
During the month of December 2011, they presented a Biblical drama from the Creation to
the Resurrection. Some days the drama was presented two or three times. Over
50,000 persons attended and there were over 2,000 people who made decisions to
trust Jesus as Savior, including a Catholic priest.
The biggest chain of TV gave the drama a three-minute coverage on national TV. The work is
the Lord's. It demands our best. He deserves our all. May He find us faithful!
[written January 2012]