Pioneer Missionaries

Missionaries in Memoriam



Ruth Bower Harmon was an amazing woman! Born in 1914, she served the Lord in Brazil from 1936 to 2009 -- 73 years as a missionary in Brazil.

In 1935, she married Charles Harmon, and the young couple of the Battle Creek Bible Church. The martyrdom of Arthur Tylee--who ministered with Nambiguara Indians in interior Brazil--caused them to answer God's call to Brazil. This team for God served in arduous and challenging tribal missions for many years. Over the years, the Lord gave them four children: Virginia, John, George, and Joía (see photo above). The work among the Indians was halted when Ruth was stricken with polio, in 1953. Undaunted, the family returned to Araçatuba, São Paulo, where they had various radio programs in seven cities, and other ministries; they founded churches, among them the Araçatuba Bible Church.

Ruth HarmonSons John and George Harmon started a Bible Institute that flourished (now known as the Bible Seminary of Evangelization (SBE), and Ruth joined them in this growing teaching and counseling ministry. In 1991, her husband went to be with the Lord, followed by daughter Joía in 1999. Using her wheelchair, Ruth was still able to teach, counsel, and encourage--a real thrill and challenge to her.

When her health began to decline, she lived with son John and Ana Harmon; loved ones and helpers faithfully attend to her needs. Her indomitable faith and spirit and sweet smile encouraged others. On March 12, 2009, Ruth Harmon quietly passed into the presence of the Lord whom she had loved and served so faithfully.

Both Ruth and her husband, Charles, were blessed to see their entire family in ministry for the Lord. Ten churches have been founded and established and others are in the making. Four generations of the Harmon family are involved in the Bible school and camp ministries, and in church planting and related ministries.




Robert R. Thompson was born on a farm in Minnesota and went to his eternal abode at age 81 on the same farm! He was a co-founder of the Brazil Inland Mission. In 1954, he and his wife Alice entered as missionaries in the then jungle area of Umuarama in the state of Paraná in southern Brazil. He worked with local officials in that town, evangelized and planted churches in the area, founded the Christian Grade School, and taught in it for many years. They formed a team in these various ministries. He and Alice also founded the Southern Theological Bible Seminary in 1968, and Bob was the Director and President of the same school. Both Bob and Alice taught for twenty-seven years and prepared countless Brazilians for ministry and church lay-men. The elementary school in Umuarama continues to this day, and the nowThompson Theological Bible Seminary, continues in Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, where it was moved in 2000. They observed the city of Umuarama grow to a modern city of over 110,000 during the course of their ministry!

In 1996, after forty-three years of active missionary service, they returned to remain in Minnesota on the Thompson homestead. He was the son of a farmer, and his delight was to work in the soil. As semi-retired missionaries, they continued work with the Brazil Inland Mission both in publications and as "Missionaries At Large." He was also Interim Pastor of the rural home church where he began attending as an infant in his mother's arms.

Robert Raymond ThompsonOn June 23, 2009, he was transported to heaven quite suddenly while he was working in the yard. One week later, friends and family gathered for a glorious funeral service. He shall always be known for his passion for souls, his fervent messages, his love for family, the Brazilian people, and for his hometown church. The city of Umuarama remembered him as well, and honored him with four days of mourning with flags at half-mast the day of the funeral service itself. The Thompsons served the Lord for over 55 years together. The legacy left in Brazil continues in the lives of their son David Thompson and family as well as in the lives of the many who were students and friends.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7


1941 - 2018

On May 7, 2018, the Lord called John Harmon "home" to his eternal abode. John is the oldest son of Charles & Ruth Harmon, who began to serve as missionaries in Brazil in 1936. John was born in Battle Creek, MI, but raised with the Nambiguara and Terena Indians in Brazil. Later, his parents moved to Aracatuba, São Paulo and began a Christian radio ministry.

John received his undergrad degree from Western Michigan University, and prepared to enter missionary work by going to boot camp with New Tribes Mission. In 2011, John completed his Doctor of Divinity by correspondence with Master's International College in CA.

As a young man, John entered the Army. He grew distant from the Lord. After a dramatic event that involved the police chasing him after he broke the law at an organized protest, John repented and committed his life to serve the Lord. God got a hold of his life and changed his story.

In 1970, God led John to help his parents in Brazil with Fellowship International Mission. John's Dad became ill very shortly after his arrival and passed away. Instead of going into tribal work, John decided to remain in Aracatuba to help his brother, George, and mother, Ana.

John & George co-founded the Bible Seminary of Evangelization in 1972, and John was the first teacher. Both helped prepare Brazilians to reach Brazil and the world with the Gospel message. It was at the Seminary where John met his future wife, Ana who happened to be one of the first students of the school and whom he later married!

John & George also founded the 1st Bible Church of Aracatuba and John was its pastor for 15 years. He helped establish churches in the area and administrated and taught at the Seminary. During this time, God blessed the couple with three children: John, Jr., Rebecca and Hadassa.

At one point in his missionary career, John moved his family to Goiania for 15 years and founded another church there and helped establish a Bible Seminary.

It was at this point that John & Ana returned to Aracatuba and he became the Director of the Bible Institute. His mother, Ruth, moved in with them and they took care of Ruth until her passing in March of 2009.

God led John to pastor a daughter church of the 1st Bible Church of Aracatuba named, "Boa Vista Bible Church." John's focus was on children and he had a significant impact upon the community. "Investing in children's lives is worth gold! Each one of these children is worth the entire world. So, we must invest into their lives! The church must invest into their lives!" ~ John.

In later years, John's son-in-law, Daniel, became the pastor of Boa Vista Bible Church. To this day, Ana continues to lead women's ministries at the church and help with children's ministries. Ana also cares for her aging mother in her residence, in addition to helping with meal preparations at the Seminary.

John & Ana joined the Brazil Inland Mission, Inc. on April 26, 2002, along with his brother, George & Eunice. Over the years, John became more Brazilian than American, loving on the Brazilian people and tirelessly reaching people for Christ, with a large emphasis on discipleship. His legacy of investing into children's lives is evident to this day. "Today we realize what a life dedicated to God can do!"

John's grown children are all serving the Lord, and his grandchildren were a delight to him in his later years. It was the couple's great delight to have their grandson, Arthur, to their house often and help with his care.

Two "Celebration of Life" services were held in John's honor at the 1st Bible Church of Aracatuba with George directing the services. Many testimonies from pastors and former students were shared and over 2000 people were present at the viewing and 500 at the funeral service. Pastor Daniel, John's son-in-law, officiated at the last service before the internment.

John & Ana's motto is, "Sempre Avante" (i.e. Always Advancing) and John has lived up to this motto throughout his years of faithful service to the Lord.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15, KJV