The Rev. Marlan Justus Michel, age 75, husband of Myrtle Robertson Michel, born on June 15, 1924, died Thursday, March 2, 2000, in Taylors, South Carolina. He was born in Lakemills, Wisconsin, and was the son of the late Henry Eric and Amanda Elbert Michel.
He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, and was a missionary to Brazil under the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.
Rev. Michel and his wife went to Brazil in 1958 on the occasion of the Fourth World Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches, held in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro, at the famous Quitandinha Hotel. Following this congress, the Michels were engaged mostly in Christian education and the training of pastors, evangelists and lay workers in four different areas of Brazil. (1) First, they went to Recife, Brazil, to work with Dr. Israel F. Gueiros, in directing and teaching in a Bible Institute for girls. (2) After 1-2 years they came south to work with our other Brazil missionaries, at that time, in the teaching of a 10-year course of study for young men training for the ministry in the Conservative Presbyterian Church of Brazil. (3) After eight years of directing and teaching in the above seminary in Sao Paulo area, the Brazil Mission of the Independent Board felt it was time to turn the direction and main teaching of the seminary program over to the most qualified Brazilian graduates of said seminary. At this time, in 1962, after about two years of teaching in this school, the Michels moved on to another open door in the state of Parana, two day’s travel from where he was teaching before. In this new area, Mike and Myrtle (“Perky”) taught in an independent fundamental Bible School for another few years.
In their fourth, and final area of ministry and teaching, the Michels moved over 2000 miles to the far northwest part of Brazil, in the State of Rondonia, to the town of Ji-Parana, near the borders of Peru and Bolivia, and the tropical forests of the Amazon valley. Through a donation of one of their donors and others they were able to buy a 20 acre piece of property in the country side, outside the town of Ji-Parana. Mike, with the help of others, was able to clear ten of these acres of all jungle foliage, trees, etc., and to construct over a period of years, four to five buildings, including a women’s and men’s dormitories, classroom and dining areas, and two residences for the caretaker, and the Michels. Their vision was to begin a strong fundamental Bible school program in the great unevangelized area of Brazil, and to train evangelists, lay workers and pastors in cooperation with the Fundamental Presbyterian Church of Brazil, with which all of The Independent Board missionaries cooperated.
During this period of some 28 years, or more, in Rondonia, in the above ministry, perhaps up to three SOME Teams went to help the Michels in the construction of the above buildings on the Mission property. Three or four efforts were made to begin classes with students and cooperating teachers from nearby churches, but after a few weeks, or months, the work was discontinued due to disagreements between students, staff and administration. Some would not accept the firm policies and biblical discipline that Mike and Perky desired to maintain in the school program. Nevertheless, the Michels carried on an active Bible study ministry in various areas, and an effective one-to-one ministry with many people, which resulted in the conversion of many souls. The Mission property was also used for weekend camps and retreats.
In 1996 the Michels retired from active service in Brazil, and the Mission property was sold at a later date.
Marlan (“Mike”) was a member, along with his wife, of the Trinity Bible Church of Greenville, whose pastor is Dr. Stuart Custer.
Mike was known for his faithfulness and hard work in whatever he did for the Lord. He was also known for his shortness of words, but what he had to say usually was of great content and value.
During Mike’s third period of teaching, while in Sao Paulo with the other missionaries, he took part in administration of a new language school for evangelical missionaries, as treasurer. Missionaries came from all over the world to work in Brazil, and had to learn the Portuguese language. The school belonged to the ICCC at that time, and continues today, training dozens of missionaries in the language of Brazil.
Another contribution of Mike to the work in Brazil was just before he left the Sao Paulo area for his fourth area, and period of teaching. It was when he helped to inspire Dr. Le Roy to start a 4-page bulletin with a fundamentalist content, in order to give a wider testimony of our ministry by mail, and to call Christians everywhere to heed the message of separation from the WCC and liberalism coming strongly into Brazil, at that time. For the next thirty years Dr. Le Roy was able to develop the 4-page bulletin into a 16-30 page newspaper which became one of his most effective ministries.
The surviving members of the family are: wife (“Perky”) Myrtle Robertson Michel; one son, four daughters, three brothers, three sisters, 11 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours,
and their works do follow them.
(Revelation 14: 13b)
Adopted by the 64th General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church,
meeting in Cincinnati, OH August 3-8, 2000.