Brazil trip results hard to put into words
A mission team from Fayetteville serving in Brazil saw a mighty movement of God that is hard to describe. “You just had to be there.”
Fourteen Fayetteville First Baptist members and two McDonough Road Baptist members travelled to the state of Santa Catarina to join Brazilian Baptists in Project 70. The vision of Brazilian pastor Jairo Campos, the mission strategy intentionally targets areas in need of evangelical churches and results in new believers and new churches.
Project 70 is based on Luke 10:1, “After these things, the Lord appointed 70 others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city ...”
A surgeon called to ministry, Campos moved his family to Fort Worth and enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. While serving as pastor of a Brazilian congregation in Dallas, he became acquainted with Parkway Hills Baptist in Plano, and, together, they launched Project 70.
Pastor Jim Thomas of Fayetteville First Baptist became familiar with Project 70 and Campos while he was on staff at Parkway Hills, and brought a burden for Brazil with him when he moved here two years ago. The church family took over 30 members to Brazil last year, and this year, I was privileged to participate in the trip April 3-12.
Texas churches will take another Project 70 trip in July, but the Spring trip focused on Blumenau and Santa Cecilia, both located in Santa Catarina.
Nearly 200 Brazilians joined the American team in Blumenau to divide into teams and share the gospel. In the city of nearly 350,000, the team used visitation, public relations, school assemblies, health screenings, direct evangelism, and a large worship service each evening to share the message of Jesus. Over 300 persons decided to follow Jesus in Blumenau and a new church started meeting April 13. At least six other churches are developing.
Four hours west is the small town of Santa Cecilia, population approximately 12,000, where roughly 150 team members converged. The doors were wide open in Santa Cecilia. As the mayor’s assistant told us, “Our people need what you are bringing here.”
What they brought was passion, enthusiasm and an intentional approach to starting new churches.
“I was amazed at the sacrifice the Brazilian people made to come. They took vacation, and took their kids out of school to participate. One group rode two buses for over 30 hours to come,” said Libby Torbush of McDonough Road.
First Baptist pastor Jim Thomas said, “A trip like this really gets you out of your comfort zone. Americans are very scheduled. Latin people are very scheduled ... later. We have to learn that (the schedule) doesn’t matter. We have to get rid of ourselves to be efficient. What’s my job? Go share Jesus!”
Along with Thomas, Pastor Aaron Hulse and his wife Nicole, Wayne and Cindy Ford, Lynda Lambeth, Becky Maddox, Lucy Meagher, Blake Pilgrim, Madison Riley, Peyton Riley, Emma Kaye Thomas, Mark Williamson and Riley Williamson participated.
This was the first mission trip Nicole had taken since high school. “I almost didn’t go,” she said. “I was scared to death to leave my children and felt very inadequate with the language barrier. I found out you don’t have to know the language. Love was the language spoken here. I’m so glad I went. I was so excited to see how Jesus worked.”
Becky Maddox said, “The world got smaller; my Jesus got bigger!”
Lynda Lambert shared, “They really know how to celebrate when someone comes to Christ.”
Lucy Meagher said, “I’m an enthusiastic worshipper and I was out-done by them. They really worship. I was so impressed with the openness of the people.”
Everywhere we turned, someone was wanting to receive Christ. In both cities, over 800 followed Jesus. Now the follow-up is in full gear.
I personally had a tremendous experience partnering with the First Baptist folks and the Brazilian Baptists, and was blessed to be a part of this effort. I stepped out of my routine and comfort zone, and was overwhelmed to see how God poured His presence out on this work.
As Thomas said, “God will use anybody that’s willing to be used,” and he certainly worked through this team from Fayetteville.
[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org and “like” them on Facebook.]