Brazil mission trip nets 1055 decisions for Christ

For the third year in a row, two Fayetteville churches travelled to Brazil and joined Brazilian Baptists in a massive effort to share the Gospel. This year’s trip concentrated on Joacaba and Idaial, Santa Catarina, in southern Brazil.

Eight McDonough Road Baptist members, 21 Fayetteville First Baptist members and two Wynnbrook Baptist, Columbus, members left Friday night, April 1 and returned April 10.

The partnership is coordinated by Projecto 70, a church planting movement that targets key cities and implements a strategy that results in new converts, new Bible studies, and eventually new churches. Over 200 Brazilian Baptists joined us.

We spent three days in Joacaba, a city of 27,500. Participants divided into teams that visit in homes, witnessed on the streets, conducted school assemblies, did health screenings, interacted with news media, and provided support, such as meal preparation.

The focus was sharing the Gospel while inviting people to come to the worship rally each evening. At least 463 persons indicated they received Christ in Joacaba.

Indaial, roughly a four-hour bus ride east, has a population of roughly 56,000. In three days there, 592 decisions were recorded. Now both local churches are busy with follow-up.

 Jeff Gilmore, who admitted he was a little hesitant to go at first, served on the school team.

“I was amazed at how easy it was to get into the schools to present our program. The kids were excited and open. I think each evening, I saw at least one teacher or administrator we met earlier in the day attend the worship rally.

“I’ve been on other mission trips, but this one was different. I can’t wait to go back next year.”

Jenna Thomas also served on the school team.

“This one girl from the first school we went to in Joacaba really enjoyed the program and wanted to know if we were coming back that afternoon. We didn’t know, but we ended up coming back and that little girl was waiting at the corner where we got dropped off. That night the same girl came to the worship service, and she came every night after that. I know her life was impacted in a huge way,” Jenna said.

Cheryl Woods, an evangelism team member, shared, “It was so exciting to see how God orchestrated everything so perfectly as we were dropped off in neighborhoods, grocery stores and parks to share God’s message. At times, we thought we were going to one house, but God directed us to another house and that person ended up praying to receive Christ. Even though we didn’t see fruit sometimes, we knew that God sent us to that house for a reason and we were always able to plant the seed.”

Katherine Wiggins, also serving on the evangelism team, gave an example of God’s “divine appointments.”

“One day we had been planning to set up on the town square,” she said, “but for some reason at the last minute we moved down a few blocks to a street corner. There my translator and I met Luana. Luana had never heard the gospel before, and as we shared the salvation story with her, she began to cry ... When I asked the reason for her tears, she explained, ‘I’ve done so many bad things ... I’ve deserved to pay for what I have done.’”

Katherine explained that Jesus had already paid the price for her sin on the cross, and she received Him as her Savior. Luana said that normally she drove to work, but that morning her car wouldn’t start, so she walked and God led her to that corner so she could hear about Jesus.

Sloan Segala also saw God work through the evangelism team.

“God knew exactly what our day would look like and who would be receptive. We just had to remain faithful and share the Gospel. He was in charge of the success.”

Early in the trip, as we met people in front of a supermarket one morning, a Brazilian Baptist lady started crying as she watched us tell her fellow countrymen about Jesus. With tears rolling down her face, she came to me and said, “Thank you for coming to Brazil to tell our people about Jesus.”