Bem-vindo ao Brasil (Welcome to Brazil)

Bem-vindo ao Brasil (Welcome to Brazil)

Feb 22, 2013

Bem-vindo ao Brasil (Welcome to Brazil)

by Clinton R. Brown

Focus SoAmer

Hearty hugs and handshakes accompanied the strong sunshine of January as I arrived in Brazil. “How are you?” and “How do you like Brazil?” were questions posed to me as we waited on the curb for our ride.

Though I hadn’t had much time to evaluate an entire country just stepping out of the Curitiba airport, I could cheerfully say, “I’ve found my welcome very warm.” (Not to say New Englanders cannot be welcoming, but they are challenged to provide summertime in January.)

Though happy to meet our brothers and sisters in Brazil, I had not intended to go there so soon. As a former Army medic, I had been trained to attend to those with most urgent needs first. In many countries SDBs are struggling financially and politically, and in urgent need of discipleship and pastoral training.

Brazil, however, is an example of a country where God is equipping willing SDBs to a new level of service and outreach. With so many places where SDBs are seeking to work to God’s glory, and with several leaders from the U.S. and Europe already ministering in Brazil, I felt I had a number of stops before Brazil would appear on my travel itinerary. God had other plans.

The very success of the Holy Spirit working in Brazil led me to spend a week there during their 100th anniversary Conference meetings. Not only are our Brazilian brethren growing as a denomination and training scores of new leaders and pastoral candidates, but they are stepping out to be involved in international missions as well.

Their ministries and ours at the Missionary Society became interwoven as the Brazilians began reaching out to neighboring countries. God was cultivating a growing desire in Brazilian SDBs to see the Gospel proclaimed throughout South America and wherever God was to have them go.

Chile had seen a recent surge in believers interested in becoming affiliated with Seventh Day Baptists. In just the last few years, three congregations had coalesced in different parts of the country. They had been in contact with both Brazil and our Missionary Society.

A Brazilian pastor had made visits to Chile, and the Brazilian SDB Conference made a financial commitment to help the burgeoning groups. It soon became apparent to me that a visit to Chile was in order. Being in that part of the world, the upcoming Conference meetings in Brazil would be a good opportunity to meet with their leaders and discuss our cooperative missionary efforts.

Spending a week in Chile before going to Brazil gave me a chance to meet the small congregations there—about 15 to 20 people each. I found that I needed to spend some time clarifying how Seventh Day Baptists work together. I focused on how love is important in our commitment to each other, and talked about the struggles in their growing alliance of Chilean SDB churches.

After leaving Chile, and discussing the future prospects of the Brazilians taking the lead in South American missions work, it seemed I was at the right place at the right time. How encouraging to feel that I was participating in a divine appointment.

I felt that there was purpose in my being there. Though it had not been in my plans, I could feel the Holy Spirit welcoming me to join His work in South America.

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