By Kerry Bender
VP of International Missions
Last month, I had the privilege of spending time with our missionary team in Brazil. It is so exciting to see what God continues to do through the NAB partnership with Chain of Love and our missionary staff at the seminary in the Baptist Convention of Rio Grande do Sul. I was able to spend some time with Brandon and Marci Jones and their two teenage daughters who live with them in Brazil, but most of my time was spent traveling with Lyndell and Paulo Campbell-Réquia and teaching an introductory course on preaching.
It was such a blessing to see the hunger that so many of these men and women had to learn more about God’s Word and how to communicate it clearly to those within and outside of the Church. The commitment of these students was impressive; all of them worked full-time jobs during the day and then came to class from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I was also amazed at the organizational structure and the creative delivery of the course through an online and seat-based hybrid that traveled each evening to a different location; Lyndell did an amazing job pulling all of this off, with the help of Paulo and others on staff at the seminary. Through this ingenious method, I was able to visit multiple churches and meet the majority of the students face to face.
There are so many stories I could talk about, but I want to take just a minute to describe my last day in Brazil, which was a Sunday. Flávio was one of the students in the class I was teaching, and he asked if I could come preach at the church he pastors. His church is a small, traditional church structure. In his youth, Flávio lived on the street outside of the church and was involved in the use and selling of drugs; this escalated to some pretty serious criminal activity. However, through the witness of faithful individuals, Flávio eventually gave his life to Christ, was trained as an auto-mechanic, was eventually called into full-time ministry, and became the pastor of the church in front of which he formerly sold drugs. Flávio and the church are now leaning into ministry for refuges and immigrants from El Salvador and other Central and South American countries. And through the faithful contributions of our North American Baptist churches that support the ministries of Lyndell Campbell-Réquia and Brandon and Marci Jones, as well as the support of Kairos students in Brazil, men and women like Flávio are getting the theological training to proclaim the Gospel, lead their churches, and change their neighborhoods for the glory of God! Thank you for your participation!
If you would like to contribute to the exciting NAB missions in Brazil by supporting one of our NAB missionaries or sponsoring a Brazilian seminary student, please reach out to Kerry L. Bender.