Two Fayetteville churches are on the front lines of seeing God do amazing things in Santa Catarina, Brazil. First Baptist Church, under Pastor Jim Thomas’ leadership, took a team of 19 in April and saw 793 come to Christ in Treze Tilias and Seara.
Previously, McDonough Road Baptist Church travelled with First Baptist, but this year branched off and partnered with Pastor Craig Bowers and Wynnbrook Baptist in Columbus so we could cover more ground. Both churches took ten persons, including one from First Baptist Church. They travelled to Timbo and Mafra.
These churches partner with Brazilian Baptists through Project 70, a church planting strategy that permeates cities with the gospel, resulting in new converts and new churches.
“The trip was an eye-opening experience for me,” said Quentin Florence, a student at Kennesaw State University.
“I met amazing people while spreading the gospel everywhere we went.”
Florence served on the visitation team, which visited in homes, offices, factories, jails, clinics, nursing homes, and a drug rehab center.
In one factory, the owner stopped production and called his employees together and let the team share the Gospel, Florence said. Many received Christ.
“It was really awesome seeing something you don’t see every day.
It was something I’ll never forget.”
Libby Torbush also served on the visitation team.
“I saw a light come on in the eyes of three people working at the Board of Education as they accepted Jesus as their Savior. It was gratifying to see them make a public profession of faith during the worship service that night.”
Chris Jones of Columbus served on the team that presents a program in the elementary schools. One morning, the elementary school team was five minutes late and the high school team set up in the wrong place, and the principal was not happy. She was very harsh with the children as they entered the assembly area and appeared to be mad that the team was even there, Jones shared.
“Our team went through the program, which culminated with the gospel presentation. Our leader was about to lead the group in the prayer of salvation, and the principal walked up front and asked if she could be up there to pray to receive Christ in front of her students. She was saved!
“She was a different person! The transformation was astonishing. As we left, she hugged us and stated how glad she was that we came.”
Jones witnessed another God-moment.
“One afternoon our bus hit a car as we were heading to our first school. On the way to the second school we passed the car again and the police stopped us while the owner of the car followed them.
“They followed us to the school so our group could be on time. As we were unloading, [a translator] and I started talking to the owner of the car and her husband. We eventually presented the gospel and found the wife to be a believer who had been praying for her husband’s salvation. After hearing the gospel, he prayed to accept Jesus as Savior.
“I told the owner that God allowed the bus to hit the car so He could answer her prayer. It was an awesome moment.”
Though heavy rain hampered the front end of the trip, the team persevered and saw 447 people come to Christ.
“I realized that it was not about me, but all about Jesus. I forgot about the rain and remembered that we were there to share the Gospel,” said Bernadette Berry.
Phyllis Morgan told about MRBC ladies making tissue paper flowers before they left and taking the craft to Brazil to use in the social-medical ministry. On the flower in Portuguese was “God Loves You!”
“One lady said ‘this is the most beautiful gift I’ve ever gotten.’”
Along with seeing God work in the lives of lost people, getting to work side by side with Brazilian Baptists is a highlight.
“I met people that I had never seen before, in a culture that I had little knowledge of, yet there was genuine camaraderie, friendship, and love,” Berry shared.
“I was not prepared to leave my heart there,” said Morgan. “These total strangers became family.”