August 17, 2010

A Story of God’s Movement…

“And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
II Timothy 2:2

Some two thousand years ago, our Savior Jesus Christ chose twelve men who would spread a message that would alter the path of history. From the ministry of these men and others, a person today can pick a small book, a collection of ancient writings, and study about this man, his message, and his gift of salvation. In the late 90’s, a family would answer the call to go to a foreign land to proclaim this same message to the people of northern Brazil. Not long after arriving at a small city in northern Brazil, it became apparent to this missionary that the churches in this area were in desperate need of one particular thing, training. A basic training course for churches in the rural areas of the eastern Amazon region would become a regular part of the prayer life of this family. In 2004, this missionary would request that the International Mission Board (IMB) appoint a person to fill this need. Initially, a couple was interested in this position but they later felt God’s call to another location. For years, this position remained on a list with many other positions, awaiting the one God had chosen to fill it.

A few months before this job was to be removed from the list of vacancies, another young couple called to missions happened to see it. As the wife read the job description, she declared to her husband that this job seemed written for him and his skill set. After much prayer, this young couple and their young family accepted the IMB appointment to fill this position. In late 2007, this family arrived in northern Brazil for year of intense language and cultural study. After this time, the two families began to discuss the task at hand, the development of a non-residential ministry training course for lay leadership throughout northern Brazil. The initial plan was to develop and implement this course using the connection each missionary had made with Brazilian Baptists and other Great Commission Partners. This would be a huge undertaking but one for which both missionaries felt called. However, God had already laid the groundwork for another strategy, one which would involve two already existing institutions, the Baptist State Convention in Pará and the Equatorial Baptist Theological Seminary.

In early 2009, these two IMB missionaries worked closely with the Director of the Baptist Theological College Equatorial Dr. D. B. Riker and Dr. Manoel Moraes, in order to develop and offer a basic course in theology. Each person saw the importance of this course and was driven by the relentless pursuit of providing leaders training to teach the Bible and drive administratively and spiritually evangelical churches. This team began with a vision and slowly developed a curriculum frame work and teaching materials so that this intangible dream could become a tangible reality.

The course started on a trial basis on the campus of Equatorial Baptist Theological Seminary in January of 2010 with three times more students than projected. These forty-eight students will complete the course in December of this year. An agreement has been reached between the Equatorial Baptist Theological Seminary, the State Convention of Pará, and associations organized in the State of Pará to broaden the activities of the course throughout the State of Para

As we look back over our first term in Brazil, it is our conviction that each step we have taken has been ordained by God. It is His desire to see provided effective, practical training to develop leaders for ministry in remote locations in northern Brazil and it has been His movement which has brought this to fruition.