Fifty years later, Brazilian Christians honor historic team
“The few Americans I had met through my work were executives who came to Brazil on business and did not seem to care much about the people of my country,” Seckler said.
That changed when a fellow Brazilian who was teaching Seckler English invited him to a Bible study conducted by a mission team from the U.S.
These people were different, Seckler said. They loved his country, and they cared about his soul.
“Before that point, I never realized my country was great, that family life was something sacred and that joy was part of life,” said Seckler, who was baptized by team member Glenn Owen on Nov. 27, 1962.
Seckler now works in ministry in Abilene, Texas, the city where the 13-family team trained for ministry at Abilene Christian University before sailing for Brazil 50 years ago.
Christians in Brazil honored the team’s golden anniversary at the National Encounter of Christian Workers, an annual meeting of minsters at a church-run camp near Sao Paulo.
More than 400 church leaders attended the event, said Glover Shipp, a member of another historic Brazil team that arrived in the city of Belo Horizonte in 1967 and planted churches.
“The church has multiplied greatly since our departure from there 25 years ago,” Shipp said. “It was reported that there are now at least 254 congregations in Brazil, spread over much of the country, with new ones started every month.”
The evangelistic zeal of the U.S. missionaries lives on in Brazilian Christians, Shipp said.
“Youth I had helped teach 40 years ago are now capable church leaders,” he said. “They have a sense of evangelism that appears to be much more aggressive than here in the U.S. … Outreach also prevails, with unreached cities in that vast country targeted for future church planting.”