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Christians from Angola and the U.S. sing during a nighttime devotional at the Adriano Lopes, a minister in the island nation of Cape Verde, discusses evangelism with fellow Portuguese-speaking preachers during a breakout session at the the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering in Angola.
International
Photo by Erik Tryggestad

‘I’m going to live or die with them’

A missionary from Brazil preached Jesus in the midst of an African cyclone.

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BOM JESUS, Angola — He was proclaiming Christ in Mozambique as a massive cyclone approached.

A church member back home offered to buy him a plane ticket to evacuate.

Luis Pereira Santos

Luis Pereira

But “I had already fallen in love with the people,” Luis Pereira said. “I couldn’t leave them. I said, ‘I’m going to live or die with them.’”

He lived. And now he’s here at the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering, a training seminar for Portuguese-speaking Christians.

Pereria, a member of the Itinga Church of Christ in Brazil, and church members from countries including Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, came to learn a method of evangelism called Four Fields that focuses on church planting through small-group Bible studies and discipleship. Christians from Ghana and South Africa are assisting in the training.

We’re here at the invitation of Churches of Christ in Angola and LAMP International. Our venue is a hotel in a community near the capital, Luanda, called Bom Jesus (“Good Jesus”).

Adriano Lopes, a minister in the island nation of Cape Verde, discusses evangelism with fellow Portuguese-speaking preachers during a breakout session at the the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering in Angola.

Adriano Lopes, a minister in the island nation of Cape Verde, discusses evangelism with fellow Portuguese-speaking preachers during a breakout session at the the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering in Angola.

I recognized brother Pereira, affectionately known as “Luisinho” (“little Luis”) right away. I wrote about him after Cyclone Idai devastated southern Africa in 2019. It was one of the worst tropical cyclones ever to strike the Southern Hemisphere, killing more than 1,500 people, destroying more than 112,000 homes and wiping out crops across Mozambique.


Related: From your Brazilian brethren: Bibles, money and a missionary


Pereira, a retiree, traveled some 4,800 miles from his native Brazil to serve as a missionary in Mozambique, which still bears the scars of a 15-year civil war that ended in 1992. He intended to bring his entire family but was only able to secure a visa for himself.

Telling his friend back home that he was going to ride out the cyclone with his students was much easier than telling his wife, he said with a laugh. He stayed as the cyclone made landfall near Beira, the town where he was working. After days without access to communication, he contacted his family and let them know he was OK. Churches of Christ in Brazil and the U.S. took up collections to help in recovery efforts.

Pereira’s Bible training — and his willingness to stay and work in recovery efforts — yielded fruit. He baptized 27 people during his four-month stay in Mozambique and helped to birth a new Church of Christ in Beira.

Erik Tryggestad at Luis Pereira in Angola.

Erik Tryggestad at Luis Pereira in Angola.

More and more, countries that once hosted missionaries from Churches of Christ in the U.S. are sending missionaries of their own to other parts of the world. His fluency in Portuguese — and his love for lost souls — sent Pereira halfway around the world to preach the Word. I’m glad I got to meet him in person.

Glover Shipp: 1927-2016

Glover Shipp: 1927-2016

Tim Brumfield, a missionary to Portuguese-speaking countries who works with Sunset International Bible Institute, translated my conversation with brother Pereira. Brumfield publishes a newsletter about Churches of Christ from Mozambique to Brazil. I learned about Pereira’s ministry through the newsletter.

The church in Itinga, Brazil, and others in the area are mission-focused, Brumfield told me. And their origins date back to the work of missionary Glover Shipp.

I recognized him immediately, too. After his time in Brazil, Shipp worked for The Christian Chronicle covering international news. His retirement in 2001 brought me to the newspaper to take up the work of reporting international news.

ERIK TRYGGESTAD is president and CEO of The Christian Chronicle. Contact [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @eriktryggestad.

Christians from Angola and the U.S. sing during a nighttime devotional at the Adriano Lopes, a minister in the island nation of Cape Verde, discusses evangelism with fellow Portuguese-speaking preachers during a breakout session at the the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering in Angola.

Christians from Angola and the U.S. sing during a nighttime devotional at the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering in Bom Jesus, Angola.

Bom Jesus, Angola

Filed under: Angola Brazil cyclone idai International Lamp International Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering Portuguese Sunset International Bible Institute Top Stories

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