Sharing Christ — and churrasco — in Brazil
Blogging live from Vitoria, Brazil
If you attended the “Igreja de Cristo” (“Church of Christ”) in this seaside city on Sunday, you got the rare treat of hearing me and a few of my friends butcher the Portuguese language.
A small group of us dressed up like Israelites and reenacted the battle of Jericho from Joshua 6. After reading our lines in Portuguese (and getting some giggles from the audience) we led the children of the congregation around the “wall” (which looked a bit like a bed sheet) blew paper trumpets and watched it fall.
I’m in Vitoria with a mission team from my home congregation — the Memorial Road Church of Christ. Our church’s young adults minister, Terry Fischer, and his wife, Kelli, are leading the mission. The Fischers were part of a mission team here for 12 years.
I’ve been to a lot of countries reporting for The Christian Chronicle, but this one is particularly special because my family is here, too — not just my church family, but my wife and daughter as well. Maggie, age 3, was thrilled to stand next to me at church as we taught the kids the hand motions to “Whose Side are you Leaning On?” and the one that goes “Praise the Lord, hallelu. I don’t care what the devil’s gonna do …”
After worship, the Vitoria church members treated us to a Brazilian-style “churrasco,” steak and sausage grilled in a brick oven, served with beans and rice. It was delicious. One of the guys said it reminded him of fellowship meals back home. (I disagreed since I didn’t see a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket anywhere. I’ll take churrasco over KFC any day.)
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the missionary team in Sao Paulo Brazil. Fifty years after 13 families moved here from the U.S. to plant churches, Brazilian Christians themselves are doing the planting.
Our group traveled about an hour from Vitoria to the dark-sand beaches of Guarapari, where four families comprise a new Igreja de Cristo, meeting in a rented building. Jailson Costa, an English teacher and member of the Vitoria church, moved here with his family to help the young congregation. Ricardo Neto, a Christian who was baptized in the city of Justinopolis, also moved here with his family. The Netos are vocational missionaries. They opened a pizza restaurant in Guarapari, but their primary purpose in coming here was to spread the Gospel to a part of the country that doesn’t have it, Neto told me.
“I think that’s what God wants us to do,” Costa added.
(And the pizza also was excellent, by the way.)
Gwen and Clyde