Dear Praying Friends,
We arrived back in Brazil a month ago and have been getting settled little by little. It has been a joy to be involved in several conference-wide events and to reconnect with ministry colleagues. We praise Him that after several weeks of looking, we have finally moved into our apartment. Hope wrote about the stress (and benefit) of waiting here.
Mardi Gras Youth Camp
Last weekend we attended a camp with 85 pre-teens. We were asked to encourage and instruct the camp staff through daily Bible studies. It was a privilege to work with so many youth and adults who are pouring out their lives for the Lord.
Pray for the continued growth for the campers who gave their lives to Christ.
Seminary in the Spotlight
Two weekends ago Dan was invited to speak at the commencement of our Free Methodist seminary. We loved hearing student stories of how God used their classes to spur them on to deeper faith. Pray for the Lord's continued leading in their lives.
Dan and Hope are meeting with FM church leaders about upcoming changes in our seminary curriculum. Pray that we'll have godly wisdom in implementing these changes.
Thank you for partnering with us!
We are thrilled to be back in Brazil and look forward to all the Lord has in store for us. Thank you for your love, prayers and giving that keep us going. If you would like to contribute toward our missionary support, you can do so at this link.
For His glory and our joy,
Dan and Hope
In the past, Central sent a team to Brazil and worked with Dan Owsley in Petrolina. See their most recent email update here: The Owsley Chronicles.
Federated Republic of Brazil
Area: 8,511,965 sq km, one-half of the land surface and population of South America. World's fifth largest country in both area and population.
As of 2010: 210.1 million
Capital: Brasilia, 3,904,918
Other major cities: Sao Paulo, 20.3 million; Rio de Janeiro, 12 million -- 18 other cities with at least one million
Brazil is a melting pot of nations with much intermarriage and blending of the many immigrant ethnicities. Most Brazilians have at least some mixed ethnic heritage.
European: 50.2% including the world's largest diaspora populations of Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and German
Mixed race: 38.0% Mestizo and Mulatto
African: 6.4%, mostly descendants of slaves brought from West Africa
Asian: 5.6% including the largest Japanese population outside of Japan -- 0.7%, Jews and Chinese
Amerindian: 0.41% - 275 indigenous tribal groups speaking 185 languages. Only 700,000 tribal people remain
Official Language: Portuguese
A total of 193 languages are spoken, including 181 indigenous languages.
Vast natural resources combine with a large labor force to create an emerging economic superpower, especially in agriculture. One great challenge will be to increase agricultural space without traumatizing the precious Amazon and Pantanal ecosystems -- stewardship v exploitation.
Catholic - 72.79% of population
Protestant - 16.34%
Independent - 12.42%
Orthodox - 0.09%
Marginal - 1.54%
Fmc in Brazil
The Brazilian FMC saw significant growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2003, the Brazilian conference became a provisional general conference and elected their first suffragan bishop, Jose Ildo Swartelle de Mello. In August 2004, the Brazilian Provisional General Conference reorganized with five annual conferences. This conference was recognized as a General Conference in November 2007. A church planting strategy is targeting the national capital Brasilia. Missionaries Dan and Hope Owsley are assisting in this work.
Parallel to the Brazilian General Conference, the Nikkei Annual Conference has continued to grow its ministries in Brazil and around the world. Although at one time, the Nikkei Conference was uniquely focused on persons of Japanese descent, its churches now look very much like Brazil with diverse membership. The Nikkei churches experience steady growth year after year.
Outreach to the World
The two Brazilian conferences have sent missionaries to Portugal, Italy, Hungary, a creative access country, East Timor (Indonesia), Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela, and the Suruwaha tribe in the Amazon Rainforest. Furthermore, the general conference oversees a mission district in Angola. The Nikkei Conference connects with Japanese-descendent churches in Paraguay, Peru, and Argentina.
Brazilian General Conference
Nikkei Annual Conference
Challenges for Prayer
Endemic corruption and cronyism
Poverty still affects tens of millions
Crime is a serious problem
Brazil is a spiritually open country
Numerical rather than spiritual growth is an emphasis
Prosperity theology is shaping much of Protestantism
Effective appropriate training is key to the above
Indigenous Amerindians have endured centuries of prejudice, oppression, massacre and exploitation, which continue to this day by encroaching woodcutters, gold prospectors and ranchers. Their unique cultures are disintegrating through despair, disease, substance abuse and suicide.