Sunday morning we drove to the city of Triunfo where Brazilian missionary friends Francisco and Dalva work tirelessly with the endless needs in the Outback. We spent some time with them talking and then I preached at their afternoon church service on their front porch/garage. They have recently taken on more responsibility as the Pastor at the other Baptist church in town had moral failure which caused many problems in the church. Francisco had started helping out there. Before I preached he "sold the fish" (tried to give us some reasons to work in Triunfo) and they were very convincing.
After I preached we drove down the mountain to another town where Francisco helps out as well. Fortunately I was invited to preach as I met the Pastor for the first time. He struggles there with less than 20 or so in the congregation. He said that he was the only Pastor in the whole city (partially true as there are some other denominations there with Pastors, but just a couple). He asked us to go work there as well. Both Pastors have been receiving invitations from other area churches to be their Pastors.
On Monday morning we headed to Afogados da Ingazeira and were able to meet with a Pastor there. He said most churches were very small and usually a result of a rift in another church. There is a lot of jealousy and a lot of loyalty to their church (usually the Catholic church).
The three towns made me both excited for the opportunities we have in working here and sad about the current situation. The reputation of Evangelicals in Triunfo is terrible because of the moral failures of several Pastors. Most churches are small and dying rather than large and growing (not that small is always bad).
The workers in the Outback are few. It is not an easy place to live because of the heat and the lack of water. Apparently religious persecution drives people away as well. Pray that God would 1)Raise up workers to go to the Outback 2) Raise up leaders in these churches 3) Through these steps the Outback would see a significant rise in Christians in the region resulting in more leaders, more churches, and a passion for missions. May God's name by mightily proclaimed and glorified!