When a Brazilian decides to become a missionary, she faces challenges most American missionaries don’t.
An American missionary might worry about living in a slightly more expensive nation, like Japan or Germany. But one Brazilian real is worth just 18 U.S. cents. When a Brazilian sets out for Europe or parts of Asia, raising support takes an act of God.
Like an American, the Brazilian missionary will go to language school. But before she can learn her host country’s language, she’ll likely need to learn English — the language of instruction.
And, if our missionary is like many Brazilian workers, she’ll go abroad either untrained or undertrained in ministry.
Despite these challenges, the Brazilian missionary movement is growing. In 2010, the nation was the second-greatest sender of missionaries in the world. And TEAM worker Bill Bacheller says these missionaries have unique advantages.
Brazil’s culturally diverse history gives missionaries a leg up in adapting to African and Arab communities. Their culture emphasizes creativity when resources are few. And, Bill says, “The Brazilian church is a praying church — intense, prolonged and liberally sprinkled with spontaneous worship.”
Brazil is just one of many places where God is sparking powerful missional movements. Let’s pray for our sisters and brothers around the world as they seek to make Christ known to all nations!
1. Pray that global missions movements will be defined by discipleship.
Balraj* was a passionate church planter in South Asia, establishing church after church. But Balraj had never been discipled — and he didn’t know how to disciple anyone else. Thankfully, God connected him with Stuvan, a South Asian TEAM worker.
Despite his success as a church planter, Balraj struggled with basic tenets of the faith. But Stuvan wanted to do more than fix Balraj’s theology.
“For me, discipleship is not teaching, but discipleship is living it out and showing them, like Jesus did for His disciples,” Stuvan says. For now, the men’s relationship takes place over Zoom, but Stuvan has plans to visit Balraj and have Balraj visit him.
Since realizing the importance of discipleship, Balraj has slowed down his ministry. Rather than counting how many converts he’s made, Balraj is putting his focus on making true disciples of Christ.
Pray that the global Church will fully understand the importance of discipleship. Ask God to lead mature believers to people they can serve through discipleship.
2. Pray for good training in ministry and Bible education.
A strong understanding of the Bible and ministry methods is crucial for planting strong, faithful churches.
As a seminary student in the U.S., TEAM missionary Kathi Small had professors with great knowledge of the Bible, but little knowledge in the area of teaching. “Very few opportunities were given to discuss, learn from other students [or] grapple with topics,” Kathi says.
Today, as a Bible professor in Guatemala, Kathi takes a different approach. Her students are great at memorizing the right answers, but she strives to teach them how to also think critically and contextually about each text. As they set out in ministry, these skills will be vital for answering new questions and theological challengers.
Pray for thoughtful, faithful teaching in Bible colleges and training programs around the world. Ask God to grant clarity and understanding to students as they seek to know Him more.
3. Ask God to raise up more believers to bring in the harvest.
The Brazilian church is sending thousands of missionaries. Filipino believers are training one another to plant churches and make disciples who make disciples. In South Africa, God is moving through former prisoners, young politicians and traditional healers to bring the Gospel to the outcast.
“Jesus is activating the ordinary person and outcasts to see they are involved in His plan,” says Ryan Burleson, a missionary to South Africa.
Believers of each nation bring unique strengths to the cause. Their cultural heritages open doors to unreached communities. Their nations’ relationships allow them access where North American believers can’t go. And those in underprivileged nations have learned a dependency on God that shows up powerfully in ministry.
Let’s ask God to send more global believers into the harvest. Pray that He will create missions movements in every nation, drawing every tribe and tongue to Himself.
*Some names have been changed for security reasons.
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