Many methods of church and making disciples couldn’t work the same way during the pandemic, so the church in Brazil is working on more sustainable approaches to both.
The beginning of 2022 has felt like a season of rebirth for World Challenge’s partners, Jacob’s Well, in Brazil. Now that COVID-19 restrictions have begun to relax in South America, the church is looking to reestablish ministries in many of the farming communities were they were working before the pandemic. They are putting down deep roots with a sustainable approach to helping these communities grow practically and spiritually.
“Our primary goal,” they shared, “has always been to reach, to evangelize, to disciple and plant churches in communities where the presence of the gospel is not found. The Covid pandemic, has set us behind and in some cases, even brought us back to starting point in regards to the work inside our communities.”
God has been redeeming this tough situation, though, restoring the years that the locusts had eaten, so to speak. The team wrote, “During this process, we were able to assess data and methods used in the past; it gave us a chance to learn from positive and negative situations the happened in the last two years.”
Plugging Back in to Community
With lessons learned and a new collection of innovative ideas, our partner’s team set out with a different approach to enhance economic transformation and share the good news of God in these remote, rural communities.
They took their former “co-op model” and shifted this to a “sustainable backyard model.” This maximizes their ability to really connect with families and hear about their particular needs, especially after the long months of quarantine seclusion.
The church shared, “Our evangelism is based on relationships with a ‘house to house model.’ After lessons learned from the effect from the pandemic within our communities, we readjusted our goals and strategy for 2022 in order to establishing a more sustainable foundation. Instead of pursuing a growth in numbers, our team is investing a greater amount of time and effort to raise deep rooted and mature disciples inside each community. We have already seen tangible results in community members, and multiplication will come.”
Growing Disciples in Christ
When the team first began working in many of these communities, they observed that many people said they had accepted the gospel and were believers, but very few behaved or had relationships in their community that reflected the presence of Christ in their lives. Obviously, this needed to change.
The team began working with the local church to create Bible studies so that people. could learn how the gospel transforms their hearts and ways of living. Many people had not realized that this was how it should be; the letters that Paul wrote instructing the early church were startling and convicting in many cases. Believers started asking how they should model their everyday lives on what they were learning in the Bible studies.
This change of heart was incredibly encouraging to the team, and they offered to teach an adult literacy class in the community so that people could learn how to read the Bible for themselves. The class has nearly doubled in size since the beginning of the year. “The joy of each person who is part of the class is contagious,” one team member explained. “We see God's love and care with each one here. At the end of the year, we will have a graduation ceremony together with a Thanksgiving service. We are honored to be carrying out this project, and the community members have expressed joy and gratitude. It also gives them understanding of the vision of Jacob's Well in a practical way.”
As the work continues, please join us in praying for the team in Brazil. They are helping disciples grow in their spiritual maturity, and this takes great wisdom and patience in the Spirit.