Land & People
Brazil is rapidly changing from a rural nation to an urban nation. It is one of the great melting pots of the world but still has large ethnic blocks of Europeans, Africans, and Asians. Nearly 24 percent of Brazil’s population is 15 years old or younger. Another 16.5 percent is between the ages of 15 and 30. These young people are more receptive to the gospel.
Brazil is nominally Roman Catholic. The number of people claiming to be Catholics has dropped considerably in the last decade, while those adhering to Protestantism (including Charismatics) have increased. The number of spiritists is slightly more than two percent of the population.
Year Entered by BMM1935
In 1935, Baptist Mid-Missions entered Brazil at two widely separated points: the city of Manaus in the Amazon valley and the city of Juazeiro do Norte in the state of Ceara in northeastern Brazil.
In the city of Manaus our missionaries immediately began a church-planting ministry. Shortly afterward, in 1941, they started an evening Bible institute. In 1947 this institute became the Amazonas Baptist Seminary.
In Juazeiro do Norte, churches and schools were also started. In 1946 missionaries founded the Cariri Baptist Seminary. In 1952 a language school for new missionaries and a MK school were developed in Fortaleza.
In 1951 Baptist Mid-Missions entered south Brazil, where its missionaries engaged in Jewish evangelism and a church-planting ministry in the city of São Paulo. Eventually the Brazil Field Council was divided into three regions: the North (Amazon) Region, the Northeast Region, and the South Region.
Current ministries in the Amazon Region include works in Rio Branco, Belem, Manaus, Itacoatiara, Boa Vista, and Santarem. Missionaries are involved in church planting, a seminary, an extension Bible institute, a bookstore, a Christian day school, Bible camps, ministries among the tribes, a state missions agency, and a state association of Regular Baptist churches.
Missionary outreaches in the Northeast Region are found in the states of Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Bahia, and Alagoas. The thrust of the ministry is evangelism leading to the establishment of local churches. Auxiliary and specialty ministries are camp, seminary, building, language school, school for MKs, radio, and aviation.
In the South Region there are opportunities for ministry in both fast paced megacites as well as in more rural areas. Church planting is ongoing in the cities of São Paulo, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, Presidente Prudente, Diamantina, Jundiai, Londrina, and the greater Sorocaba area. Jewish evangelism takes place in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. We are thankful for our seminary in the city of Curitiba to help train our future pastors.
Brazil is in harvest phase, and the people’s openness to the gospel may not last more than one generation. With a retiring missionary force and with the many churches BMM has planted since the 1930s, special attention must be given to training Brazilian pastors and missionaries. Brazil is facing a much more complex religious scenario than when it was predominately Roman Catholic, and that also brings a greater need to give good training for future Brazilian pastors.
We need missionaries with high academic degrees to train professors for our Bible colleges. Apart from a one-year master’s degree, we are not yet able to help our Brazilian Bible college professors get higher levels of training here in Brazil. They often go to schools of other denominations for further training. Once Brazilians can train their own professors for such institutions, they will be prepared to take care of every aspect of ministry themselves.
- Expansion of ministries southward from Belem on the Belem-Brasilia highway toward Ceara
- Establish a youth camp and an extension Bible Institute in Belem
- Establish aviation outreaches in Manaus and Santarem
- See more churches planted and congregations organized
- Plant churches in Rio Largo
- Branch out to other needy areas near Mareio
- Sow the seed in the state of Paraiba (prejudice to gospel is weakening)
- Seminary professors with doctorates for our seminary in Curitiba
- Musicians and composers willing to help in local-church ministry
Learn more about Brazil here.