Bringing change to Brazil
Published: September 8, 2016

By Jackie Hopkins

A heart in two places

After I served the Lord as a missionary to Brazil for 16 years, He brought me back to the States to serve Him at Faith Baptist Community Church & Center in Cleveland, Ohio. It can be a challenging ministry, but I love those kids and want to share the love of God with them. Brazil will always have a special place in my heart. For that reason, whenever I can, I love helping the Brazilian churches as well.

The Lord has allowed me to go back annually to help churches in Brazil’s Amazon region that are running Bible Seekers clubs (BMM youth curriculum) with their children. Each year, I hold two teacher’s training sessions and help with a vacation Bible school. I also help the churches by bringing used visual aids (usually one 70-pound bag each year) that individuals and churches here in the States give to me.

“Even our poor kids here have more than Brazilians kids do.”

The people at Faith always teased me about going back in the winter months to get away from the cold weather here. They really didn’t understand my reason for going and thought it was just a vacation. When I returned from my trip in 2015, our pastor at Faith asked me to share with the congregation about my trip. I shared what I did and how grateful the churches were for the visual aids I brought and for the training I offered.

After I finished speaking, one of the members, Katie, said she was moved by seeing how little those churches had. She said to me, “Even our poor kids here in the States have more than most of the Brazilian kids you ministered to.” She determined to save all her change and give it to me to buy things for the kids next year.

Seeing greater needs

I was excited that she was seeing beyond just her own needs and the needs of her own neighbor. Katie loves the kids in Cleveland. She helps out with all our children’s ministries and is willing to do whatever she can to reach out to the kids. Throughout last year, she brought in her small can of change, and I dumped it into a bigger can. She even asked others to add to the can. Before leaving for my trip in February, I took the can to the bank to convert the coins into dollar bills. The total came to $120.44. She had no idea and was thrilled! 

When I got to Brazil, I asked several ladies in one of the churches what would be the greatest help to them and the kids. They told me crayons, some small toys to use as prizes for the kids, and some accordion cups that the kids could take with them to school so they didn’t have to share the same drinking cup. So with the money the people at Faith raised, I was able to supply five of the churches with those items. They were so excited and asked me to thank whoever gave the money. They were also grateful for the used visual aids I brought.

When I returned to the States, I told Katie what they had said and showed her the pictures. She told me that she was already putting change in her can for next year, and she is asking the other people in the church to help out as well.