January 27-30, 1997
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The phones are ringing off the wall! Transworld Radio, a major Christian radio ministry here in Brazil, has been broadcasting LIVE all the plenary sessions of Belo '97. That broadcast has been covering all of Brazil and parts of Uruguay. And from the first day of the congress, folks have been calling in to express their interest in missions and wanting to find out more about AD2000, the 10-40 Window and the Joshua Project 2000. No one really anticipated such a huge radio response. To everyone's surprise, radio is carrying the impact of this conference far beyond the 370 Brazilian leaders meeting here in Belo Horizonte.
Today there was a lot to take in. The morning began with a time in the Word, a praise time, and then 3 very significant lectures. The way each lecture built on the other reflected an obvious orchestration of God's Spirit.
One key proposal made by Bertil was that Brazil accept the challenge adopting 10% of the JP2000 list (174 peoples) PLUS adopt ALL the Brazilian Indian tribes yet untouched by the Gospel (there are 139 of them).
Oswaldo then went on to describe why there's been so much fragmentation in Brazil. (1) We're more "pastor-focused" than "body-focused"; (2) We're more "building-focused" than "ministry-focused"; (3) We're more "doctrine-focused" than "evangelistic-focused"; (4) We tend to fall into two main camps: the "pragmatic activists" on one side and "reflective thinkers" on the other.
Recalling the words of Zephaniah 3:9 ("I will give you pure lips, and you'll serve me in common accord"), Oswaldo asked, "Are we willing to admit how fragmented we are? Are we willing to admit that none of us has all the answers or all the tools? We really do need each other."
With Ronaldo returning to Ghana in just three days, the morning session ended with a time of prayer for him and his family. Since he has already picked up malaria, there was also special prayer for his health.
After lunch, the afternoon time was used for regional meetings. Here some practical steps were taken to maximize Brazil's involvement in the Joshua Project 2000, especially in the process of Adopt-A-People. Regional networks were created to maximize the promotion of the materials and information, and give special attention to getting feedback on adoptions to the Adopt-A-People office.
The evening meeting was divided into two halves. The first half consisted of reports from the afternoon regional meetings. Most regions set up of state and city-wide structures to more efficiently promote and get feedback on the AD2000 vision. One interesting highlight was the donation by an evangelical Brazilian TV hostess of 15 daily programs which will feature the AD2000 movement and interviews with each track leader!
The second half of the evening featured reports from several track leaders. Highlights included: plans for involving children in praying for and contributing to missions (Children's Track); proposal to produce a flier on hot mission opportunities for Brazilian young people (Mobilization of New Missionaries Track); suggestion to challenge Brazilian churches to adopt 1 gateway city in the 10-40 Window and 1 unevangelized city in Brazil (Cities Track); proposals on how to increase the visibility of AD2000 among pastors and leaders by producing an AD2000 video, using national and regional media, encouraging "AD2000" pastors to visit their "unconverted" colleagues, and developing a team to visit denominational presidents and share the AD2000 vision (Mobilization of Pastors Track).
At the end of each report, the entire congress prayed for each track leader, the track members and the goals they proposed. The evening closed with a time of extended prayer in small groups focusing on the need for unity among the pastors of Brazil and the blessing of God in order for these plans to come to fruition. Among those present was a keen sense of unity and anxious anticipation of what God will be doing in upcoming weeks, months and years.
Belo Horizonte, Jan 29, 1997
by Ted Limpic, OC International Missionary to Brazil
and Larry Kraft, OC International, Brazil
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