Belo '97

January 27-30, 1997
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo '97: Day 3 (Final)

Day 3, the third and concluding day of AD2000's Joshua Project Congress in Brazil, saw God bringing before the congress participants a singular theme: What is it going to take to carry out this great task? Each of the morning's four speakers challenged the 370 delegates to consider personal commitment in four specific settings.

  1. Russell Shedd, missionary in Brazil for more than 30 years and editor of Brazil's first annotated Bible, brought a devotional study focusing on Rev. 5 and the setting of God's throne. Jesus is worthy to sit on the throne, and we should do missions because He bought people from all nations and they have not yet been delivered into His hands. Focusing on the Lamb of God upon the throne, we should take the Gospel to the unreached.
  2. Ricardo Gondim, Assembly of God pastor at the Bethesda Church in Sao Paulo, spoke on our obligation to reach the peoples in the face of the challenge of today's "post-modern" world. Although a market-driven world can lead to "market-driven" churches, and an "existential, experience-based world" can lead to "experience-driven churches," we need to move beyond those tendencies and strive for (1) Unity and Cooperation among ourselves ; (2) Character and credibility in ministry; and (3) Recover a high view of the God who can do all things. Focusing on the world around us that is desperate for answers, we should minister to the unreached.
  3. Antonio Carlos Nasser, pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church in Londrina, spoke about "Adopt-A-People and the Local Church." The kind of church we need in Brazil which will really get the job done in missions is: (1) A Cooperating Church (working in unity with agencies, missionaries and other churches); (2) A Servant Church (serving our missionaries, seeing the commitment to them as "till death us do part" and asking hard questions like, "What happens when they are ready to retire?"); (3) A Giving Church (more concerned with the kingdom than with it's leaders or it's own well being). Focusing on the Biblical nature of what God wants His church to be, we should reach out to the unreached peoples of the world.
  4. Jeremias Pereira, pastor of the 8th Presbyterian Church of Belo Horizonte, was the final speaker of the conference. His theme was "Personal Consecration and Reaching the Peoples." His three basic statements: (1) Without holiness there is no cooperation. (2) Without holiness there is no power. (3) Without holiness there is no victory (in reaching the peoples). His delightful message called the delegates, as fellow pastors, to assume specific areas of commitment to personal holiness, especially in the area of praying personally for unreached peoples (rather than just endorsing the church's prayer program).

In the final moments of the congress there was a reading of a declaration (the Covenant of Belo '97) which included several specific commitments relative to the goals of AD2000 and the Joshua Project 2000: that every effort would be made (1) to adopt 10% of the Joshua Project List Peoples (174 of them); (2) to adopt all 139 of Brazil's unreached Indian tribes; and (3) to reach the over 200 Brazilian cities which have less than a 1% evangelical presence. All of the delegates endorsed the declaration which will define much of Brazil's missions focus over the next four years.

The congress closed with each delegate laying hands on his neighbor and praying for power and holiness to do his part to reach the unreached for Christ. The spirit of unity, cooperation and commitment was acknowledged by all as a work of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the delegation.

Belo Horizonte, Jan 29, 1997
by Ted Limpic, OC International Missionary to Brazil
and Larry Kraft, OC International, Brazil

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