The Brazilian Church Mobilizes for the 10/40 Window

Luis Bush, September 1999
Uberlandia, Brazil

At the geographical center of the country of Brazil lies the city of Uberlandia with its more than one half million people. It was here on a Thursday night September 7th that, despite the first heavy rainfall in 100 days, more than 5,000 people filled a large church building for a World Mission's Conference. During an unexpected half-hour citywide electrical black out around 10pm, the crowd remained in place singing songs of praise to God. For the next three days nightly crowds of 20,000 participated in a mission event that underscored the seriousness with which the Brazilian church is taking their call for global missions.

Eighty-five (85) candidates in training for the Projecto Janela 10/40 (The 10/40 Window Project) from different churches, denominations and countries of Latin America, including eleven from Venezuela and one from the country of Guinea, dressed in the garb of the countries in the 10/40 Window they were preparing to go to. Out of 600 who had responded to the call these 85 were carefully selected for the Project. One of the constraints was the limited training facilities available.

The city of Uberlƒndia serves as the geographic center of the country; with the capital city of BrasĦlia 220 miles north, Sao Paulo some miles further to the south, the megacity of Goiania, capital of the state of Goias in south-central Brazil, near the state of Mato Grosso in Grand Central-West Region. It links these major cities and states on a main highway, railroad and the airport in internationalizing support to the regional international common market called "MercoSur." Uberlandia has become a bustling trade center for a primarily agricultural and pastoral hinterland. It has clearly become a spiritual center and model for the church and mission in the country of Brazil.

The Project

The aim is to send more than 1040 Brazilian and Latin American missionaries who are well trained and supported financially and prayerfully into these least evangelized people groups by 2010 AD. The focus on the 10/40 Window is because it contains the largest number of the least evangelized people in the world with the least number of missionaries deployed. The reason for the "and beyond" is that there are many people who have moved out of the 10/40 area into other countries, such as the many Arabic peoples living in France and Belgium. It is called a radical vision because it calls for a radical involvement! David Botelho says: "We need to be radical because 2000 years have passed and the task is still unfinished." The concentration is on sending to the Sahellian Nations of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Guinea and Senegal, Egypt and North Africa and China, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Maldives, Bhutan, Pakistan, Thailand and Japan in Asia.

The Church

The Assembly of God megachurch in Uberlandia has become a model for cross-cultural missions. They offer periodic mission awareness seminars that attract participants from different denominational and independent churches in different locations in the states of Minas Gerais and Goiania. The church has made a series of five country-focus videos in Portuguese titled: "The evangelization of the 10/40 Window."

Widely respected Senior Pastor Alvaro Alen Alvarez sets the tone with the commitment of his church for world missions. Though the local church has multiplied to become fifty local churches in the greater Uberlandia area, Pastor Alvaro has led his church to a major financial and personnel commitment to the spreading and support for global missions throughout the region. Though excited about the growing long-term mission's effort from the Brazilian church as a "Seleiro misionario," "a salt shaker for missions" he wonders if it is too little too late as compared with all the "time-window of divine calling on the Brazilian church"?

Pastor Alvaro shared his conviction that global missions does not mean planting Brazilian Assembly of God churches in other countries of Latin America and beyond which he recognized has been a mistake of the denomination in the past. "Nao e funcional," "this does not work," he says. Taking up the major challenge of the 10/40 Window as the church has done demanded a very significant commitment. Mission leaders recognizes that this local body of believers is setting the pace and modeling how effective missions from Brazil can be done and should be done.

Many are anticipating the first ever nationwide world mission's conference of the Assembly of God denomination in January 2001 to coincide with the 500 year discovery of Brazil in Salvador (Bahia) in the north of Brazil. Though the Assembly of God denomination in Brazil was launched out of Europe, it has been noted that this one denomination in Brazil today has more believers than all the Christians in eastern and Western Europe from all the denominations put together.

The Mission

World Horizons has become a significant force for mobilization of Brazilians to the 10/40 Window. It began when a former General Motors manager in Brazil called David Botelho was called to give his life to mission. He served in the jungles of Bolivia with his family and then became a mission's mobilizer in Brazil. In 1989 he launched World Horizons, British based mission, in Brazil.

From the start, the mission plan has been to recruit, train and send Brazilians and other Latin Americans into the mission fields of the World among the least reached peoples. Missionaries have been sent to Egypt, Spain, China, India and West Africa. Some have been well trained others haven't. Some have been a success others haven't. We have struggled with the failures and have been pleased with the successes.

Out of the things learned, Project Radical Mission - The 10/40 Window and Beyond was born.

Conclusion:

Major mobilization events are planned in the month of June in the year 2000 for regional interchurch gatherings and at the first nationwide Assembly of God mission conference to be held in the city of Salvador, in the state of Bahia in the last week of January 2000.

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9/15/99