Missionary Testimonies from Brazil: The New Face of Global Anglican Mission

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Gathered around the dinner table in a Chicago home were young people from Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and the US. Over dinner Arlinda Sá Souza shared the story of dream she had had over thirty years ago as a new Christian in Brazil.

She had just heard a missionary speak at her church about the 10/40 window and she had felt her heart stirring with a call. “But where are you calling me, Lord?” she had asked. Later that night she was given a very detailed dream of a city on the ocean. As she shared the dream the next day over coffee with a friend her friend began laughing.  “I know that city! It’s Nazaré, Portugal.”

This dream began an over thirty-year process of preparing to answer the call that call to Nazaré, a journey that led Arlinda, her husband Bruno and daughter Thais to that dinner table in Chicago that day.

In October of last year Caminemos Juntos* held it’s annual conference for the Americas in Recife, Brazil with theme of global mission and with the purpose of equipping the Anglican Church in Latin America to send missionaries and church planters the world. Bruno and Arlinda Souza from the diocese of Recife (now soon to be a GAFCON province in Brazil) attended the conference and shared about their calling to Portugal and how they’d been waiting for the church to send them and the Lord’s timing to go.

They were invited to apply to become missionaries with the Greenhouse Movement (the mission society that facilitates the Caminemos Juntos conferences) and then to attend Greenhouse’s weeklong missionary training held in Chicago, USA after which they spent 10 additional days on mission amongst the Mexican immigrant community in that city. Their hope is to be sent to Portugal in January of 2019 as the new Province of Brazil’s first global missionaries and to eventually serve locally under Bishop Andy Lines, the GAFCON bishop for Europe.

 The Greenhouse missionary training week began with a time of multilingual and multicultural worship

The Greenhouse missionary training week began with a time of multilingual and multicultural worship

Bruno, Arlinda, Thais and Karyna (Bruno’s sister) share a greeting to their sending church in Brazil from the Little Village immigrant neighborhood in Chicago 

Brazilians, in partnership with US-Americans, being sent to plant a church in Portugal, under an English Bishop (who himself had been a missionary in Paraguay). This is the exciting, and at times mind-boggling, new face of global Anglican mission.

This is a mission that is polycentric. In other words it is no longer simply “from the west, to the rest” but rather from “everywhere to everywhere,” to use the language of the Lausanne Movement. It is also highly multicultural. The global mission teams of the future will involve two, three or four nationalities working in an again altogether different local cultural context made up also of many different cultures. For example, a mission team might involve Brazilians, Kenyans and Australians reaching North African Muslim immigrants in Spain. 

 

This new global mission also involves deep partnerships between the Church in the Global North and Global South. The Global North has a long history of global sending and financial resources and structures setup to do so, but increasingly face a shortage of missionary candidates. Many areas of the Global South, such as the Church in Brazil, are at the same time experiencing revival and expansion and are overflowing with willing and able candidate, though as a Church have less experience, financial resources and structures setup for global sending.

Finally, the global mission of the future takes into account the reality of global diaspora. Today we are experiencing the greatest movement of peoples the world has ever seen. This presents an amazingly unique missional opportunity that may be missed if the Church succumbs to nationalistic and ethnocentric political currents. 

Please pray for Bruno, Arlinda and Thais and for a whole new Spirit-empowered wave of Anglican missionaries for Europe and the ends of the earth.

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*Caminemos Juntos, which means “Let’s Walk Together” in Spanish, is the GAFCON network for Latin America and is led by Bp. Tito Zavala, Bp. Miguel Uchoa, Cn William Beasley and Rev. Jonathan Kindberg. These leaders, among others, will be helping to lead the Global Mission Network sessions of the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem this June.