For almost 14 years our comprehensive approach to church planting has been impacting communities in South America and Southeast Asia by successfully building indigenous leadership teams. Currently, we have seen a great response to the gospel in Thailand and Cambodia—both countries where less than 2% of the population identifies as Christians. Our efforts in Brazil are expanding into the Northeast region, the poorest in the country. In our newest church plant, in the city of Cabrobó, the poorest residents still live in mud-walled huts.
Why is it so important to have a local church body? It’s vital for vulnerable women stuck in cycles of poverty like Maria. Maria is an elderly widow who lived next door to one of our church plants when it first began. Our church planters spent time getting to know her and listening to her. Maria had a medical condition and came to know the Lord after the church prayed for her. Within a week of those prayers the Lord healed her and she became a faithful member of the church! As she has gotten older over the past years, the church has provided basic food for her to help supplement what she could do on her own. The pastor also helped her navigate the bureaucracy in Brazil to help her get their version of Social Security, so she has a little income each month. Between this income and the food kit provided by the church, she is cared for and all her basic needs are met.
Today, Maria is flourishing as she seeks the LORD and is cared for by her church family. It’s not difficult to imagine the hopeless situation she would be in without their care and the love of Christ.
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