Back Medical mission journey to Brazil results in 151 decisions for Christ
July 19th, 2013
By Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
"Four years ago, Pastor Jonanias—a Brazilian Pastor—took me to look at a piece of property in the City of God in Rio de Janeiro. His desire was to plant a church and he needed help," said Sharon Fairchild, Mission Journey Minister.
Brentwood Baptist responded and entered into a 3-year partnership with his new church plant, Quintanilha Baptist Church.
In June 2011, a medical team traveled to the slum and joined a small group of dedicated church members to host a four-day clinic on their property. At that point, their worship center was merely a pavilion and the crowd waiting to get in lined the streets every morning.
"That year, we saw so many people come to know the Lord using Brentwood Baptist members to minister to physical and spiritual needs," Sharon said.
After the team left, the congregation grew rapidly, leaving them with an immediate need for a new building to house them all. Before we could send a team to help the next year, they'd already begun constructing one by themselves.
This once-small church now continues to bloom and grow in a drug-fueled, poverty-stricken area.
This Year’s Journey
From June 6-15, another medical team was sent for our last year of the partnership. Sixteen people were on the team, and they were the ones who got to see the culmination of what God has done through this church plant over the last three years.
"The Sunday morning service is the light service in Brazil," Sharon said. "It's the Sunday night service that's packed out. When we were there, there was no room to sit. People were standing in the doorways and at the back windows. It filled our hearts."
In four days of clinic, the team saw 319 medical patients, filled 791 prescriptions, gave 311 people reading glasses, and cleaned the teeth of 128 children. But the best part of all was those who decided to give their lives to Christ.
"There were 151 decisions to follow Christ, including our bus driver!" Sharon said. "This is what it's all about when it's all said and done—lives that are forever transformed. As one team member said, ‘It’s not bad people becoming good. It’s dead people coming alive.’”
It’s well known that no one was to leave the clinic without being prayed over. Following protocol, one Brentwood Baptist team member, Rachel, working in eye glasses, sat across from her female patient and asked, “Is there anything I can pray with you about?”
The woman launched into the story of how her husband had left home about 10 months ago. She didn’t know where he was. Their family loved and missed him. And their teenage daughter wanted her dad to come home.
Using an interpreter, Rachel prayed with her, asking God to intervene and bring her husband home.
The next morning, that same woman was waiting to talk to Rachel. She’d brought a gift—a pillow that was stamped with “I Love You” in Portuguese. God had answered their prayers.
The night before, her husband had finally returned home. He asked his family to forgive him and asked the pastor of Quintanilha to pray for him that Sunday.
Sharon said, “You cannot be involved in kingdom work and it not blow you away. That prayer, sent through an interpreter, was heard and answered. He longs to show us great and mighty things just like that.”
A First-Time Experience
Elizabeth Cantrell is a nursing student at the University of Tennessee. Through one of her best friends, who’d gone on the medical trip to Brazil in 2011, she heard story after story of how people’s lives were changed. So she had to go and see for herself.
“When I saw I could use both my passion for people and my passion for healing people physically, I knew He’d called me to this,” she said.
But it wasn’t the medical team she served on. She was a part of the evangelism team, those whose roles were to share the Good News of the gospel with every patient who came through the clinic.
One day at clinic, Elizabeth met a man named Gilmar. After sharing the gospel with him, he started weeping, quickly speaking Portuguese to her translator. She was sure she’d offended him.
But it was just the opposite. The translator explained Gilmar was touched by the way she spoke, which reminded him of the daughter he hadn’t seen or heard from in 10 years. And he was moved by the gospel, in awe of what Jesus had done, unable to believe someone would do something like that for him.
“There were many other stories of people who heard the gospel and came to know Jesus one day, then returned to clinic the next day bringing gifts to show how grateful they were that someone told them about Jesus,” she said. “It makes me wonder who else is waiting for us to tell them about Jesus—not just in Brazil, but all around the world.”