New Church Development in Central Brazil
Dear Mission Partners,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Once again, Carnival is here! The origins of this major Brazilian holiday date back to the ancient Greek spring festival in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine. The Romans adopted the celebration with Saturnalia and Bacchanalia. Saturnalia was later modified by the Roman Catholic Church into a festival leading up to Ash Wednesday. It quickly evolved into a massive celebration of indulgence before Lent - the 40 days of personal reflection, abstinence, and fasting until Easter.
In Brazil, the celebration involves contests between the Sambas schools. The owners of these schools spend large sums of money creating costumes and hiring famous dancers to win a prize at the end of the Carnival season. The school that wins first prize receives a large sum of cash. After the competition, the owners start working on creating costumes and scenes for next year’s competition.
The Evangelical Christian Churches and the Charismatic Catholics in Brazil do not support the Carnival celebration. Most churches have a spiritual retreat. Our teens and young adults attend a spiritual retreat which our presbytery organizes.
What has been happening in the church I have been working with? From February 3-5, the congregation at Samambaia was busy preparing for its chartering service. Two of our former students, who are now pastors of churches in nearby towns, came to preach and brought very inspiring messages. We had good attendance every night from people in the community and other IPIB churches. On Sunday, February 5 the committee on church affairs, which was appointed by the Federal District Presbytery, led the congregational meeting. The congregation elected two men and one woman to serve as elders and two men and two women for the board of deacons. I was quite happy with the election. It showed that members are mature in their faith and understand the importance of electing men and women to serve the Lord. After the meeting, a worship service took place. A choir from the Central Independent Presbyterian Church in Brasilia sang several inspiring songs of praise and adoration to our God. Our praise band also led the congregation with spiritual songs.
After the morning service, everyone was hungry. Our church members provided food and drink for our visitors. All were well-fed! The IPIB in Samambaia was chartered with 35 adult members and six baptized children. There are ten more adults plus children and teens who are participating regularly at the worship service, as well. We pray that they will become members in God’s good time. Please lift them up in your daily prayers. Thank you again for your encouragement, supplications, and financial support. This spring the Sivalees are about $6,000 short of their second quarter ministry needs. Please consider a special gift for their support, and thank you!