By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
SOROCABA, Brazil (LBM) – COVID-19 travel restrictions caused the cancellation of last year’s annual Louisiana Baptist-led mission trip to Brazil, but plans are moving forward to return to the country this summer.
While many unknowns face the team, trip coordinator David Denton is confident God has prepared the field for a spiritual harvest in a country searching for hope.
“COVID has reminded us we don’t know tomorrow but we are hopeful in the truest sense,” Denton told the Baptist Message. “We are planning weekly and monthly and trusting in God’s providence.”
Denton, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in New Iberia, said the team will participate in the usual projects that include construction of chapels for local congregations, evangelism on the streets, drama performances and Vacation Bible School. But he offered that the pandemic has brought additional ministry opportunities because of high unemployment, rising food prices and restrictions on meeting inside church facilities.
These new opportunities include funding food packages for families in need ($23 each) and donating food for local pastors and their families. Denton said more than $6,000 has been raised for far and asked those who might not be able to go on the trip to participate by making donations.
The last time a team was able to travel to Brazil, 2019, 56 participants led 1,835 Brazilians to the Lord. These new believers were turned over to local pastors for discipleship toward spiritual health and growth.
The team will leave for Brazil July 9 and return July 20.
Most of the team’s work will take place in Sorocaba, which, with a population of 645,000, ranks as the eighth largest city in the state of Sao Paulo.
The cost is $2,400 for the mission trip and $2,900 for team members who choose to extend the trip to include a two-day excursion to Iquacu Falls before returning home. Costs include housing, meals, airfare, daily transportation, airport transfers, insurance, tips and team t-shirts.
Participants will need to be tested for COVID-19, and be negative for the disease, within 72 hours of leaving the United States. The same process will be required to depart Brazil. The price for a COVID-19 test in Brazil is $23 and is not included in the cost of the trip.
Denton urges all participants to take the vaccine, if available.
“I understand the concern that many have concerning travel, especially international travel,” said Denton. “Prepare yourself by getting the vaccine and pray about going with us.”
For more information on serving in Brazil, call 337.359.7689, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those unable to travel to Brazil can help by sending donations to Beyond the Walls, 607 Victory Drive, New Iberia, LA 70563.