Stories from the Mission Field

February 2021

From church planting to integral mission

The city of Ijuí, just 130 years old, has always been of strategic and missionary importance. Located in the very south of Brazil, it is the centre of mission societies and universities. Ijuí is also important for the mission work of EBM INTERNATIONAL because it is where different branches of work show what integral mission can look like.

There has been a large Baptist church in Ijuí for many years. With financial support from EBM INTERNATIONAL, an additional church planting project was started. Today this church is also independent. EBM supports also the Theological Seminary in Ijuí with a strong missional approach:

When Claiton Kunz went to his office in 2020, it was surprisingly quiet on campus. The volleyball field in the inner courtyard was unused in the sunshine, the lecture hall was empty. It has always been easy for the energetic director to prepare learning content digitally. This was a great advantage for the young women and men who had to study from home. With the leap into virtual learning, it was possible to reach several interested people who would never have attended a course in Bible studies on site. More than 50,000 people took part in events related to theology and religious practice.

The mission-orientation is especially important to the seminary: Every year, teams from the college set out to visit partner projects and evangelise there. For example, EBM projects in Peru and Bolivia which reach the Quechua people with the Gospel, have benefited from this.

The graduates of the seminary take this missionary energy and theological competence with them to their congregations or foundation work. 16 young women and men received their diplomas in December 2020 – including a blind and a deaf person. This may be surprising, but it is the natural fruit of help for people with physical limitations:
In the work with deaf people in Ijuí through the CAIS project, young deaf people and their families receive practical help and experience how their lives can succeed with the right support. They “hear” the good news and take steps in faith.

Children, adolescents and their families also have a point of contact in Ijuí for their worries and needs. In the social centre, they find open ears for their problems, receive meals and help with learning. There is also social help and advice. In turn, people are connected to the community via the social centre. This is holistic and integral mission in which preaching the gospel and practical help go hand in hand.

In the weeks around Easter, we ask for donations and prayers for community development projects. By training pastors and through the founding of churches, many people can be reached with the gospel in word and deed. You can find the donation form here.