Our first year in Brazil included language study in the city of Fortaleza, Ceará south of Belem. We were privileged to have missionary Neal Smith as our language director and on weekends we helped him in the area of music at street meetings. Later, those meetings turned into regular church services which Neal asked us to conduct. That work is now the Philadelphia Baptist Church. Before it was organized into a church, we had completed language study so moved north to Belem, Pará where we had been invited to work by missionaries Stan and Velma Best, George and Elizabeth Norton, and Jake and Isabel Schopf.
Berea Baptist in Ananindeua (Belém)
A lot, 155 ft frontage by 75 ft deep ,was given to us in the NEW CITY-1, an area of the city of Belem (a large city built in the early 1600’s). Money was donated by William Bolthouse, the carrot king in the States, and we built the church building. Later, with another donation by him, a large pavilion was built which in the future, will serve as the sanctuary. A neighborhood known as New Zealand, several miles from the church came about as an invasion of some land owned by the electrical company. We have a good number of children from that area attending Berea. A Volkswagen van was purchased in 2007 by many friends in the States and it is used at least 4 times a week transporting children (and now some adults) to Berea. Two different adjoining lots were purchased in the New Zealand neighborhood for a church building to be built for a congregation. For more pictures of our church check out the blog of one of our church members....odenizerodrigues.blogspot.com.br
First Baptist Church in Concórdia
During our 1979-80 furlough our daughter, Erica, was born. Upon our return to Brazil for our third term, we moved to the “wild west” new town of Concordia and started having street meetings on Sat. mornings in the town park. Soon we were invited to meet in the home of a Christian family who had moved there to start a cattle ranch. Later we bought a property on the main street into town. As neighboring lots became available they were bought and now the church has about 90 yards of frontage with the property going back to a parallel street. That work was nationalized in 1996 with complete facilities for services, social hall, AWANA court, Sunday school classrooms and parsonage plus trained deacons, teachers, and musicians. Young people in both the Castanhal and Concordia churches are now in the ministry.
Nova Olinda Baptist Church in Castanhal
After our arrival in Belem, we helped the other missionary couples with preaching points of their churches. While working with the Stan Best family in their church we also helped on Friday nights with the first services they were having which turned into Open Bible Church. Sunday school with the Bests at Open Door Baptist Church and in the evenings we drove 2 hours out to Castanhal where we began the Nova Olinda Baptist Church. We bought a mud house on a corner lot and fixed it up and to hold the services. We also bought a lot several houses down where we built a simple parsonage. The first services in that work were well attended and we had to use a loud speaker so that the people could hear who were outside because there was no more room inside the building. This work was nationalized in 1979.