The Association of Regular Baptist Churches of Brazil, 800 churches strong, met for its annual conference in Rio Branco, in western Brazil, July 7–10. As one of the more recent additions to the International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries, the association had yet to discover its role or the benefit of camaraderie with the other partners. Chris Hindal, director of GARBC International Ministries, attended the conference, casting vision and providing a visual report of the advances of the gospel through the other partners. He interacted with the leaders, giving a more personal dimension to the network of associations. After meeting with Pastor Paulo Bondevan, the newly elected president, Hindal is hopeful the association will engage in some of the projects around the world.
The four-day conference centered its attention on the theme “Battling for the Common Faith.” The evening speaker, Dr. Benjamin Costea, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary extension in Romania, developed the theme through exegetical messages that were well organized and relevant to the subject. Dr. Costea also shared his personal testimony. His mother chose to give him life in exchange for her own in childbirth. In the days of the communist regime, he spent six months in a Romanian prison. God preserved his life through unimaginable treatment. He pastors two congregations in Arad, Romania, and occasionally accepts invitations as a conference speaker around the globe.
The association in Brazil actively pursues missionary outreach in many countries. The state associations organize mission agencies, and the missionaries are sent out and supported by the local churches in that region. Several agency presidents gave reports of God’s work in places like Colombia and Venezuela in South America, and Cape Verdes, Mozambique, and Angola in Africa. Since Portuguese is the mother tongue of Brazilians, Brazilian missionaries are also working in Portugal.
While the national association meets in conference every other year, the state associations meet annually. Hindal says, “Our Brazilian partner shows spiritual maturity as an association and I am anticipating increased involvement as we coordinate efforts in the Great Commission assignment.”