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Brazilian Baptist pioneer, Southwestern alumnus dies

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–David Gomes, former executive secretary of the Brazilian Baptist Convention’s Home Mission Board, died Aug. 6 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after a lengthy battle with multiple illnesses. He was 83.

Born Dec. 23, 1919, Gomes was known to the Brazilian people as a man of deep faith and often identified by his life motto, “to do what God wants.” While serving the Brazilian Baptist Home Mission Board from 1953-1968, he opened 64 elementary schools and 17 first aid medical assistance stations.

Gomes authored a dozen books, among them “The Bible Answers” and “The Holy Spirit: God’s Executive.” He was a member of the Evangelical Literary Academy of Brazil and was president emeritus of the Bible Society of Brazil.

He was best known for establishing the “Bible School on the Air” radio program in 1949. The ministry, undertaken with the vision of reaching all of Brazil with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, now reaches Portuguese-speaking people worldwide via the Internet. Gomes’ son, Marcus David, and daughter, Ana Maria, oversee the radio program.

Gomes served as pastor to Tijuca Baptist Church in Rio de Janeiro. He graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he received a bachelor of divinity degree in 1945. He completed a master of religious education degree at the seminary in 1948. Southwestern Seminary presented Gomes with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995. Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., awarded Gomes an honorary doctorate in 1996.

In 1997, Gomes was struck by a car in Rio de Janeiro and never fully recovered from his injuries. He is survived by his wife, Haydee Suman Gomes, six children and their spouses, and seven grandchildren.

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  • Gregory Tomlin