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Brazilian Baptists foster connection at SBC 2024 fellowship gathering

Annel Robayna, center, Hispanic Church Mobilization Strategist at the International Mission Board, visits with attendees at the Brazilian Pastors and Leaders Network, June 10 in Indianapolis. Photo by Sonya Singh

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – Brazilian Baptists enjoyed a small but lively fellowship on Monday (June 10) evening at the Indianapolis Convention Center surrounding the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The 15 Brazilian Baptists in attendance represented Florida, California, Texas and New England churches as well as their country of origin, evident by their talk of soccer games and a hymn claiming Brazil for God.

The purpose of gathering was “to strengthen the connection between Brazilian pastors and SBC leaders,” said Nei Ladeia, president of the Fellowship of Brazilian Baptist Churches in North America and pastor of Pompano (Florida) Brazilian Baptist Church. “I am overjoyed to be part of this historic moment for Brazilian Baptist Churches in the SBC.”

The Fellowship’s executive director, Ebenezer Santos, told those in attendance “No one can stop God’s plans. Joseph survived false imprisonment, Daniel lived through three empires, Jeremiah kept on prophesying. Each one of us is here because God has called us. It matters not where we were before.”

Santos, who moved from Brazil to the U.S. in 1989, started his pastoral ministry among Spanish-speakers in Texas. In 2007 he became the pastor of Central Brazilian Church in Bedford, Texas.

Charles Grant, associate vice-president of convention advancement and relations for the SBC Executive Committee, visited the group to thank them for their ministry and generous giving to the Cooperative Program.

Annel Robayna, Hispanic church mobilization strategist for the International Mission Board, shared with pastors how the IMB is ready to come alongside Brazilian churches to send missionaries to the nations. The North American Mission Board’s national church mobilizer, Ramon Osorio, also introduced himself to the group and explained the various ways NAMB is ready to support churches through planting and its Send Relief ministry.

Ladeia told Baptist Press in August he wanted to work with the SBC because Southern Baptists started the work that led to the formation of the Brazilian Baptist Convention, which today, with 1,988 missionaries abroad, is the second-largest missionary-sending organization in the world, behind only the SBC.

Brazilian representation in the SBC has grown since a large community of Brazilians in Pompano Beach, Fla., decided in 1990 to start a Baptist church. Today, about 400 Brazilian, Haitian and Spanish-speaking people attend Sunday morning worship there.

While the majority of Brazilians in the U.S. live on the East Coast they also spread as far west as California.

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  • Keila Diaz

    Keila Diaz is a digital communications assistant with the Florida Baptist Convention.

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