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People hungry for God respond to Brazil effort

SALVADOR, Brazil (BP)–He poured his friend a beer right there on the street corner. Meanwhile, he stood there, his eyes riveted to the larger-than-life images of Jesus played out on the screen.

The man was one in a crowd that had gathered as Baptists showed the evangelistic film, “Jesus.” They were participating in an “impact” effort in Salvador, Brazil, where the Brazilian Baptist national convention met in late January.

“For 13 nights straight we showed the ‘Jesus’ film,” said Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board missionary Danny Callis of Fuquay-Varina, N.C. “In nearly every place, about 10 percent of those watching accepted Jesus. I am convinced that showing films on the streets is one of the best ways to reach people.”

About 4,000 people attended the film showings.

The overall effort involved 175 Baptists and missionaries working in teams throughout the city. The teams handed out
140,000 tracts and led nearly 700 people to accept Jesus Christ.

One woman walking along the beach was asked if she could say for sure she had attained eternal life. She responded the only thing she was sure of was that she was going to hell. After she heard the gospel, she accepted Jesus.

At the city bus station, one team passed out 8,000 tracts. A man who had just sent off his wife and children found a tract underfoot. After reading it, he called the team leader, whose phone number was printed on it. He had planned to let his family go, then go home and kill himself, he said. Instead, he listened to the team leader explain more about the gospel.

Area churches normally schedule crusades during Brazilians’ national conventions. But this scaled-down, focused outreach
effort scored positive points all around, Callis said.

“Christians from our churches became excited about witnessing. They want to do more.” In fact, state and association leaders are now considering a similar witness for major cultural holidays and festivals, he added.

“God often uses a non-Christian to speak to us,” said Callis. “Our thinking is to invite people to church, and when they leave, we often ask, ‘When are you coming back?’ After showing the ‘Jesus’ film, we often heard, ‘When are YOU coming back?’

“The people are hungry for God’s word.”

    About the Author

  • Marty Croll