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Mission to Brazil found to be 'rewarding'

April 05, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Last July, when Bradley Dick went on his first mission trip to Brazil with his pastor and four fellow members of the Boonsboro Bible Church he had never before flown in an airplane, let alone traveled outside the United States.

"I had to think about it and pray about it," said Dick, 20, who is looking forward to going back to Brazil at least twice this year, first at the end of the month for nearly two weeks and then again in July.

The Rev. Robert Welty, who led his first foreign mission trip last summer, also is hoping to return.

"We made home visits and gave testimonies at schools about Christ," Welty said. "While we were there, 1,843 people came to Christ."

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As Dick noted, those are just the ones they know about.

Brazil is a predominantly Roman Catholic country. But what Welty and the others found is that many people are not necessarily devout in their religious beliefs. Still, the efforts of missionaries of other denominations seem to be greeted with a great deal of interest, he said.

"The first night I spoke at the First Baptist Church in Avelar, Brazil, people were standing up along the walls and hanging in the windows," Welty said. "It was very rewarding."

David Nunamaker Jr., 18, has been attending Boonsboro Baptist Church for three years. He seized the opportunity to make the mission trip and said it was a great experience.

"It's good to get out of your element once in a while," Nunamaker said of his 10-day trip last summer. He is still thinking about whether he will make a return trip.

Unlike many mission trips to underdeveloped countries, the mission of Welty and his group was to talk about Jesus rather than to do construction work there.

"We worked out of the church there and went into the schools mostly," he said.

While they were in Brazil, the group stayed in a bed and breakfast outside of town. Each day they would leave there, go to the church and get their assignments.

"The schools there look very much like ours," Welty said.

But the elementary school students attend in the mornings, the middle schoolers in the afternoon and the high school students are in class at night.

Dick said the schedule would be kept flexible for a reason since the group would often be invited to speak on the spot somewhere.

"It was a life-changing experience," Dick said. "I realized things in my life needed to be changed."

Nunamaker said his most-lasting memory will be of the responses he and the other members of the group got from the people there.

As a pastor, Welty said he felt the tremendous relationship the people of Brazil have with God. "Some people would come to the church, stay and pray all day," he said.

All those connections came despite the language barrier in Brazil, where Portuguese is the main language. The group had an interpreter assigned to them, but Welty said there was a lot of spiritual communicating going on.

The seed for the mission trips was planted three years ago, Welty said, when an evangelist from Georgia came to Boonsboro to speak about mission work. Once it was decided to make the trip, efforts to raise funds began.

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