The Brazil Gospel Fellowship Mission (BGFM) ministry began in 1939 in Sobral, Ceara located in Northeast Brazil.
The Mission was officially organized in 1945 and incorporated in the State of Illinois in 1955. In the 40s and 50s, missionary ministries in Brazil were difficult due to religious opposition and unimproved roads. However, during those years a good number heard the Gospel and small churches were established along with special training schools for men and women.
The seeds planted in those early years began to flourish. A good number of new missionaries joined those who were involved in the early planting. New churches were established along with several special ministries. Those ministries were Radio, Film, Theological Education by Extension, Bible Camp and Bible Institute. The special training schools for men and women continued. BGFM missionaries spent many hours every week training Brazilians, both in the local church and through the special ministries. As a result, the Brazilian leadership grew in all areas of our ministries. An Association of Churches was established providing fellowship for all of the churches and opportunities to plan and set goals together. A national ministry organization was established for sending out Brazilian missionaries to new areas in Brazil.
Working along-side Brazilian brothers and sisters provided a new emphasis in the ministry. The leadership of the Association of Churches went from being all missionaries to all Brazilians. During these years, many churches were turned over to Brazilian leadership. Many of the special ministries now included Brazilians in important positions or roles. During the early 80s, the BGFM and the GMU began joint administration of the SIBIMA Seminary. This school has had a vital part in training leaders, many of whom are now serving as pastors in our churches. Both missionaries and Brazilians are involved in teaching in the Seminary and Bible Institute. Christian grade schools were started by missionaries and nationals, providing excellent opportunities for evangelism and training. The millennium ended with many of BGFM’s goals realized, especially in relationship to having established national churches.
Now What? What Lies Ahead?
We are grateful that presently there are over 70 established national churches with Brazilian pastors. These churches are burdened for spreading the Gospel and are supporting Brazilian missionaries serving in rural areas and cities in various locations throughout Brazil. Recently, their sights have become focused on foreign missions. In 2007, they formed a new mission organization for sending Brazilians to other countries. Missions conferences are important parts of the yearly schedules of the churches, Seminary and Bible Institute. The process of evangelism and training leadership continues to be a vital part of the Brazilian churches. In 2 Timothy 2:2, God’s Word encourages us to train faithful men so that they, in turn, will train others. Gratefulness flows from our lips as we realize that God has allowed BGFM missionaries to have a part in His wonderful plan of building His Church. Special ministries have always been vital to the overall goal of the BGFM. The ministries established in earlier years continue and have experienced steady growth. In 2007, the SIBIMA Seminary was completely turned over to Brazilian ownership and leadership. In 2008, a new field in Southern Brazil was opened. Several BGFM and Brazilian missionaries are teaming up to minister in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.
God has richly blessed the BGFM with 19 families and 4 single ladies serving as missionaries on our fields in Brazil. At present, we minister in the states of Ceara, Alagos, Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul. State-side we have two couples serving in the Home Office, along with a part-time administrative assistant, and one couple on loan to another ministry. Nine couples and a single lady have retired from BGFM since 1993.
Together with our Brazilian brothers and sisters in Christ, we continue to reach out to Brazilians with the Gospel message.