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Community News April 16, 2014

5/23/2013 9:10:00 AM
First Baptist Church team to travel to Brazil
Front row, left to right: Jordan Manning, Deb Kiley, Nathan Smith, Cristina Smith, Heather Van Ruler; back row, left to right: Steve Kiley, Kristie Roeder, Paul Roeder, Pastor Duane Smith. Not pictured: Larry Gelo and Emily White. Submitted photo.
Front row, left to right: Jordan Manning, Deb Kiley, Nathan Smith, Cristina Smith, Heather Van Ruler; back row, left to right: Steve Kiley, Kristie Roeder, Paul Roeder, Pastor Duane Smith. Not pictured: Larry Gelo and Emily White. Submitted photo.

submitted by Cristina Smith

In a little over one week, a group of eleven members First Baptist Church of Waukon will embark on a 10-day mission trip to Brazil, South America, May 30 – June 10. The group's destination is east-central Brazil, and the host will be David Thompson, brother of Cristina Smith. Born to missionary parents in southern Brazil and carrying dual citizenship, Cristina is no stranger to the beautiful country of Brazil.  
Pastor Duane and Cristina Smith are the leaders of the mission team and are delighted to have a combination of adults and teens on the trip. A unique privilege for the Smiths will be to take their oldest son, Nathan Smith, with them in his first overseas trip and first mission trip.
An overseas teen mission trip is planned by the Smiths every four years for their church. This year’s trip is unique because adults are also going. Mission team members include Larry Gelo, Steve and Deb Kiley, Jordan Manning, Paul and Kristie Roeder, Cristina Smith, Duane Smith, Nathan Smith, Heather Van Ruler and Emily White. Four of the team members are young people, and two of them minors. The latter did not complain too much about having to get out of school early for the trip.
The mission team's destination is Vitória da Conquista. It is the third largest city in Bahia, located in east-central Bahia, and home to over 310,000 people. The city is on a plateau, about 1,000 meters in elevation, forming the basis of a strong traditional coffee-producing region as well as a rapidly expanding center for new businesses.
In Brazil, there is no “separation of church and state.” A weekly 30-minute religion class is encouraged by the government for public school education. School administrators have sought out churches and religious leaders to teach this weekly religion class. It has been well received by the children, parents, school staff and administrators because they see a positive influence on the children, and has made a difference in their behavior for the better.
The mission team has had weekly training sessions since January of this year to prepare a 45-minute presentation of drama, music, puppets and translated testimonies to public schools and churches in the city of Vitória da Conquista. The First Baptist Church mission team is being welcomed into the Brazilian public schools to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children during this period.  
The presentation consists of the following: performing a pantomime/drama, “Battle Glory,” (Michael W. Smith’s CD, “Glory”) with the main characters being God (Paul Roeder), Satan (Nathan Smith), Girl (Jordan Manning), and the rest of the team members represent different aspects of Creation and gifts from God. The puppeteers are Kristie Roeder, Deb Kiley, and Nathan Smith.  The mission team has learned Brazilian greetings, and will sing three adult songs and two children’s songs in the Portuguese language. Heather Van Ruler will sing a solo, “Meu Respirar – Breathe.” Pastor Duane Smith will preach at nightly services, and each team member will share his or her testimony which will be translated into Portuguese by David Thompson.
The group will also be visiting a coffee plantation, enjoying some tourism and relaxing at the Atlantic Ocean’s beach for one day. It is a lot to pack into ten days, but well worth the effort.
In addition to weekly training sessions, the team has participated in fundraisers the past year. Some of the most successful fund-raisers have been bake sales, garage sales and “Slaves for Jesus.” The latter is a distinctive fund-raiser, in that individuals in the church “hired” different team members for a particular job, in return for a donation towards trip expenses. This was a great tool to teach the team to serve, as well as working hard instead of just asking for donations. In return, the donors were generous and the mission team appreciates their help in achieving their fundraising goal.
A special Commissioning Service has been planned for Sunday, May 26 during the 10 a.m. morning worship service at First Baptist Church. A presentation of the mission trip is being planned for Sunday, June 23 during the 10 a.m. morning worship service.
This unique opportunity may prove to be life-changing for each member of the missions team, and hopefully, impact many Brazilians with the Gospel of Christ. This is the real reason that the missions team is going: to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What’s next, you may ask? A medical missions trip, planned for March of 2014, down the Amazon River hosted by Pastor Smith’s relatives in northern Brazil.

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