The latest in my series on the other side of the World Cup is another post from Mark & Suzana Greenwood. This time it's a series Prayer Points related to the World Cup host cities - please pray during the World Cup for the following cities and issues:
São Paulo – Rede Evangleica Nacional de Ação Social (RENAS) – http://renas.org.br – is a network of Christians who care about people´s social social situation. Their headquarters is in São Paulo. RENAS is promoting the “Bola na Rede Campaign” – “Ball in the net” – a Christian movement that campaigns against sexual exploitation and violence against children and teenagers during the World Cup. “Ball in the net” will develop different actions in all the 12 World Cup hosting cities.
This coming Saturday the youth from Edward and Ana Greenwood´s church will campaign on a square near where they live, giving out leaflets and “vaccinating against violence”. This vaccine consists of talking to people on the streets and ask them if they want to be vaccinated against violence. If they say yes, they are given a sweet. The idea is to bring awareness and bring the subject out into to the open, with the intention of discouraging people who might have come to World Cup with the wrong intention (i.e. sex tourism, which involves a lot of adolescents and children).
Salvador – Large numbers of people in Salvador follow African Traditional Religions, such as Candomblé, or Spiritist beliefs, like Umbanda. Salvador also has got a strong Baptist Convention, with evangelistic and social work amongst drug addicts, and one of the oldest church based community projects in Brazil – at Grace Baptist Church.
Rio de Janeiro – Rio de Janeiro is where the Headquarters of the Brazilian Baptist Convention (CBB) are. Also there are the Headquarters of the Baptist National Mission Board (JMN) and the Baptist World Mission Board (JMM), all three in walking distance of Maracanã Stadium, where the World Cup final will be held. The National Mission Board will be organizing evangelism during the World Cup in all the hosting cities, in and around the stadia. CBB is also ceding two of its office areas to Christian radio guys from UK and USA, who will be broadcasting commentaries and documentaries, from a Christian perspective, through thousands of relay stations throughout the world.
Recife – Known as the most violent city in Brazil, Recife is a beautiful place, with a traditional Baptist Seminary and a large number of churches involved in Social Action. Another Baptist seminary there, originally a women’s college, the Christian Education Seminary (SEC), has trained hundreds of missionaries and Christian social workers over the years, who now serve God throughout the world.
Porto Alegre – Porto Alegre is capital to the least evangelised state in Brazil, and also has many followers of Candomblé and Umbanda. One of the Baptist Conventions that works in Porto Alegre, the Pioneer Baptist Convention, has as one of its aims that every church be involved in at least one Social Project. The other Convention (Rio Grande do Sul Convention) has a very active women’s ministry.
Manaus – In the headquarters of the Amazonas Baptist Convention, in Manaus, Executive Secretary Pr Teodoro holds a prayer meeting with his staff every day. His work covers a huge geographical area. The nearest major city to Manuas, Tabatinga, on the border with Peru, is 2 hours’ flight away. The Baptist Convention of Amazonas runs a children´s home for orphans and children who cannot be with their parents. Churches in Curitiba and São Paulo also have children´s homes. This type work has become very challenging recently, due to significant changes in the law. Pray for wisdom for the leaders at this very difficult time.
Natal – Natal is capital to one of the poorest states in Brazil, Rio Grande do Norte, but also has one of the most beautiful coastlines. The Baptist Seminary there, recently set up by BMS missionaries, now enables locals to train for the ministry without moving to other states. Margaret Swires worked there for many years in the Baptist Convention, setting up the Social Action Department.
Fortaleza - Like most Brazilian cities, Fortaleza is a place of extreme inequalities. The international airport, opened just over a decade ago, while helping to boost the economy, is also an open door for sex tourism, similar to what has been happening in Recife for even longer. Local government and churches are fighting against this, however it is a situation with no simple solution. Please pray for Jailma who is heading up the “Ball in the Net” campaign there.
Curitiba – Capital of Paraná, and now one of the better-organized and most developed cities in Brazil, Curitiba was home for BMS missionaries for decades. These missionaries planted many of the churches in and around Curitiba and also developed many Social Projects, as well as working in the Bible College, training ministers. The Paraná Baptist Convention has as one of their aims to plant a church in every prison.
Cuiabá – Cuiabá is the geographical centre of South America, and the heart of the Brazilian soya industry boom. Many people of indigenous origin live in and around the city, and there is a evangelical training college, called AMI, for pastors from a number of different tribes. Folk come from all over Brazil for this specialized training, which understands the tribal cultures like no other college does.
Brasília – Brasilia is Brazil’s capital, where the country’s politicians work. Fighting corruption has been a slogan for the present government, for the opposition and for protesters from the population in general. Brazil has progressed on the road against corruption, however, much still needs to be done. Please pray for wisdom and fairness among politicians, and for the presidential election, to be held in October.
There are plenty of people unhappy with the fact that much public money has been spent on building stadiums. U$642 million was spent to rebuild the stadium in Brasilia, almost double than what had been planned. One of the points protesters make is that there is not a strong football team in Brasilia, and the odds of filling the stadium for any games after the World Cup are very small.
Belo Horizonte – The Social Department in the state Baptist Convention is the most well developed in the Brazilian Baptist Convention. Simone, who leads it, is very involved in Child Protection work and is, herself, a foster mother. She is also running the “Ball in the Net” campaign there. There are many churches with social projects around the city, and some of the biggest churches in Brazil.
Four of the hosting cities, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Fortaleza, have churches which run the Space-to-Fly programme for children aged 7 to 11.
During the World Cup, these children are enjoying all sorts of activities which enable them to learn more about their country, looking at the maps where the different cities are. Brazil is a huge country, from Porto Alegre, in the South, to Manaus, in the North, it takes at least 6 hours by plane, non-stop. It is not possible to go by road.
At Pepes (pre-school projects designed to help children, especially those in extreme poverty, be prepared to go to school) and Space-to-Fly, children also are involved discussions that help them to see that, even though the World Cup is fun, there is much more to life than football, and Jesus is certainly more important than football.
You can see the article in it's original form here.