Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America with a population of 209 million. The majority of Brazilians identify themselves as Catholic with 26% of the population identifying as evangelical Christian. However, one third of Brazilians visit Spiritist priests or guides, derived from African animism and witchcraft, for help and guidance.
Economically, admirable reforms and progress are being achieved, but a significant proportion of individuals in large cities still live in poverty-stricken, crime-ridden favelas. Nearly 20% of Brazil’s population and up to one-third of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo’s populations live in slums (there are now 600 favelas in Rio alone). Brazil is the world’s second-highest consumer of illicit drugs and has the world’s highest rate of firearm homicides. The police response has been brutally heavy-handed and rife with corruption, and the nation’s prisons are notoriously overcrowded and violent. Unprecedented breakthrough, spiritual and social, is needed to turn this around.
The indigenous Amerindians in the Amazon basin have endured centuries of prejudice, oppression, massacre and exploitation, which continue to this day by encroaching woodcutters, gold prospectors, and ranchers. Their unique cultures are disintegrating through despair, disease, substance abuse and suicide. Six million indigenous people in AD 1500 now number a mere 700,000, with many reduced to small bands in inaccessible areas. The large majority of these tribal groups now number less than 1,000 people. 70% of Brazil’s unevangelized peoples live in the Amazon basin.
Brazil is an exciting, new partnership opportunity for World Link Ministries. We have a very strategic plan launching two separate approaches to saturate the northern and southern regions with the Gospel.
We currently have four pastoral training centers with 70 students each. Our hope is to see these students launch 500 church plants by the summer of 2019. One of our pastoral training centers focuses on training remote tribal pastors from the Amazon basin. We are especially excited to see their fervency to learn and take their learnings back to their tribes.