What does a successful missionary effort look like?
Missions strategists assert that a healthy outcome of a mission work is the rise of a national church that is self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing. The foreign mission enters a spiritually needy area as pioneer, nurtures a fledgling national church in a parental role, then becomes more of an equal partner as the church grows and matures. Finally, when the national church is fully mature and self-sufficient, the mission continues to participate in helping the church accomplish its goals of growth, soul-winning, church planting, etc.*
By God’s grace, Project AmaZon has been party to just such an exciting progression and to a degree “…exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20)!
In 1976, when Luke & Christine Huber and several Brazilians first began evangelizing in the Amazon region, they confronted a great famine of the Gospel and a desperate need for the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Tens of thousands of villages scattered remotely along the rivers and throughout the jungle were without a single evangelical church or other Christian witness in their midst.
Only thirty-six years ago there was not yet a single PAZ church, and Project AmaZon was just a small group of dedicated missionaries.
Today, by God’s grace, the years of zeal, perseverance, and strategic focus have brought about great fruit. A large, robust, nationally led Brazilian church has been established, legally registered in Brazil as the Igreja da Paz, or Church of Peace. In addition to dozens of thriving urban churches, more than 500 smaller churches have been planted in the villages of the Amazon region. The Igreja da PAZ is recognized throughout Brazil, and around the world, for its missionary fervor and highly successful ministry model emphasizing small “cell” groups and one-to-one discipleship for all believers.
Jesus’ mandate in Acts 1:8 has always been close to PAZ’s heart, “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth….” PAZ has a huge presence and influence in Santarém (our Jerusalem); is about to establish a regional base in Maranhão, the last of nine states comprising the Amazon Basin (our Judea); has begun expansion into capitol cities in the rest of Brazil (Samaria), and is now casting its vision to the ends of the earth!
God is doing great and exciting things, and PAZ is striving to fulfill the great commission to “…go, and make disciples of all nations…” (Mat. 28:19). We are so thankful for your participation with us that has made this progress possible!
As we move ahead into all of Brazil and new parts of the world, we are very conscious of the fact that in our primary field of labor, the Amazon region, the work is far from done. Even though we have taken the Gospel to many hundreds of remote villages, there are still an estimated 30,000 villages in the Amazon Basin with no evangelical church! The people of these villages are a simple but precious folk, largely ignored and forgotten by the government and by society at large. We cannot rest until each person in these tens of thousands of villages has heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, and has a place to worship, learn, and grow in his faith.
Your support is making an impact in reaching these villages! We praise God for your faithfulness in helping us with this great challenge.
Thank you so much!
Jeff and Becky—for the PAZ Team