“Convergence.” That was the term Dr. Tom Tumblin of Asbury Theological Seminary used as he set down with Ken and Martha. Convergence is the coming together of several different elements with a common purpose to accomplish more than each could do alone. He was looking to see how what Gateway was doing in Brazil and what Asbury Seminary was doing there came together.
Delightfully, he found Gateway and its partnership with the Reformed Anglican Church of Brazil/Free Church of England (IAR/FCE) a good fit with their current work in Brazil. We will begin a joint effort that will link Gateway efforts with Asbury’s work in over twenty sites operated by the Methodist University of Brazil and the training operated by OMS missions with IAR/FCE. While the interaction between these agencies will be limited, the impact of us working together amplifies the number of trained missionaries far beyond what each could do alone.
In Brazil we met with Bishop Josep (IAR) to initiate plans for integration of these programs in ways that will strengthen their theological training. It was agreed that Asbury would do curriculum for year two and Gateway would handle year three.
In addition to the planning for the theological training your Gateway team preached in four Anglican churches and a Presbyterian church, taught three small groups, preached and ministered at a church mission conference and taught an intensive training session for church leaders. The groups were small, but the response was enormous. Over the week over 60 people felt the call to mission and came forward for prayer to take the next steps. In one church the pastor and his whole family came forward. We were able to pray and bless them as a group. It reminded us of Acts 13.
One of the greatest blessings on the trip was to have our two Gateway missionaries, Brent and Connie, translate for us and minister with us. Their experience in the Amazon and their love of Brazil spoke volumes to the pastors and the people. The bishop, who is originally from Spain, said that some of his pastors told them that the missionaries had less accent than he did. The interaction at this heart level opened doors to relationships in a depth that would have taken a long time to develop otherwise.
The women really responded to Martha as well. They have taken the initiative to organize a women’s conference for this coming year.
Our trip was not without resistance, however. Sickness hit three out of four on our team while in Brazil and the fourth after we returned The Lord kept us, however, and is bringing full recovery. Thanks be to God for his faithfulness and his “fruitfulness”.