Missionaries Reach Brazil with the Gospel


More than 11 million people in Brazil live in the favelas, or slums, being bullied by gangs, threatened by drug wars, and scrambling just to make a living.

American missionary Eric Reese spends his days in the poverty and violence. By doing so, he’s bringing light to one of darkest slums of Rio de Janiero.
“I see that every person here is a creation of God. And that when Christ went to the cross, He went to the cross for these people, too,” Reese said.
Reese said he thinks often of the danger he faces in Rio, knowing he might go out one day and not come back.
“I wrote a letter to my wife [saying], ‘If I don’t return, you be strong. Let my girls know dad’s going to miss them,'” Reese shared.
Ministry in the favelas is hard, even for Brazilians. A young resident said most Christians in Brazil “don’t want to do this kind of job.”
“[They] don’t want to go to streets at night to speak the word of God, to preach the word of God,” he explained. “They want to stay in their big church, just watch a good sermon.”
Yet, Eric and his wife Ramona continue reaching out to drug dealers, gang members, and prostitutes.
“It’s not so hard for us to understand the people that we’re ministering to. It’s just trying to … minister to someone who needs Jesus. Who just so happens to be a drug trafficker, or a militia, or whatever,” Ramona said.
Reese and his family came to Brazil 13 years ago as Southern Baptist missionaries from Albany, Ga.
He said his greatest challenge after coming to the country was gaining the confidence of a top favela gang leader, “The Godfather.”
The Godfather originally wanted to kill Reese, but now speaks well of the missionary.
“[Eric] was a person who came to the community and helped the community, which has many needs, financial needs,” he said. “He didn’t come to help with the financial needs, but to bring the peace that many need.”
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Stan Jeter