Ok, let’s back up. What is Extreme? Extreme Nazarene is an organization that partners with the Nazarene church to plant new Nazarene churches using teams of missionaries from the United States and the country where the church is being planted. Except it doesn’t because sometimes the teams have members from three or even more countries. The church in Ibarra, Ecuador has pastors from Venezuela and the church in Antofagasta, Chile has missionaries from Brazil and Peru. And really, Extreme doesn’t send missionaries but rather social workers, baristas, 4th grade teachers, dog groomers, factory workers, and college students to be trained as missionaries on the field. So Extreme Nazarene plants Nazarene churches using teams of young people sent to make disciples and train their disciples to make disciples who make disciples.
|Dr. Verne Ward, Global Director of NMI, and |
Brian Tibbs, CEO of Extreme Nazarene, at this year's summit.
In the past ten years, we’ve planted churches in Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and Chile, all Spanish-speaking countries. In 2017, we will plant new churches in Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela, Germany, and Brazil. That’s right. Germany. And Brazil. Where Spanish is not spoken. In addition to expanding the Kingdom of God and encouraging the practice of making disciples, we are going into Germany and Brazil with a vision. In Germany, we hope to learn how to share the gospel in a Western, post-Christian context. Strategies we learn there will be applied to future church plants and even our current churches in Chile and Argentina where the culture is heavily influenced by Europe and the United States. Brazil is the opposite of Germany when it comes to evangelism. The Christian church in Brazil is strong and growing. Why would we want to waste money and resources on new church plants there? Because we so strongly believe in the practice of making disciples that make disciples that we know God has sooo much more He wants to do in and through the Brazilian churches. Not only that, but we know there are hundreds of young Brazilian Christians who have a call from God to mission work but don’t have the means or opportunity to fulfill the call. We want to send them to other cities in Brazil and all over the world. As a missional church it is our responsibility to not only send missionaries from the United States to the world, but from every nation to every nation. This year’s church plant will start a thriving church in the beautiful city of Cuiaba, Brazil, and will start a training center with Extreme staff members who will learn the language, get to know the culture, and share the vision of Extreme with the Nazarene churches of Brazil.
|Brasilia is the capitol of the Federal District and the capitol of the country. |
Cuiaba is the capitol of Mato Grosso to the west.
So, who are we sending to start this training center in Brazil? Well, me and maybe you if you want to learn Portuguese and come help us out. My time in Cordoba, Argentina, will end April 20, 2017, and I’ll be coming home to Lewiston and Nampa for a while to rest, spend time with family, and raise the funds I need to leave again. I will move to Brasilia, Brazil at the end of July and start preparing for our pilot team to arrive in October. My official title will be Brazil Field Education Coordinator, but there is a lot that needs to happen before the education part can begin. Last November, I was able to visit Brasilia for a week and start to get a sense of the task I’m taking on. We chose Brasilia for the training center because one of their larger churches has a discipleship program similar to the Master’s Plan that we use in our other church plants and they are excited to partner with us to train new missionaries. In November, we met several times with their pastor, who is also the district superintendent, and a representative from Brazil’s Nazarene Seminary to plan out the ministry training. We also visited many, many Portuguese schools and found one to match our unique needs and budget. Finally, we did a cost of living survey and checked out some possible apartment buildings and homes to house the teams while they are in training. Brasilia is a beautiful city, and I am very excited to get to live there.
|The Brazilian Consulate in Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|The view of Brasilia from my hotel room.|
The Roadblocks (also known as future miracles)
Like most other Extreme teams, the Cuiaba team will include five North Americans, five Brazilians, a married cluster support couple, and a pastoral couple. We already have three confirmed North American missionaries, dozens of Brazilian applicants, and a possible pastoral couple. We are praying for more applicants and the right applicants to come through the interview process. We will also be building the Brazil office staff over the next couple years. Please pray that we find passionate, called people to help develop this important field. We have a lot of things planned and ready to go, but we still don't have visas to enter the country long term. Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy, which means the policies to enter Brazil as a U.S. citizen are the same as the policies we have for Brazilians entering the U.S. You can imagine how strict and complicated they are. I know God will make a way, but I would appreciate your prayers as we continue looking for it.
As always, thank you for your prayers and support. I will be speaking in a couple different churches in the Nampa area during May and in Lewiston First on June 4. Although this new job is another two year contract, I expect to renew that contract several times as we continue to build Extreme's presence and capacity in Brazil. While I do need some one time donors to help with the up front costs of moving to a new country, I'm really looking for donors who will stick with me through the long haul. God has clearly called me to work in Brazil and is currently calling some of you to participate. I pray we will all be obedient and experience the privilege of watching God do exactly what He wants with us.
|One of the Nazarene churches we visited in Brasilia.|