south america/brazil - trophies of grace
For decades South America has been open to the Gospel. Missionaries have streamed into the
twelve countries and one foreign territory that make up this part of the world. They have been
blessed with good success in winning souls, establishing churches and training national leadership.
However, in recent years, socialistic and communistic influences have made ministry difficult in
some countries to the extent that some doors could close to missionaries.
While Spanish and Portuguese are the predominate languages, English, French and Dutch are also
spoken. Caribbean, European and ancient Indian cultures also greatly influence parts of South
America, creating a truly culturally diverse mission field.
Because of its shear vastness and population of nearly 199 million, BIMI administratively separates
Portuguese speaking Brazil from the rest of South America, having its own field director. The
combined population of the remaining 11 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,
Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela) exceeds 195 million.
South America challenges the missionary task force with a variety of ministry opportunities. The
saturated population of metropolitan cities of South America represents our greatest need. São
Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil are listed in the ten largest cities of the world. Buenos Aires,
Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; Guayaquil, Ecuador, and other Latin American capitals cry
out for a large number of missionary personnel. Because life in these large cities can be so complex,
adaptation is extremely challenging, even more so than adapting to life in remote areas. The urgent
need is for a generation of young missionary personnel who will dedicate the balance of their lives
to ministering in these cities that have millions of people. While there is a great need in the cities,
we cannot forget the remote tribal regions that still exist in South America.
In every field where BIMI missionaries labor, their major ministries are evangelism and church
planting. Our missionaries are presently fulfilling these ministries in 10 of the 13 countries in South
America, with missionaries currently on deputation for two more countries. As a result, today there
are churches in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and
Venezuela. Churches in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia that were started 35 - 45 years ago are now under
stable national pastoral leadership. These churches fulfill their obligations in supporting their pastors.
In Bolivia and Peru alone more than 50 churches have been planted by national pastors who were
saved through ministries started by BIMI missionaries. Many of these churches support other Latin
American missionaries, which is evidence of a church that has grown to reproductive maturity.
Bible schools have been started in many of these countries, thus enabling BIMI missionaries
to effectively train national leadership to occupy ministry positions. Oftentimes, the nationals
dedicate themselves to ministry training at great sacrifice, yet the end results make this ministry
highly rewarding. Additional missionary help is needed in regard to these ministries.