History of Free Will Baptists in Brazil
October of 1957, missionaries to Cuba, Thomas and Mabel
Willey, came to Brazil on a
for the Free
Will Baptist Foreign Missions Board to prepare the way
for sending missionaries to this country. During this visit,
they made several important contacts. One of these was
with a Brazilian pastor, Waldemar Daminelli, who had recently
started a mission church in his back yard in the city of
Campinas, state of São Paulo.
Dave Franks, the first Free Will Baptist missionary
to work in Brazil, arrived on January 2, 1958.
Soon after an agreement was drawn up between FWBFM
Waldemar Daminelli for his group to join Free Will Baptists. This became
the first FWB church in Brazil, organized in April
1958. The first Bible Institute
began in this church in 1960. A medical clinic also functioned there from
Besides Dave Franks, other Free Will Baptist missionaries
began arriving in Brazil. In the next ten years,
9 other couples and 3 single ladies arrived
to help. Works were opened in other cities of the state of São Paulo:
Jaboticabal in 1961, Araras, Ribeirão Preto and Pirassununga in 1962.
In 1964 property was bought on the outskirts of Jaboticabal to be used for
camps, retreats, and for a permanent location for the Bible Institute.
In the mid-60s the work started spreading to other
states. A church was started in Santana do Livramento,
Rio Grande do Sul, in 1965, on the border with
Uruguay. In 1970 it was Tubarão, Santa Catarina’s turn. This work was closed
when flooding hit the town and it was nearly completely destroyed in 1974.
In the 70s the work expanded to the state of Minas Gerais with churches planted
in the cities of Conselheiro Lafaiete, Barbacena, Uberaba, and Uberlândia.
In the next decade, a church was started in the capital of the state, Belo
Horizonte. In the towns where churches were first planted in Brazil, new mission
works were started in other neighborhoods.
church-planting, FWB International Missions has been
involved in several other ministries.
Bible colleges, Bible Institutes, and their extensions
operated in several cities. Christian radio programs have been used as
a means of evangelism and making the church known in different areas.
(New Life Home) in Araras, SP, is a children’s home started by
one of our missionaries to care for at risk children placed there by
the justice department’s
Our churches have worked for the evangelization of
their cities as well as taking the gospel to Brazilian
Indian reservations and to foreign
countries. Brazilian missionaries have been sent to work with other
among indigenous tribal groups here in Brazil. Other missionaries have
to countries such as Northern Irland, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar
Free Will Baptists in Brazil currently have 24 churches
and mission churches located in ten Brazilian cities.
This does not count the work
border with Uruguay.