Building churches in Brazil

2012 Brazil Mission Trip Update

This year we returned to the town of Luzilandia. A team from Vista Grande had built the first Baptist Church in Luzilandia back in 2006. This year, our mission was to build an addition for a Sunday School wing. The team from Vista Grande included Keith Sennate, Joe Sa Pereira, and Mark Weber. We had a great time fellowshipping with old friends who worked with us to build the new facility.  Eight men from the church joined us or rather, we joined them in the work. It was our privilege to serve them.  The construction was done in record time and it gave us time to visit people in their homes. We also visited some new work being started by Pastor Machado in a nearby town. He is expanding his ministry into other nearby towns. On the Wednesday of our visit, Keith Sennate preached the evening service message. It was a great time of fellowship.

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The church, under the leader ship of Pastor Francisco in Luzilandia, has started a new work in another part of the town. We visited in the home of the people who are the primary support. They have rented a small storefront to meet in and conduct Bible Study.  We visited a public school and were able to share why we were in town. It seemed strange that we had the freedom in Brazil to talk of Jesus in a public school. The principle was open to the discussion of our purpose and the fact that we had built the original church building 6 years earlier.

We left Luzilandia and headed for the city of Altos which is about 30 Km outside of the capital city of the state of Piaui, Teresina. It is like a bedroom community next to the larger city. The church congregation was financially better off than most of the groups we support. They had a good start on the building when we arrived. Our friends from Luzilandia came with us to help finish the church in Altos. Officially, the church was the Second Baptist Church in Altos or Secundo Igrega Batista de Altos. Pastor Marcos from Campo Maior, his daughter, Leticia, and two of his men came to help as well. In all we had about 18 Brazilians and 3 North Americans working on the facility. The work went well and was completed on schedule.

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In preparation for the dedication service, we teamed up with a Brazilian to go visit the community around the church. There were several teams from the congregation that went out as well.   Each team was able to visit about 40 homes and invite people to come to church. The dedication service was very well attended and the Gospel was shared. 

One unique thing that happened which made both construction jobs and the fellowship sweeter, was that we shared our meals together. Normally we Americans will bring food to eat and not enjoy too much time with our Brazilian brothers and sisters. This trip was different; we at every meal together and we had super fellowship. 

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On the last night, we moved to Teresina and visited Mount Sinai Baptist Church. We were treated as honored guests from Christian Missions Unlimited. CMU had built that church last year. It was the last church that Chuck Conner, founder of CMU, had had a part in before he passed away.  

Members of Vista Grande Baptist church have had the privilege of building over 16 different churches in Brazil over the past 14 years. Serving short term in Brazil is one of the ways we can be a part of a mission and serve our Lord Jesus and His great commission. 

Keith Sennate

Brazil 2011

Vista Grande has been supporting Brazil mission work for over 14 years.  Christian Missions Unlimited (CMU) sets up and supervises the trips, and coordinates with the local Brazilian church leaders to get things ready. Keith Sennate provided the update and pictures that follow.

Flexibility is the key to the efforts. Nothing goes exactly as planned and we just have to trust the Lord for every detail. God always assembles the team for the particular job. This time, most of us were veterans having gone several times before. The primary mission is to build a facility for worship. These buildings will seat 50 to 75 people typically. Depending on the team composition, we may conduct a vacation Bible School, visit people in their homes, teach pastor’s Bible conferences, or minister in song. This year, we built a building and shared from the pulpit. 

After arrival and check in at the hotel, we were bussed out to the new church location in Sao Lorenco da Mata which in the Northeast corner of the country near Recife. We were greeted by the some of the church members including a children’s choir who sang several songs for us as a greeting. The pastor is a bi-vocational pastor and he could not meet us. His wife and daughter were there. It was a warm welcome.

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The building foundation, columns, and roof trusses are unusually there. In this case they were there, but the building was much larger than any building that any of the team had constructed before. The roof was in place. This was a blessing because we had some rain and it was too high for most of us to work.

All went well and the building went up as planned. We built to the height limit that CMU allowed us to. The congregation will have to add a concrete support beam at that height and then finish the remaining ten to 15 feet to the roof. 

One of the Brazilians helping us was nicknamed “Happy” by us. He was always laughing and seemed to be joking a lot. He built the upper sections of the front wall. He is not a Christian, but we were able share the Gospel with him on 2 occasions. He joined us when we worshiped Sunday morning in a CMU built church and he was there for the dedication service. 

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This year was unusual in that we had rain every day. Some days it was just a light shower to cool things off. We were very happy to have the roof in place because it protected us and our newly constructed walls. The only casualty was a short wall section that very wet when it started to rain and it partially fell down. We had to rebuild it after the rain stopped. 

The team was made up of 18 people from Georgia, North Carolina and Colorado. It did not take any time at all to meld together as a team and get the work done. With the floor plan of the building being a bit larger than the normal size church, we had to work hard to keep to the planned schedule.

One of our translators was a young Brazilian pastor name Waldir de Sousa who had recently married. His wife, Fernanda, joined us and pitched in working on the construction. Waldir and Fernanda left Brazil a few days after helping us build this church facility for the south island of New Zealand where he was going to be the new pastor in a local congregation.

The men of the congregation helped us by making the massa (mortar) and doing anything they could to help. It seemed as though there was a different group of men each day. The ladies helped by making lunch each day. We got to meet a different group each day so we were not able to get really know anyone very well. 

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On Sunday, we worshiped at another church built by CMU volunteers about five years ago. It was great to see how they had finished it. They had put nice tile on the floor and stuccoed the walls inside and out. They had added some Sunday school rooms, a library, and a baptistery. We had a great worship service with them and a time of fellowship. 

It is a privilege to join with other Christians to do this work where the Gospel is preached and people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Our God is an Awesome God and it is so neat to be a part of His Work.



2010 Trip to BrazilA map of Brazil

A team of four veteran church builders (Joe SaPereira, Keith Sennate, Terry Warren and Mark Webb) departed for Brazil on May 30, 2010 at 4:00 AM. Normally we participate in the construction of one church, but this year we stayed a second week and built two new churches on this trip. 

Our first job was totally different from any construction project we had done before. Since there were only four of us, the rest of the team was made up of Brazilians from the mother or sponsoring church. The folks from the church in Luzilandia had helped us on other projects, but this year, we were going to help them. 

We were building in a town of about 5000 people called Joca Marquez which is in the state of Piaui in Northeastern Brazil. For Colorado people, the temperature was okay, but the humidity was high and we were very uncomfortable. However, the fellowship with our Brazilian brothers and sisters was sweet. 

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The church in Joca Marquez Joe with some local boys Maria (Ademir 's wife), Keith, Ademir (Brazilian lead on construction & deacon in Luzilandia), Terry, Mark, Alicia (Maria & and Ademir's daughter), and Joe. Keith, Pastor Muchado & Francisco

Pastor Muchado had started the church in Luzilandia and now his son, Francisco is the pastor. Pastor Muchado is the pastor of this new work in Joca Marquez and he is planting a work in a small town about 9 Km to the West. Ademir is a deacon in the mother church and he was our leader and one of the hosts for us during our stay. Normally we bring our lunches to the job site. Two wonderful ladies from Luzilandia (Maria and Geselma) made us a huge Brazilian lunch each day. We left our “give-away” bags (containing Bibles, stethoscopes and clothing) with Pastor Muchado to support the work there.

brazil10eWork was completed on schedule and we had the dedication service on Thursday evening as planned. A large flat bed truck was used to bring about 55 people from the mother church. There were about 150 people inside the building, but probably another 100 outside. Our translator, Jorio, is a pastor and English teacher. He preached a powerful message of salvation and one lady was saved. The seed of faith was planted in the 250 plus people there, many of whom may have never heard the real Gospel before. 

The next morning we headed for Terisina and to catch an airplane for Fortaleza. We were going to get a couple days to rest before meeting with the team coming from the USA to build the second church in Russas. 

The team from the US met us on Monday morning. When we arrived at the outskirts of Russas, we were met by a group of motorcycles and a couple of cars. They escorted us into the community where the church was to be built to the sound of fireworks and honking horns. We arrived on site to a reception of about 100 people and a lot of fan fare. 

The next day we started the work. At this location, we had to do the roof as well as the walls. We worked on the roof and walls together. About half of the group that joined us were “newbies”. They were teamed up with experienced people and the work continued on schedule despite the heat and humidity.

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Every day we had a group of kids on site to watch. We had the opportunity to talk with them and get to know them. They knew how to ask our names in English, but not much else. Joe speaks Portuguese, and the rest of us know a little bit of the language. We found out a few things about the kids: ages, names of brothers and sisters, what year they were in school and such. We hope we were able to be a good witness for our Lord to these youngsters. We encouraged them to come to the dedication service where we knew the Gospel would be clearly shared in their language. Almost all of the kids did attend and many brought their parents. 

We were invited to visit the local school and see what they were doing. The physical building was like a normal school in the US, but they ran 3 shifts of children and had about 1480 students. We left some Gospel tracts with the principle and encouraged him to come to the dedication service. I did not see the principle there, but large number of students and teachers were among the 350 people attending. 

We returned to Colorado Springs on June 15 after seventeen days working in Brazil. At one point, we were called missionaries. I normally reserve this title for people who put their whole lives into full time work. But in a real sense, we were missionaries, even if for a short time. It was humbling to be called a missionary and I pray that, by the Grace of God, I can be worthy of the title. Our mission had been to build two facilities, but we also had a wonderful opportunity to share with the people. 

For those who go on these trips, there is the blessing from participating in the construction of the church which will be used to share the gospel and to disciple people. There is a blessing from the sweet fellowship with other Christians from the US as we do the work.   There is also a wonderful blessing working with and fellowshipping with Brazilian brothers and sisters.  The greatest blessing comes from seeing people come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

For more information about this ministry, please e-mail Keith Sennate.

2009 Brazil Mission Trip - THE CHURCH THAT GOD BUILT
By Denise Carson

The 2009 Brazil TeamGod built a church in Araca’, Brazil the week of August 8, 2009 and I was blessed to be a part of His work. At 3:30 am on the morning of August 8, a team from Vista Grande Baptist Church in Colorado Springs met along with family and friends to pray and begin to be part of a miracle God had planned. As we met that morning I noticed that there were only seven of us going on the journey. We were later joined by Mark Webb’s dad, Bill Webb, and two other unsuspecting servants of the Lord from Florida and Alabama, Doyle Miller and John Glover. This low number of 10 was a little disturbing to me because I had previously been on a CMU mission trip and had about 16 to build that church. 

Not only were we few in number but we were also youthfully challenged with no young whipper snappers with abundant energy to get those high places. We boarded our plane to Manaus with excitement and anticipation. We were greeted by our two translators Eglayr and Pastor Zeca and other friendly faces. After a short but good night sleep we were privileged to attend services at the mother church of the church we were building. Richard Boughton preached and Pastor Israel interpreted the service, which was also Father’s Day in Brazil. The two ladies in our group also learned the hazards of not knowing Portuguese and stood proudly when all fathers were asked to stand.

We soon learned the remoteness of our location as we had to catch a ferry and drive many miles in relative Amazonian wilderness to find the little town of Araca’ and our work site. With excitement we crossed the “moat” to the site and found that it wasn’t quite ready for us to begin our building the next day. We also were surprised with the very different and large bricks that we were going to use to build the church. This did not discourage any of us and if we didn’t realize it before we knew then God was going to get this Church built and we were there to be amazed.

Beginning construction Our large bricks Patti with the children The Church That God Built


The first day as we began working the temperature and humidity were both heading over 100 and we felt drained and overheated but a little cold water over the head cooled us down. It was amazing to see spirits and expectations high with every obstacle we faced. As we helped God build the church we also had some wonderful help from many Brazilian brothers and sisters from the local and mother church. We were even privileged to work with Pastor Obadias, who pastors the 100th church that CMU built many years ago in Manaus.

Our translator, Eglayr, held a VBS for the local children and their smiles and laughter encouraged us as we worked. Some of the children even helped the building in small ways. There was a job for everyone. On the fourth day at the exact time we needed to be finished so we could drive an hour back to our hotel to get ready for the dedication the last brick was placed in The Church That God Built. The team enjoyed a glorious dedication service with our Brazilian brothers and sisters. Their beautiful voices raised in song to the Lord brought chills to my body as I anticipated that this was what heaven would be like.

We were tired, hot and covered in bug bites but we all felt extremely blessed to have been part of this miracle. Our prayers are with our little church family in Araca’. We are confident God wanted this church in this little town at this time. God built a church in Araca’ Brazil in August of 2009 and Mark Weber, Mark Webb, Keith Sennate, Terry Warren, Richard & Patti Boughton, Denise Carson, Bill Webb, Doyle Miller and John Glover were privileged to be a part of it. 

2008 Brazil Trip Highlights

brazil_team08Vista Grande sent a team of 16 to Brazil, July 21-August 2, 2008. They built a church the first week, and then expanded their ministry the second week by leading VBS during the day and worship services in the evening.

Terry Warren provided this update on the 2008 Brazil Mission Trip:  You can click on this link to get the Google Map with pointers of where we were in Brazil.

We traveled to NYC on July 21, then down to Sao Paulo, up to Fortaleza, with a stop-over in Salvador, then finally to Teresina.  From there we had a 3 hour bus ride to Pedro II where we built the church.  Travel time is about 40 hours each way.  

It took about 4 days to get the building erected, and the dedication service was held on Saturday, July 26.  Then we traveled back to Teresina to do some Vacation Bible School and lead evening worship services.  Then we reversed the trip, getting back on Aug. 1.

Thank you for praying our travel, safety and health. Please continue to pray God’s blessings on the new congregation and those that lead them.


 Brazil 2007Brazil Team 2007

Vista Grande sent a team to Brazil July 17 - July 27, 2007 to build a church in Juazeido, in the state of Piaui. The team members were: Gina and Doug Wamble, Richard Boughton, Tim Druckenmiller, David Boncler, Terry Warren, Lori Carrington, Keith Sennate, David Weber, Mark Weber and Mark Webb.  Also joining them were Lori’s brother, David Smith from San Diego; Chris Watson, Terry’s son-in-law from Greeley; and William Webb, Mark’s father from Indiana. Along with the actual construction, ministry opportunities include distributing clothes, prayer-walking, evangelizing and having a dedication service in the new church.

July, 2007 Trip Update - Juazeiro, Piaui 

The town of Juazeiro is a small, dusty town about 3 hours by bus (2 hours if Florencio is driving) from Teresina. Two ladies we called “The Grandmas” had been praying for a church in their town for over 30 years. They knew that God would send missionaries to build a church for them and we were blessed to be the tools God used to answer their prayers.

The team was mostly made up of volunteers from Vista Grande B.C. in Colorado Springs, but also included individuals from San Diego, Northern Colorado, Indiana and Florida. We stayed 20 km away in the town of Castilo do Piaui (Piaui’s castle) and worked with the 1st Baptist church of Castilo and Pr. (Pastor) Wilson.  Pr. Wilson and his church were a blessing to us. He will be pastoring both churches until God provides a pastor for Juazeiro. We had the dedication service on Saturday, July 20 and there were about 300 in attendance. 

Beginning Construction

The walls are coming up!

The finished church!


Another blessing was to work with Pr. Machado from Luzilandia. We were able to build his church last year and now he was leading a team of men on their own mission trip. We were also able to be part of four services: Friday night, dedication service on Saturday and both Sunday services. The gospel message was clearly preached at each service. We met many people searching for God and asking many questions, but no decisions were made while we were there.     


Some beautiful children

Mark and others

Shooting some hoops


 July, 2006 report from Mark Webb

2006 Brazil Team
In July 2006, a group of eleven from Vista Grande went to Luzilandia, Brazil to construct a church.  We got to see God do some amazing things on this trip.  Before we even got out of the country, spiritual warfare was happening and God was in control the whole way.  Our flight out of Denver was delayed an hour which caused us to miss our flight out of Atlanta.  We were scheduled for the next flight, but that flight was overbooked by 26 people!  None of us had confirmed seats.  Eleven strangers gave up their seats (tempted by varying amounts of Delta dollars) for us to continue to Miami.  Richard and Patti Boughton were standing in the cabin waiting for two people to give up their seats.

Luzilandia is a 5 hour bus ride north of Teresina, the state capitol Piaui.  Luzilandia has a population of 25000 and only two Protestant churches.  Piaui is the poorest and least evangelized state in Brazil, but over the last 4 years CMU has built 11 churches within that state.  This was the first Baptist church in this town.
We arrived late Saturday night and worked full days on Sunday and Monday and a half day on Tuesday.  The dedication service was Tuesday night and over 400 people were packed into a church built for 200.  There was a lot of excitement in the town as to why a bunch of Americans were building a church.  The Holy Spirit had been moving during those days and about 20 people responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  While the main mission is to provide a temple for the local church to use for ministry, any decisions made while we are there is icing on the cake.  There is now a building where the Gospel will be preached, lives will be changed and people will be saved until Jesus returns.
After an intense period of difficult travel and hard work, it was nice to relax for a day in Manaus and spend time on the Amazon River.  There are wonders of God’s creation on that river that you will never see anywhere else.  We will be scheduling a team for next summer so please be praying about your involvement with the Brazilian missions. 



Last Published: July 30, 2013 3:49 PM

Picture of Vista Grande Baptist Church