International perspectives – Brazil: ‘Our ministry is not limited by our church boundaries’

“During these days of isolation and meditation, to get news from beloved people is inspiring,” said Marcos Inhauser. He and his wife, Suely, are leaders in Igreja da Irmandade-Brasil (the Church of the Brethren in Brazil). “As you know, we are in the mood as you in the United States. Social isolation, following the statistics about people that are infected, the number of daily deaths, taking care of necessary procedures, etc.

“In Brazil, churches are not allowed to have worship services. Some of them are having some virtual worship service that is bringing to Internet what they usually do: a group of people playing and singing and preaching.

“The characteristics of the Irmandade in Brazil does not allow us to do it. We have stressed the communitarian interpretation of the Bible, where all the participants are supposed to bring their interpretations. It fits with the idea of the priesthood of all believers. All the gifts of the church have the opportunity to build the whole body. It is not just the duty of the pastor, but it is the ministry of all people. It is not a matter of having someone preaching, but all people contributing, Thus, for us to do what others are doing does not fit. We are quite a different church!

“What we have done for two times until now is to have a Zoom session. People are invited to share their joys and concerns, and we do pray for each of them. In the second one, we had the time of sharing and also a teaching on being peacemakers. It was a kind of lesson or sermon, and I feel that people were not comfortable with this. We are looking for the way to be in the way we are used to be.

“Among the church members, we do have a quite stable situation. The majority have their own houses, typical job, and until now, regular salaries. It is good, but we know that jobs have been cutting down drastically…. I have many people that I do know lost their job or are at the point of losing it.

“Because of this, we are in coordination with the Mennonite Church to ask church families to adopt a needy family, providing them what they need, in the frame they can afford…. It was a personal commitment to love our neighbors.

“Suely and I decided to have more time pastoring in the social media. We do have countless people, both in WhatsApp and Facebook. We are asked to post videos with messages, and Suely, yesterday wrote to the people: ‘I prefer to pastor individually…. Shepherding is listening to them without judgment, it is crying together, it is also smiling with them, it is praying with them, it is strengthening them when their knees are shaky, it is helping them to feel loved and care for them. I am tired of seeing and hearing Christians fighting for political parties, defending, or attacking each other. There are many sick people who need to be accompanied and helped to act with the values of the Kingdom of God. I am striving not to fall into the commonplace. Count on me if you need to, but don’t expect sermons, I prefer prayers.’

“God bless you and all of us.”

Marcos Inhauser also reported that he continues to write a regular newspaper column, which he has done for almost 20 years, published each Wednesday and posted on Facebook and on a blog. His column has more than 10,000 readers, and he has learned that pastors are using the ideas in his columns for their sermons and classes at Sunday school.

Prayer requests from the church in Brazil:

Authorities are saying that the next two weeks in Brazil will be the worst. The Brazilian Brethren are praying and waiting for this time of turbulence.

The Inhausers seek prayer for Suely’s family therapy business using social media (Skype and WhatsApp), offering free services for some people who cannot afford to pay as a way to develop the ministry.

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