There are different philosophies in relation to the ministry of missions. From the very beginning of our ministry in Brazil, God led us to follow the principle of establishing local indigenous churches that preach biblical doctrine, practices and principles. In order for a church to be local and indigenous, it is necessary for it to be established and organized in such a way that it can function biblically within its own environment with its own leadership. Such churches can grow and reproduce within the limitations, physical and financial, of their culture and environment. Thus, when the missionary is called to another location or is removed for any reason, the work, not being dependent upon the missionary´s leadership or money, will continue on.
In order to fulfill this philosophy, the Lord led us to begin churches with the goal of losing our job. As soon as someone was trained to teach a Sunday school class, we stepped back. When a young man was called and prepared for the ministry, we worked with him transferring responsibility and authority to the point that we were answerable to him as the pastor. Once we turned a church over to a national leader, we never returned to assume leadership. When we did return it was either as a visitor or as an invited preacher.
Our practice in the area of buildings was to allow the Brazilians to control the purchase of property and the construction of the building. If there were US funds given toward any such project, those funds were given to the local congregation as a gift from the churches in the States. The decisions of how those funds were to be used in the purchase and construction has always been left with the local congregations.
Since churches need pastors and missionaries, the Lord has used us in teaching and preparing national leadership. We had a part in the establishment of two Bible schools and have taught in others. Over the years, we have helped prepare men and women who are now serving in various parts of Brazil.
God has blessed our ministry over the years. There are eight local independent Baptist churches functioning today with national leadership who are sending out Brazilian missionaries and starting other churches. Those churches were begun under our leadership. There are another six churches in which we had a part by assuming leadership for a period of time.
For all that has been accomplished, to God be the glory. As simple servants who have tried to be obedient to our Master´s will and direction while seeking to remain faithful to the doctrines and principles of the Word of God, we have been privileged to see the hand of God work in marvelous ways.