Evangelistic initiative transforms indigenous community in northern Brazil.
Tamires Flores, 29, is a native of an indigenous community in Sorocaina, Roraima, in northern Brazil. A college student, married, and a mother, she is also women’s ministries director in her local Seventh-day Adventist congregation. A year ago, as she began planning the 2022 evangelism program, she was surprised by a challenge that changed her life forever.
“I was there, attending an evangelistic training led by women’s ministries, and we were discussing whom to choose to lead our evangelistic meetings,” Flores said. “It was then that I felt a distinct call to preach for the first time in my life.”
From that moment on, she began to pray more intensely for the Holy Spirit to enable her for her newfound mission. “My first challenge was to think about how to organize a 14-day evangelistic drive during the rainy season. Our community suffers a lot during those weeks because everything gets flooded and full of mud.”
“In prayer, we asked the Lord to show us how to deal with the weather challenge,” she said. “The other women and I thought of forming missionary pairs to visit and offer Bible studies to the people of the community. That way, it would be an introduction to the evening evangelistic meetings, or if it rained too much that day, people would have already received a study at home.”
Leaders helped form 19 female missionary pairs, who went around giving Bible studies from house to house for seven days. Later, these families were invited to participate in the church program for the next seven nights.
Another challenge was what to preach about. It was Flores’s first time as a preacher, and, once again, prayer made a difference. “I fasted and prayed a lot to hear what God wanted me to bring to those families. Until He showed me, ‘Talk about water,’ He told me. All I had to do was start doing some research on water and its benefits, and I told people in which ways Jesus is our water, a source of life,” Flores said.
Flores had also a traumatic experience to overcome. In 2021, during her first year as women’s ministries leader, her first evangelistic initiative had been unsuccessful. After many invitations and personal visits, only two women had signed up for the program. “I cried with sadness and despair,” Flores said. “I was wondering why there were no more people coming. But on the last day, when I saw those two women giving their lives to Christ, I understood it was all worth it even for those two. Today they are my assistants in women’s ministries,” she said.
Answering the Call
In 2022, and besides the challenges mentioned, there was still one more hurdle to overcome, Flores said. In addition to preaching in Portuguese and Taurepang, her native language, Flores would have to preach in Spanish, since there were Venezuelans in the study group. But Flores’s dedication, prayer, and faithfulness helped her to pull through. The initiative ended with 45 people committing to God through baptism.
Flores said that two of Jesus’s parables moved her during this period of challenges: the one about the ten virgins, and the one about the great supper. “When I read those passages, I understood that I needed to be ready for Jesus’ return,” she said. “This is only possible with faithfulness, prayer, and love for our neighbors.” It was precisely that, leaders believe, which led to the success of the evangelism initiative in Sorocaima.
The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.