Texas Baptists’ new Mission initiative, the Missionary Adoption Program (MAP), exists to partner churches in Texas with churches in Brazil to jointly sponsor missionaries. These missionaries focus on evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
In other words, “MAP is about planting churches intentionally with indigenous peoples,” said Jair Campos, director of Texas Baptists’ MAP.
Campos, a native of Brazil, has experience as a missionary in Europe. While he was overseas, individuals from his church decided to sponsor him financially to ensure that he could continue his work without any worry.
“When I came to the states in 1999, I thought that this was something we could bring here - this idea of individuals, churches and companies directly supporting missionary work; a relational type of adoption,” said Campos.
It was a year ago that this idea came to fruition at Texas Baptists through a partnership with Brazilian Baptists. As Director of MAP, Campos serves to connect the churches who participate with missionaries on the field.
In May, Campos had the opportunity to travel to Brazil with a team of 25 from Texas to work alongside missionaries that could potentially be sponsored through MAP.
“We flew into Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, and boarded what’s called the missionary boat. This boat took us 18 hours up the Amazon River going west. We went through four neighboring communities to visit and work alongside the missionaries and church planters that serve there. We had with us a medical team, including a nurse and three dentists,” said Campos.
The team spent their days evangelizing, building relationships and providing medical care for the people of the communities, experiencing the daily work of the missionaries.
“We were able to share the Gospel and pray with every person we served,” Campos said.
To better understand the hearts of the missionaries, the team was able to visit the missionary training center towards the end of their trip.
“These are young men and women obediently serve for two to fours years in the jungle away from family and the things they are used to. There’s no internet, AC, social media, restrooms or shower. They are well trained for three months in jungle survival, theology and church planting,” said Campos.
The anthem of these missionaries is to be a radical. They often proclaim, “We’re leaving nothing behind to gain God’s all.”
One of these missionaries is Ediardson, a 20-year-old church planter. Ediardson grew up in one of the communities bordering the Amazon River, and came to know Jesus as a teenager through the work of a medical mission trip. After receiving Christ, Ediardson wanted to immediately serve the Lord.
“Seeing a 20-year-old with this radical obedience was incredible. He went back to his home village to be a missionary. He could have stayed to do something else, but he decided to go back to his own people to lead them to Christ. God is honoring that,” said Campos, who had the opportunity to work alongside Ediardson during the trip.
Just this past month, Ediardson had the opportunity to share the Gospel to over 5000 people. While speaking, Ediardson commented, “There is nothing better in your life than doing what God has called you to do, to completely obey Him. There is no joy like serving God for the rest of your life.”
Someone in the audience asked Ediardson if he was happy. He responded, “I absolutely have joy in my life. I’m happy because I’m doing what God called me to do.”
Eleven people were baptized that day.
Ediardson attended the training center in 2015 and has been church planting ever since. He is currently adopted by Stonebridge church, who have had a huge hand in making Ediardson’s ministry possible.
Reflecting on the importance of MAP, Campos drew upon Philippians 4 and Paul’s adoption by the church in Philippi.
“The Missionary Adoption Program is important because it brings tremendous blessings to the Church. It is important because it provides and facilitates multiplication and the spread of the Gospel throughout the world in an effective way. No matter where the missionaries are in the world, you can join directly, pray directly, give directly and go visit to support the missionaries’ efforts in planting a church,” said Campos.
“The harvest is ripe and the field is ready, we just need more workers. I saw the Holy Spirit working and doing exactly what Jesus said He would do. These missionaries are ready, they just need someone to guide them through.”
During Campos’ trip to Brazil, his team saw 200 come to know Christ as their Savior, six of whom were baptized. Through MAP, full-time missionaries are equipped to carry out this ministry daily. Visit https://texasbaptists.org/missionary-adoption-program for more information on how your church can be apart of MAP.