The Brazilian mission, the first for WELS in the Portuguese language, was begun in 1987 with five missionaries. Its first work was done in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of Brazil, alongside the small independent Lutheran church that had asked for help from WELS. Several years later one of the missionaries went to reside in the city of Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, which is in west central Brazil. A former Lutheran pastor and friend of the congregation in Rio Grande do Sul had asked to have WELS also work in this city.
There were many changes of personnel over the years and different programs of outreach were tried. In 2009, financial support was diverted to other mission opportunities after three men had graduated from the seminary program. One missionary retired in 2006, but stayed on in a volunteer capacity. Today, the Brazilian Lutheran Church is self-supporting and an independent mission partner of the Latin America mission team with two congregations in Gravataí and Dourados and one preaching station in Presidente Prudente.
God has also opened doors to a new ministry opportunity in Dom Cavati, Brazil. In April 2022, Rev. Denício Godoy was ordained and commissioned by the Lutheran Church of Portugal as a missionary in Dom Cavati. Rev. Godoy connected online with Rev. Artur Villares from the Lutheran Church of Portugal, WELS’ sister church, and took classes with him to be colloquized as a Confessional Lutheran pastor. Rev. Godoy will begin outreach in Brazil as a mission arm of the Lutheran Church of Portugal, with support from the WELS Europe team and continued encouragement from Rev. Kenneth Cherney, Old Testament professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Learn more about the Lutheran Church of Portugal and how they came to connect with Pastor Godoy at wels.net/portugal.
- Baptized members: 150
- Communicants: 110
- Volunteer missionaries: 1
- National pastors: 3
- Evangelists: 1
- Students in leadership training: 2
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Browse through historical pictures of Brazil, taken by WELS missionaries and national workers.