Reflections on Training Women in Brazil

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Brazil is known for its delicious meats, flavorful coffee, rich chocolates, and world-class soccer. But when I arrived in the city of Campinas, I found more than food and sports. I found deep community and warm hospitality. I found brothers and sisters who were hungry and eager to know God through His Word. God is doing a tremendous work among His church in Brazil.

One young church has seen remarkable growth in the last five years. The pastor wanted women in the congregation to grow in their ability to teach and disciple one another. That’s where I came in. I had the joy and privilege to lead a training that featured five modules: an Overview of the Bible, Hermeneutics, Christian Doctrine, Biblical Counseling and Discipleship, and Being a Woman of the Word. 

These sisters took copious notes, pondering and digesting what we taught. Some drove more than an hour to get there. They absorbed the material and immediately sought to apply it. It was so clear: they wanted to know how to read and study God’s word, how to disciple, and how to care for one another.

How to Read and Study God’s Word

When I arrived for the opening module, one of the women excitedly approached me about her eagerness to study the Bible and theology. She wanted to discuss spiritual matters like the men in the church do with one another. Another woman I met was invited by a friend. She hadn’t attended this church. After that weekend, she fell in love with how the whole Bible points to Christ and his perfected kingdom where we will live forever with Him. Her desire to read the Bible only increased! She even decided to become a member of that church and has been faithfully studying and bringing more people to the church. 

Another attendee was convicted that she wasn’t intentionally studying God’s Word. After the Hermeneutics training, she had the tools to dig into Scripture. So she began a Bible study in her home. The Lord has fueled these women with a hunger for His Word, and it’s spreading to others. It was so encouraging to see how God emboldened and equipped them for His Kingdom. I was moved by their hunger for God’s Word. Clearly, God was working. 

How to Disciple One Another

In the final two modules, we covered the Great Commission as our daily mission as His people (Matthew 28). During our Q&A, one lady spoke up with tears in her eyes. After nearly 30 years as a pastor’s wife, she had never intentionally discipled another woman. She tended to leave one-on-one discipleship to others, favoring service projects or hospitality. Our training encouraged her to commit some of her time to discipling others.

Another woman expressed that she was fearful. She didn’t have much interest in developing intentional relationships with other women. But after the weekend, she wanted to obey the Scripture and disciple other women by teaching them to observe and obey God’s truth. I was amazed at how specifically and intentionally the Holy Spirit was already at work.

How to Care for Another

Throughout these trips, the friendly Brazilian culture struck me. These women had no problem relating to one another. We wanted to be sure to teach them to do so in a way that’s rooted in God’s Word. In particular, Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3 challenged them to avoid false encouragement, but rather to build one another up by the hope we have in God’s promises. These women learned practical tools for discipling those who are suffering or dealing with sin. They saw how God’s Word was sufficient for any situation.

Our Brazilian sisters are just like us. I learned from them as they learned from me. I was challenged by their excitement to obey and follow the Lord. I sympathize with their fear of being intentional in discipling relationships, and I was spurred on by their boldness to face that fear with faith.

After two years of ministering to them, these women had grown tremendously. Praise God! And yet, they still long to learn and apply truth from Scripture.

Do we have this same attitude?

Hannah Carter

Hannah serves as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Provost at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She received a Master of Divinity from Southern Seminary and loves counseling and discipling women. She previously served as an IMB missionary in Central Asia for nearly five years. She resides in Louisville, KY and is a member of Clifton Baptist Church.

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