Brazil is a country of more than 190 million inhabitants, very diverse culturally and with great social inequality. Few have the chance of receiving higher education. In recent years there has been an impressive growth in evangelical Christianity, but biblical and Christ-centred teaching is still scarce. Brazil has a Christian majority, but universities tend to over-estimate the importance of science and look down on those who believe in Christ.
ABUB has grown greatly in the last five years, from two regional and three national workers to 15 staff today. The number of groups has also grown, with an increase of up to 20% in the total number of cities with ABUB groups. The movement is aware of many challenges, primarily financial, but they rejoice in the evidence of God’s provision.
Student initiative is the major asset of ABUB. Students have committed themselves to the ministry faithfully and whole-heartedly; Brazil is a very large country and without their initiative it would be impossible to see growth.
View from the inside
Giovanna Amaral is the Communication Secretary of the ABUB. She says, ‘I first got involved as a student, when I learned to love Jesus more, read the bible and witness with my entire life. Before there was a lack of connection between what I believed and what I lived.’ She has been motivated by 1 John 2: 6: ‘Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.’
Giovanna is also inspired by key figures in ABUB’s ministry. Joyce and Tim Keliher voluntarily served as missionaries in northern Brazil for many years. They are now elderly but still love student ministry passionately, have a spirit ready to obey, and are now serving with ABEMO, the IFES movement in Mozambique. These examples from the ABUB’s recent past remind her of the call to serve faithfully through all challenges.
- for the area of finance and management – the rapid growth brings a challenge of fully assimilating new groups with their different characteristics into ABUB;
- for students to maintain their faith in Jesus and their love for the scriptures.