Colbert Chapel was the church I grew up in and which my father, Bob Warren, pastored. It is a church in our denomination’s largest Conference by number of churches, the Pacific Conference. Colbert Chapel is located just outside of Washington’s second largest city, Spokane. While I was growing up, Colbert was one of two Evangelical churches in the area. The other church had nothing in the form of a youth group. In order to have contact with other Evangelical youth groups we had to wait for the one Conference youth event each year.
The other church ended up closing, leaving Colbert Chapel as the only Evangelical Church in the state’s second largest city (are there any church planters reading this?) I am happy to see that now the youth of Colbert Chapel sometimes meet up with other youth groups but have to travel multiple hours to do so. What I’m getting at is there was a isolation felt in the church; knowing the people from Colbert though, many of them would say that isolation is a good thing. When I moved to Oregon and tried connecting to people from the Pacific Conference, most did not know whom I was until I introduced myself as “Bob Warren’s son.”
I have come a long way since then. I know a lot of people from the Pacific Conference and beyond; being a missionary on deputation for a year and half helps. During this last year our son, Levi, has gone through some health issues. Since shortly after his birth in January he had lungs full of liquid and nothing we were doing here in Brazil was making a difference. I was slow to post updates because I’m generally a private person and because I felt somewhat selfish, knowing that many other parents suffer through much worse things than we were going through.
Levi’s lungs got to the point where we traveled to the USA, mainly for vacation but also to try and get answers for what was going on with his lungs. During our time in the States was when we began to actively ask for prayers for Levi. The support that we received from people was incredibly touching, not only from people in the Pacific Conference who we saw daily, but from people across the denomination.
It meant a lot to us that everywhere we saw someone; their first question was about Levi. We knew that people truly cared about his and our well-being. I was already a firm believer in the importance of being connected to other believers, and much more so now with us receiving the benefits of those connections. I am thrilled to say that in the three months after we returned to Brazil, Levi is perfectly healthy with clean and clear lungs.
Here in Brazil we struggle with the same isolation that I experienced at Colbert, except on a larger scale. Our church, Vida em Cristo, is our only Evangelical church in a country of almost 200 million people. On top of that, most of the Christian churches here have very significant differences in doctrine than we have in The Evangelical Church. It’s difficult for the people who attend our church to see the connections that they have on an international scale.
The best way that people from up in the States can encourage our mission field here in Brazil is to come on a short term mission trip. We are excited for multiple groups coming to visit this year, but we know that it’s not realistic for everyone who wants to encourage our field to travel down here. In the past, the Brazil field has received groups from all over the United States. Our church remembers people from groups that came more than 10 years ago. Our church still talks about people that came to visit from that far back. They don’t talk about the projects that these groups accomplished, but the people that came to visit them. Our church would LOVE to hear from you who have come to visit.
If you have come to Brazil to visit our field, please find ways to get in contact with the people from our church. Even if you have never been to Brazil, you can encourage our church. It is super simple to use Facebook to send a note of encouragement to someone. Don’t be afraid of the language barrier, there will be a way for them to understand your message. Our contacts are starving for a connection with you. Send an online message, send a card to us and we’ll pass it along, send your thoughts, prayers and love; those are things you will never run out of. If you want to get in contact with someone from Brazil but do not know how you can send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will help you make that connection.