As we returned to Brazil for our 2nd time in 2023, in many ways it felt like we were coming home. Familiar faces. Warm embraces. All while visiting new places. (That rhythm was intentional in case you were wondering.) It is so evident just how plentiful the harvest is here in this country. Skateboarding is on the rise and many are saying it is taking the place of soccer in the hearts of the next generation. As we continue to pave the way and pioneer the next steps for a South American headquarters here in Brazil, we are so excited to share that God is moving!
We were blessed with the opportunity to attend the SLS World Championships of skateboarding which took place in São Paulo. Not only did we join our fellow Brazillian brothers and sisters in celebrating their country taking first-place victories in both the men’s and women’s divisions, but we were able to spend time with, pray for, and encourage some of the biggest names in skateboarding in their faith! We are excited to share that Carlos Ribeiro, Felipe Gustavo, and Felipe Mota (all Brazilian skateboarders who are competing at the highest level in skateboarding) are all pursuing the Lord and desiring to grow in their walk with Him. Please keep these men in your prayers!
We were blessed with a private afternoon of coffee cupping with one of the godfathers in the coffee industry for all of Brazil, Stefano Um - who founded Um Coffee Co. Stefano’s son, Boram just recently won the World Barista Championship and has been the Brazillian Barista champion for 3 years in a row!
We were able to share our vision for planting a headquarters in Brazil with a strategic business-as-mission model (a surf, skate, coffee shop), and not only is Mr. Um excited, but also willing to partner to see this come to fruition!
We visited new communities along the coast, had the chance to surf, and met new leaders, and many new friends who seemed excited and willing to be trained in ministry. All of this only furthers our confidence that there are countless opportunities to see ministry efforts grow and multiply here in Brazil.
We finished our time in Brazil in the Northern part of the country in the city of Juazeiro de Norte. We had heard nothing but great things about a ministry called Life Impact International that is based there and is fighting human trafficking. Their work in Brazil is only a few years old, but their impact is already proving itself to be massive. Just a few months ago, two young skateboarders from California visited their base and left behind 10 skateboards. As a result, there are now hundreds of skateboarders taking part in their program.
It was hard not to join in on all the laughter as we watched boards shoot all over the place, while organized chaos unfolded in the small concrete room of the afterschool prevention center while the barefoot kids waited their turn to share boards! The majority of these children come from extremely low-income and at-risk homes. Trafficking is growing all over Brazil, specifically in this community. Many of these children are targeted as their families lack the means to protect them and prevent the horrific risks that we can’t even fathom.
The work that we were able to witness firsthand greatly blessed and encouraged us to know these kids are not only being cared for physically and emotionally but also spiritually as they are being introduced to the true love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
We hope to return to Juazeiro soon to help them build a small skatepark on their property which would be used to continue bringing in youth, ultimately allowing their team to invest in their lives long-term.
Skateboarding is such an amazing tool. A weapon for the Kingdom that can no doubt be used to fight the attempts of the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. This is happening in Brazil and we experienced both sides firsthand. Countless fiery darts are being shot at the youth all over this country, but simultaneously there are wooden shields with four wheels being raised to deflect these attempts and as a result, preserving the next generation. As we look to the years ahead, we are praying with a hopeful expectation that God has great things in store. Your support through both prayers and finances is assisting in our efforts to navigate this future.
We are forging a path and laying a foundation that we pray will one day change not only a community, and this amazing country, but ultimately the world!
Many believe Brazil will be one of the largest mission-sending countries in the near future and it feels surreal to be a part of this dream even from a small grassroots position. We couldn’t do this work without you, and want to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support, and for pushing with us to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ENDS of the earth!
To learn more about our long-term goals and vision for Brazil, and/or to partner alongside our ministry to bring this to fruition please visit ridenature.org/southamerica and to learn more about the amazing work being done through Life Impact visit: lifeimpactintl.org