Scholar multiplies ministers of hope in Brazil

What is the impact of just one leader in Brazil gaining a PhD through your support of Langham? You may be surprised by the answer!

In the late 80s, Antonio Barro studied for a PhD at Fuller Theological Seminary as a Langham Scholar. 

During this time, he conceived the idea of a seminary in Brazil that would train leaders to be active in the transformation of society. 

And so, the ‘South American Theological Seminary’ was founded in 1994. Since then, it has trained thousands of people, who are not just pastors: counsellors, activists, street evangelists and missionaries, have all come through SATS’ doors. 

Address difficult issues

Marcio enrolled at SATS because he has a heart to address the difficult issues facing Brazilian society. 

Marcio (left) with Langham Graduate Dr Antonio Barro (right)

Unlike the typical SATS student, Marcio was a tough character and showed up sporting a pretty radical look for a Bible College student.

“He came with tattoos, piercings and a ponytail,” notes Antonio. Yet his appearance was no barrier to Marcio earning a Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Theology. 

Marcio believes a strong theology and understanding of the Bible is relevant to every problem of every individual in every community.

A ministry for the downtrodden

In 2000, Marcio founded Refúgio in Cambé, Brazil, near Londrina. What started with street evangelism and meetings in the garage of his parents’ house has grown into an outreach ministry for the downtrodden and outcasts of Brazilian society.

These include prostitutes, homeless people, drug addicts and at-risk children. 

The Refúgio centre helps many children and their families – including during the pandemic.

Now operating from its own building and using a range of innovative strategies, Refúgio focuses on programmes for children and adolescents.

‘Refúgio means everything to me’

Refúgio interns Lucas and Vitor described how the centre had been a lifeline for them. 

Lucas explained: “At night we couldn’t go out of our homes because of the fights and the shooting. So if Refúgio was not here, I wouldn’t be here doing this interview. 

“I would probably be trafficking, or in jail, or dead. So Refúgio means everything to me.”

Before the pandemic, Refúgio provided free activity classes – such as dance and karate – for over 250 children, with over a hundred on the waiting list. 

Children have hope now

Conrado Scheller, the local Mayor, said that the children who attend the centre “have hope now”.

“When they come to Refúgio, they can now see a future.”

Marcio is just one of SATS’ graduates – there are many, many more. These include: Henrique Camargo, who founded Eco Ministries, providing classes and counselling for 180 students and their families. 

And fellow SATS graduate Sergio Brant, started a ministry caring for cancer patients.  

SATS was founded by just one Langham Scholar. And so far, more than 250 Langham Scholars have returned to the Majority World to serve. So imagine what God is doing – through your support – to transform societies across the Majority World! 

Hit hard by Covid

During Covid, many of the activities were suspended. But, the centre raised money in order to distribute food baskets and toys to hundreds of vulnerable families in the region. 

The pandemic has hit Brazil hard: more than half a million people have died, the second highest death toll worldwide.

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