Four locals have returned home after a week-long mission trip to Brazil, where they learned much and had the opportunity to help many. The travelers included four religious leaders of Pleasant Green Baptist Church, including Pastor Clarence Parker, and his wife, First Lady Patricia Parker, Elder Mark Williams, and his wife, Evangelist Portia Williams.
Portia Williams does a lot of work with her church, mostly focusing on spreading the name of her God. She serves as a minister of outreach and evangelism, is the founder of God’s Global Gospel, and more. Having already explored Jamaica and Nicaragua to preach, Williams says that she knew there would be many challenges and barriers in serving people of another culture, but it is an act she has learned to love. With her history of evangelism, this trip was right up her ally of expertise.
“I love my church. I believe we are a body of people who really strive to show the love of God and work together to do the things that the Bible instructs the church to do and be about,” Williams claimed. “We are under good leadership and it is a good place to be.”
Williams explained the trip was an extension of what the church’s mission is, which is serving god and spreading his gospel. The mission was planned through Erin Wawro, a member of a Wheelersburg sister organization, the Wheelersburg Baptist Church.
“As a Christian, it is important, in everything that you do, to share the love of God,” Williams explained. “Going into another country and environment, you have language barriers sometimes, in this instance, Portuguese, but we had other missionaries there to help.”
Pastor Parker said that he believes the importance of this trip was seeing the work that Missionary Wawro has accomplished over ten years.
“We’d been supporting Erin for years and this was our first opportunity to take members of the congregation to see her work and the people she is serving. It was an exciting time,” Parker said. “We can send money and we can hear about her work, but seeing it firsthand shows true perspective and the impact that she is accomplishing.”
Williams went on to say that she learned a lot from the trip. Much of what the evangelist experienced will go into teachings that she holds in the future.
“Through these mission trips, you experience a lot and you learn that we, as people, all experience and want much of the same things,” Williams said. “Our passions and desires are much of the same, even though we can’t always express them the same way.”
Despite language barriers, Williams said that the experience was fluid and she feels the impact was real.
“After one of my teachings, even though it was translated through someone else, the women came up and had so much to say. I heard translations of how my words impacted them and were so relevant in their lives. I remember thinking ‘wow,’ because we have the same desires and problems, but we are in different places.”
While in Brazil, the religious leaders had a biblical retreat in Lomba Granda, of Novo Hamburgo, in Rio Grande do Sul. They also had time allotted for leisure in the city of Porto Alegre. While there was time for learning and sightseeing, most of the trip was spent in the city of Sao Leopoldo, completing educational missionary work.
The women and men divided themselves to lead classes. Williams said it was an honor to teach alongside First Lady Parker, in order to deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The ladies taught the Book of Esther, performed a song in sign language, provided details and the history on parts of the Bible, and more. They also taught religious practices, especially those taught in the Book of Esther.
“We shared spiritual lessons,” Williams explained, “for example, one of the lessons that Esther practiced was fasting. We taught how prayer and fasting can strengthen the Christian life.”
Outside of the classroom, the four travelers handed out religious information in the city. They also worked in a coffee shop called The Hangout, which is operated by Missionaries Erin Wawro, Randy Southwell, and Sarah Southwell.
At The Hangout, the missionaries host Bible studies, weekly worship service, and provide English Classes.
“While we were there, some of the local people interviewed the four of us, to enhance their comprehension of English,” Williams explained.
The trip was an educational experience Williams said she won’t forget anytime soon. She also believes the trip has strengthened the bonds between her family and the Parkers.
“Working with Pastor Clarence Parker and First Lady Patricia Parker was a nice feeling,” Williams said. “It was also my husband’s first mission trip, so it was a very special experience, to be with him as he experienced these types of things for the first time.”
Williams said that she and her husband enjoyed serving Christ and they look forward to finding other opportunities in the future.
“It is a great feeling and I give all the glory to God,” Williams said. “It is a great feeling, because it is what Jesus Christ has commissioned for us. He has commissioned us to go and tell the world. Anytime you can take advantage of an opportunity to act upon what Christ has told you to do, you can’t feel anything but peace with that.”
Pleasant Green Baptist Church meets at 1421 Waller Street on Sundays for morning worship at 11 a.m. They also have Christian Growth Classes offered Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday also offers a Prayer Service and Bible study at 7 p.m. Someone may be reached by phoning 740-354-4779 or through Facebook.
Reach Joseph at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.