DBU Students See God’s Faithfulness on Mission Trip to Brazil

A group of DBU students and leaders on a mission trip to Brazil
A group of 21 students and two leaders from Dallas Baptist University worked with children during a mission trip to Brazil.

DBU students are often taught about following Christ's example of love and service. Recently a group of 21 students traveled to Atibaia, Brazil, for a week-long mission trip where they were able to learn how to be the hands and feet of Christ despite the language barrier.

"The DBU students started learning Portuguese words but found that special attention and hugs are universal signs for showing love," said Jon Dooley, trip sponsor and camp-sport ministry director at DBU.

The team of 21 DBU students worked at a children's camp for children ages 5-12 connected with the Word of Life headquarters in Brazil, a retreat and training center for pastors and missionaries. In addition to leading recreation, the students also led worship, performed skits, and assisted with Gospel presentations to share with the children they met.

Each day the students had individual roles through coordinated activities. Between these activities, the students also found time to play a game of soccer or paint fingernails, pouring their lives into the children they worked with through time and individualized attention.

"Each person played a vital role," said Justin Halferty, an MBA student. "It was neat to see the Body of Christ work together and utilize our strengths to minister to others."

To help prepare for the trip, the students leading music learned three worship songs in Portuguese. Throughout the week, the students began to realize that even in spite of their limited language, they were given opportunities to lead and share the music because of their willing and flexible attitude.

"The language barrier caused us to make sure the Lord's love was displayed through our actions, not just our words," said senior Lindsay Sanders. "God allowed those kids to feel His love through our actions. This is what we had prayed for, and God was faithful to fulfill it."

When one of the students, senior music major Edi Morris, led music throughout the week, she realized the reason God had called her on this trip was to use her musical gifts to glorify God.

"By being flexible and willing to serve, God provided our team with the opportunity to lead worship in many different settings-from a church service to singing songs on the streets," Morris shared.

God's faithfulness proved to be the theme of the week for all of the team members as they witnessed God provide for needs and answer prayers. From having a team member who spoke fluent Portuguese to receiving visas just days before leaving for the trip, the DBU team was constantly encouraged by how details aligned for a successful trip.

"I learned that God is exalted among the nations," Sanders explained. "God is God of all nations, and He is greater than we can imagine."

picture of Justin Halferty with two kids from Brazil
DBU master’s student Justin Halferty plays with children in Brazil.

Halferty, a master's student who helped coordinate the trip, shared about the many ways God provided even before the team ever left Dallas. The most memorable time of the trip for him was one day when the team was performing skits through a street ministry. A gentleman came up to Justin and asked if he spoke English. Justin replied that he did, and the man began asking questions about the Gospel. The Brazilian was not a believer and had many questions as he tried to balance faith with science. Even though Justin felt unprepared to share the Gospel in an unfamiliar country with a new culture and language, God provided the opportunity for him to speak about his faith in the most unexpected place.

The time spent in Brazil was refreshing and encouraging for the DBU team, as they shared the love of Jesus with people from all walks of life. The smiles of the children from camp will long be imprinted in the memories of the DBU students and the impact of their work will, likewise, continue for a long time to come.

Reflecting on the work throughout the week, "The students all jumped in and loved the kids with all the energy they had," Dooley, trip sponsor shared. "It was such an incredible sight to see the love of Christ being shared with kids all over the campground at the same time."

Written by Kalie Lowrie

Kalie Lowrie was the former Director of News and Information at Dallas Baptist University.