Needhams lead Brengle in Brazil
Prophetically, it was called “The Camp of a Thousand Blessings” and 25 Brazilian officers who attended the Brengle Holiness Institute experienced just that. Colonels Phil and Keitha Needham, chief secretary and territorial secretary, Women’s Organizations respectively, conducted the Institute.
Brazil’s Chief Secretary Major Torbin Eliasen hosted them; the Institute was planned and organized by Captain Sara Chagas. Both Eliasen and Chagas provided translation for the Needhams.
The Institute’s theme was “Fullness of Life” and studies were organized into holiness heritage: holiness experience and holy living–the practical outworking of holiness in our daily life. Delegates met in small spiritual formation groups every afternoon to explore and discuss implications of the day’s teaching in their personal lives and ministry.
There were moments of transcendent joy during informal worship and the singing of the passionate Brazilian worship choruses. “Several times when I sang a solo I was graced with an impromptu flute obligato of such sweetness, it left me with wonder” said Colonel Keitha Needham.
At the conclusion of the Institute the Needhams flew to Rio, where they toured both the breathtaking sights of the city usually seen by tourists, as well as the “other side of Rio” where The Salvation Army’s work flourishes despite poverty and crime.
Captain Eliana Nogueira, along with Divisional Commander Major Mario Mendes and City Coordinator Major Juwarez Moraes, drove the Needhams up a steep mountain to the Divineia Community Center, where they witnessed children engaged in learning a sport that seemed to be a cross between judo and ballet.
Nogueira explained “If those at the community center can capture and hold the interest of these children from the ages of 11 to 13, the chances of their being pulled into the drug trade are considerably lessened.”
Their visit concluded back in Sao Paulo where the territorial commander, Colonel Paulo Rangel, had arranged for a lecture: Salvation Army Mission and Ecclesiology in connection with the launching of the Portuguese translation of Colonel Needham’s book, “Community in Mission.”
Following Needham’s lecture, there was a spirited time of discussion about the implication of Salvationist life and mission in the unique cultural context of Brazil.
“We left Brazil with a deep appreciation for the bright, dedicated officers we met at the Institute as well as a prayer for the challenges they and the Army face in responding to the emerging needs and trends in this dramatically beautiful, vast and complex country,” said Needham.