Brazil is a very different place, ministry-wise, than Quebec. This South American country, which for a long time had a strong Catholic majority (91% of the population in 1970), has experienced an incredible evangelical revival during the last few decades. According to the latest statistics, almost 30% of Brazilians now call themselves evangelicals (in some cities that number is 50%) and this number is increasing! God’s mighty hand is transforming this nation, and now the believers are responding to His call to “go and make disciples of all nations” by sending men and women on mission to Quebec.
Under the hot sun of São Fidélis, Milena, a 19-year-old Brazilian girl, scrolls through the hundreds (even thousands!) of pictures she took during her most recent stay in Quebec, last summer. She smiles as she remembers the unforgettable experience that she and two other Brazilian girls from her country enjoyed. Although La Belle Province is full of beautiful places to visit, Milena did not come here as a tourist. In fact, this was not her first visit to Quebec.
In the spring of 2018, Milena and her parents arrived in Montreal to learn more about the deep spiritual needs in Quebec. They also wanted to see first-hand the work God is doing here. During this stay, Milena’s father, a pastor in Brazil, was deeply moved by what he saw and heard from several Quebecois pastors. Steve Cloutier, Director of Mouvement Jeunesse, shared with him that “It can be discouraging to be a Christian, a pastor, a church planter, in a context where fewer than 1% of the population claims to be evangelical Christians; we feel a bit alone in the world. Because Quebec, as a French-speaking province, is somewhat isolated, it’s easy for the churches to lose sight of the fact that the universal Church is praying for us. But when we hear that Christians elsewhere are praying for us, it’s very heartwarming.” It was during this visit that Milena first heard about Mouvement Jeunesse. She immediately became very enthusiastic for this ministry, seeing it as a wonderful opportunity to be part of the mission in Quebec.
When she got back home to Brazil, Milena couldn’t contain her excitement. She got her church youth group together and told her Brazilian brothers and sisters of the unique opportunity offered to them to serve the churches of Quebec and to enjoy an enriching intercultural missionary experience through Mouvement Jeunesse. She further explained that the young people who take part in Mission Jeunesse would be paired with a team of Quebecers and other young people who, throughout the summer, would live as a family, on mission, in a place where they can really make a difference, all while being discipled by pastors who have front row seats to the mission in Quebec!
Hearts were touched by the great needs, and many of the young people wished to get involved. However, for a variety of reasons, only three young girls, Milena, Isadora and Elisa, landed in Quebec a few weeks after the project had started, to join a team made up of four Quebecers and one American. The arrival of the three young Brazilians brought a breath of fresh air to the team. Despite the obvious language barrier (they spoke only English and Portuguese), their passion, and zeal to serve God and share their faith inspired the team.
From now on, missionary trips will be a part of my life. I want to give time and money every year to participate in God's work around the world.
Throughout the summer, they made friends with Christians from all over Quebec as they participated in the various projects organized by the churches they visited. They had the opportunity, among other things, to participate in an “I Love My Neighbour” service project, to help out in a food bank, to pray with the people of the churches, and to look after children while their parents went out to share the gospel. They realized that God is at work everywhere and loves all people, and that despite the fact that they speak a different language, love in action is a universal language!
I have learned so much and grown up in every area of my life this summer! I learned that even ‘little things’ have value; that a simple prayer can transform a person’s life! I know first-hand that God is the one who acts, we only have to say: ‘Here I am, Lord, use me!’ God wants to do something special in Quebec, and I feel he has already started doing it
Having come to Quebec with a vision to give of themselves and to make a difference, they left with the desire to return next year. A dozen young people from Brazil have already confirmed their participation in Mouvement Jeunesse for next summer. They started meetings to prepare for their mission by praying for Quebec and learning about our province’s unique culture. For Isadora, the way forward is clear: “From now on, missionary trips will be a part of my life. I want to give time and money every year to participate in God’s work around the world.”
And so, Steve Cloutier invites young Christians from Quebec and elsewhere, aged 18 and over, who would like to enjoy a rewarding missionary experience during the summer, to sign up for the next summer of Mouvement Jeunesse.