(Photo: AP/Felipe Dana)
Young Christians in Brazil have brought more than a thousand people to Christ in the northeastern city of Salvador during Carnival, the country’s biggest annual festival.
Carnival, from March 4 to 8, draws millions of people to watch colorful and extravagant street parades conducted by “samba”schools. It is amid high rates of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity that members of Youth With a Mission JOCUM went out to do evangelism in the city of Salvador, in the state of Bahia.
Salvador has one of the largest Carnival festivals in Brazil. Some 500,000 tourists join the 1 million residents of Salvador to celebrate Carnival.
During this time, JOCUM missionaries approached people on the street and invited them to the ministry’s booth where they talk about issues such as family, drugs, among other topics that could lead them to a deeper conversation about Jesus.
Jorge Santos, director of the evangelism ministry Impact in Carnival for JOCUM Salvador, told The Christian Post that he estimates that more than 30,000 people are being evangelized and more than a thousand people will commit their lives to Jesus by the end of the festival.
According to him, about 400 missionaries from JOCUM and local churches are evangelizing at Carnival.
“I expect that God will bless a lot of people. Many will be reached and know Jesus Christ,” said Santos.
He shared that a “boy that was far away from the church was approached by one of our missionaries and now … he could understand about love, saying that he never imagined he would meet someone who would speak about Jesus to him at the Carnival.”
JOCUM missionaries are also evangelizing in other regions, even where the Carnival is not as popular as in Salvador, such as the Federal District in Brasilia state. One missionary helps lead an average of two people to Christ each day of evangelism, said the director of JOCUM from the Federal District, Thiago Rodriguez.
“Thus, [in Federal District] these 100 young evangelists bring an average of 200 people a day during the Carnival,” said Rodriguez to The Christian Post.
Rodriguez states that the project of evangelism consists of “redeeming the culture” and it is not about going in with and “anti-Carnival” attitude.
“We want to give a new meaning to the carnival,” he said.
Other Christian groups, meanwhile, have decided to participate in the country’s festivities by organizing their own Carnival Christian block.
The most famous Carnival Christian block is called “Cara de Leão” (Face of Lion) in Rio de Janeiro. This Christian Carnival is founded by the pastor and director of the New Life Project Church in Rio de Janeiro, Ezekiel Tan.
Last year, Cara de Leão attracted 5,000 people to the Carnival festival where the message of Christ was shared.