Diane Hammonds, the Branch Manager for Sain’s Louisiana [...]
Three years ago when I went on my first mission trip to Brazil, I was the only one who participated from my church. Last month, I was blessed to take 19 people from my church along with me! I guess that’s why I’ve been told I’m a good recruiter!
My church, McElwain Baptist Church and Lakeside Baptist Church partnered together for the mission trip. Throughout a 20 year partnership, the Birmingham Baptist Association and the Brasilia Baptist Association have built over 50 churches in the area. That partnership has ended now, but there’s still a lot of interest around here to keep going back and building churches.
One of my passions has always been missions, and my children have been many places with me since a young age. It’s important to have a balance between work, family and my Christian life, and missions has been good for me on that.
I’d done a lot of local and national missions—going as far away as Maine—but I’d never done international missions, which I felt like I was missing. This is why I was so thankful when given the opportunity to go to Brazil three years ago. My friend Jerry Cross from Lakeside Baptist Church introduced me to the work in Brazil. I tell folks that he is like a rock star in that area because he has been there about 25 times to build churches.
Pastor Boni Garcia and his wife Fatima do all of the ground work which involves training and equipping pastors and establishing core groups to attend the churches we build. We pay for the materials, and by the time we get there, they already have the roof, steel frame and a concrete floor poured. We spend the week laying concrete block, which is a lot of work.
The Brazilians are so loving towards the Americans and get in there to work right next to us. At the end of the week, we have a celebration service. This year was a 3.5 hour service including the Lord’s supper, baptism for five people and lots of music by the Brazilians and Americans.
Each year, we go back and visit the church we built the previous year to see how it’s doing. It is very rewarding to see how they are ministering to the community and caring for/meeting the needs of people. I love that it’s such a great partnership between the two countries.
There was an added bonus to this trip, as well. Prior to the week of church building, I spent more time with Pastor Boni fishing for peacock bass in the Amazon in Manaus, which has always been one of my dreams.
Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.