Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008
Keith and Deborah Jefferson
Quilombolas of Brazil
When Ivanilson Costa arrived in Tombo to teach Quilombola children, he was the sole Christian in the Brazilian village. For 10 months, Costa prayed for someone to help him share Christ.
God answered Costa’s prayers in December 2005 when missionaries Keith and Deborah Jefferson, of Texas, visited.
“Before they arrived, it was almost prohibited to speak words of Christianity,” Ivanilson says, “and now we preach openly.”
Keith estimates more than 2,800 Quilombola villages are spread across 23 of Brazil’s 26 states. The villages, established as safe havens for runaway slaves in the 17th century, are still safely tucked away from civilization in Brazil’s remote interior.
But the same isolation that served to protect the Quilombolas from slave owners in the 1600s has also shielded them from hearing the gospel.
“There will never be enough missionaries to reach the lost people groups of Brazil, so we’re here to encourage, challenge, and help the Brazilians to reach the people groups of Brazil,” Keith says.