By my calculations, Itacyara and I are part of the third generations of BMM missionaries to serve in this part of Brazil. It is always helpful to me–especially when I am tempted to think that times are tough–to go back and look at how the first generation lived and worked.
Recently Philip McLain–son of Guy McLain, one of those first-generation pioneers–posted some great pictures of those days on his Facebook page. He has graciously granted me permission to reproduce them here.
Let’s start with this picture of the Fortaleza Academy as it looked in the 1960s. This was a school started by our missionaries to meet the educational needs of their children. Missionaries from all over Brazil would send their kids (even elementary-age!) to Fortaleza so they could get a good education.
With the development of home-schooling materials and the evolution of the Brazilian school system–not to mention the diminishing number of missionary families with school-age children–Fortaleza Academy has gradually outgrown it’s usefulness. It is currently holding it’s last semester of classes.
What amazes me about the picture of FA is how much the area has changed. The picture above shows how that neighborhood looks now.
Speaking of schools, this is a Christian school started by the first missionaries who came to this region. One of it’s main purposes at that point was to complete the primary education of young men who came from the interior to study at the seminary.
And this is the Colégio Batista as it looks now.
While most of our churches now have baptistries, we still have the occasional outdoor baptism, like the early one shown here. One of the nice things about Brazil is that baptisms like this can be conducted year-round.
And here is a “baptism” of another kind. According to Philip, this was his father’s Chevy Carry-all, on the way to Varzea Alegre. This trip now takes a little more than an hour. I wonder how long that one took?
I am going to stop for now, but there are more pictures on their way, and I will be sure to post them here from time to time.