Brazil: huge Christian outreach campaign at World Cup
Football fans at the FIFA World Cup venues in Brazil are being offered some four million Scripture booklets and 20,000 gospels in nine languages over the next few weeks ...
As 600,000 football fans across the world pour into Brazil this week to join the three million local fans attending the FIFA World Cup, the Bible Society of Brazil and its partners has begun a massive outreach and Scripture distribution programme.
"Brazilians are football-mad and their obsession with football will reach fever pitch over the next few weeks," notes Dr Rudi Zimmer of the Bible Society of Brazil. "We want the Bible to have a prominent presence amidst all the excitement. It's an unprecedented opportunity for churches and Christians here to share God's Word with local and foreign fans, and we want to equip and encourage them to do that."
The Bible Society has provided four million Scripture booklets and 20,000 copies of the Gospel of John in Portuguese and eight other world languages for free distribution. It has also published special World Cup editions of the Portuguese Bible and New Testament, available at subsidised prices to Christians and ministries wishing to use them for evangelism.
The distribution will take place through the 1,600 churches and Christian ministries that the Bible Society has brought together through its Joga Limpo Brasil movement (Fair Play Brazil).
"Fair Play Brazil was inspired by the vision that led the Apostle Paul to travel to Corinth in Acts 18," explains Dr Zimmer (pictured left).
"Corinth was one of the largest and busiest cities of the Roman Empire and hosted one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar – the Isthmian Games. There, Paul found the opportunity to preach the Gospel to people from all over the world. We and our partners share that same vision now – both for the World Cup this year and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016."
Many hundreds of volunteers will be on the frontline of the outreach, helping football fans in the 12 host cities to find their way around, talking to them about faith and offering them Scriptures.
"We want as many people as possible to get the chance to hear about God's love for them, so please pray for this outreach at the World Cup," says Dr Zimmer. "Pray for God's blessing and guidance for the volunteers and pray that the football fans will have open hearts to hear and welcome the message of God's Word."
Photos (Bible Society of Brazil): top - Bibles produced for each World Cup venue