Big Picture

Children on remote Brazilian island respond to the Gospel through CEF outreach

‘No place is too remote or difficult to reach for Christians who take Jesus’s Great Commission seriously,’ says CEF Executive Vice President Moises Esteves

For Immediate Release

September 18, 2023

ST. LOUIS Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) earlier this year dispatched a team to a remote island in Brazil to bring the Gospel to children and their families. It took planes, ships, a ferryboat, small boats, cars and motorcycles and even buffalo-hauled carts to bring the good news to the children of Marajó Island.

“No place is too remote or difficult to reach for Christians who take Jesus’s Great Commission seriously,” says Child Evangelism Fellowship Executive Vice President Moises Esteves. “Jesus commanded us to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:19-20).”

Situated where the mighty Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Marajó Island is the largest river-maritime island in the world. It is larger than the country of Belgium.

CEF of Brazil cooperated with Brazilian evangelical church members to form a team of 51 members to visit more than 40 places, including several quilombos (communities originally founded by fugitive African slaves), garbage dumps and shelters for children at risk.

The project was a success: CEF trained 375 teachers, held 71 Bible clubs, and reached 2,546 children. Nearly 700 indicated they received Jesus as Savior.

“Can you imagine how the CEF team felt when they saw new light in these children’s eyes?” says Esteves. “That’s one of the rewards for enduring incredible inconvenience and hardship to bring the most precious thing in the world to people who haven’t known it — the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

At all times the Lord guarded the team, CEF team members said.

“We also saw 243 adults hear the Gospel with 29 of them professing Christ as Savior,” reports Dalierson Sarrazin, CEF National Director of Brazil. “35 kits of CEF material were given to the teachers for them to continue reaching children through Good News Clubs®.”

He shared a firsthand account:

“Eleven-year-old Sophia lives in the quilombo community of Santa Luzia, Brazil. This little missionary gathered the children and took them to the church two miles outside of the community. Most of the children went by bike but Sophia took those who did not have one on her own bike. In the winter, when the trail became muddy and full of holes caused by the rain, Sophia did not give up. Sometimes she got off her bike and walked through the mud. But she was always happy and singing to the Lord. Now her whole family believes in Jesus. Praise God for all He accomplished and provided through this project.”

CEF of Brazil began in 1941 with two British missionaries, Rev. Harry Briault and his wife, who were already serving in Brazil for another mission board. When CEF founder J. Irvin Overholtzer visited them on a 1940 tour of South America, they were so impressed with his approach to evangelizing children that they asked to become CEF directors for Brazil.

Today, CEF of Brazil operates Good News Clubs® all over the Portuguese-speaking nation.

In July 2016, CEF held a 23-day “Passion for the Children” event just before the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with teams from Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Bolivia.

Reaching 39,183 children in less than a month, CEF sent teams to 54 churches and trained 1,265 parents and teachers who held 69 Bible clubs in 126 schools and 35 day care centers. In total, 14,890 children accepted Christ.

“Everyone agreed that winning children’s souls for eternity far outweighed the temporary joy of earning a gold medal at the Olympics,” Esteves says.

For more about the Brazil mission and other CEF outreaches, see the Spring 2023 edition of IMPACT, Child Evangelism Fellowship’s magazine.

Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 86 years ago, has been establishing Good News Clubs® in countries around the world for decades. Clubs are thriving worldwide, in countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda.

Last year, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. In 2022, more than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.

For more CEF news, see the ministry’s latest edition of the online magazine Impact.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church since 1937. CEF is located in all 50 American states and in most countries around the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.


To interview a representative from Child Evangelism Fellowship, contact [email protected], Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.