To Brazil With Love – 20 Years Later
“What is the Kingdom like?” he [Jesus] asked. “How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed planted in a garden; soon it grows into a tall bush. . . . It is like yeast kneaded into dough, which works unseen until it has risen high and light.” – Luke 13:18-21 TLB
(Pictured above) Matt and Laurie meet with (left to right) Rami Levi, Bishop Fernanda and Apostle Estevam Hernandes of Rede Gospel TV, and the Vice President of Brazil, Michel Temer.
Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed comes to mind when we look back at the history of Christian television in Brazil. What began with a seed planted by you, our TBN partners, nearly 20 years ago has exploded into what is now not one, but two great networks that blanket the nation with the message of the Gospel.
The story began in 1995, when Dr. Crouch and Jan visited Brazil where they met with Pastor Samuel Camâra, founder of Boas Novas, a then small, struggling station in São Paulo. Pastor Samuel shared with them about his vision for reaching all of Brazil with Christian television programs. This was a vision by faith, because Boas Novas, which means “Good News” in English, needed everything from a new transmitter for Channel 53, which covered São Paulo, a satellite uplink, and a studio for their newly acquired station in Manaus, the capital and most populated city of the State of Amazonas in the north of Brazil.
Pastor Samuel’s request came in God’s perfect time. Several years prior, TBN had worked with another group in Brazil to bring Christian television into the country. There had been an investment of money and resources for the project, but the results were not successful. For a while it seemed that all of the efforts to bring Christian TV into Brazil were in vain. Little did we know that what seemed to be a defeat at the time was actually the beginning of a glorious victory. God in His great wisdom had other plans for the equipment and resources that TBN had already invested in Brazil. So, when Pastor Samuel presented the need, it was just a matter of giving him the equipment purchased by TBN that was already in the country — including an existing studio in Manaus.
So, what has happened at Boas Novas since that first seed was planted by TBN’s partners? Today it is the largest Christian network in Brazil and the largest producer of Christian television programs in all of Latin America. They broadcast many of TBN’s programs, dubbed into Portuguese, including Praise the Lord and Behind the Scenes. Their signal reaches 220 cities in 23 Brazilian states, covering approximately 45 million people via 93 VHF and UHF terrestrial TV transmitters, and their reach is expanded over the entire country via satellite, internet streaming, iPhones, tablets, and smart phones. The Boas Novas satellite signal even reaches the southern part of the U.S., North Africa, and sections of Europe. In 2013, they became the 27th member of the TBN Family of Networks.
“What you’re seeing here is a classic example of planting a seed. We planted a seed in Manaus. We planted a seed for the satellite uplink. And while TBN was launching other missions’ projects around the world, this ‘tree’ in Brazil was growing, growing, growing, growing.”
– Paul Crouch Behind the Scenes August 2013
In 2012, Dr. Crouch and Matt traveled to Rio de Janeiro where they met with a Christian television group new to TBN. Rede Gospel, which in English means “The Gospel Television Network,” was started in 1996 by Bishop Sonia and Apostle Estevam Hernandes. The Rede Gospel network produces and broadcasts Portuguese language Christian programs that reach 41 million people across Brazil via terrestrial TV stations, cable, satellite, and radio. They broadcast internationally via the Internet and on two satellite channels that cover the southern part of the United States, Western Europe, and Africa.
When Dr. Crouch and Matt met with Bishop Sonia and Apostle Estevam, Rede Gospel was in the process of switching their analog television transmitters to digital. Their need? Transmitters that could be converted to digital format for installation in various cities throughout Brazil in order to broadcast their network. It is wonderful how God provides. Over the past few years, TBN had decommissioned several of its low power TV stations in the U.S. and had surplus transmitters. It was with great joy that we donated 16 transmitters to Rede Gospel, and today—as the 28th member of the TBN Family of Networks—they include Portuguese language translations of Praise the Lord and Behind the Scenes in their program line-up.
Yes, we planted the seed, but what about the harvest? Get ready to rejoice! Today, Christianity is the fastest growing faith in Brazil. Out of a population of 194 million people, there are now more than 50 million evangelical Christians—and the numbers are growing! Brazil has over 200,000 churches and 500,000 pastors and Christian leaders. Ten thousand new worship locations are opening every year across the nation. It is estimated that by the year 2020 fifty percent of the population will be evangelical Christians!
“We planted a seed many, many years ago and that grew up and became a tree and now we’re getting to pick the fruit of that tree and feed the nations.”
– Matt Crouch
The seeds planted in Brazil have brought an amazing harvest of souls. Only God knows what will happen in the future with the seeds we are now planting in places like Pakistan, India, China, Israel, and many other nations. One thing is certain: We need your prayers and financial help more than ever as the TBN Family of Networks continues to go forward and expand—taking the Gospel of Jesus to the world!
“What joys await the sower and the reaper, both together!” (John 4:36 TLB)
The Crouch Family
Matt with Boas Novas president and founder,
Samuel Câmara and son André.
Matt interviewing Bishop
Fernanda Hernandes of Rede Gospel.
Rede Gospel sponsors
and broadcasts the annual
March for Jesus in São Paulo.
Last year 2 million Christians
from all denominations
participated in the march.
Marcelo Aguiar greets
Matt in the Congressional
Palace in Brasília.
and Apostle Estevam
Hernandes, founders of
broadcast across Brazil.
Pastor Samuel speaking at
an evangelistic crusade held by
Boas Novas in the city of Belem.
In front of the Boas Novas
studio in Rio de Janeiro: Matt with
Pastor Samuel and André Câmara.