December4 , 2022

    Truckers’ Strike in Brazil Derails Mission Trip

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    The ten day, nationwide truckers’ strike in Brazil that brought South America’s economy to a screeching halt this month ended, but the impact is still being felt here the United States.

    Our McDonough Road Baptist Church mission trip from Fayetteville, GA to Brazil was also derailed by the truckers’ strike that threw the  country into chaos and escalated on our departure day.

    The Brazilians zealously lead the way and Americans step in and follow their lead, serving side by side.

    Our team has travelled to Brazil for four years to participate with Project 70, a Brazilian-led church planting strategy that permeates cities with the Gospel, resulting in new converts and new churches. The Brazilians zealously lead the way and Americans step in and follow their lead, serving side by side.

    On Monday before we left on Friday, a truckers’ strike broke out protesting climbing fuel prices in Brazil. Hundreds of trucks blocked highways, halting the transport of produce and fuel.

    God does amazing things there. People are more open and responsive to the Gospel, and many make first time commitments to Christ. Last year, though hampered by rain, we saw 447 people come to Christ. In 2016, we saw 1055 people make decisions.

    We were pumped up and prayed up as ten people from McDonough Road Baptist joined twelve members from Wynnbrook Baptist in Columbus at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to travel to Ft. Lauderdale, then on to Viracopos. A final flight to Curitiba followed by a four-hour bus ride would take us to our first ministry city. I was ready to preach the Gospel.

    On Monday before we left on Friday, a truckers’ strike broke out protesting climbing fuel prices in Brazil. Hundreds of trucks blocked highways, halting the transport of produce and fuel. Dozens of flights were canceled, schools were dismissed, and millions of chickens were slaughtered because of lack of feed.
    I learned about the strike Thursday morning, but was preoccupied with last minute details and didn’t think much about it. I texted a contact and asked what was going on with the strike.

    Meanwhile, negotiations broke down between the truckers and government officials and the strike intensified Friday. We boarded in Atlanta and flew to Ft. Lauderdale. When we got off the plane, we discovered our travel agent had been calling us.

    So what to do? We gathered the group and prayed for wisdom. Our desire was to continue to Brazil.

    His news? Azul Airlines strongly advised us not to continue our trip into Brazil because our first airport (Campinas) would run out of fuel at 9 p.m., and they had no idea when fuel would arrive. We could get to Campinas, but no one knew when we could proceed to Curitiba. And, they had no idea if they could get us home.

    So what to do? We gathered the group and prayed for wisdom. Our desire was to continue to Brazil. We didn’t want to let our Brazilian friends down, and we wanted to be on the frontlines of seeing God work in ways we don’t see at home.

    Yet, we had the group’s welfare to think about. I asked the travel agent point blank, “If you we