Located in the mountains outside the bustling metropolis of São Paulo, Brazil, lies a smaller town called Atibaia. In 2008, Youth Missions International sent a high school mission team to work with a missionary in this city.
During their time, the team partnered with a church called Primeira Igreja Batista de Atibaia Imperial (PIBAI). This was a church plant off a larger church located in a more affluent part of town. The smaller congregation was slowly making connections in their community, but dealing with vandalism from the local teenagers.
The team helped PIBAI run their first ever sports camp. The week started with a handful of kids, but as the week went on, word about the camp began to spread. Street children attended, and the very kids who were vandalizing the church were now hearing the Gospel.
It was so popular even adults from the neighborhood came to participate. The church responded by hiring a sports and youth pastor to handle the new, vibrant ministry.
After the week of camp and our team’s return home, the church continued to open its doors to run soccer ministry one night a week. Word spread throughout the community. One night quickly turned to two, which became three! In a relatively short amount of time, PIBAI was offering soccer ministry almost every night of the week and Sunday morning. It was so popular that even adults from the neighborhood came to participate. The church responded by hiring a sports and youth pastor to handle the new, vibrant ministry.
The mission team, led by young people who said, "yes" to mission and were trained, helped a church reach out to their community. As a result, children and whole families were changed as they committed their lives to Jesus.