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wherever he leads

by Deborah St. Lawrence

Based on an interview conducted by Kenneth Eagleton


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THE FREE WILL BAPTIST LANDSCAPE IN BRAZIL spreads across 10 cities and towns in two states. Twenty-five churches and mission works dot this landscape and 20 ordained Brazilian pastors fill the pulpits each Sunday. Some of these men are tall, some are short. Some are married, some are single. Some have large families, some have no children. Some were raised in Christian homes, most were not. Several pastor large, thriving churches. A number of these dedicated men pastor churches in economically-challenged areas. Many are bivocational.

Most of them studied in a Bible institute while working full-time and supporting a family. One has worked with unreached Indian tribes within Brazil. Others have traveled outside their country to minister in other lands.

Each man has a unique story. Each one is called of God to preach the gospel. Jeancarlo Achê is one such pastor.

Jeancarlo had been attending church in Ribeirão Preto for about a month when he participated in a church-sponsored youth camp in Jaboticabal. Lelis Fachini, a former Brazilian missionary with Mission Aviation Fellowship, preached and the teen met Christ on January 21, 1981, at the age of 16. Within a few months his hunger for the Word led him to take a couple of courses at the local FWB Bible institute.

He grew in his faith and later in the year, during his private devotional time, God spoke to him through Mark 8:34-38. Jeancarlo determined he would give his life for the sake of the gospel and answered the call to preach.

Upon graduation from high school, the resolute teen pursued a four-year degree in business administration by day and studied at the Bible institute at night. In 1986, during his senior year at the Bible institute, Jeancarlo accepted the invitation to preach monthly at the Jaboticabal FWB Church, and upon graduation in 1987 he assumed the pastorate full-time.

Change was a theme for 1987. In March, he left Brazil for a two-month graduate course in Israel where he studied biblical history, geography, and archeology. In July he married Flávia.

Flávia grew up in a Christian home and in the First FWB Church of Ribeirão Preto. As a result, she accepted Christ as Savior early in her life. During a session at youth camp, 13-year-old Flávia made a wholehearted decision to serve the Lord in whatever way He chose. She began attending Bible institute classes with her mother and eventually completed the Bible Certificate program. She subsequently majored in teacher education with a focus on music at a college in Ribeirão Preto.

The couple continued to minister in Jaboticabal, and over the next few years three sons and a daughter joined this family.

God began stirring the embers again in 1997. Jeancarlo and Flávia attended a missions conference in Uberlândia in May. They met representatives of a Brazilian missions agency and were invited to participate in a missions awareness trip to Europe. In July they journeyed to Manchester, England, for a missions conference. They visited Ireland and experienced God’s call to missions.

For the next two years they readied the Jaboticabal church to become a missionary-sending body. Assistant pastor Martin Chilliz prepared to lead the church during the Achê family’s absence. In June 1999 the family of five went to Ireland as missionaries, supported by their home church and other FWB churches in Brazil.

Initially, the family intended to help a small group of Christians in the village of Carlow in southeast Ireland. Soon, however, they made contact with a group of eight Catholic women who had formed a dissident prayer group in the nearby village of Hacketstown. Through teaching and preaching the Word of God, Jeancarlo and Flávia helped this handful of women grow into a small church of 40-50 believers—the only non-Catholic congregation in the 3,000-member village.

After two years on the Emerald Isle they returned to Brazil. The Achês have kept in contact with the believers in Hacketstown, as well as other small pockets of Christians they met while in Ireland. They hoped to return to the country as missionaries in 2007, but changes in the immigration laws prevented the family from returning for an extended time.

Meanwhile, Jeancarlo continues to pastor the Jaboticabal church. The congregation now averages 200 each Sunday and has outgrown their facilities. Recently, the church purchased property to build a 400-seat sanctuary, a Christian school, and, eventually, a missionary training center. The new church facility is under construction.

It has been 27 years since Jeancarlo answered the call to deny himself and follow Christ. He has followed faithfully—preparing for ministry, studying in Israel, serving as a pastor for 20 years, and even going overseas to share the gospel.

And his story is just one of 20.


ABOUT THE WRITER: Deborah St. Lawrence is the editor for Free Will Baptist International Missions.



Brazil National Pastors




Elizeu Ardeli Cantelmo, First FWB Church
Hélio Torres, Second FWB Church
Helvécio Gouvêa Neto, Marabá Mission


Lucas Lima, First FWB Church
Osmir Cruz, São José FWB Church
Paulo César Carvalho, Nova America Mission


Jeancarlo Achê, Jaboticabal FWB Church
José Roberto Alves, assistant pastor

Ribeirão Preto

John Poole, First FWB Church
Luciano, assistant pastor
Antônio, assistant pastor


Antônio Carlos

Flávio José Grossi, Campolide Mission


Flávio José Grossi, First FWB Church
José Antônio Coimbra, Nova Cidade Mission


Daniel Gouvêa, Carandaí Mission

Conselheiro Lafaiete

Manuel Messias Rodrigues, First FWB Church


Martin Chilliz, First FWB Church
Agostinho José de Lima Filho, Jardim Botânico Mission
Ruí Magno Xavier, Jardim Palmeiras FWB Church



©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists