Marcello and Guilliana Viana in Winnipeg.
Step inside the activity area in Winnipeg, where children’s eyes gleam with joy, and you’ll find a seven-year-old girl tugging at Guilliana’s hand. “Can you help me finish this project? I want it for my mommy!” the child says, looking up with a bright smile.
Two boys hold their drawings across the table; the ten-year-olds are completing their Sunday School lesson. “My dad thinks I’m getting better at drawing,” one explains. His friend replies, “Yes, I love coming here! There is something always going on!” They run across the room and hug Marcello. “Hi, boys, what did you do this morning?” the Brazilian pastor asks.
Emotions swirl across Marcello and Guilliana Viano’s faces when you talk with them. The thrill of helping a new church come into being brings out the joy in their eyes. At the same time, there’s a touch of sadness along Guilliana’s jawline. Leaving their homeland in Recife, northeastern Brazil, meant parting from friends and family members. And there’s delight in their voices as you listen to them describe how each one came to Jesus Christ.
They lean enthusiastically across a coffee table when you talk with them. Marcello’s hands gently squeeze the hot coffee cup between his hands. He takes a moment before expressing how his past studies in theology captured his attention. He explains how he learned about the great doctrines of the church. At that time, investigations led him to become a missionary from Brazil to Canada.
He pauses before talking about how he started in Winnipeg. He invited Brazilians to services they began in their home. They moved worship services into a church building. When their group had grown past fifty people, he wanted closer fellowship. However, the established Canadian church could not understand either (a) how a new church fellowship could snowball or (b) how to integrate a group of Portuguese speakers into their existing worship structure.
Marcelo details how they found their house, established a home church, and moved into a church building formerly occupied by a Reformed Church congregation. Guilliana’s face lights up again as she picks up halfway through her husband’s sentence. She continues their story, relating how they moved across the city to begin the second church plant. And it’s in this second congregation their pastoral skills grew further. They met scores of new people. In turn, these people invite their friends.
Piecing together dozens of stories, one quickly gathers what they understand about pastoral care. Treating each child for who he or she is stems from God placing value on his creation. Planning lessons and activities springs from their enthusiasm. It bubbles up, anticipating God’s action through children, parents, and grandparents.
Looking closer, you detect something others might not see. They love evangelism. Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord comes naturally. They share Jesus Christ in their home with children. It happens constantly at picnics, summer and winter events, or worship. All is dependent on well-thought-out Biblical teaching. The tap roots of their faith sink deep into the Word, just as healthy palm trees line the road along Recife’s beaches in Brazil. You smile broadly, knowing pastoral care for children helps to build a church.
Learn more about Marcello and Guilliana's ministry here: https://lamcanada.ca/missionary/13/marcelo-and-giulliana-viana-sofia-and-caio