Phil and Rita Warkentien
The nation of Brazil is not only large in size, but also population, currently ranking 5th in the world in both categories. Brazil is a nominally Christian nation, with close to 70% of the people adhering to the Catholic faith. However, the northeast expanse of Brazil remains relatively unreached for the Gospel. Within this region lies the historic city of Caruaru, two hours west of Recife.
GlobalGrace missionaries Phil and Rita Warkentien have a multi-pronged ministry based in Caruaru. Phil, a second-generation missionary to Brazil, is the pastor of Pinheirópolis Baptist Church, a missions-oriented fellowship of believers which regularly makes trips to other cities, leading many to Christ. But he also oversees the Light of Life ministry, which provides discipleship courses to prison inmates and native Brazilians in remote areas. Being fluent in English and Portuguese, Phil has also served as a translator in many high level situations, including the UN and the BGEA. Phil and Rita also serve with Samaritan’s Purse, giving out shoebox gifts to needy kids at Christmas time.
Rita, a Brazilian by birth and usually smiling, has a gift for hospitality. She and Phil often invite guests to their homes to share the Gospel with them. The Warkentiens often welcome and host short-term teams from the USA who come down to Brazil to minister. Beware though, if you come, Phil will put you to work somehow. It might be working on a building project, or it might be speaking or giving your testimony in the church or in a storefront Bible study in downtown Caruaru.