In addition serving our local community, St Nicholas Church also works alongside and supports various mission partners who are serving their local communities overseas. Introducing below Andy and Kati Walsh who are following the call to bring the light of the gospel to marginalised sectors of the community through the unifying support of the local church in Florianopolis in the south of Brazil. You can also find out about our other mission partners Divya Shanti in India by following this link.
To bring the light of the gospel to marginalised sectors of the community through the unifying support of the local church in Florianopolis.
To work with churches and NGOs towards social justice for the excluded and marginalised, to help them find life-changing hope in Jesus.
We know this city well and that it is home to unreached and diverse marginalised communities. Over time, we will concentrate on engaging subcultures on the fringes including impoverished migrant communities and people that get caught in the cycle of crime just to survive.
Our outreach focus will be integrated with Vineyard Floripa, a church planted by fellow CMS mission partners. We will assume a training role at Vineyard Floripa’s discipleship programme, with our activity centred on equipping and releasing its members to live out their mission focus – to make new disciples of Jesus.
Andy is a dual British/Argentine citizen fluent in Portuguese, and Kati is from Brazil, so Latin America has always been part of our lives and close to our hearts. Before we were married in Florianopolis in 2014, we had a profound sense based on our experiences that we were called to serve among the socially excluded and disadvantaged sectors of Brazil.
We are really up for the new challenges that lie ahead and we will of course be drawing on our personal experience. Kati, who is trained as a lawyer, has enjoyed mentoring young people in the past – particularly teenage girls who are susceptible to abuse and exploitation. Andy has over 20 years’ experience leading mercy ministries through the church coupled with managing UK government-funded projects to help tackle homelessness and drug-related crime and initiatives to rehabilitate people caught up in the cycle of re-offending. In Leeds, Andy presently works in a senior management position for a national housing association that provides housing solutions and specialist services for young people and adults who are socially excluded due to disabilities, mental health issues and homelessness.
The long wait is finally over! Kati and I are so excited to be with CMS now, undergoing their training, and that we’re on track for departure to Florianopolis, Brazil in January, just three months away!
On 12 October, Kati finally acquired her British citizenship, meaning we were in the clear to join CMS as mission partners in training. As you can imagine, we were overjoyed to receive this news after such a protracted, costly and complicated process.
Here is Kati, collecting her certificate at the ceremony which marks the end of a process which started the moment Kati first arrived in the UK in 2014!
In stark contrast, we were able to collect Eva’s Brazilian passport in August on a morning when we popped into the Brazilian consulate in London! So in summary we’re all set on the visa front! Thank you so much to those of you who have prayed and stuck by us throughout these years. We celebrate this moment with you as we now respond to our call to mission.
Joining up with CMS
So, having handed my notice to my employer, effectively marking the end of a 20-year professional career, we made the journey to Oxford, where CMS are headquartered. We teamed up with other people who are also participating in the residential training programme led by CMS. It’s been really great to live in this community setting and getting to know other people being sent out to different parts of the world and learning of their stories.
Eva has now started attending kindergarten, which she has been really ready for. On week one, Eva was quite apprehensive around us leaving her there and now she now runs to embrace the teacher each morning!
The CMS course is intensive and we have already engaged with a wide range of seminars, most of which are face to face, while others are online. The workshops are diverse, ranging from theological practice and cultural preparation to offering opportunity for corporate prayer and worship and time to discuss readings we share together. CMS have a fantastic library – a great resource and Kati and I are working through some books on pioneering mission in line with the future work we will be engaged with when we’re overseas. Shared evening meal times have been good fun. We’ve now done around four weeks and we complete the course in the second week of December.
We’ve received valuable input from CMS’s Comms team around how to keep our supporters engaged. In this regard, please follow these links around our call to mission and to be kept informed with progress: https://youtu.be/RVT5GFkPD94 and https://www.facebook.com/AndyKatiBrazil
Practicalities during this period of transition
During October and November we will be visiting our supporting churches. This is essential to forge strong relationships for prayer and financial support while working in some challenging environments. We are so grateful for those churches who have committed to partnering with us. However, at this stage, we are still quite a long way off from having the funds needed to proceed with our move to Brazil in January 2022 as planned. We are now praying for more individuals who would be willing to journey with us in prayer and financial support. This will help sustain our work for the future. If you would like to partner with us and sign up for our regular updates, please visit https://churchmissionsociety.org/people-in-mission/andy-and-kati-walsh/.
Being forward-thinking, we’ve already enrolled Eva at a bilingual (Portuguese/English) infant school in Brazil which we’ve had recommended by her aunt who lives in Florianopolis. We know that Eva is going to really enjoy this school, which will be a short commute from where we anticipate we will be living. The school offers a range of interesting outdoor activities which we sense Eva’s going to love.
Plan for when we arrive and outlook in Brazil
We recognise that we are arriving at a difficult time given the ongoing pandemic and changing regulations around traveller entry requirements. Recently, the Brazilian government introduced new quarantine measures for travellers from the UK and we trust that these measures do not become more complex before we depart.
Of course, we have been maintaining regular communication with the pastor at the Vineyard church where we will be members. The pastor has already made the leadership team aware of our approaching arrival. As you can imagine, we are all looking forward to meeting one another in person soon.
We anticipate we will hold regular prayer meetings on an ongoing basis with the leadership team to seek the Lord’s will around groups which we should target such as the favela community, prison leavers, homeless people or refugees.
We are conscious that as action-oriented people, we must be careful with getting busy quickly with mainstream church-related activities when we know our continuing focus will be on marginalised groups of people on the fringes of society. We understand the need to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
There are many communities across the city that need to be reached with the gospel. Clearly we will pray and work closely in partnership with the leaders of the Vineyard church to understand how and where the Lord wants us to start.
Andy and Kati
You can also find out more about Andy and Kati and their work with the community of Florianopolis via their Facebook site and YouTube channel. Also you can find out more by watching the video of their visit to St Nicholas Church on 12th December 2021.
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