“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6
In January of 1999, Marco Marinho (’02), his wife Claudia and their children arrived in Winnipeg from Brazil to begin their journey at Providence Theological Seminary. Upon their arrival in Manitoba, the Marinho family—more accustomed to hot, Brazilian weather—was greeted with a temperature of -30 degrees and more than two metres of snow. Though the shock of winter was not quickly to be forgotten, Marco knew the calling the Lord had on his life: to be trained in biblical scripture and one day lead and serve churches, family and children across northeast Brazil.
Marco grew up in Ceara and came to know the Lord as a teenager. He attended a Bible college at 19, and following graduation began training at Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in Brazil, where he met Claudia. Desiring to study abroad and receive further education in Christian family studies, he heard about Providence through a Canadian missionary, who also described the specific programs offered for international students.
Providence, says Marco, was “one of the few schools open to working with international students, which demonstrated to us their values of openness and Christian acceptance.”
Marco and Claudia’s children were five, seven and nine-years-old when they arrived in Otterburne, and they knew very little English. Marco found a friend in Karl Enns (’99), who had grown up as a missionary kid in Brazil and was able to speak Portuguese with Marco and his family. They quickly became lifelong friends and continue to work together today.
After receiving his Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from Providence Theological Seminary in 2002, Marco and his family returned to Brazil to continue their work with CEF for five more years, eventually becoming the national directors for the education department. Following their time with the organization, Marco continued his ministry by pastoring a local church for the next seven years.
In 2015, Marco and Claudia felt the call to begin a new discipleship school for children and families in Brazil but didn’t know where or how to begin. Providentially, Karl was living in Brazil with his wife and three children at the time, running a hospitality centre. As their time in Brazil was coming to a close, Karl offered Marco and Claudia the use of the facility, confirming God’s affirmation of their new ministry.
Today, Marco and Claudia oversee their ministry, Camp Brasil, which runs a three-year curriculum focusing on the overview of God’s plan, spiritual growth and discipleship. They continue to partner with families and churches, seeking to engage them to disciple more children. As they look towards the future, Marco and Claudia hope to see their ministry spread across Brazil and for new leaders to rise up and lead the future of their mission. As of today, Camp Brasil has impacted more than 4,000 children in 17 cities across 5 states.
Marco says what he learned at Providence greatly influences how he works in ministry today.
“I learned that once you trust,” he explains, “problems can be so easily solved through God and with God, and life becomes simple.”
Top photo: Marco addressing Camp Brasil students; bottom photo: Marco, Claudia and former Providence President Dr. Larry McKinney.
Amy Brown is Coordinator of Alumni & Church Relations at Providence.