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It's a Small Church After All

Globalization is changing how Christians do ministry.
1998This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Two decades later, the 300 Italian members of an immigrant church on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, still talk about the visit of the "Brazilian brothers." In 1975, in the midst of rapid evangelical and Pentecostal growth in Brazil, Luigi Schilro, a powerful preacher who came out of charismatic Methodism, and Mario Lindstrum, an engaging Assemblies of God singer and musician, received a prophecy from an Armenian woman in Brazil that they were to go to Asia, but on the way, they were to pass through Australia. So they began their journey.

Arriving in Sydney, they lodged in the central-city YMCA , where they prayed for guidance. Looking through the phone book they found a pastor named Anthony Foti at a church under the listing "Assemblies of God—Italian." They took a train out to the suburb of Yagoona in hopes of visiting the church. As Lindstrum tells the story: "We sat down on the footpath under a tree. People were walking past and looking at us. Then there arrived a man in a car. While still at a distance, I called out, 'Are you Pastor Foti?' 'Yes!' he replied. And thus we went into the garden, where he asked us questions and took us into his house to eat together."

Foti, an American by birth, invited Luigi and Mario to preach in his Italian church. But first he took them to visit a Slavic Pentecostal church in the area, where Schilro preached in Portuguese (his native tongue), Lindstrum translated into English, and the Slavic pastor translated into Russian. The visit to Foti's church sparked four months of intense evangelism and spiritual blessing that the members remember to this day.

Consider the mix of labels in this one small story—Methodist, Assemblies of God; Brazilian, Italian, Armenian, American; ...

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