In 1975, Rev. Chuck Conner (Big Chuck) was visiting the city of Rio Branco, Acre with Pioneer missionary and bush pilot Paul Bellington. It was there that he was invited into the simple dirt floor home of Josias and Julianna. They had started a home church that was growing. They were trying to buy land for a new church home but raising the money to build the church was impossible for them on their own. So they asked Big Chuck for help. Maybe they asked because he was American, or maybe they thought that he had the money - which he didn’t by any stretch. In hindsight it was a holy encounter that was ordained by our heavenly father.
Big Chuck said yes! He returned home to the U.S. and began to raise the money to pay for the church building while also recruiting a team of construction workers who could travel to Brazil and build a church.
A year later while sitting on the side of a dirt road, watching people from the community pile into the little brick church for its inaugural dedication service, he felt the Lord's call to invest in the local church in Brasil and it became his life work.
Big Chuck began to take teams to Brazil to repeat the story. Over the years they crisscrossed the Amazon basin and over time moved into other parts of Brasil. Since 1976 over 350 churches have been gifted and built for small community church plants in Brazil.
Little Is Much
Our story is still unfolding today, as the ripples of faithfulness and obedience unravel and the CMU family continues to build the church by breathing life into community churches abroad and at home. Over the years all of us at CMU and those in the CMU family have come to a better understanding of the value and the need for us to build into the local church. And as we serve together we see that missions has a tremendous impact on the local church here.
In those early days nobody would have dreamed that 50 years later we'd still be saying yes. It would have been unimaginable that the Lord would have allowed us to be a part of building more than 350 churches that today share the love of Jesus in their communities all across Brazil. And we are so humbled at the thousands of volunteers who have traveled, supported and prayed for this little ministry - CMU.
When Big Chuck sat down in that little dirt floor house back in 1975, and said yes to the Josias and Julianna, He did not have a plan. He was just trying to be faithful. And that is where we are today. Striving to be faithful and steadfast to the calling God has given CMU. To minister to and through the local church.
Our prayer is for the strength and support to continue to trust The Lord and simply say yes.