In Translation: DRELL Printing and Video Project
John Lee, one of our missionaries in Brazil, writes about one of his major projects - DRELL.
DRELL, the Departamento dos Recursos e Ensino Luterano Livre (the Free Lutheran Department of Resources and Teaching), is an approved World Missions project to raise funds for the printing of literature and distribution costs, as well as costs for creating video resources for the Free Lutheran churches in Brazil. DRELL’s goal is to provide resources for the Brazilian Free Lutheran congregations with an emphasis on our Free Lutheran heritage.
I have always loved reading, and I really appreciate the place of good literature. As a new missionary (Hannah and I came to Brazil in June 2018) I soon realized the need for good Free Lutheran literature in Portuguese. That was enough motivation for me to start dreaming about the DRELL project. During my second year on the mission field, I developed a relationship with a young Free Lutheran pastor and his wife, Fernando and Bruna, who agreed to help us learn Portuguese. Through patient coaching, Fernando helped me work through a variety of theological vocabulary and helped me learn how best to express myself clearly in Portuguese. As we spent time together, I discovered that Fernando had many talents and was interested in working on the DRELL project with me.
Fernando proved himself to be a conscientious student of the Word and a faithful man who was able to teach others. Together we began our adventure of organizing the congregations, Sunday school teachers, pastors, lay leaders, professors, and seminarians to work on providing resources for our local congregations. We called it the DRELL project. One of our early translation projects together – the AFLC’s Fundamental Principles study – yielded new understanding in what God says about many of the practical ways of how God wants His children to work together and our emphases on unearthing spiritual gifts, putting everyone to work, and free cooperation.
Today Fernando Hunhoff is the director of DRELL. He is also a local pastor and seminary professor in addition to being a member of the National Church board and organizing Bible camps. He is involved in multiple ministries simultaneously, constrained by the love of Christ. As in the USA, many Brazilian congregations have weakened in the last decades and are unable to provide for their pastors in the same way as in the past, making it necessary to have other sources of income. DRELL helps supplement Fernando’s small income as a pastor.
Thanks to another generous project – DRELL Discipleship Project – our Seminarians and Bible School students spend a few hours a week helping with translation. They identify unfamiliar Portuguese words, idioms, or odd grammatical constructions (cleaning up translations) and work to “Brazilian-ize” the look and presentation into a friendly format. They are excited to make a little money on the side to help cover their expenses (about $2/hr – a fair Brazilian wage).
One of the great benefits of working alongside young men and women is the opportunity to field their doubts and to brainstorm practical ways of implementing their ideas. They also get to drink deeply from our Free Lutheran material. Some of their time is spent developing skills, like typing (uncommon in Brazil), taking courses in Adobe Indesign, Canva, Social media, film, etc., in order to become more competent communicators. Please be in prayer about this training – that these students would remain in the Vine and bear fruit that will last!
We always try to bring our emphasis back to the congregation through biographies, devotionals, and congregational study. Because Fernando is a professor, he has developed some of his classes into written courses which we offer in partnership with our Brazilian Free Lutheran Seminary and the local congregations. Some of the projects DRELL has completed include a WMF Women’s Bible Study, Biographies of Rosenius, Hauge, Arndt, Spener, Laestadius, Dr. Monseth’s writings to Servant pastors, a video study of the AFLC’s Fundamental Principles. DRELL also reaches out on Instagram with daily posts. DRELL is currently working on Sunday School material, new Bible Studies, and a devotional book.
My role with the DRELL project is to build partnerships – partnerships with friends in media, partnership with Ambassador Publications (our big sister corporation), partnerships with like-minded believers in the USA, partnerships with other groups (like the Lutheran Literature Mission in Sweden or other Lutheran translators in South America). I also help check the English translations into Portuguese and work with students as they translate, investing in their spiritual lives.
Although we really appreciate the other high-quality Christian Publishing houses in Brazil, we believe that DRELL offers something special - a clear and personal Biblical emphasis as expressed in our Lutheran heritage of orthodox piety. I so appreciate the AFLC pastors & laymen who have been “Pauls” for me to imitate, and I invite you to pray for the future “Pauls” here in Brazil.
We look forward to more partnership from the U.S. in supporting the work of DRELL in Brazil in 2023. As people contribute we will be able to put more good literature in the hands of Brazilians for the glory of God and the building up of the kingdom.
If you would like to partner in this ministry that provides Christian literature in Portuguese, you can send gifts to AFLC World Missions – DRELL Project or DRELL Discipleship Project
John Lee - Campo Mourão, Brazil