Paul & Becky Abel
Paul and Becky Abel individually felt God’s call to global ministry even before they met. Growing up in the mission field, Paul Abel’s heart for evangelism began at a young age with the influence of his parents and a desire to follow their Christ-like example. While Becky was in her first year of college, she attended a missions conference and was overwhelmed with a sense of calling from Christ. Shortly after, Paul and Becky met, and to this day the Abels have celebrated 35 years of marriage and ministry together in Brazil. They have four children and nine grandchildren.
Because of the power of the Gospel, the Abels have seen lives changed in their time in Brazil, whether health issues, home life, or education. When they started their ministry, the main goal was to plant churches in the Parana region. Four churches have been established in Curitiba, Cajurú, Bateias, and Campo Largo, some of which began as small home bible studies and are now established churches lead by local pastors. Paul and Becky love the relational nature of Brazilians and this aspect of their culture has allowed for a ministry centered on discipleship. A part of their community, the Abels continually welcome people into their home and consider meals and visitations with others a vital part of their ministry.
The Abels have seen the grace of God open hearts though the study of His word. Bible studies take place weekly in these churches, along with youth group and evening services. Passionate about discipleship, Paul and Becky helped develop the Evangelical Discipleship Manual for Brazil that covers the basics of Christianity. Paul has lead four illiterate men through the manual, guiding them as they learned not only to read but also how to study the Scripture for themselves.
Another vital part of the Abels’ ministry is Acampamento e Retiro Cristão da Associação (Christian Camp and Retreat Center of the Association) or ARCA for short. When they created this camp, the Abels moved from the city into the country, quickly realizing that there was no evangelical influence in the area. Although a huge adjustment at first, the ARCA camps have drawn in hundreds of individuals through the years and has greatly broadened the Abels’ ministry. Becky shared, “Camp is a great place for people to get away, think about their spiritual life, and have some time alone in a place without distractions. Bible camp has been a way for us to reach even more people with the gospel.”
After many years in the ministry, Paul and Becky take great joy in witnessing the lay people of their churches grow to be leaders, and even go into the ministry themselves. Paul reflected, “One man who was a derelict and had lost everything: home, family. He came to our home and thought there was no hope for himself. But we kept praying with him, and he has become an active member of the church. He went on to finish grade school, high school, college and seminary, and worked as a maintenance man. His wife is now working in the Miriam Infant Home, and he is teaching at the seminary while pastoring a church.” This pattern of Christ’s transformation of individual lives, and whole families, has been evident to the Abels.