We are the Edwards family and we are pioneer missionaries. The Lord has graciously allowed us to serve in Costa Rica, Panama, Portugal and the Dominican Republic, but our primary calling is to Brazil. We have ministered in Brazil from North to South since 1998. We have planted churches in the Amazon, helped churches in São Paulo and are currently serving in the Catarina Mountains of southern Brazil – in the heart of one of the most Gospel needy areas of the country. Our focus has always been on areas where there is a need for Biblically sound, Gospel preaching churches. From 2011 through 2017, we have worked to establish the Igreja Batista Biblica Internacional (International Bible Baptist Church) in Lages, Santa Catarina.
Lages has about 180,000 souls and there is much opportunity to spread the Gospel in this region. There are 80 subdivisions (bairros) without sound churches to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, outlying towns and cities surround Lages in the mountains, and we are launching the Pioneer Mission Initiative to reach these areas over the course of the next 15 years.
The Pioneer Missions Initiative is a special project involving evangelistic strategies to reach these subdivisions and towns with home Bible studies, preaching points and VBS style ministries. We also want to partner with US churches to organize short-term mission trips involving VBS teams, as well as construction and medical missions teams.
We are both proud graduates of Hyles-Anderson College where we met in June of 1992. We have been married for over 23 years and have pursued and worked in missions for all of those years.
Mark was saved in 1982 as an 11 year old boy in West Virginia. He was called to preach at our home church Teays Valley Baptist Church under the direction of Pastor Dr. John Smith. Mark has preached in many foreign countries and held Bible studies in some of the most remote places in South America. Reaching people who no one else cares about has been Mark’s passion in the ministry. He has spent countless hours developing Bible studies in Portuguese for use in a six week program as he introduces the Saviour to those who do not know Him.
Sheri was saved in 1984 as a 14 year old in Ocala, Florida. She was called to the mission field in 1986 during a missions conference at Central Baptist Church under the direction of Dr. Andy Bloom. Sheri has been involved with short term and long term mission projects over the years. She has run large Bible Clubs and Ladies Ministries in every church we have started. She and Mark spend many evenings in people’s homes sharing God’s Word through Bible studies. She is also public speaker and avid writer. In 2017 she and her mother, Sharon Loyd, published a book, Let’s Get to Know Him that takes the reader on a journey to getting to know God better. You can find this book for purchase at http://www.ajourneytoknowinggod.com .
KATIE – 4/6/95 – 22 years
Katie graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a B.S. in Education. She is currently teaching kindergarten and Spanish at Northland Christian School in Flagstaff, Arizona. Katie was just 4 years old when our family arrived in Brazil. She accepted the Lord as her Saviour not long after and was baptized in the Rio Negro by her father. She actively served the Lord with us in Brazil helping with Bible Clubs, Sunday Schools and Children’s church. She has continued this work ethic in her new church, Northland Baptist Church, where she teaches Sunday School, sings in the choir, goes Soul winning and works with the Bus Ministry.
WYATT – 8/7/97 – 20 years
Wyatt is in his 3rd year at Pensacola Christian College as a missions major. Wyatt was just a toddler when we arrived in the Amazon and grew up helping Mark in the work along the rivers and in the mountains. We are praying with Him for God’s will for his life after college, but we know wherever God sends him, Wyatt will work hard for the Lord.
AMELIA – 10/6/98 – 19 years
Amelia is a Freshman at Pensacola Christian College as an English major. She was just a baby when we arrived in the Amazon, however she was the first of our children to go to the Amazon since Sheri was pregnant with her when we made our survey trip in 1998. Amelia has grown up in Brazil and participated in the music program, taught the children in Children’s Church once Katie had left for college and in the Ladies ministry with Sheri. She has been a great asset to our ministry and is greatly loved and missed by our church folks in Brazil. We know that when God reveals His will to her, Amelia will be a wonderful addition to that ministry.
SAM – 1/14/00 – 17 years
Samuel was born in the Amazon just a few months after we moved to Brazil. He is currently a Senior in High School and has plans to attend Pensacola Christian College as a Computer Science major. He has been invaluable to our church in Lages as he ran the sound system and kept our technology current. He is a very hard worker and he spent 12 hour days the past two years helping Mark build our house. Sam has the gift of helping and we believe God will use him in a mighty way.