American Christians seem so self-absorbed with what's going on here that we often fail to see what God is doing in other parts of the world. In our country, I believe God raised up a flawed leader named Donald Trump to help defend our religious liberties, support Israel and advance the pro-life position, among other issues important to Christians and all conservatives. If you've followed me, you know I made these points in my two books on the president.
Now we see parallels in Brazil, the huge nation in South America that has been experiencing a great Pentecostal revival for the past several decades. I've visited Brazil three times and have seen the revival for myself. Yet Brazil has also had corrupt governmental leaders—some of whom are now in jail—and a socialist type of government that has the nation heading in what many Christians believe is the wrong direction.
Then Jair Bolsonaro was elected president last year because he promised to move the country in a different direction. No wonder some call him the Donald Trump of Brazil.
Recently, he flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Trump about some important trade issues. While he was in the U.S., he requested a meeting with some evangelical leaders. I was honored to be included in that group and to hear Bolsonaro's vision for taking Brazil in a new direction. During that event, sponsored by CBN, the Brazilian president also shared his plans to move his country's embassy to Jerusalem in the near future and said he was looking to God for wisdom and direction as he moves forward.
I share my personal thoughts about the event in one of my "Strang Report" podcasts. To listen to it, just click here.
Bolsonaro's unexpected election made international headlines. He has stirred up controversy with his far-right views, but to many of Brazil's citizens, he's a kind of savior from the nation's longtime corruption. While evangelicals haven't been much of a voting bloc in Brazil in the past, 80 percent of them voted for Bolsonaro in this election. In fact, many claim the role of evangelical leaders in his election was historic, and prayer marked almost every step of his campaign.
It's worth mentioning that as many as 75 percent of evangelicals in Brazil are Pentecostals, according to Pew Research. The research center explains that in Brazil, Pentecostalism has appealed to the poor and the outcasts with its focus on the Spirit ministering through all believers, not a select few. With Brazil's economic crisis and leftist propaganda threatening biblical values, it's no wonder so many Pentecostals endorsed Bolsonaro during his campaign.
During his meeting with Christian leaders in Washington, Bolsonaro said it was a miracle he was even alive. After all, during his campaign, he was stabbed and confined to a hospital bed until the election. And yet despite this major setback, he won, although few expected him to do so.
Bolsonaro also reiterated that he wants to strengthen ties with Israel. He has said on numerous occasions that he wants to follow Trump's lead and move Brazil's embassy to Jerusalem. As soon as several economic issues are dealt with, he plans to officially set the embassy move into motion.
When Bolsonaro—a self-identified Roman Catholic—visited Israel, he was rebaptized in the Jordan River. While there, he noted how much the small nation prospered despite its few resources and small population. When Bolsonaro returned home, he realized Brazil struggles economically despite being one of the most populous nations. As a result, he now views Israel as a role model for Brazil.
Bolsonaro also discussed Venezuela's situation at the meeting. For the past several years, Brazil has been trying to help Venezuelan refugees and offer humanitarian aid. Venezuela was at one time the most prosperous country in South America, but now its economy is all but dead. With inflation at 10,000,000 percent, people can't even afford food and other basic necessities. Because of this, Pat Robertson and several others in the room offered to help Brazil with its humanitarian efforts.
Leaders at the meeting praised Bolsonaro for his strong Christian values and concluded the event with prayer.
"We pray, Lord, the anointing of the Holy Spirit come upon him," Robertson prayed, according to CBN News. "That he may have wisdom. That he will hear a voice in his ear when he turns to the right or to the left saying, 'This is the way. Walk ye in it.' Lord, uphold him. Protect him from evil. And use him mightily in years to come."
Stephen Strang is the founder of Charisma and CEO of Charisma Media. He is author of the best-selling book Trump Aftershock (FrontLine/Charisma House). Follow him on Twitter (@sstrang), Facebook (stephenestrang) or Instagram (stephenestrang).
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