Love of Christ and music sent a Minden resident, Bill Ichter, and his son, Carlos, to Aracaju, Sergipe Brazil recently.
The father and son were invited by the Brazilian Baptist Church Music Conference in celebration of 30 years of the organization.
As a founding member of the music department in Brazil for 25 years, Bill Ichter's love of Brazil is ingrained and integrated in him and his family.
"It was an outgrowth of the work that the Lord permitted me to start in Brazil by starting a church music department," Ichter said.
"When working the last 10 years, I worked for the Brazilian Foreign Mission Board," he continued. "I had a weekly column of music in the Brazilian Baptist Weekly. All through those times, I remember saying, Philippines 4:13, 'I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.' Without Him, I wouldn't have gotten anything. The Lord has been good to me."
Ichter felt honored to be invited to give a 40-minute speech on "Worship from Generation to Generation" and a 50-minute interview to a congregation of more than 3,000 people.
"Brazilian Baptists make up a million and a half of the population, about two percent," Ichter said.
Ichter's son, Carlos, former head of the music department for Arkansas Baptist and former Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in New Orleans, was invited to lead the conference choir.
"He had four choir sessions to prepare five songs for a concert in the convention center on Saturday night," Ichter said. "And I led a stanza of one of Brazil's best loved hymns, 'My Country for Christ.'
"At 87 years of age, I thank God that He gave me the privilege of coming back and seeing the progress of the work in Brazil and the progress of the music work," he said. "That God loved me to have a part of it, to which I felt I had no qualifications."
Ichter continued, "It's a beautiful country. The people are so loving and warm."
Ichter, along with his wife and two children, went to Brazil in 1956. He had two children born in Brazil and now he has two Brazilian daughter-in-laws, three grandsons born in Brazil, a grandson born in Korea, a granddaughter born in Germany and two great-grandchildren born in Kenya.
"Two of our grandchildren are missionaries and our daughter has been a missionary in Brazil for 29 years," Ichter said.
According to online sources, Brazil is Latin America's largest country, and the world's fifth largest country, covering half of South America's territory.
Aracaju was founded in 1855 and is the capital city of Sergipe. Sergipe is the smallest state in Brazil. It is found in the Northwestern portion of Brazil.
The economy in Aracaju is stimulated by recent tourism, oil wealth and sugar cane cultivation.
The Federative Republic of Brazil is a union of 26 estados (states) and one district, the Distrito Federal (Federal District) which contains the capital city, Brasilia.
Portuguese is the main language spoken with English and Spanish being taught in high school. Freedom of religion was introduced in 1824.