Brazil Porto Alegre
Word of Life Brazil began in 1957 when Harry Bolback and Harold Reimer came from the United States to begin a camp in Atibaia (Sao Paulo). Porto Alegre became a strategic target because of the repeated requests from churches and pastors (especially graduates of the WOL Seminary in Atibaia) who were familiar with the needs of the region and the importance of the ministry. As a result of this, during the 70’s and 80’s various missionaries from Sao Paulo made special visits to the extreme south of Brazil, and the ministry was established in 1988. In 1991 the ministry acquired a property where the “Events Center” is located today, which is the structure where all of the Southern WOL activities are located. The first camp on property was held during Carnaval in 1994 with 80 young people. Today, the campers during both summer and winter camping seasons make up more than 1,300 young people a year. Actually, more than 12,000 people are reached per year through the various types of ministry that WOL does in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.
Porto Alegre (Joyful Harbor) is the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Founded in 1769 by Manuel Sepúlveda, its population of 1,509,939 inhabitants (2010) makes it the tenth most populous city in the country and the center of Brazil's fourth largest metropolitan area, with 4,405,760 inhabitants (2010). The city is the southernmost capital city of a Brazilian state. In the late 19th century the city received many immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly from Germany, Italy, and Poland. The vast majority of the population is of European descent. According to a census in 2000, 73% of the population is Catholic.