Eudora natives find peace in call to preach in Brazil
Ed and Roberta Farris may have grown up in Eudora, but for the last 26 years they have been a world away as they sought to improve people's lives by testifying to their faith.
"We felt a calling from God that it was right for us to live our lives down there," Ed said.
The Farrises live in Brasilia, where Ed is the field leader for the west-central part of the country, an area with about 20 million people. Roberta is the assistant administrator of the 300-student Theological Baptist Seminary in Brasilia. She has taught people of all ages in Brazil but currently works with adults. Ed's duties include supervising the missionaries in the five-state area and starting new churches. He also teaches at the seminary.
When the couple visited Eudora last week, Ed served as the guest minister at the St. Paul United Church of Christ where he spoke to the congregation about his work in Brazil.
"We were very well received by the church," Ed said. "I spoke about our activities in Brazil and our ideas about communities with no churches."
He is about to start a new project in a community of 400,000 through friendships and a relationship with the residents. Ed is planning to use home Bible studies to spread the gospel among the people.
Ed has also found a way to incorporate his musical talents into his missionary work. He played the piano for an 800-voice choir in Brasilia and for a TV program, "Youth for Christ" in Kansas City, Mo. Two years ago, Ed played the piano on Brazil's most popular radio station.
"Brazilians are very musical people," Ed said. " Music just fits really well into the whole scheme of things."
Both Ed and Roberta graduated from Eudora High School and Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. Ed earned his doctor of ministry from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, while Roberta has a master's degrees in education and pastoral counseling. The couple's missionary travels have also taken them to Curitiba, Brazil and Zimbabwe, Africa.
Roberta said she was pleased to return to Eudora for the first time in 16 months. She also said living in Brazil was a big change at first, but now she feels right at home there. The Farris' son Jon moved with the couple to Brazil at the age of 2 and graduated from high school there. He attended Kansas State University and now lives in Topeka. The couple's daughter, Andrea de Oliveira is married and lives in Brasilia.
"It's a big adjustment at first to learn to fit in with how people live and work," Roberta said. "There are still things we are still learning."