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Joel Kearney

Joel Kearney


Hello! My name is Joel Kearney – I’ve been a missionary here in Brazil since January 2021. I’ve served alongside several ministry organizations over the past few years, including South America Mission and various YWAM bases.


It has been a joy and privilege to share the hope of Christ among impoverished communities, meeting physical and spiritual needs in creative ways through street ministry, worship services, soccer programs, Bible studies, clinics, tutoring programs, clothing and food drives, and visiting families in their homes.


As Jesus demonstrated, there’s nothing quite like the intimacy of discipleship to show care for someone’s soul and a desire for their greatest good. Discipleship allows you to understand deepest spiritual and physical needs. It gives others a space to wrestle through doubts and confusion as you carry one another’s burdens and take it all to the One who guides us, heals us, and grants us hope.


Kickstarting a new ministry: Una Mission


The Northeast of Brazil is full of diverse communities, including indigenous peoples and descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves (quilombola). Much of Brazil’s rich history and culture is rooted in the Northeast. Countless villages do not have churches or any ministry presence. Many have never received the Gospel message, and others have heard a confused Gospel message mixed with false teachings, bribery, and a slew of other religious figures and practices. There is a great need for sound Biblical teaching and discipleship in Northeast Brazil.


I am partnering with local believers connected to JOCUM (the Brazilian YWAM) and a Bible-believing church in Pernambuco called Igreja Rio, as well as a team from the United States, to plant a ministry base in the impoverished community of “Várzea do Una”. Located on the border of Pernambuco and Alagoas, this coastal community and its neighboring villages are often overshadowed by the touristic and surfing towns under an hour away.


Our desire is to bring awareness of the deep needs in this region and be a part of the solution by providing a space for continued ministry. We plan to partner with both local churches and non-local ministries. Teams sent out by ministry organizations can provide resources that local churches simply don't have access to and can prepare comprehensive outreach activities for kids and families – such as Bible camps, health clinics, seminars on hygiene and family care, and food and clothing distributions. Una Mission will also be a hub for sustained ministry where local churches can build deeper relationships with the families of those villages, understand the needs more deeply, and host regular Bible studies and worship services. 


We already have the property, an architect, and the blueprints of our design plans.

The base will include a kitchen, bathrooms, living room, outdoor patio, and dorm-style housing for up to 40 people. The space will also include a larger room for worship services, meetings, and community outreach programs (clinics, seminars, tutoring, kids’ activities, Bible studies, etc.).


The complete construction will take about 8 months once the funds are in, but our goal is to construct enough of the housing and meeting area by the time we kickstart ministry activities there this summer. We would love to have the base complete and ready to receive additional teams by the end of 2024.


 The call of the Christian in the Great Commission is to make disciples; this certainly goes beyond professing the name of Jesus and departing as if to have checked off some box. Evangelism and discipleship are certainly quite a process, but a beautiful one! It requires sacrifice, investment, and humility. This world is full of relationships that need restoring, cycles that need breaking, and lives that need healing; what a privilege it is that God chooses to use us as part of that redemption process.


I daily see deep consequences of extreme poverty, trauma, poor education, malnutrition, false spiritual practices, alcoholism among other addictions, paternal abandonment, and countless other effects of living in a broken world. But the Northeast of Brazil is also full of the kindest people you’d ever meet, many of whom are deeply searching for truth and hope. There are many so tired of hearing lies, and it is wonderful to see them meet Jesus – the only real Way, Truth, and Life.


When I meet the people of these villages, I feel a sense of love, compassion, and a longing to serve – a result of Christ’s love at work in us. My desire is that we continue to see change and healing through the hope of Christ in communities invested into by churches, missionaries, and ministries. And as disciples are made, that they be filled with love for their neighboring communities, to go forth and make more disciples. After all, we are blessed to then be a blessing, and no candle loses even a speck of its flame in lighting another. Who better to reach those in other Northeast Brazil communities than those who were personally shaped by it and, through discipleship and the work of the Holy Spirit, have experienced the life-changing, transformational power of the cross.


Please pray that God continues to use His children to share the hope of Christ with those in the diverse communities of Northeast Brazil and for Bible-preaching, well-sustained churches and ministries to be planted there.


Thank you as always for your prayers, partnership, and encouragement. Please consider partnering with us as we take on this ministry base endeavor in Northeast Brazil. May God bless you abundantly beyond what you could ask or imagine.





If you would like to see the blueprints for our base and hear specifics on budget costs, as well as other financial needs, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Please reach out with any thoughts, questions, or if you would simply like to connect!



(Facebook and Instagram: joelkearney. Happy to talk over the phone as well!)

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