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Miss Sylacauga 2015 Mary Kelly Cantrell headed to Brazil


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Miss Sylacauga 2015 Mary Kelly Cantrell will begin a two year position in Belo Horizonte, Brazil with Campus Outreach.

Cantrell graduated from Troy University in May with a degree in Human Services.  It was during her tenure at Troy that she connected with friends in the Campus Outreach (CO) program. Cantrell explained, “One day while on campus I bumped into former First Baptist Church Youth Director, Ryan Akers.”  Akers is the Mobilization Director for Campus Outreach Birmingham. “He introduced me to Campus Outreach at Troy. I started attending the meetings there.  It was much later that I decided to sign up for my first Summer Beach Project.  That is where you work a job and complete a summer program to learn and gain knowledge and grow in the Lord.”  Through the training and discipleship Cantrell received during her college years, God moved her heart for evangelism and international ministry.  After attending another summer beach project in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, she fell in love with the students and culture.  She saw the desperate need there for Christ and decided to submit an application for a two-year internship with CO Belo Horizonte.

After receiving her CO Belo Horizonte confirmation, Cantrell proceeded to raise the financial support required by Campus Outreach. She was able to raise all the financial support needed in order to cover her personal and ministry expenses during the two-year internship.   Last Friday Cantrell received her visa and just learned that her plane leaves on December 1, 2017 for Brazil.  Cantrell will join two other colleagues from Troy who are currently serving in Brazil.  They will share an apartment close to campus with a fourth girl, hopefully a local who knows the language.  Currently, Cantrell is learning to speak Portuguese, the official language of Brazil, in preparation for her appointment.

“We will live and work in the college community closest to two mini-colleges, the college of math, physics and engineering, and the college of physical education and physical therapy,” shared Cantrell.  “We will ride the bus or walk everywhere we go.  Also there is no air conditioning there, so we’ll have to get used to the heat.” Cantrell’s CO team will be building relationships with students at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).  She will plan events and socials for group discussions.  Other CO teams will work behind the scenes with logistics, finances, and English teaching programs.  “We will work 40-60 hours each week meeting people, teaching, and learning the culture,” Cantrell explained, “Belo Horizonte was a good personality fit for me; it did not seem like a job.  I am very excited about the internship and upcoming assignment.”

What is Campus Outreach?

In 1978 Campus Outreach was founded as a collaborative network of interdenominational ministries targeting college campuses in the United States and around the world.  Currently Campus Outreach spans 19 different regions around the world with ministries in 16 states and six countries collectively.

The vision of Campus Outreach is “Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus of the Lost World.”  CO seeks to build laborers with a Christ-centered commitment to the Great Commission through evangelism and discipleship.  Their mission is to reach college students with the gospel and then train the students to become mature Christians.  Their primary goal is to reach others for God’s glory.

Campus Outreach in Belo Horizonte, Brazil was launched in 1997 with the mission of Glorifying God by building laborers through the campus for the the lost world.  Currently, CO has a staff team at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) with the mission of taking the message of Jesus Christ to this generation of Brazilian college students, their families, coworkers, and throughout the Brazilian community.  Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama, is the sending church and the church authority in Belo Horizonte is Comunidade Horizonte.

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