The first Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod missionary came to Brazil in 1900, attending the request of German immigrants living in Brazil. The Seminário Concórdia was established in 1903 and one year later, the Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil (IELB) became a district of the LCMS. In 1980, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB) became an independent church body and a partner church of the LCMS. The IELB celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2003 and 2004.
In 1989, the LCMS began supporting mercy work in Brazil. The first grant helped special education students finish their high school studies. Since then, dozens of grants from Synod’s mercy arm helped disaster response and human care efforts in Brazil.
The LCMS supports the work of the IELB in mission outreach by planting and constructing buildings for new congregations and in theological education projects. One main mission emphasis is Portuguese-language radio broadcasts on 150 different stations. More than 50,000 responses have been received from listeners and more than 4,000 people are enrolled in Bible correspondence courses. Additional outreach programs include integrated mission centers (schools, medical and dental care), orphanages, elderly care, child day-care centers, deaf schools and hospitals.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil includes 469 parishes, 1,355 congregations, 223,588 baptized members and 773 pastors. The church operates primary schools, secondary schools, two seminaries and several schools for the deaf. IELB missionaries serve in several countries, including in LCMS congregations in the United States.