Both Mark and Anita Swedberg are missionary kids. Mark grew up in Brazil. Anita grew up in the Dominican Republic. They joined Baptist Mid-Missions in 1990 and arrived on the field of Brazil in February, 1993, with their oldest child, John. He was just 2. Originally they worked in São José do Rio Preto, a city of about 250,000 inhabitants in northwest São Paulo state. Their first ministry was to begin a Bible Institute at the church Mark’s dad was starting at the time. Shortly after arriving, an opportunity to start a church opened up in Olímpia, a smaller town about 35 miles away. Meetings began in a garage in August of 1993. Mark and Anita moved to Olímpia at the end of 2003 and began full-time services there at the beginning of 2004. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born in February of the year.
With generous donations by some of God’s people, a large piece of property was purchased and several buildings were eventually put up, including a parsonage, the beginnings of an education wing, and an auditorium that will seat over 300 people. The church grew and was organized, Finally, in 2008 the church, Igreja Batista Central de Olímpia, called its first full-time Brazilian pastor and graduated to independent status. Although he only stayed a year, they quickly moved to call their current pastor, Márcio Martins. He has been doing a fine job. The church is a lively place with many young couples and oodles of toddlers and young children. Several new families have been added.
In 2005 Mark was called to help with a difficult situation in Guaíra, a smaller city about 60 miles from Olímpia. The situation became a church split and Mark was asked to help those that remained faithful to the Scriptures to start a biblical Baptist Church. Mark and Anita spent over two years traveling to Guaíra on Tuesdays and often on Saturdays or Sundays, as well. The result is a Igreja Batista Boas Novas (Good News Baptist Church), a strong, doctrinally grounded church. They called a Brazilian Pastor, Clayton Maciel, in 2007. He is doing a very fine job. The church has recently purchased a piece of property and is looking to build its own building. They currently meet in a day care center.
Mark and Anita took and extended furlough from September, 2008, to September, 2010. During this time Mark completed a ThM degree at Detroit Baptist Seminary. It was also during this time that they spoke at First Baptist and were taken on for support.
When they returned to Brazil in 2010, they returned to a new city and in a new capacity. They currently live on the outskirts of São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world. Mark’s main ministry is with the Editora Batista Regular, a Baptist Press that publishes good Sunday School materials and important books for our churches here in Brazil. In this capacity, Mark helps choose books to publish, speaks in several churches, hosts an annual Conference on Preaching and Preachers and teaches occasionally at different Bible colleges in Brazil.
In addition to that ministry, Mark and Anita are involved in church-planting. The church they have been working in called Pastor Arthur Mucilo at the end of 2012. The transition to Pastor Arthur’s ministry will be complete at the end of 2014. In 2015, Mark and Anita will fill in for missionary Roberto Coelho, while he and his family go on furlough. The church is Faith Baptist Church in Granja Viana, a suburb of São Paulo.
Mark and Anita have two children. John is taking an M.A. at Central Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, MN. Jennifer is a junior at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, IA. They are both sacred music majors.