Please allow me to briefly introduce myself. I am what they call a “Bramerican,” a Brazilian-American. My parents took me to Brazil when I was 11 months old and that is where I spent my formative years as a child and a youth. From a young age I had the privilege of being involved in ministry. I came to America when I was 16 and endured my remaining two years of high school. It was difficult to “look” like an American, yet have the heart and culture of a Brazilian. There was no one with whom I could relate.
In my quest to get back “home,” after graduation I joined the Marine Corps with hopes of becoming an embassy guard in Brazil. Short story shorter – it didn’t work as planned. The Lord had plans for me, however, and I became engaged in ministry wherever I was stationed. Once my tour was up, I went to college and pursued a degree in Cross Cultural Ministry. Three years into college, however, I decided to take a break and pursue a missions venture that took me through five South American countries in 18 months. My purpose was to experience as much ministry as possible and to participate with missionaries and local pastors wherever needed.
On my return to America, I got married, finished my schooling, started a family, and somehow settled down with a job in the computer field. It wasn’t long, though, before the Lord called me back into ministry. During those years I focused on preaching, teaching, discipleship, small groups, evangelism, leadership development, counseling, and missions. I used my gifts and ministry interests in four churches in Georgia, Oregon, and Tennessee.
When God called me out of the preaching ministry, I thought He was leading me back to my military roots as a Veterans Administration Chaplain. I worked with Veterans for two years and saw good fruit as men and women reconnected with God and themselves. But at the end of that season, to my surprise, something completely unexpected happened. God yanked me out of that field and told me in no uncertain terms that He wanted me back in missions – back to my first love. In awe and great bewilderment, I answered the call and accepted the offer to become Hisportic Christian Mission’s third director.
HCM is not new to me. I met Wayne and Gail Long in Brazil three years before they founded the mission, and have often crossed paths with their work both in America and in Brazil. For the past year, I have also been in frequent contact with Carl Bookout. He has been slowly training me on the particulars of the work with the anticipation of this transition.
As with any transition, this will be a period in which we might experience some unfamiliar twists and turns. As with any transition, this will be a time that will require extra effort and energy until together we hit our pace. Transitions can bring feelings of uncertainty for some, but for others it creates the challenge to exercise their faith.
The author of Hebrews tells us that, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (11:1). And as Paul so powerfully affirms, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). So with these things in mind, under Christ’s authority, let us continue to work together in making “disciples among the Portuguese-speaking people world-wide, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything the Lord has commanded us.” Amen!