Missionary Couples and The National Board of the IDPB
It is an official visit. The National Board, the top denominational leaders of the Church of Brazil, have come to visit the new church and mission training center in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. This is the first time they have ever met outside of Brazil in their 55 year history. They have heard many reports, but are now here to see for themselves what was started by 12 of their young Brazilians 7 years ago.
I love to tell the story of these young folks, most of whom I have known and watched grow up during my years of mission work in the Amazon. At one of their small group meetings, they all heard the Holy Spirit calling them to leave their homes to start a new church in Santa Cruz. They sold everything they had and in an amazing step of faith, followed the Holy Spirit's call. When they arrived, they all lived together in one small room, selling cakes on the streets by day to support themselves and spreading the word that they were starting a church. The first Sunday after they arrived, they had their first worship service under the stars of the 3rd floor roof where they were living. God has blessed this adventure and today there is a thriving Church and Mission Training Center here in Santa Cruz that has planted a second church in Santa Cruz and new churches in Argentina, Chile, and very soon in Paraguay.
This is also a reunion. Three missionary families have returned to the mission training center to meet the Denominational leaders. They have all been away for a long time. They are all so glad to be with their friends and fellow Brazilians, to speak Portuguese, catch up on news from back home, eat the foods they grew up eating and sing their old familiar songs.
But on a more serious note, the National Board wants to get to know the leaders of the Bolivian Church, see the Mission Training Center, and hear from the missionaries about their ministries. I am close friends with many of the National Board and have worked with all of them over the years. At their first meeting they asked me to bring them a devotion. I chose to begin my remarks with Revelation 3:8, where Jesus says, "See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut". I told them how this place was an open door, where 12 young people left their country to enter a mission field that will lead to all the Spanish speaking countries of South America. I began to list all the people who had walked through this door and had their lives changed forever: Janderson, of the original 12 who has become the pastor and leader of the Mission Training Center and his wife Thally; Hugo and wife Glenda, also from the group of 12, who are now missionaries in Chile; Peter and Socorro now serving in Argentina; Isaias and Lene heading out to start a church in Paraguay; Robert and Evelyn; Max and Emily; Lurdes who now runs the kitchen and her son, Kevin; Marta, Daisy, and the list goes on.
I told each of their stories the best I could. The National Board listened to every word. I welcomed them to this special place. I closed my remarks. "Dear Brothers, today, you too have entered this very same door Jesus has opened. He has kept it open for you. Perhaps you thought you were just coming here to see the things you have heard about, but now you know you have entered something special God is doing."
I can't wait to see what happens this week