As I traveled in South America in 1998, I met a young Brazilian named Paulo, who had an ambitious vision to restore the lives of the hundreds of thousands of street children. But he was struggling to fund his compassionate enterprise.
I sensed an undeniable call to help this discouraged but promising servant. I rallied our church to pay for Paulo and his wife to visit the United States.
For 18 months he shared his vision all across the country. Paulo returned to Brazil with enough money to purchase a three-story ministry center in the middle of the São Paulo slums. His ministry acquired a 100-acre camp as a haven of recreation and evangelism for the slum children. All told, multiplied hundreds of lives have been reached, redeemed and reclaimed.
A few months ago, hot tears streamed down my face as a Brazilian orchestra performed for our missions conference. The 20-piece ensemble of brass, percussion, strings, and woodwinds, comprised entirely of street children from the slums of São Paulo, brought a blessing beyond words.
In the last two years over 120 of our own people have ministered in São Paulo on short-term missions excursions and many are now preparing for a full-time missions career.
This amazing story illustrates the rewards I've known because of my investment in world missions. I am convinced that pastors are the most powerful human element in shaping a missions-motivated congregation. As a pastor, I am working to fulfill that vision of church-wide involvement in global outreach.
Take me as your leader
Though I do not remember much about my first mission trip to Mexico during junior high, I do recall returning home with a keen awareness of the spiritual need, physical poverty, and incredible receptivity of people there. ...