Dan and I both had excellent training for ministry before arriving in Brazil three decades ago, but many things happened for which we were not fully prepared. One of the important lessons we have learned is that our inadequacies relieve us of trying to do God’s work in our own strength.
For most of our missionary career, we’ve held support roles. Brazilians who have planted churches in new parts of Brazil have invited us to come alongside them to train pastors, seminary students, and children’s workers. We have loved that role since teaching and discipling are our gifts. But in 2012, the Lord called us to help plant a church in Brasília, the nation’s capital. Suddenly we could not depend on our natural gifts. We had never done church planting!
By faith we joined two Brazilian couples and began the slow and arduous work. I often said to the Lord, “We have no idea what we are doing. Please help us!” Luke 5 became a precious passage to me. I often repeated Peter’s words to the Lord, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing!” And the Lord kept reminding me that we needed to launch out into the deep and trust Him to fill our nets. At the beginning of 2018, after six years of casting out our nets, the Lord began filling them. Nena, Dan’s car mechanic friend, was the first to give His heart to the Lord. Then others began to come to faith in Christ. We marvel at what the Lord did, and give Him praise for doing what we could never have accomplished on our own.