Brazil #4 - In Relationship with God and with One Another
by Rev. Jerry Deck, for the team
I have just returned from my first trip to Brazil, where I was able to see what God was doing through his people in that remarkable country. The church I serve as pastor, Zionsville Presbyterian Church, has partnered with the church in Brazil for several years. We have helped to plant churches, invested in care for pastors through the SARA Retreat Ministry for Pastors project, and more recently helped to launch Great Banquet (a long weekend retreat that has shaped ZPC for more than two decades). What became clearer to me during my week in Brazil was how, not surprisingly, the power of this partnership is found in the relationships that have been formed between ZPC and the Brazilian church. It was a great reminder to me that at the root of who we are, as image-bearers of God, are a people who were created to be in relationship with God AND with one another.
One of the attributes I most appreciate about The Outreach Foundation (on whose board I am currently serving) is that over the last few decades they have established deep relationships with the global church which allows them to help churches like ours not only help with particular projects but also more quickly become a part of a relationship. In our case, The Outreach Foundation helped to create space in which we could connect and grow in relationships which then helped us to understand more clearly where we can partner with the global church in such a way that it is a genuinely reciprocal relationship.
On Sunday morning we worshiped at one of the church plants that ZPC (through The Outreach Foundation) has supported for the last three years. It is a dynamic and growing church that stirred my soul in many different ways. At the end of the worship service, a woman came up front in order to give testimony to the difference this church plant (Vitral) has made in her and her family’s life. As she did so I realized at one point that she had moved from talking only about Vitral and was now thanking us at ZPC for our willingness to partner with them. At that moment when she described the change that had occurred in her family’s life, and as tears began to fall down her cheeks (as well as those of us visiting), I suddenly realized that I now knew not only what we were involved with in Brazil, but why it is that we have partnered with our sisters and brothers in Brazil. Because in so doing, as in 2nd Corinthians 3, we get to participate in seeing people grow in their likeness to Jesus. Not just in Brazil, of course, but also for those of us from central Indiana who are able to take part in this amazing ministry.
I look forward to our continued partnership in the years to come with those in Brazil and all across the globe. What a joy it is participating in seeing people worldwide grow to look more like Jesus until God’s kingdom comes on all of the earth as it is in heaven.
Rev. Jerry Deck
Zionsville Presbyterian Church