Brazil #2: The Great Commission in Brazil
by David, Arredondo- La Mirada Community Presbyterian Church. Ca
If someone would have told me I was going to be in Brazil for 10 days in a mission trip to the Amazon River, flying for almost 14 hours, sleeping in a boat for six days in an 8x9 room with bunk beds for 4 people, I would have told that person he was delusional.
I could not believe I was waiting at Los Angeles international airport for my flight to Brazil. When Pastor Juan Sarmiento from the Outreach Foundation invited our church, Community Presbyterian Church of La Mirada, to be part of Amazon river mission in December 2018, I was clueless of the magnitude of the mission trip and how our Lord could use someone like me on this trip. On Saturday, August 17 at 1:30 AM we arrived at Manaus, Brazil with 85 degrees and 110% humidity. I did not know what direction we were going, what the food would taste like, and what kind of bugs we were going to experience. I had many questions with no answers, and this made me a little anxious. The only thing I knew for sure was that our Lord and Savior was in control of EVERYTHING.
As soon as we went through the Brazilian Customs and picked up our luggage, we meet pastor Djard at the Manaus airport terminal. A very humble, energetic person with a big smile who gave us the warmest welcome to Brazil. Once we arrived at our hotel at 2:30 am and got our room keys, pastor Djard told us he’ll meet us for breakfast at 7:30 of the morning. Only God knew how we made it at 7:30 am for breakfast. After breakfast, we had an introductory meeting with pastor Djard and our mission group. Pastor Rocky Stone and his wife Celia from Greenville, North Carolina, Amilton M. Britos, a Brazilian mission’s Elder from Orlando, Florida, Pastor Juan Sarmiento from Nashville Tennessee, Pastor Djard Moraes from Manaus, Brazil and myself David Z Arredondo, a Mexican mission’s Elder from Whittier, California. Pastor Djard gave us an overview of the amazing God’s work in Brazil. It’s hard to explain how God is using, connecting, changing, strengthening, and blessing people, churches, organizations, villages, communities, and the whole country in Brazil. This is not a human project but the work of God. The presence of God and the Holy Spirit is the divine engine that keeps the Great Commission in Brazil.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
After our meeting with Pastor Djard and the team, we have an opportunity to explore the local community. We visited local museums, shops, the “opera house,” and we ate “Tambaqui,” a typical delicious fish from the Manaus region. The last activity of the day was to join the youth group at the “PEDRAS VIVAS” (Living Stones) campus of the Presbyterian Church from Manaus. An amazing mega-church which, having grown, purchased a former car dealership with more than half an acre of construction and the lot. This facility allows 3 services, 2 on Sunday and 1 on a Monday with a seating capacity of almost 4,000 people for each service. We were amazed by our Lord’s work in Manaus. We sang, prayed and share the Word of God with the Youth Group. The group consisted of about 30 teenagers and young adults whose faith and love for our God was eminent. We heard testimonies of a young lady who came back from a youth mission camp in Portugal and how God manifested through the whole trip and back in her hometown in Manaus, Brazil. We had the opportunity to view part of the Children’s ministry with more than 100 kids, 30 volunteers and the children’s pastor, an ex-top rank police officer.
In conclusion, our first day in Manaus, Brazil was just a peek of what God is doing in that part of the world. The passion and love for our Lord, the dedication and the energy levels our Brazilian brothers are living day by day, hour by hour is real and genuine. The more we learned about their programs, systems, and commitment, we were speechless and amazed. We knew the presence of God is within them and we were going to have the opportunity to experience it during our mission trip. This mission trip was a life-changing event in my life. I hope I can transmit and express how great is our God like my Brazilian brothers and sisters.
“Deus lhes abençoe “muito obrigado caros irmãos e irmãs‘’