Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God's intricate plans

I wanted to share with you a wild story of God's sovereignty over decades. It's a story that stretched from Recife, Brazil, to Fort Worth and back again several times.

In the 1950s, an American family lived as missionaries in Brazil. One of their ministries was running Christian camps for Brazilian children. Busloads of children attended these camps year after year in São Paulo. One of those buses came from Recife with a young boy named Homero Lecio aboard. He accepted Christ that week at camp and returned to Recife on fire for the Lord.

That boy's faith grew as he got older, and God called him into a life of ministry. The boy moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend seminary at Southwestern Baptist Seminary with the goal of opening a Christian camp near Recife so more children might have the same opportunity he had as a child, and might come to know Jesus as he did. While at Southwestern he developed relationships with many families at Christ Chapel Bible Church and McKinney Bible Church. Those families and those churches supported him when he returned to Brazil to begin his ministry, which eventually took the name Volunteers for Christ.

Pastor Lecio, as he is now known, is the founder and director of Kids Place in the Coque community of Recife, where some of the city's poorest families live. For years the ministry has rented camp facilities for use in the summer to take children from Coque to camp. Rental rates continually rose, and his dream remained to build a camp that Kids Place could call its own. Thanks to the generosity of donors and a favorable real estate market a few years ago, that decades-old dream became a reality. The facilities at Rancho Pitanga were barely ready (and some areas were unfinished) when the first campers to arrived last summer, but the first session of camp in their new facility was a huge success. Volunteers for Christ also has a church in a fishing village on the coast. Kids Place, Rancho Pitanga, the church in the fishing village are the three arms of ministry in Volunteers for Christ.

Fast forward to a grandson of those Brazilian missionaries. His name is Richard Drummond and he and his wife Aimee are on the YCC mission trip with us in Brazil this summer.  His grandparents ran the camp where Pastor Lecio received Christ.  He is now serving alongside Pastor Lecio with us in Brazil.

So here is Richard, witnessing in person the incredible legacy left by the obedience of his grandparents to the call God placed on their lives, followed by Pastor Lecio's obedience to the call God placed on his life. And Richard and Ammie are in Recife this week because God called them here as well.

I'm sure that description doesn't do justice to the chills it caused all around here when Richard connected all the dots for us last night. Josh and I came here for the first time two years ago, and I remember talking with Pastor Lecio about his testimony and how this ministry started. I remember him talking about the camp he attended as a child. So watching that story come full circle to Richard getting to be here and meet a man who was directly impacted by his grandparents' ministry, and be surrounded by children who are benefitting from that legacy of obedience -- it's just stunning. And humbling.

Our group has talked a lot about the legacy of obedience and service this week. God takes the little we give Him and multiplies it beyond what we we will probably ever see in this lifetime. I suspect there are many of these wild connections around us all the time, but we'll never connect all the dots. None of us became a believer in a vacuum, untouched by the ministry of other believers. We are all indebted to those who obeyed God and poured into our lives. God, in His grace, allows us to play a role in the spiritual lives of others when we obey His call to service.

God is putting on the greatest show on earth all the time, weaving intricate stories of redemption. Service puts you in the front row to see His show up close. We are grateful to all of you who helped put us in the front row this week. Thank you. We are being changed, and we know others here are being changed as well. May God multiply this service for His glory for generations to come.

In Him,
Amy Burgess

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