Home Base: Iris Centre, Fortaleza, Brazil
"But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15.
I was so blessed to grow up in a Christian home where my parents taught me to love the Lord. However, I did not have a real and vital relationship with the Lord. I cared a lot about what people around me thought, and this led to compromise in my life.
God grabbed a hold of my life during my final year of high school and I have never been the same since then. I was at a prayer meeting after being impacted earlier that day by a message I heard about the glory of God. At the prayer meeting, God’s presence came over me powerfully, and I had a sense of the enormity of my sin and guilt before a holy God. I also felt God’s love for me, and this had an impact on me. I later told God that he could have my whole life and I would do what he wanted me to do. As I was praying one morning I sensed God was saying ‘Thailand’, and that was the beginning of overseas missions for me.
The following year (2007-2008) I completed a Discipleship Training School with YWAM (Youth With a Mission), where I had the chance to go to Thailand as well as Malaysia for my outreach. In 2008-09 I had the opportunity to do a School of Biblical Studies with YWAM as well. At the end of 2009 my life was impacted when I went with a team of bible teachers to Nepal.
When I returned from Nepal I continued working as a carpenter. During this season of my life I still had a heart for overseas missions, and knew that I would end up overseas sooner or later. In 2012 I became connected with Iris through my sister Jenn, who had completed the Harvest Mission School in 2009 and had become very good friends with two of the team members, Herb and his future wife Lorelei.
Herb and Lorelei were married shortly after the school. They moved to Brazil in 2010, and in 2011 they started an Iris Base in Fortaleza Brazil. The base in Fortaleza has a heart to love those whom the world often categorizes as ʻlowestʼand ʻleastʼ. Iris Fortaleza also has a heart for those who are being trafficked and exploited. Most of all, the missionaries at Iris Fortaleza have a heart to give one hundred percent to Jesus and never say no to him. Jenn told me about Herb and Lorelei, and my interest was piqued. Near the end of 2012 I went to visit the base in Fortaleza, and I decided to come back to Fortaleza in March of 2013.
While I was in Brazil God did a few specific things in my heart. First of all, he gave me a greater heart for people who have never heard the gospel, who do not know who Jesus is. God also gave me a heart to see Brazilians raised up and sent out the nations, specifically places that are yet unreached. I was challenged as we ministered in the favela of Oitao Preto among the poor and marginalized. I was encouraged to work alongside believers who love Jesus, and I was encouraged to see people changed by the power of Christ. I was also encouraged to see first-hand, that there still is power in the name of Jesus to set the oppressed free.
During my time in Fortalezea, God also spoke to Herb about an initiative that would involve sending Brazilians (as well as foreigners) to places that were yet unreached. Everyone on the base spent time praying, and a group of us decided to commit in a focussed way to seeing God’s dream of every tribe hearing the good news in a more focussed way. A group of six of us committed to going where the Lord would send us together as a group. We felt that God was telling us that he wanted us to go to the unreached people of Nepal. Our group is planning on leaving for Nepal near the end of February of 2014 for. We as a team also have a desire to go into the interior regions of Brazil (possibly in the fall of 2014 - but we are not sure as of yet).
I stayed in Fortaleza until August, when I had to leave the country because my visa had run out. I felt that God was leading me to go long term with Iris, and I felt that the next step would be to attend the Harvest Mission School in Pemba. I completed the school this past Fall, along with a number of Brazilians from the base in Fortaleza. The Harvest School was a wonderful time of growth in relationship with Jesus, as well as seeing the power of God come crashing in. God continued to cement the desire he had placed in my heart to go to unreached people. At the end of my time in Pemba I had the chance to go to an island off the coast of Mozambique with a small team, and we were able to share the gospel and see people give their lives to Jesus! Exciting!
I arrived back to Brazil mid-January 2014, and am taking a number of weeks to pray and to prepare for the upcoming initiative. The name of the initiative is the 'M24 initiative', taken from Matthew 24, and specifically 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” I am so excited about going back to Nepal, because this is a nation that God has given me a heart for. We also hope that we can be an encouragement to our family at the Iris Kathmandu base there!