by Joseph McKinney, Jr.

DIAMANTE, Brazil (BNc)- The most satisfying moment of a missionary’s life is actually something simple: when he sees someone he helped bring to Christ, taking up the baton and passing the message on to others.

When Francinaldo gave his life to Christ last April, he never imagined that he would be preaching the Gospel five months later in his hometown.

Every election day, Francinaldo’s whole family travels back to their hometown to vote. Diamante is a small town (population: 6,500) at the far west side of Paraiba state. While planning for this 10-hour trip, his wife Ivani, who is also a new convert, had the idea of having a church meeting there.

Francinaldo in white shirtThey had never done anything like this and didn’t know how the extended family would react, but Francinaldo concluded that it didn’t matter: “Even if it is just Ivani, Mara (a Christian sister-in-law) and me participating, we will serve the Lord.”

(Photo: Francinaldo holding the meeting (in white shirt), sitting on floor.)

About 30 family members and neighbors came. They sang, prayed, Francinaldo preached the Gospel, had the Lord’s Supper and even the offering ($13.00), which went to an elderly neighbor lady in great need. She received it with tears in her eyes.

Someone invited a local pastor from a denomination. He was greatly impressed with the simplicity of the meeting — never saw anything like it. He complained about the hard hearts of the city, saying that he had evangelized for two years from one end of the city to the other with a sound system and constant preaching, but couldn’t get anybody to come to church. Francinaldo’s impression was completely different: he saw how hungry the people were for God’s word.

I am elated that Francinaldo, Ivani and Mara have come to understand what it means to follow Christ.

Though Francinaldo is a brick layer’s assistant, probably one of the lowest jobs you can have in Brazil, he is being used by God in a powerful way. People are seeing Jesus in him and not a theological degree, not a charismatic speaker, nor even a foreign missionary, just simply Jesus. His own family in Diamante almost didn’t recognize him.

Who knows what growth God will give the seeds sown in this little city, which I had never even heard of before?

I realize now with satisfaction that if Francinaldo and Ivani were to move some day, God would plant a church in their home wherever it may be.