The person in the photograph

Flávia GuimarãesMissions BlogLeave a Comment

A few months ago, I was feeling a bit lost and as if I lived an empty life. You might be thinking that I was in need of God, and in a sense I was, but I’ve known about the truth of the Word of God since I was a child over ten years ago. What I really needed was to “live the mission.”

I started to do coaching sessions with a friend, Bruno Araújo, and in one of the sessions he asked me, “What motivates you?”. And only then, brainstorming, something that has always been there since I was little I believe, became visible, and my response was: “I want to be the person in the photo…”. What photo? The one that every missionary has: next to a child! One of the other questions that also struck me: “What matters most in your life?”. It is to fulfill my mission, to give meaning to my life, to make my dreams visible and palpable, being supported by the person I chose to live next to me, Rodrigo Christofoletti.

One night while my husband and I where talking, I told him something I had been repeating for some time: “I don’t want to wake up one day at age 40 and be doing the same exact thing: getting up in the morning and going to work, then returning back at night… And rewind this routine every day in a boring cycle… “. Then my husband, who was reading, stopped and said, “Hear this: Every follower of Christ should earnestly inquire: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” We need to humble ourselves before the Lord, with fasting and prayer, and to meditate much upon His word, especially upon the scenes of the judgment. We should now seek a deep and living experience in the things of God. We have not a moment to lose. Events of vital importance are taking place around us; we are on Satan’s enchanted ground. Sleep not, sentinels of God; (…) Many (…) congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts which they do not commit (…). It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer His expectation by bearing fruit.” The Great Controversy, 601.

Wow, this text impacted us, and at that time we prayed to God, saying, “Here we are, Lord…”.
Everything was set in the heart of God. That same week, I was scrolling through Facebook and a post about a missionary congress called my attention, “I Will Go”… And after a few clicks a question pops up on the screen: “Do you want to be a volunteer?” My heart raced, tears welled up in my eyes. How could God respond so quickly and so clearly? In the vast majority of testimonies I hear, one is always called by someone, a family member or a friend, but in our case, God called us! On the same day I found out about the Amazon Lifesavers Ministry and sent an e-mail to the coordinator, Brad. We anxiously waited for the response and when we finally got an answer we filled in the application and waited. During the weekend on Saturday morning at church everything seemed to point to mission during the Sabbath school lesson and worship. It was then that I asked my husband, “Can you hear God speaking to us?” He answered positively and asked me, “Has He not always been speaking, but only now we are willing to listen?” Not to mention the sermon totally directed to us. A few minutes earlier I had asked God if we were making the right decision, and what steps we should take. Just the preacher begins with the question: “Who here is waiting for an answer of God?”. Of course most of us raised our hands, but I had asked God shortly before and asked that it be a clear answer. The preacher continues: “God told me to tell you that He will answer you now… “. During the sermon, a sentence touched me a lot: “God says that you will ‘fly high’, will get to know the wonders of God’s creation, will get to know nature, you will explore the world!”.

Do you know how thrilling it is to hear God’s promises?! At that moment it was impossible to hold back the tears, and I thought, “If only he would say the word ‘mission’ “. When I opened my eyes after prayer, my Bible was open in my lap, and when I look at it, it seemed to flash the word mission. Yes, my bible was opened in the word ‘mission’.

My heart was racing. How good it is to know we have a personal God that is interested and cares about our dreams and desires. Brad’s response was positive, and the date was set for a short mission trip during our vacation. We prepared everything and we were on the road, not literally of course, because we are from Piracicaba, interior of Sao Paulo, and Amazonas is very far away.

After arriving, everything seemed surreal and difficult to describe the feeling. We stayed in a community in the interior called Membeca, where we followed up the work of two full-time missionaries, Jessica, a nurse, and Priscilla, a teacher. These girls were like sisters. We became great friends, and every day we met different people and saw how our reality was so distant and different. We met amazing people with a wide smiles, that love to invite you in, to tell fisherman tales, to give you fish, to take you for a walk. They love naming you plants and trees, showing fruits, preparing you lunch. They were dearly touched by a simple cake we made followed by a “happy birthday”. Many pastors are passionate about mission. About the community, I can say that it is a place of extremes. Indescribable beauty, nature is fantastic, the landscape is impossible to describe in words, not to mention the fresh water pink dolphins jumping in the water. Sunsets are gorgeous, the water is fresh and canoe rides are fun, it’s a unique experience. On the other hand we find much poverty, people living without basic sanitation, health and quality education, among other things. But best of all, the best of the Amazon, is the smile of people so simple but so rich in wisdom, life and stories.

Some smiles will never leave my mind. There was also have a very special hug I received from a beautiful girl named Evelyn. What a hug! What a smile so pure and sincere, the kind we only get a few times in life. This little princess is next to me in the photo, that photo…
And about being the person in the photo. I found out that I always want to be that person, at all times and in all places.

I really look forward to our next mission trip. Where? I don’t know, but I’m sure that everything is settled in the heart of God and I will fulfill the promise of God in my life… “You will fly and explore the world!”

Valtfria Vieira Christofoletti (22) and Rodrigo Christofoletti (23)

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Flávia Guimarães

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