But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7
“The mission trip to the Amazon was a unique experience, I believe that it was during this time that God revealed the purpose He has for my life, to me.
“It all started when a strong desire germinated in my heart to serve in the Amazon as a missionary. I researched about Amazon Lifesavers Ministry on the internet, and through divine providence, I was able to join a group that was organized by a nurse from São Paulo. A lot of things started happening that could have prevented me from going, but with much prayer and by Christ’s power and merits, I was able to overcome. So on July 17, I was on my way to the very expected mission trip to the Amazon, being the very first time I would participate in such an endeavor. How exciting! What a privilege.
“While in the Amazon, during my devotions early in the morning, I didn’t quite understand why I was there. In the quiet of the night, under the moon and stars, feeling the cool, gentle breeze and hearing the noises of the jungle, tears were rolling down my cheeks as I was in deep conversation with my Savior, asking Him the true reason for me being there. The days went on and I didn’t receive any answers until 3 days before the end of the mission trip, when God started revealing Himself to me in a very personal way.
“During the trip I met a riverboy called Naildo, who had distanced himself from God’s ways. He told me his story and shared his desire to return to God, but he had some issues to resolve with some guy first. He told me about the paths that he had gone through and how far he had wandered from God. I became this young man’s friend and started praying for him every morning. One day he told me: ‘Erica, preach to me’, but as he was quite a joker, I didn’t take him seriously and walked away laughing. It was when I heard God’s voice telling me to go back and preach to him. I said: ‘But God, about what? He can’t be serious, it’s 3 PM, what am I going to preach to him about?’ Again I heard God’s voice saying: ‘Go back and preach to him.’
“So I obeyed and returned without even knowing what I was going to do or say. When I got back to him, he was sitting with my devotional in his hands, reading out loud. I sat down next to him, listening to him read to the very end of the passage, and when he was done he said: ‘I didn’t understand anything!’ I smiled at him and said: ‘Let’s read it together’, and I started reading and explaining it to him.
“When I finished, he became very quiet and thoughtful so I asked him what he was thinking about and he said that he wanted to leave, leave that place, live life, conquer the world. I understood that just like any young person, he wanted fame, money, wealth and whatever else the world has to offer to take our focus off Christ. I counseled that young man, sharing a little of my own personal experiences, struggles and scars that were fruit of bad decisions and not letting God guide my past life. You see, just like Naildo, I had also left God’s ways, and walked far, very far from Him, so I knew what I was talking about. I was still talking to him, when he suddenly started crying. The tears seemed to come from the bottom of his soul, as if it had been locked up deep inside. I took his hand and asked if he wanted to pray and he positively nodded his head.
“On the last day of the trip, that young man gathered us all together and told us about his past, about his drug abuse and alcohol addictions, about his feelings of revenge, his desire to kill somebody. He said that each one of us had contributed to the decision he had made. No one had believed in him anymore, but we did. He said that on the day that I spoke with him, my words opened his heart to God, and he saw something different in my eyes. He couldn’t stop crying and looking at me, my words had brought him back to Jesus. He could imagine Jesus suffering on the cross with humility and love. He told everyone about his decision to return to Jesus and said that he wanted to dedicate his life to the Lord.
“I could not hold back the tears, and while he was speaking, the Holy Spirit reminded me about the promises He had given me in the mornings, and that everything He had told me was being confirmed. All I could think of was: FEED MY SHEEP.
“I know that neither what I said nor the look he saw in my eyes came of me, because I am merely a vessel in God’s hands, to Him be all honor and glory. I am only a tool that desires to be used daily to glorify the name of Jesus and to carry out the mission He has entrusted us.
“Today, this young man , to the honor and glory of God, has already been re-baptized and is participating in the mission course at the Amazon Lifesavers School of Missions.
“And today, I personally know that complete happiness is to put yourself as a tool in the Lord’s hands. The joy of that young man was great, but mine is even greater, because, being used by Jesus to serve our neighbors is the greatest joy one can experience. This is a privilege given by God to His children… not only to be used to save others, but to to save ourselves.
“Today I continue praying for Divine guidance in the call He made for me and for all those who avail themselves to be put in our Lord Jesus’ hands to cooperate with Him in the solemn work of seeking and saving the lost, and to populate heaven by the merits and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”