In 2016, I joined a project called One Year in Mission (OYiM) and went to serve in a town called Itambé, which is located in the state of Paraná in southern Brazil. It was an amazing experience!

It was also a perfect opportunity for God to change my life and my way of seeing many things. Sometimes people think that being involved in mission work changes people’s lives simply because they’re there, but that’s not the case. A missionary’s life changes only if he or she is willing to change. The spiritual struggle is intense, and you can see the battle clearly around you. I think this is one of the best things about mission work because, in proportion to the attacks of evil, you feel God taking care of you. He did amazing things to help me reach out to people, such as what He did in the story I’m about to share.

Every morning our OYiM leader, Silvio, shared beautiful and inspiring devotional thoughts with us. He also gave us assignments to complete, such as doing good to others, not using our cell phones for one day, visiting someone, and praying with a stranger.

One day my mission partner, Thallis, and I were assigned the task of intentionally doing something good for someone. As we rode our bicycles through town on our way to visit a particular neighborhood, we thought about how we could fulfill our task. Then, as we passed the town’s main square, we noticed a baby bird lying on the ground. It had fallen from a tall tree, and we stopped to see whether we could help.

Thallis climbed the tree and returned the bird to the nest. But then he couldn’t climb back down. What are we going to do? we wondered. We didn’t have long to wait because the property owners had been watching us, and they came out with a ladder. Thallis was relieved, but I couldn’t help laughing at his predicament!

Because of this experience, we started talking to the people and developed a nice friendship with them. After a few visits, we started studying the Bible with the whole family—father, mother, two children, and even a grandmother! Isn’t it amazing how God works? And all of this was because we stopped to help a bird.

The family didn’t get baptized while we were there, but a seed had been planted in their hearts, and perhaps one day, we’ll have a beautiful meeting together in heaven. 

If you’re afraid or full of doubts because you don’t know how to reach people, don’t worry. Just put yourself in God’s hands. He will give you an unexpected opportunity, perhaps using a bird, a cat, a dog, or something even more surprising!

One Year in Mission 

One Year in Mission (OYIM) is a young adult urban missionary movement designed to take the Three Angels' messages into the cities of the world. Teams of young people (18+) work for an entire year mingling with people,  ministering to their needs, magnifying Jesus, making disciples, and inviting people to become part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church family.  Is God calling you to be part of OYIM? Learn more at!

Watch One Year in Mission stories at

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Lilian Bruna Sarmento served as a One Year in Mission volunteer in her home state of Paraná, Brazil.