y experience as a volunteer missionary taught me firsthand that God doesn’t call the perfect but makes perfect those He calls.
I’d come to Porto Alegre, Brazil, to teach English, and one of my responsibilities was to host a class in the community that would help lead my students to Jesus. Before I started my mission service, I didn’t see the connection between teaching a language and sharing Jesus, so I prayed that God would guide me and bless my ministry.
In the following weeks things began to change dramatically, but not the way I wanted. The number of students in all my classes began to dwindle, and my largest class of 20 students completely dried up. Now I was even more unsure about my abilities as a missionary. I felt like giving up, but I was terrified at the thought of leaving the mission field having accomplished nothing.
Through these circumstances, God revealed to me that in my own strength I could only teach English and that only through His power could I draw others to the cross. So I began to pray a different prayer: “Lord, I’m all Yours. Please use me as You will and give me the wisdom I need to do this.”
Immediately, things began to change. One day, as I was searching for teaching materials online, I came upon a website that uses books based on the Bible to teach English. Not only were they free to download, they came with a workbook and audio files for basic and intermediate levels.
The next day, I got a very pleasant surprise. I had been distributing flyers for almost a month and getting a very poor response. Suddenly, 21 new students registered for the class! This time, I was well-equipped and better prepared to teach them. My first set of students had all been from the Adventist church where I worshiped, but in response to my prayers, God had sent me non-Adventist students from the community. And the class kept growing because the students were inviting their friends and family members to join!
But God did even more. One of my students learned that I was a psychologist, and she told me that one of her colleagues was willing to allow me to use a fully equipped room in her clinic to offer my counseling services to the community. This sounded great, but there was a big problem. My Portuguese was really bad, and all my patients spoke only Portuguese. Since everything discussed between a counselor and patient must be kept confidential, using an interpreter wasn’t an option.
“Lord, please help me share Your love, and speak through me because my Portuguese is horrible,” I prayed. From then on, I would utter Portuguese words in my sessions that I didn’t even know that I knew, and they were perfect for the context of the conversation! I had such a high influx of patients that I had to begin counseling sessions in the church because any time I was free, there was someone needing counseling. But this was still not sufficient, so two other therapists had to join the clinic at the church to help the high number of people needing our services.
God is great, and He will bless all those who are faithful to Him and seek His help. Within four months of my being in Brazil, God really blessed my ministry and supplied my every need.
I learned that God does what is best for us and that I must just trust Him and leave the rest to Him. I am to work, but it is God who gives the increase.
Serving as an Adventist volunteer was a life-changing experience. It helped me realize my dependence on God, become more obedient to His voice, and draw closer to His heart. I now know, without a doubt, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.