I still remember the day I arrived in my new (then) home for a year in Brazil.
After a week long vacation in Rio de Janeiro, I boarded a plane destination Rio Branco, a city in the Amazon region of Brazil.
A place with thousands of clandestine drug-running airstrips, where poverty oppresses, a region with thousands of unreached people groups, some of whom have never even made contact with outside world.
As the plane landed, I looked out and saw dusk settling over a single strip airport surrounded by jungle.
I quickly found my driver and my new roommate and loaded up in the car for the drive home.
I breathed deep and took in the smells: burning wood mixed with damp dirt and humidity.
This wasn’t how I’d expected the jungle to look. I imagined palm trees and tropical animals, but what I saw was orange colored dirt roads, surrounded by thick jungle. Shacks lined the streets along with the occasional corner market that looked more like a backyard project than a place I’d buy food. Wide-eyed children played soccer and mothers carried babies.
My heart beat outside my chest. I was in love.
I woke every morning at 5 am for a run through the outskirts of town. I’d watch the town come to life with the sun rise. Wood shutters opening, shirtless children and bare feet slapping the ground from wood paneled homes into dirt filled yards, men climbing onto rickety old bikes in torn shoes, the bustle of women going to the market before the oppressive humid heat paralized movement.
Our opened aired church building held meetings that resounded so full of life and centered our days. The same neighbors that wore torn shirts and flip flops during the week came dressed in their Sunday best. Their warmth radiated with their praise.
I watched these people with hands raised and hearts aflame and I knew what kind of conditions many of them lived in. Their circumstance didn’t dictate their joy. People were hungry for God in a way I’d never seen before, and people were open to the Gospel in a way that I’d never experienced.
It’s been 13 years since I walked those streets and I still miss it. I miss the people, the chaos, the life I found in a hard place.
Now I live in tension. My heart longs for people in other nations, but my greatest mission field is right here. My greatest joy happens right here in my home grown God-sized mission field where I can choose to either spend my days discontent and waiting for the next great thing, or sing a hallelujah chorus over my everyday and pour myself over this place God has me and let Him fill me up over and over again.
That’s really what we do, pour out until we think there’s nothing left, then He fills us back up again. Every diaper, dish, laundry load, midnight cuddle and scraped knee is an opportunity to choose joy, walk in grace for today and pour into little souls that will do greater things.
We are everyday world changers because every moment is a ministry opportunity.
We can change the world one moment at a time.
We live for an audience of One where small obedience grows into character that shapes big destiny.
And we wait.
We pour out like water and with grace He fills. Everything we are fights to make every moment a grace filled one because today He is here and this moment is wrapped into our God-sized dream.
These are not small beginnings. Faithfulness in the small things leads to God-sized destinies.
“Don’t despise small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”–Zech 4:10 NLT
Holley Gerth asked us to highlight an organization that we think is worth trumpeting, so mine is Project Amazon. They are church planting and reaching thousands of people groups in Brazil with no current Christian witness. My personal belief is that one of the greatest ways to change a city is to plant a life-giving local church. This is what Project Amazon does.
I’m linked up over here today.
Photos 1-4 credited to Eduardo Arraes.