We do not know the identity of Luke’s Theophilus (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1), but we do know God must have loved him a great deal to prompt Luke to write two books for his benefit.1 This is a story about God’s love for a modern-day Theophilus. Let me introduce him to you.
Our Purpose: To Love God and Others
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. — Mark 12:30-31
Three years ago, as empty nesters, my husband Alcides and I decided to leave our comfortable first-world lives and return to the mission field in Goiania, Brazil. Obviously, anywhere you find people you have a mission field. One does not have to move to a foreign country to feel useful. However, we felt our specific skills and abilities could be of optimum use abroad. Alcides was born and raised in Brazil and became a Christian in Sao Paulo. I had the opportunity to be part of the team that planted the first church in our fellowship in Brazil in 1987. We married two years later and helped plant and served in various churches on three continents.
Nobuko Cobi Narita's baptism: 2/13/2017. DOB: 3/3/1926.
This past summer at Reach2016, the North American Discipleship Summit in St. Louis, thousands were guided through another incredible rendition of Upside Down by an old bearded man named Luke. Many remember Rob Narita, the man behind the beard, for his performances as Jesus and Simon the Sorcerer in the 1994 production. Sitting in the audience watching her son was Rob’s mother Cobi Narita, who Rob has been praying for since he became a disciple over 20 years ago.
It all started in August of 2016, though we are now fully aware of how much longer God has been working and moving in Derek's life.
When I arrived to Spain, I knew only a small handful of people, but I had immediate access to a Facebook group of about 500 people who were hired as English teachers, like myself. Hoping to utilize technology as one of God's many tools, I posted about the church here in Madrid, giving as much information as I could, and also providing my phone number and other useful information within the comments.
Brandon McKellop is a 25-year-old disciple in our church in Montego Bay, Jamaica. In May 2016, Brandon accidentally fell from the second floor of a four story building while at work. Brandon's skull was cracked, and he was bleeding from his ears. The doctors feared the worst – that Brandon would not pull through, and if he did survive, he would most likely be a vegetable.
"And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies." – Hebrews 11:32-34
Throughout history God’s people have faced formidable odds in order to realize his promises and accomplish his mission. However, with enduring faith they saw their weaknesses turned to strength.
There are 40 million souls who live in the Caribbean region, hungry for the saving power of God's Word. As a unified effort, the Caribbean ICOC churches are forging together, more united than ever, commited to our goal to "Reach Every Beach," to the glory of God.