By Bonnie Tew | Volunteer English Teacher
Prior to the 2018 TeachBeyond Brasilia English Camp, many of the leaders and teachers experienced challenges with logistics, trip planning, unexplained physical ailments, financing, and more. While challenges can always be expected in our work for Christ, it appeared as though the difficulties were stacking up at an unusual level. During the course of a team Skype meeting prior to departures, a few of us agreed that perhaps we were being prepared for an impending battle and that the fingerprints of the “enemy” were evident. Sometimes, a simple verbal acknowledgement that we recognize the owner of those fingerprints is enough to galvanize our resolve, deepen our trust in God, foster resilience in our faith, and unify a group of Christians in one spirit – and this is exactly what happened!
God assembled an amazing TeachBeyond team with members from Canada, Brazil, and the United States. The team melded as though its members had known one another for years. Teams God assembles are such a blessed reminder that this type of unity cannot be duplicated outside of the body of Christ. As sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus, we are grafted into one family and there is a unique “knowing” which can take place between believers who are truly “blood” relation; being joined by the DNA of Christ creates a bond woven entirely by the Holy Spirit and it never ceases to spark amazement and rejoicing for God’s amazing family plan!
Approximately 55 warm-hearted students from Brasilia, and neighboring cities, joined the Camp. Within hours, it became apparent that God had indeed been preparing the team for battle. Among the English classes, laughter, games, normal camp escapades, sports, crafts, great food, an ocean of love, and challenging Chapel messages, in less than 24 hours it became clear that the strongholds of anxiety, depression, peer pressure, stories of suicide, self harm, deep family struggles, fears, and more, were waging war in the hearts of many of the campers. Their burdens were heartbreaking and yet each day began with a new sunrise, more prayer specifically for these young lives and new confirmations that God was working in the camp, in the hearts of the campers, and in the staff, from the director to the cooks.
Living Water, Living Light
When water is released from its boundary and when light is not contained, they each spread and seep into everything freely. This is exactly what the “Living Water” and the “Light of the World” accomplished in the Brasilia camp; Christ permeated everything and spoke to campers/moved hearts through: vocabulary words, craft projects, English class Bible verses, worship songs, chapel messages, English class team activities, and even preparation for a class presentation in the closing program. With God, no activity is wasted and all of His plans for every action, project, task can be used to bring 40 students to their knees in chapel seeking repentance from sin and restoration in their relationships with parents.
The Light and the Living Water, when unconfined and unrestrained, used every detail to bring two students to recommitment of their lives to Christ and two students to the full surrender of their lives and burdens to Christ. We praise the King forever for His faithfulness to restore two sheep to the fold and to add two new sheep to His church!
Based upon our observations of the transformative power of Christ in this camp, we are confident that His Word will not return void. We may need to wait until eternity to discover all of the results of the planting and watering which took place but we are confident that other decisions were made. While these decisions remain undocumented on earth, we already praise God for the work we know He is continuing to accomplish in the hearts and lives of these special campers in Brasilia and its surrounding communities.
Praying for Follow-Up
We continue to lift up Pastor Adriano Caires and his wife Daniele as they work to follow-up with the campers, especially with those needing special care and those who made decisions at Camp. The fact this wonderful team is connected to a local church is so encouraging to the workers who cannot remain in Brazil. To know that Adriano, Daniele and the church will be caring for them and following up is a bonus blessing!
On the last day of camp, an English Class prayed together before the closing program and asked God to use their presentation to reach even one more person; it was our prayer that not one person would leave camp without knowing Christ as personal Savior. Following the closing program, the Chapel was nearly empty as packing, cleaning, hugs and goodbyes filled the camp. In about 20 minutes, the bus would load and depart. Suddenly, a student who joined in the prayer prior to the closing program, frantically sought out a teacher saying, “Please, please, please we have to hurry. I have to talk to you now! I want to accept Jesus, I need to accept Jesus right NOW but I don’t know how to do it! Can you help me????”
Immediately, “What must I do to be saved?” seemed to be resounding from within and without. We prayed with the young man and afterward, he really didn’t require our assistance at all as we witnessed him pour out his heart in surrender to Jesus Christ with sincerity and eloquence.
When he finished praying, he was asked how he felt and his soft response was simply one word: “Broken.” The implications of this word pierced the hearts of the adults who were speaking with him; the Living Water was flowing and the Light of the World was working in our midst…unconfined and unrestrained. Such an event prompts the heart to want the moment to last forever!! After all, who wants to move away from the Living Water and the Light of the World while one gets the opportunity to watch Him transforming a heart for eternity?
It’s Why We Go
There isn’t enough time to list everything God accomplished at the TeachBeyond Camp in Brasilia in 2018, but we give Him the glory for the great things HE has done and is doing! Among other things, the Camp was a reminder that we are called to “go” and we are never motivated or compelled to do so by our own will, goodness or desires alone. Rather, as Paul indicates in II Corinthians 5:14a-15 “For the love of CHRIST CONTROLS us…and He died for all so that they who LIVE might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
The love of Christ prompts us and reminds us that we have been GIVEN a MINISTRY of RECONCILIATION – we have a task and responsibility to fulfill this ministry because “…we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:20). This camp was a reminder that we are here on this earth on behalf of Christ alone. As we daily surrender ourselves to His will, are we the kind of vessels through which Christ will clearly call out His appeal to the world to be reconciled to God?