A Career Path for Missions

It’s not an easy thing to think about returning to Brazil. Oh, I love Brazil, and would move back there in a heartbeat if I could. Despite the crime and violence, that country has been on my heart since I first believed I heard God’s summons to go there in June of 1997. My life from that point became organized around the goal of living in Brazil and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The problem is money. My wife would remind me that money isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. Sure, it won’t buy happiness, but it sure helps pay the bills. During my nearly three years in Brazil I taught English as a foreign language. I taught privately and also at a language school called “Wizard.” What kept us really kept us going, though, was the monthly infusion of cash from American churches who supported me in my church planting and evangelism efforts. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it.

My wife would have been willing to work, but with the birth of our son Jesse, that was not an option. So, when the money got too tight, my brother and a few supporters helped us get money together to travel to the States. This is part of the problem of working bivocationally in a Third World country: How do you get enough money together to return to your home country for visits? So, the hard part isn’t finding the money to get overseas, or even making the decision to go. The difficulty is in working out how to fund ourselves while on the mission field.

The only training I have is in ministry and a little in English teaching. I have experience in both areas, but neither pays well. In Brazil, there are often 1000 or more candidates in line for every available position with a company, and small businesses open and close on a regular basis. It is not a business-friendly economy.In reflecting on a move back to Brazil, I need to consider what job skills I might aquire while in the United States that could provide a stable income there.
Outside support from churches is, of course, welcome, but I’d rather find a way to minister in a really incarnational way, assuming the a job and lifestyle at least similar to a Brazilians. This isn’t mere sentimentality…I know first hand that many people there often don’t consider “ministry” to be a real job.

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