The Church was quiet, nearly 5:00 pm on Monday afternoon. I try to take Mondays off, but that day, I went to the church. The phone rarely rings but that day it did. I heard someone speaking broken English and assumed he wanted food assistance, so I bluntly asked, “What do you need?“ Likely a less than cordial tone.
Claudemir (I wrote his name down on my third try to say his name correctly. ) said, “Do you know of a building I can rent to start a church. We are meeting in my home, but we’re getting too big. “ Immediately my mind raced toward the Gardner property, but he was looking for something in Overland Park. Apparently, there are about 2000 Brazilian families in southern Johnson County, drawn by the soccer fields. Gardner was far too far away.
I asked if Olathe was too far. Although he was not enthused, Claudemir agreed to come to the church. He fell in love with our building, the amount of space and the possibilities. Two days later our ReShape Team was meeting and I mentioned the need. There was instant excitement… the Brazilians could use our Fellowship Hall.
Over the next few weeks, Claudemir and I became brothers in Christ’s service. I shared the vision with the Diaconate and again found overwhelming support and encouragement. I answered a phone call and found Christ’s need. FBC was here, I was available, and our church was excited about being stewards of God’s resources. We have a wonderful God. Just ask the Brazilians.
That was three months ago. We have successfully shared a space, called First Baptist Church of Olathe. Based on our initial agreement, we will review what’s worked and what needs to be adjusted or eliminated. Here are three questions for you as a reader of this article:
1) Have you any spent time with our greater Christian family, even one of them?
2) Have you stopped in, to worship with them, even if it’s just for prayer?
3) Have you asked them to share their faith in Christ, or listened to their vision for their church?
It is hard work to build a church from scratch. Caludemir needs your prayers and he needs to know there is an entire church pulling for his success. Can you take a few minutes one Sunday morning to wish them well? To ask for their prayer needs, or to ask them to pray for you?
We worship the same God. We are called to eternal life through Jesus Christ. We follow the same Holy Spirit. They speak Portuguese and we speak English. If you seize just one moment, you will walk right into the mission field.
Can you build a bridge of love and caring? One that can reach of our sanctuary to their sanctuary?