August 2021

Redeemed to Serve

The American dream: I had it all!  Well, okay . . . it all belonged to my mom and stepdad, but everything—from education to vacations, from clothes to cars—was at my fingertips. Despite having it all, my heart was still yearning for authentic, unconditional love that would give me purpose. This undefined longing led me to alcohol, drugs, and people who promised to love me, all in an effort to fill an empty void. This road led, as it always often does, to separation from my family and losing many friendships.

From Fear and Doubt to Affirmation

God works in unexpected and mysterious ways sometimes; at least that’s how I often think. Throughout my life, God has shown up in various ways and has led my family on many exciting journeys. For instance, when I was in middle school, God called my dad to minister in Alaska. I remember being so bitter about our move that I told God there was no way I would ever go into vocational ministry or relocate my family halfway across the country. I think God sometimes laughs at our immature statements—14 years later, I am currently serving in ministry.

A Family Vocation

When I became rector of the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Brazil in 2019, I remembered that this institution influenced my entire family to become Nazarenes. My father was previously a Baptist pastor in Campinas, São Paulo. I wanted to study in a seminary, but there weren’t any Baptist seminaries close by. In 1964, my father heard about a new church in town that was starting a seminary.