WRITE:Guatemala Lessons–The Greatest is Love
|(Vera, right, shares the gospel. Photo Credit, Kim Zubke,
who captioned this “Evangelism Machine in Action”)
I’d prayed for and about my roommate since I knew my summer plans included the SUSIE Magazine Never the Same missions trip. After all, I’ve had the same roommate since I married him twenty-seven years ago. How and with whom would God match me for the trip?
During training, God gave me the gift of rooming with Shari Braendel, who also writes for SUSIE Magazine. This fashionista extraordinaire is also a beautiful woman of God who shared prayers, love, and laughter with her less than fashion-savvy roommate. Shari’s new book, Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad (Zondervan, 2010) is the Color Me Beautiful (and more) of the 21st century. Check it out!
Once I reached Guatemala, God blessed me with a second roommate and another amazing woman of God. Vera Amaral is tiny, Brazilian, and filled with the love of Jesus. When I first met her in Miami, she told me about a divine encounter with a hotel staffer who later came to Christ. In fact, if you look up “evangelism” in your dictionary, you’ll find Vera’s picture.
Vera doesn’t write. A devoted number-cruncher, she works for an insurance company. What could a left-brained, accountant type teach the right-brained, creative one about her craft? Plenty.
You see, Vera lives her love for Jesus. Her warmth, hugs, prayers, and conversation reveal her passion for Christ and her genuine concern for people. She shares the gospel not because God commands it, but because she cares so much about those for whom he sent his Son. Because Vera cares, she shares. And because she shares, God uses her to win the lost. Busboys, hotel clerks, hospital patients, street people, and more all came to know Christ because she cared enough to tell them.
Because Vera cared, she had stories to tell. As I watched and prayed through some of her divine encounters, I realized that her passion for people must become mine. No matter what creative words or significant stories I may have, without love—genuine love, Jesus’ and Vera’s kind of love—my words become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.
Vera, thanks for the lessons in evangelism. You’ve trained and mentored many as you use the incredible gifts God’s given you. And thanks for the professional tips, too. I bet you never thought of yourself as a writing teacher. But guess what? Jesus knew. I’m so thankful he placed us together for those amazing ten days in Antigua. Because of your example, I’m never the same—and neither is my work. I love you!