Gigi and I met in ministry in Brazil and were best friends. Now, we still are best friends and married too! When we first started talking, we realized we had the same dream: to be a family in missions and a lighthouse to other families. We didn't know yet what our family would look like, but we committed that to Him.
Ten years went by, and we built our life. I was an IT business man; we were involved in ministry, and we had reached a comfortable Brazilian lifestyle. Gigi and I had kids too: two sons and a daughter.
We were all involved in ministry, but something was still missing. We had forgotten about our dream to be a missionary family. My job wasn't enough. Our involvement in ministry wasn't enough. It felt . . . empty.
We didn't want to waste our lives, so we quit our jobs to re-evaluate.
Some time went by, and a good friend contacted us. He had been the best man in mine and Gigi's wedding. "Irmão (brother), I have been praying, and I felt like God gave me a word for you guys. Remember your dream to be a family in missions? God is saying: The time is now!"
My mind reeled. I remembered the dream, but . . .
My friend went on to tell us about a Discipleship Training School in Tyler, Texas, and he thought it would be a great fit for us.
The dream seemed impossible. We thought of the cost, the visas, the traveling. It is easy to dream when you don't know the obstacles! Back then, we had no idea what it was like to support a family. Now, it would be impossible to go into missions as a family! Besides, we didn't really need to do a Discipleship Training School; we already knew so much about God.
We thought about it all day. We prayed together, and sure enough, God wanted us to do the school. We were willing to do what God called us to do, despite the obstacles.
Gigi and I started brainstorming about how to pull this off. We had everything prepared for a tourist visa, so we could go on a second honeymoon; surely we could use that for the schools. We had plenty of money from our jobs so that we could pay for the schooling and travel costs. This could actually work!
The months passed quickly, and before we knew it, our family was on a plane to Texas.
We learned so many amazing things during the school. We learned English, grew closer as a family, what it was like to be a full-time missionary, and most importantly, grew closer to God.
Since the school, God has called my family into full-time missions here at YWAM Tyler. Now, my wife and I are ministering to students all throughout the year, helping them to know God themselves. It's exciting, and we're thankful to be serving God in this way.
Each day we're trusting God for our financial needs. No longer do I have money from a job to count on, but God is faithful. He is daily meeting our needs here. I'm thankful for my friend, who encouraged me to not forget my dream. Families can do missions! It's not impossible.
With God, all things are possible!
Guest Author ~ Leo Barros