Teacher exploration - Garrett Smith, Amazon Valley Academy - Belem, Brazil
January 01, 2004 | Harvesters
By Garrett Smith
Bom Dia! Good Day!
My target area and focus for ministry in Belem is the hearts of my students. With the gospel of Christ interwoven into the school’s curriculum, subjects like history and science are truly brought to life. The classroom contains much zeal for learning and an excitement about the friendship between everyone. It is a unique and exciting atmosphere. Alongside my 3 Junior High classes, I teach two subjects to the high school. You can be praying for them as their self-image and peer pressure has limited our conversation about the Lord. They put on a good face, saying that they are too cool to be spiritual. I believe though that God is penetrating them with His truth. It is difficult for me to tolerate because just trying to be cool could be the most effective way for a student to waste their time and energy.
In November, I led the Junior High Spiritual Emphasis Weekend which was preceded by much prayer. Our days were full of some of the best fellowship I have ever seen young people have together. There was a community that I do not think could be recreated. Many students seemed extremely hungry to take in God’s Word. Some students spent additional time during our personal prayer times, just speaking with God about what He desires for them. We played plenty during our time together and the kids came home extremely tired, but beyond that I believe God planted much seed that landed on good ground and will bring an abundant harvest in many of the kids. God is changing their lives, their attitudes, their perspectives, and their passion! As a teacher and a minister to these young people, I am thrilled for them and wondering what is truly happening that I can not see.
Outside of school more ministry happens than you can imagine. I have been amazed at the desire so many Brasilians have to get together and learn more about the Lord. Our campus church service is attended by nearly 70 Brasilians, each anxious to learn English and embark on a relationship with Christ. It has been amazing to begin dreaming a little about that ministry and wondering what the Lord might have in store. Any energy I put into it is never done in vain, but is seed that is used by the Lord of the harvest.
I recently went with one of my students to visit her parents’ newly planted church. There I played soccer (barefoot) for nearly 3 hours with teenagers and little kids. In the middle of our play we stopped and I gave my testimony which was translated by the pastor. The kids seemed very responsive to the Truth. Upcoming ministry might include going out to work with street children and encouraging them to go into a Christian home to get off the streets. Another opportunity is to fly with one of my student’s father into the thick of the rainforest to share the gospel with many who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ or seen anyone other than those people in their village their entire life. When that ministry gets off the ground, he wants to take me with him.
There are so many different ways the Lord uses His people to minister. With each morning there is a hope for deeper relationships and a greater awareness of the opportunities in front of me. I ask you to pray for the hearts of my students. Right now is a pivotal time when they are choosing what is worth giving their entire life to.
My hope is that hearing of the ministry down here will encourage you to see how the Lord might use you to bring His love to the people surrounding you.