The PURPOSE of
Evangelize Portuguese-speaking People by
Establishing Churches and
Empowering Pastors to
Equip the People
Introducing Tim Shields, New Executive Director
As we say in Brazil, “May the Peace of God be with you.”
Allow me to introduce myself. I am what they call a “Bramerican:” a Brazilian-American. My parents took me to Brazil when I was 11 months old and that is where I spent my formative years as a child and a youth. From a young age I had the privilege of being involved in ministry. Sundays were particularly long for me because I had to get up early in the morning, go to Sunday School at our local church, then ride with my parents several kilometers to hold services in “church plants” at various distant farms outside the city, and finally rush back to our neighborhood congregation for the main evening service (most Brazilian churches hold their services at night).
Once the “Institute” (Bible college) was built, the students made the Sunday afternoon trek with us. Eventually, however, they took over those preaching points while my parents focused mostly on teaching and leadership development.
My parents’ transition meant a transition in my involvement as well. Since the Institute was just across the street from our house, I made the school my second home and the students became my friends, mentors, heroes, and role models. Their zeal and passion for ministry was contagious, and as the years went by I became more involved in their various activities: chapel services, prayer vigils, theological discussions, music tours, preaching points, evangelistic outreaches, and yes, even their soccer games. Those were some of the best years of my life because they left a lasting imprint on my heart in my love for God and my commitment to His Word.
I came to America when I was 16 and finished my remaining two years of high school. It was difficult to “look” like an American, yet have the heart and culture of a Brazilian. There was no one with whom I could relate. In my quest to get back “home,” after graduation I joined the Marine Corps with hopes of becoming an embassy guard in Brazil. Short story shorter – it didn’t work as planned.
The Lord had plans for me, however, and I became engaged in ministry wherever I was stationed. While at Camp Pendleton, CA I became involved with “The Brother’s House,” and at Camp Hansen, Okinawa I connected with The Hansen Christian Center. I held positions of leadership in both ministries.
Once my tour was up I went to college and pursued a degree in Cross Cultural Ministry. Three years into college, however, I decided to take a break and pursue a missions venture that took me through 5 South American countries in 18 months. My purpose was to experience as much ministry as possible and to participate with missionaries and local pastors wherever needed.
On my return to America, I got married, finished my schooling, started a family, and settled down with a job in the computer field for a few years. It wasn’t long, though, before the Lord called me back into ministry. During those years I focused on preaching, teaching, discipleship, small groups, evangelism, leadership development, counseling, and missions. I used my gifts and ministry interests in four churches: Central Christian Church in Savannah, GA (5 years), Poplar Ridge Christian Church in Piney Flats, TN (4 years), Rogue Valley Christian Church in Medford, OR (8 years), and Airport Christian Church in Blountville, TN (2 years).
When God called me out of the preaching ministry, I thought He was leading me back to my military roots as a Veterans Administration Chaplain. I worked with Veterans for 2 years in the area of drug and alcohol rehabilitation and saw good fruit as men and women reconnected with God and themselves. But at the end of that season, to my surprise, God steered me out of that field and placed me back in missions – He had led me full circle back to my first love.
In awe and great bewilderment I answered the call and accepted the offer to become Hisportic Christian Mission’s third director. I am entering this venture with a keen sense of curiosity. My first question is, “What is God doing?” My follow up question is related to the first, “How can we join God in what He is doing?”
HCM is not new to me. I met Wayne and Gail in Brazil three years before they founded the mission, and have often crossed paths with their work both in America and in Brazil. For the past year I have also been in frequent contact with Carl. He has been slowly training me on the particulars of the work with the anticipation of this transition.
The author of Hebrews tells us that, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (11:1). And as Paul so powerfully affirms, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). So with these things in mind, under Christ’s authority, let us continue to work together in making “disciples among the Portuguese-speaking people world-wide, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything the Lord has commanded us.” Amen!