One of the most rewarding aspects of being a missionary evangelist is the people you meet on the job in foreign countries. This trip was no exception. One of my interpreters was a man who, at one time, was one of the wealthiest men in Brazil with over 1,600 employees working for him. Due to a drug and alcohol problem, he lost all his wealth along with his wife and children. He even moved to Houston Texas and spent time there as a drug dealer. When he finally came face to face with the sin in his life, He met Jesus Christ and was changed forever. Now he is remarried, has two beautiful children, pastors a small church and has a new vision for life. He believes God is going to use him to preach evangelistic crusades in his country and around the world. The night he interpreted for me, he was very nervous because his English was limited. But when I gave the altar call and he saw people coming forward in repentance, his heart was encouraged when I told him that he could do this as well.
Another one of my interpreters had a similar story, only in reverse. Although her dad was the pastor of a large church in America, he began to take an interest more in philosophy than the gospel and eventually abandoned the Christian faith. This was when she was 17 years old. When she was 20, she was offered a record deal with Sony as an international singer (she had lived half her life in Brazil and the other half in America) but since the contract told her that she could not say that she was married, she turned it down and instead decided to spend her life as a missionary in Brazil. Now she is a teacher in a Christian school teaching young people about the character of Christ.
Another one of my interpreters was a 29 year old woman whose father, who was her best friend at the time, committed suicide when she was 17 years old. After two years of drinking and partying, she finally committed her life to Christ and now she is a worship leader who is getting married in November to a man in Chicago. She plans to live the rest of her life in the U.S.A. pursuing a call to ministry along with her fiance.
Another evangelist I met was a former terrorist with the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland. His life was radically changed when some of the people he was terrorizing demonstrated the love and compassion of Christ to him. Now he travels his country and preaches a message of peace and hope to both Catholics and Protestants. He also has a powerful ministry of healing and miracles around the world.
Lastly, I met an evangelist from England who was terrorized by a demon for 27 years (the demon came into him while he was watching a scary movie). During these years, he would lay awake at night with his bed soaked in sweat because of the fear that seized him. Although he knew little to nothing about Christ, one day he went to church and gave his heart to Christ. Shortly after, he was Baptized in the Holy Spirit and begand to speak in tongues (even though he did not know what it was at the time because he had never heard of it before). Now he pastors a church in England and has a powerful ministry of healing and deliverance from demons around the world.
After meeting all these people and hearing their stories, is there any way I could possibly believe that Christ does not actually make a difference in people's lives? No way Jose!