Emmanuel Predestin was born and raised on the outskirts of one of the poorest countries in the world. For his efforts, he got a university scholarship here in Brazil. Without travel resources, were it not for his parents' prayers and the gracious intervention of the Eternal Father, he would still be there. Overcoming obstacles that we will never be able to scale, he received the MEC award for best foreign student in Brazil. We met for 3 years. Since the scholarship did not cover all of its costs, he lived on small bills. In most months, despite his diligence, the account did not close. If it is difficult for us Brazilians, imagine for an immigrant.
His economic fragility contrasted with his academic success (agronomist, master in Genetics and Breeding and doctorate in Environmental Biotechnology) and his concern for other immigrants, more vulnerable than he. “Pastor, do you have any basic food items that you can share? several families are going hungry ”. - Come here; what we have, we share. That's how we live. Sharing is a gift from the kingdom.
I remember the many times that we filled his little car, trunk, and seats, with donations of food of all kinds ... Other times there was little, but we knew that even that little would be shared. In the Kingdom, sharing is not giving of what we have left. It is sharing what you have.
One day he invited me to visit his church. I heard the sound from a distance. Upon entering that crowded shed, I was impacted by the explosion of praise, joy, devotion, and tears from the people. - How can a needy people, in a strange land, sing with such enthusiasm? There is no way to compare it with our meetings. It seems to me that freedom, abundance, and stability dry out our joy and gratitude for small things. Little big things.
I came back other times. Always received with great honor and affection. They have no idea how much they bless and encourage me! The celebrations last for more than 4 hours and even though it is in a language I don't speak, it always edifies me…. Once, after 2 hours of singing, standing, the receptionist approaches and politely says to me: “You can sit down, pastor, the service goes far, don't be embarrassed”.
Of the many moments we have already shared, the ones that marked me most were the conversations in our garage after we loaded his car with the groceries. The friendship generated freedom to talk about the racist discrimination that he faced. - "Every day, pastor, in different situations"! I still have in my memory his holy indignation shed in tears. - "Is not fair"! Without knowing it, he, more than anyone else, alerted and challenged me to denounce the racism of our society. Even in our churches.
One day he told us that his wife was pregnant ... and he was unemployed. “They are twins, pastor! I don't even know what to do or what to think ”! We prayed, we cried, and guaranteed that nothing would be missing for the little ones. Val, caregiver who, through campaigns, mobilized people who care and set up a beautiful layette: diapers, stroller, crib, clothes…. The people of God, when available, are a blessing!
The paths of God are mysterious. At the beginning of the year, he took over the Municipal Secretary of Youth and Citizenship of Maringá. What a joy! I felt grateful, privileged to know him, and, even in a small way, to have been a channel of blessing for him. Your current position can have a huge positive impact on the most vulnerable. Moreover, his story is an example! It encourages and encourages many other immigrants who are currently suffering from enormous needs. It is possible to win, despite everything.
Days ago he called me. “Pastor, there is a family of immigrants here on the street. A couple and 3 children ... Can you welcome ”?
Some things change, others don't. The heart converted to Christ, no matter where he is, will always keep his eyes on the little ones and will always seek ways to serve them. And so the church, the kingdom of good advances. Even during the pandemic. So don't give up or be discouraged. Continue by our side.
The Lord continues to write beautiful stories ... through us. Despite us.