Since he was a boy, Jorge said, he had never thought highly of the church. He thought pastors were all liars and thieves. One time Jorge had randomly attended a church where a pastor healed a man from sickness. Many people gave money to the church after the healing, but Jorge knew the man who was healed, and he had been very healthy all his life. After the church service, Jorge asked the healed man in private what his sickness had been. The man replied, “Nothing! The pastor paid me to fake it.” After that day, Jorge never trusted the church.
Because of this lack of trust, Jorge said he would normally have denied the request to study the Bible, but something about Pastor Jeu reminded him of two men he had known when he was a young man. They were both preachers but were a very different kind of Christian from any Jorge had ever met. The first impressed Jorge with how he spoke and what he chose to speak about. The second man showed a movie about Jesus and had cared deeply about training young people. Jorge had never forgotten these men and regretted not pursuing a relationship with them all those years ago. Because Jeu spoke like those men, Jorge agreed to read the Bible with him. “God’s been chasing me for too long,” he said.
For a year, Jorge studied the Bible with Pastor Jeu. Eventually, he professed faith in Christ and was baptized on the shores of Cotijuba. He now works with Wayne and Ellen Patton telling stories about Jesus to the people of the island, especially the ones that involve fishing.
Jorge’s story gives us a peek into God’s beautiful plan, not just in the transformation of one life but in the weaving together of many lives. Those two men that impacted Jorge in his younger days were Bill Burk and Eddie Miller, both global workers for Encompass World Partners in Brazil for decades. Pastor Jeu was a disciple of those two men. He sounded like them because he learned from them. The seeds that Bill Burk and Eddie Miller planted in Jorge’s heart were harvested years later by their student.
It is impossible for us to know the full effect of our service to God. Sometimes we never get to see the fruit of our work. But, every now and then, God, in His grace, gives us stories like this. Stories that remind us that God works in hearts in His own good time. He is the Lord of the harvest, and we can rest in His perfect plan.