Today, Sarah joins us from Brazil and speaks to us about the power of love, the story of Joseph and finding God after losing everything.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a town called Montes Claros, in Brazil, in a Christian family. From a young age, my mother took me to church; we went to the Christian Pentecostal Church (today, I am [a part of] the assembly of God) after a few years, my parents left the church, and I went to worship alone. I joined the choreography and praise group from the church.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “Delight in the LORD, and he will give you what your heart desires. Give your way to the LORD; trust him, and he will do everything.” Psalm 37:4-5. This verse shows me that we should delight in Christ, and trust in Him at all times, for He knows what is best for us.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Currently growing spiritually by learning to trust Christ, give myself totally to Him without fear. I can give Him my insecurities, my wounds, negative feelings, my dreams, and passions that I want to pursue.
He is showing that even in the midst of a difficult time, He is with me, taking care of me, and that I can trust and rest in Him. One thing to learn is that “God wastes nothing, or the bad things that happen to us.” So, there is nothing to fear, because I know that He is in control of everything.
I would say that in this phase that I am in, God has worked hard on my heart in this matter of trusting and surrendering to Him. There is a Bible verse in Isaiah 41:10 that says, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; be not afraid, for I am your God; I push you, and I help you,and I uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. ”
This is one of the verses that gives me the strength to continue, to rely more and more on my Lord.
“I can give Him my insecurities, my wounds, negative feelings, my dreams, and passions that I want to pursue.”
Profession: I am a medical student. I minister in a small (Bible study) group in my house, and I do some evangelism in my city.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Jesus: the meaning of loving
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? Growing up in a Christian family, I feel that God has always been with me. In 2016, it was the worst year of my life; I felt everything was falling apart. I felt such anguish in my heart. You know when your life is great, everything around you is great, and everything changes from nothing ?! It happened to me, out of nowhere– I lost everything, friends.
[Things] started to go bad at school; at home it was horrible. I argued every day with my parents, and I didn’t know what was happening to me. I felt an inexplicable sadness, such an anguish, strong in my heart. I cried every day.
Sometimes, I was sleeping, and I would wake up with crying bouts. It was then that in the midst of this confusion that I was in, I truly prayed for the first time (even though I grew up in church, I had never really prayed or sought God the same way).
I spoke to God, I [was] kneeling beside my bed, crying, talking to God [telling Him] that I could not stand so much pain, could not stand the emptiness I felt, could not stand to hurt people anymore and hurt me, too.
I told Him that I would give up, that in that in that moment, I was giving up everything. And for the first time, God spoke to me. He told me that He was with me and that He loved me, and that He would take care of me.
I believed His words, and after a while, [out of] all that I had “lost,” God gave me double. I lost all my friendships, but today He gave me a best friend, a sister, the person I can always talk to, anytime. My relationship with my parents changed for the better. What I mean by that is that He saved me from myself that day. He was there for me while no one else was; He saw me, and after that day, my spiritual life totally changed.
“He was there for me while no one else was; He saw me”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? I felt very empty, aimlessly, questioning why I am here today. When I met Jesus, He renewed me, filled me with His love, [and] healed me.
What has helped you grow spiritually, in this season? Getting more from the Bible, studying the scriptures, doing my devotional, praying, books, such as a The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. [Books like this have] helped me a lot in my walk with Christ.
Top three essentials: The Bible, music and a good book.
Hobby: I love photography. I really like the idea of being able to capture moments.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
It seems cliche to talk, but to stay in a relationship with the Lord, the three main things are:
1) Prayer: Prayer and how we talk to Jesus. God speaks to us in various ways, in our hearts, through people, music, scripture, preaching. But the only way we can talk to God is through prayer.
Prayer makes us strong.
2) Stay in the Bible: By reading the Bible, you know God better, and therefore, the Bible is the manual of life, with it you will know how to deal with everyday things.
3) Friends: A phrase I hear once says, “God does not unite people, God unites purpose.” The people who are in your spiritual life are on the same purpose as you, which is to grow spiritually. This act of being with people in your life, it is strengthening to pray for people, to share our burden, to read the scriptures together. When we are with people, it motivates us to grow.
Favorite person in scripture? I absolutely adore Joseph. I love his story; the way Joseph went through all his troubles motivates me not to give up. The way he handled everything– Joseph’s behavior impresses me, I feel like crying every time I read his story. Joseph’s story teaches me to trust and hope in God.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? Love people, sacrifice yourself for people, even if they hurt you, even cheating on you– I want them to learn to forgive, and to love above anything else. Love is the most powerful weapon there is, and also the Bible’s main commandment, as you will always win, face your battles with love, make people more loving with love, even though it’s hard (it will be, people are hard) but even so, keep loving people.
“Love is the most powerful weapon there is.”
How do you engage with your community? At the moment, I am involved in facilitating small Bible study groups in my house, and I also participate in a group called RESD, which aims to take the gospel to the whole city, and also do missionary missions around the country.
A goal you have? Travel to Israel. [To] imagine walk[ing] where Jesus walked is a dream.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? What Jesus saw in me that made Him die to save me.
Thing you want to raise awareness about:
I would say three things:
1) That Jesus can heal, save and love you regardless of your sin.
2) The world is wicked, but that doesn’t mean you need to be, in the Bible says, “You are the light of the world; a city built on a hill cannot be hidden “Matthew 5:14. So shine.
3) Be love; the greatest commandment of the Bible is about love, “Love God above all else and neighbor as yourself.” So take love, be love, face things with the love of God in your heart, for if God loves you just the way you are, you are also able to love each other.
What does your morning routine consist of? I wake up, usually around 6:00 a.m. I get up, and the first thing I do is pray, and then I will go wash my face, brush my teeth, and I go to the gym. When I come back, I usually make my breakfast, and then take my shower, and then I begin my moment of devotional, I read my Bible, I study the scriptures, I read my book (the book I’m currently reading is called Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell), and I plan my ministry in the small group.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is about love. Loving not only our family and friends, but everyone around us, including those who do everything we can to prevent it from happening. It’s about knowing how to forgive and to be forgiven. It is living, even in the midst of chaos and destruction, for we know better days will come. It is waking up to the feeling that Christ has died for us and how grateful we should be for it, always giving our best; deeply repenting, learning from mistakes– why we should be better.
If it were to summarized [in] a sentence: To know that everything is for love, including bad things.
Until next time, keep witnessing!