By Portia Williams
Recently, God granted me yet another opportunity to travel abroad on a mission trip. This time it was to South Brazil, and this was the most sacred time of all because I was with three very special people, my husband Elder Mark Williams, my pastor Rev. Clarence Parker and his wife, First Lady Patricia Parker, Pleasant Green Baptist Church. The trip was organized by Missionary Erin Wawro, of Wheelersburg Baptist Church who serves in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil for an organization called Association of Baptists World Evangelism (ABWE). Wawro is celebrating her 10th year of service in Brazil. One of the most amazing things that I have ever experienced is to step foot onto foreign soil to a completely different land, culture and people. Past mission trips for me have been to Nicaragua, and Jamaica. The languages and dialects, the customs, the values, the habits and overall ways of life for the most part are extremely different, but this is what I know as a result of my excursions —- no matter where we are, or what country we live in, and what language we speak, our needs are the same, we all need to feel loved, we all need a since of hope, we all need peace in our lives, minds and hearts, and most importantly, we all need a personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ. As a part of the ‘mission’ on this mission trip if you will, the four of us were asked to teach in a Bible Conference, share personal testimonies of what God has done, and continuing to do in our lives. My pastor, who is a former Portsmouth High School baseball player, worked with men and youth in a baseball clinic, as well as preached God’s Word. First Lady Patricia shared teaching of the Bible to some groups of women, facilitated an arts and crafts session with the women, and performed a liturgical praise dance with sign language to the gospel song,’Take Me To the King.’ The song worked so well with the lesson I had to teach from the Book of Esther, which specifically deals with what Esther encountered in her journey to see actually see the king. My husband Mark preached during one of the Worship Services, offering great insight about the need to rejoice in our relationship with God. What a joy it was to interact with the Brazilians. To laugh with them, to hear through the interpreters some of their pains, hurts and struggles, that in actuality are no different from our own. Most of the Brazilians that we interacted with spoke only Portuguese, but the missionaries, Erin Wawo, Randy Southwell, and his wife Sarah Southwell did an excellent job in keeping the flow of communication between us and the people smooth. I am so thankful to ABWE, the hosting missionaries, Erin Wawro, and Randy and Sarah Southwell for extending an invitation for us to come to Brazil to share in their ministry work there. Jesus commissioned Christians to go and tell the world about the good news of his gospel. If you have not had an opportunity yet, I encourage you to prayerfully consider going on a mission trip. It will expand your perspective on the world, on people, and God himself. I promise you that you will never be the same.