Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Big Changes!


Lately, our blog has been pretty quiet concerning our missions work in Brazil ...

Besides our happy family news of being pregnant and my whirlwind trip to the USA, we also have some other BIG changes happening in our lives ministry-wise.

These are happy and bittersweet changes...

Changes that we sense the Lord is right in the middle of, guiding us in.
Above all, we have a deep sense of peace knowing we are following the Lord's leading and pursuing His will for our lives.

Together, Felipe and I made a major life decision and then began to communicate this decision personally and gradually to the people closest to us. Now the time has come for us to share officially here with you - our dear friends, family in the Lord, and faithful supporters of our ministry to children at-risk in the slums of Brazil.

After months of prayer and consideration, Felipe and I have made the decision to officially end our time of working with the missions organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM).


We are extremely grateful for our years of serving as missionaries with Youth With A Mission!
God used those years in our lives to teach us many lessons and we grew in countless ways. Felipe and I met through serving in this organization, and we are extremely thankful for how God brought us together.

After resigning from my teaching job in 2005, I went to a Youth With A Mission base in Denver, Colorado to do missionary training.  Felipe had the same training in 2004 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and immediately continued serving as a full-time missionary after completion of his training. Felipe spent a total of 11 years serving in YWAM. I moved to Brazil in 2007 and then began working with YWAM full-time, so I worked with YWAM for a  little over 8 years.
2007 - My first months in Brazil, working with girls living in a slum. 
A photo from our engagement days in 2009, walking through the slum where we lived and worked in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

If you scroll through the many years we have had this blog going, you will see countless posts and photos which serve as a beautiful testimony of what God has done in and through our time serving as missionaries through YWAM.  As I reflect on these years of service this verse from Psalm 126:3 comes strongly to my heart,
"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!" 

Truly the Lord has done great things during these many years serving as missionaries in YWAM!
2012 - Celebrating the 20th birthday of the Lighthouse Community Center! 
2009 - Working with a group of kids at the Lighthouse Community Center.
2012 - Our amazing team at the Lighthouse the last year Felipe was leading the ministry.  He led the Lighthouse for 4 years.

It is bittersweet to be leaving this organization.  We leave with many wonderful memories, friendships, lessons learned, and beautiful testimonies of God's goodness and faithfulness.  We dearly love and respect so many fellow missionaries who serve through YWAM today, and we will miss being a part of the YWAM family, however we clearly sense God leading and guiding us into this change.

So what's next for us concerning our work on the mission field?
We have applied to two missions organizations that work in partnership with each other.  One organization is called ABBA and is a local, Brazilian organization serving to reach children at-risk in the São Paulo area. Check out their website in Portuguese here.

The other organization we have applied to is called ACTION International (click here to check out their website). ACTION International is a missions organization with a specific focus on reaching out to children and to the poor, which is completely inline with our vision and calling in missions.   This organization also will provide practical help to us personally on many levels. Processing donations from the USA is one of the many support services they offer for their missionaries serving on the field.  We are currently in a very extensive application process with ACTION International and will soon have an interview at their US offices - more news about that in another post coming soon!

(Just a note:  Until we have all our paperwork finalized with ACTION International, we will continue receiving donations through YWAM.  Soon we will communicate when we officially have our missions account set up at ACTION International, and can begin receiving donations through their financial office.)

Practically, what is changing for the Matias Family?
Practically, in our day-to-day life, not too much will change for us. We will continue to live in the city of São Paulo and work at the ministry center where we have been volunteering since May of last year, which is a ministry of both ABBA and ACTION International.  Now we will become official team members at this ministry, instead of YWAM missionary volunteers. Felipe works at the ministry center full-time and I work part-time.

As I have shared before, the name of the ministry community center is Casa Semear (or the Sower House translated into English), and we work there with at-risk kids and teens who live in a nearby slum. Click here to see the ministry blog!

We love this ministry and the work we do there, investing in the lives of precious children and teaching them about God.
The Casa Semear logo! 
2015 Group photo from the annual camping trip with teens who participate at Casa Semear! 

Will you still start a ministry in São Paulo as originally planned?
Our dream to one day open a ministry reaching out to at-risk kids living in the slums of Brazil is still alive and strong! 

Realistically, we see this as something that will happen in the future.  Hopefully it will come to pass in the not too too distant future, but time will tell.  We plan to work faithfully in the new missions organizations we are joining, and in time develop our ideas concerning this ministry goal.  There are thousands of slums in Sao Paulo and much need for more programs reaching out to at-risk children living in these needy slum areas.  In God's timing, we trust our dream will come to pass, as He wills it.
Last year we worked for several months on the weekends in this needy slum area in Sao Paulo.




I have written this post today with much joy and gratitude in my heart for all God has done in our lives through our years serving in YWAM.  We also have much hope and expectancy for all that is to come in the future as we serve in ABBA and ACTION International.

If you have any questions or want to contact us about this big change in our lives, please email us at: laura.felipe.matias@gmail.com.  Soon we will communicate more news!

3 comments:

  1. Awesome! God bless you both. I so want to get down there some day and see what yall do and possibly lend a small hand. Prayers for the future of your ministry

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  2. Thank you for sharing and may The Lord fulfill the desires of your hearts:) You guys are truly a living
    example of reaching out to the "least of these.":) Blessings and love:)
    Michelle & Melissa

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  3. Wow what a testimony to Gods goodness and provision may he continue to bless and strengthen you in the next chapter Eph 3 20
    Much love

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