by Gerson Cesar Rubini
Gerson is a national worker, serving the Lord in Amapá in northern Brazil.
I was born in the town of Piracicaba in the state of São Paulo. When the Lord called me to full-time work I was a lorry driver, self-employed and driving all over Brazil. One day, I was passing through the state of Bahia when I saw a very poor village, a place where life was difficult and miserable. At that moment I prayed that the Lord would send someone to those people because I felt so sorry for them and I cried to the Lord on their behalf. It was then that the Lord started to speak to me, saying, ‘You preach the Word to this people.’ For several years I struggled against this calling, yet those words continued to burn in my heart.
One day, my cousin, who had terminal cancer, arranged a meeting in her home as she wanted to give some advice to the young people there, which she did. Then she turned to me, looked me in the eye and said, ‘And you, who received the call of God and haven’t obeyed, don’t be negligent in regard to His calling.’ Only I knew what had happened that day. I hadn’t even told my wife, Nadia, about it. I started to cry. When we arrived home I told Nadia, already knowing what her response would be, as she has always been very keen as far as the Lord’s work is concerned. Then I went to my father’s house and told him that we would be leaving to go and serve the Lord in a distant state. My mother panicked and started to cry, pleading with me to stay and I relented. Shortly afterwards, my mother discovered she had terminal pancreatic cancer. Around four years later the Lord started to speak to me again. I was determined that this time I wouldn’t leave the state of São Paulo; my work was everything to me. However, I realised that God was working in my life when I started to lose things that I thought were important to me. Thieves stole my lorry, my only means of making a living. At first I was desperate, not understanding why the Lord had allowed this to happen, but in fact the Lord was trying me and preparing me for His work.
Shortly after this, Nadia and I went to a mission conference in São Paulo. There the Lord spoke to both of us – the reports were so challenging from start to finish. The Lord rebuked me and called again. We both cried a great deal during the meeting. There was no escaping this time. We were frightened but we began to pray and asked for the Lord’s leading. In his report, a mission worker called Eurico Kohls said, ‘Brothers and sisters, I am old and my health hinders me in the Lord’s work up north. Please pray with me that the Lord will send a couple to this region because I cannot continue.’ At that moment we knew that the Lord was sending us there. We spoke briefly with Eurico and told him we would like to visit.
Several days later I was returning from a business trip when my wife phoned me to say that Eurico had called and wanted to speak to me. I hadn’t even told him my surname or phone number! We arranged for him to visit us. As I went to pick him up, I mulled everything over in my mind. ‘Lord, how can I look after my family up there?’ I was afraid. Just then a truck appeared in front of me with a big sign on it that read ‘Only believe!’ I knew in my heart that I didn’t need anything else, I just needed to believe that God would provide.
Shortly after this meeting we travelled up to Amapá, where the Lord had opened the way. Since January 2005, my family and I have been serving the Lord in this northern region of Brazil.
Blessed by the Lord
We currently live in the town of Mazagão Novo, which is 35km from Macapá, the state capital. We are part of a little assembly in the town and we work among the tribes that live along the banks of the Amazon River. We have various preaching points all the way up to the islands of Pará. The gospel is reaching the indigenous people who speak Apalaí, Wainã and Tiryó.
I knew in my heart that I didn’t need anything else, I just needed to believe that God would provide.
The work in the state of Amapá is being blessed by the Lord. The assembly, which we have the privilege of being a part of is also experiencing the Lord’s help, despite trials and difficulties. We know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord and we are thankful for His goodness and mercy.
We are once again able to visit the islands along the Amazon in our boat. During the pandemic this evangelistic work among the tribes was not possible and we are thankful that the door has reopened for us. With God’s help, we were recently able to return to take the gospel to these islands.
We also feel a responsibility in helping the work in Mazagão Velho where one of the oldest assemblies in the state of Amapá has been struggling to survive and is in need of help and encouragement. Several families have been maintaining the work there. It has not been easy for us to divide our time. One Sunday we are here in Mazagão Novo and the next Sunday we go 36km by car to Mazagão Velho, which is further along the Amazon River.
When we left Piracicaba to come to Amapá, we just wanted to do the Lord’s will. He had delivered us from darkness and transported us into His marvellous light. He put the desire in our hearts to preach the gospel in these difficult-to-reach places along the Amazon River. Despite the dangers and difficulties we face, the Lord has kept us and protected us and we have experienced His love. On a recent journey we were able to visit islands in Amapá as well as Pará. Like the Apostle Paul, we can say, ‘But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Gal. 6:14).
We feel privileged to be involved in this work. We left everything behind in Piracicaba to serve the Lord here in Amapá, just as the Lord took Abraham from his land and relatives. God moved us, in order that souls could be reached with the gospel. We haven’t felt it as a weight but rather a source of great joy and satisfaction in the Lord. We recognise that our days and years on this earth are brief so we must work while it is still day, redeeming the time and saving people from destruction. Brethren, please pray for us and for the work that the Lord has laid on our hearts.
- for Gerson and Nadia as they travel along the Amazon River reaching out with the gospel
- for more workers to serve in this needy part of Brazil
- for spiritual growth in the Mazagão Novo and Mazagão Velho assemblies
- for the witness among the indigenous people who speak Apalaí, Wainã and Tiryó.