At this writing, Amanda Henderson and her husband Jeff are on staff in the church in San Antonio, Texas. Amanda’s 29, has a degree in art, works full time and is raising three small children, ages three, two, and one. Just before the Covid Lockdowns began in March this year, we spoke in the fellowship during a break between sessions at the ICOC International Teaching Conference in San Antonio.
Less than one year from now, at the beginning of January 2021, Amanda and her family plan to leave San Antonio (a city with a population of 1.5 million) and move to Sao Paolo, Brazil (a city with a population of 12.2 million) to take over leadership of the church in the capitol city of that country with just over 1000 disciples.
Does Amanda speak Portuguese? – No. She did have four years of French between Middle School and High School, but French is not Portuguese. She’s making the most of the learning opportunity by beginning classes now with a private tutor in a small group of two: herself and her mother. Mom is not, at the moment, a member of our fellowship of churches nor a member of the mission team to Brazil, but as grandmother of those three small Hendersons, she seems to be well-positioned to begin to consider making some of those transitions! Vamos, mamãe!
Leaning into the challenges
I asked Amanda, what excites you about making this big move and taking on a totally new kind of ministry role in a new country and different culture?
“There so many things I’m excited about!” she answered. “I don’t know where to start. I struggle spiritually when I’m comfortable. I tend to thrive in transition and challenge. As much as everyone’s been saying, ‘your faith is going to be stretched so much,’ I welcome that. Knowing that anytime there’s been a time of struggle or challenge in my life, it’s forced me more onto my knees, to pray more, and into the scriptures more.”
Amen. That can only be good.
Amanda went on, “I’ve always been a musical person, but it wasn’t until I had children that worship brought me to tears. I’m anticipating moments in this new situation that will force me to notice God in areas that I didn’t see him before. I’m looking forward to seeing God in a way I’ve never seen him before.”
Vamos lá pessoal!
So, besides Grandma, I ask Amanda, who else is slated to go with you to strengthen this large church in a very big city in a foreign country in a language you’re only now just beginning to learn?
--“I don’t know of anyone going with us,” Amanda said, “at this point. We want to build a team to go.”
It’s time to get on our knees with Amanda and pray for the hearts of those whom God will call out to be his ambassadors to join Amanda and her family, as they make plans to move to support and strengthen our brothers and sisters in Sao Paolo. If you’d like to get in touch with Amanda you can reach her at email@example.com.