Today, I met Audrey Shultz, Justin Shultz’s mom. Justin is a dear brother in Christ and fellow member at my church. What was significant about meeting Audrey is that she and her husband were missionaries in Brazil for 34 years. Audrey and her husband came to Brazil though the IMB and her husband would later become a Baptist seminary president in Bahia, Brazil. While in Brazil and serving at the seminary, the Shultz’ took part in planting 24 churches.
This was an incredible opportunity for me, not only to knock the dust of my Portuguese, but to speak with a woman who was a missionary in the country, I feel the Lord has given me a desire to reach with the gospel. It was of one of those experiences that Lord drops along the way to keep you going in the right direction; I pray.
But I had some time to ask her a few questions as I was waiting for the rest of our team to arrive at the airport. I asked her how she would describe her experience as a missionary in Brazil. She said, “I don’t have any regrets. We loved it!” There is something about walking in God’s will and doing what he has called you to do. There is no greater joy. It is for this reason we were created. Proverbs 3:6-8 says, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
When she left many people discouraged her from going, since she had a 10 month old child, saying, “It will be difficult and dangerous.” Her response was, “If God can provide here, he can provide there.” And then I said, “It’s that simple isn’t it.” God’s provision in our lives is not limited by location, because he is God of all the earth. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers (Psalm 24:1, 2).” He can provide accordingly whatever the circumstance might be.
It is exactly this type of trust in the provision of God that has a 34 year impact for the kingdom of God. When I arrived in Brazil, I immediately began to see the fruit of their many years of hard labor in Bahia. One of the translators who worked with our team, Josie, was basically adopted by the Shultz’. She is now a full time staff member at her church and is a passionate follower of Christ. No doubt where she is today is owing to the the labor of these two missionaries and their sacrificial love in Josie’s life. Another one of our translators was a talented young man named Tiago. Tiago is a member of one of the churches that Audrey and her husband planted. His father is also the pastor there! This young man spoke of Justin’s father as being a legend in Brazil (His words). The legend began to grow in my own mind too, when I met a lady who attended the church that we were working with, an hour away from where the Shultz’ served, who grew up under their ministry. She spoke very highly of them all these years later and she is still faithful to the Lord.
But what if they would have listened to those good Christians who were concerned for the safety of their children? What if they would have doubted the goodness of God? I’m sure God would have fulfilled his purposes, but despite those casting doubt they went, sacrificed, and served and today there are 24 churches and many others worshipping the risen Savior!