Return on Investment
By Len and Diane Warden, serving in Brazil
Since entering Latin America more than 100 years ago, Alliance team members, like Len and Diane Warden, have established national churches that are self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating. The Wardens are preparing to transition out of Brazil and leave behind strong national believers, including Wilson Ferrante, whom Len has mentored.
We arrived in Brazil 28 years ago, uncertain of what was ahead. Since then, we have seen countless lives forever changed as people came to understand the message of the cross and embraced Jesus as Savior. We have invested in these national believers, and it’s time for them to go on alone with our blessing—and our prayers that they will continue to reproduce in the lives of others who have yet to hear the truth.
Already, God is answering these prayers through people like Wilson Ferrante. When he was 16, Wilson was invited to a youth meeting at our second church plant. Having come from a home plagued by alcoholism and constant fighting, Wilson received Christ as his Savior, and Len baptized him. The teen became part of the youth group and began to grow in his faith.
Later, he fell in love with Gisele, a believer he met at work, and the couple asked Len to perform their wedding. Wilson remained active on worship teams and in youth leadership. He loved God and knew he was called to serve so he attended seminary and college.
At our fourth church plant, the Ferrantes joined our ministry team, which included Alliance staffers Sanford and Wendi Hashimoto and Alex and Julie Zell. Three years later, the Ferrantes moved to another city to take a sales job and work with one of the Alliance churches there. Eventually, Wilson felt led to enter the pastorate full time.
When a 15-year-old church in São Paulo needed a pastor, Wilson and Gisele stepped out in faith to serve in the congregation, which still relied on funding from the Brazilian national church. Wilson was successful in weaning the congregation away from this dependence. Despite many struggles and disappointments, God used Wilson’s four years there to shape and mold his character and prepare him for his next chapter of ministry.
In March 2014, Wilson was officially ordained as an Alliance minister and installed as senior pastor of one of our oldest churches in Brazil, Vista Verde in the state of São Paulo. The church recently went through a difficult time when the pastoral family left under stressful circumstances. Wilson, along with Len, was on the district committee that supervised the congregation’s healing process, and the church called Wilson to be the new pastor.
It is with great joy that we reflect on a young man’s salvation 15 years ago and how God prepared him not only to shepherd a church but also to be a leader among national church pastors. Pray for Wilson and his family as they begin ministry in Vista Verde and that God will use them to bring restoration and healing to the congregation. Also, pray for wisdom for the national church as it seeks to expand the Kingdom in Brazil and in other countries.
What You Can Do
The prayers of God’s people strengthen Alliance personnel to live and serve across the globe. Use our weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to join the worldwide Alliance family in praying for them.
- Give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) and support Alliance global team members who are pushing back the darkness as they introduce lost people to the light of Jesus.
- Give now
That Alliance global staffers are leaving Latin America is cause for celebration. Find out why in the October 15, 2012, issue of Alliance Life.