I have a new friend, his name is Vitaly. Over the last few weeks we have been spending more and more time together. I want to tell you a little bit of his story. I think it is an amazing example of the way God works all things for His ultimate glory.
Vitaly is new to the church, but because he works in construction, he has been a huge help with the work we are doing in the church building. Together (it is mostly him), we have knocked down a wall, done cement work and this week we have been putting a new door in. It’s only a few hours at a time. We get together after he comes home from work.
It’s not the first time I knock down walls in a church building. We did the same in Southern Portugal and I am beginning to think this might be a spiritual gift. In that church we actually did a lot of different construction projects. Several of the church members there worked in the construction sector and I have to admit I was a little bit spoiled. We always seemed to have the right person for each thing that needed to be done.
For a number of months we had been thinking about several construction projects that we thought would be helpful for the church plant in Castelo Branco. But we really did not have anyone with the necessary set of skills. I personally don’t know how to do anything and even my father-in-law was gone (he knows how to build stuff).
One day Vitaly and his family started attending our church services. They are a sweet family with a Christian testimony and they had recently moved to our area. The first service they came, I asked him, “So…, what do you do for a living?” “I work in construction,” he said, “anything thing you need help with, you can count on me.” I thought, “This is promising…”
Last night, as we were working on this new door, he told me a little bit about what the Lord did to bring them to Castelo Branco. They used to live in the Southern part of the country. The doors for work began to close for them there. One day, him and his wife took a trip on a bus and decided to get off in Castelo Branco (our city). They walked everywhere, liked what they saw, and prayed if the Lord would have them come to Castelo Branco. The more they saw, the more they got convinced this was the will of God for them.
They got the bus back home (5 hours away). Soon after that, they packed their belongings in their 5 passenger car and came to Castelo Branco without a job, or even a place to stay. All they had was the belief that this was where God would have them come.
Vitaly told me last night, that on that first day he was here he hit the streets, looking for work. He did not find work immediately and, starting to feel a bit down, he went to a café (Portugal has millions of those) and sat down. He was hit with the thought, “Why would the Lord guide me here, and not have a job for me?” That gave him peace. On his table was a newspaper, it is called “Reconquista” and is the most read of only 2 or 3 local papers we have. He asked the café lady, “Is this paper local?” She said, “Yes, you can find anything there.”
(Let me pause here to say that when he told me that, I thought exactly what you are thinking right now. I thought to myself that he found a job in the newspaper. It is even better than that.)
He got the address for the newspaper and actually went to their office. Once there he posted an add: “Builder is looking for work.” The next day he got a job. His job is with a strong local construction company and he’s been there for several months now. He loves it and he has a good relationship with his boss.
“Why would the Lord bring me here?” That is a very good question. I don’t know all that the Lord has for my friend. But I admire his simple faith. Because he followed the Lord’s will, he is already being used for His glory preparing this place for the preaching of the Gospel of peace.
Question: Do you remember taking a step out of your comfort zone because the Lord was telling you to? What was that like?