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Anything You Want, God
October 16, 2020, 2:19 AM

Ten years ago, I deployed as an Air Force chaplain with my unit for CRUZEX V—a multinational aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Brazilian Air Force.  It took place at the American air base built on the coast in World War II.  CRUZEX (named after the Southern Cross constellation, featured in Brazil’s flag) began in 1999 and this was the first time America would be participating.  It was a great opportunity to serve as a chaplain, and the Lord provided many opportunities to minister.

As I awoke Thursday morning my prayer was, “Lord, I don’t want to miss out on anything you want to do today.”

Before we left for Brazil, we were told that we might get to visit a school or orphanage while we were down here.  We’ve been hoping all week that this would work out, but Wednesday night we were told that it wasn’t going to happen.  Then in the morning, as we loaded onto the bus that takes us into the air base, we found out that we would get to visit a grade school after all.  But the problem for me was this—how could I have any spiritual impact on these kids without having prepared for it, without being able to speak Portuguese, and realizing that we were only going to be there less than an hour?  It seemed impossible.

When we went to the officer’s dining facility for lunch, I noticed a stack of available literature, and was surprised to see a discarded Portuguese Gideon’s New Testament that “just happened” to be there.  I quickly grabbed it and put it in my cargo pocket.  After lunch, I walked over to our Maintenance office, and noticed our liaison, a Lieutenant in the Brazilian Air Force.  I asked him how to say “Can you read?” in Portuguese, and had him write it down for me so that I could memorize it.

When we got to the school that afternoon, several of us Airmen walked in the school and onto a stage.  Through a translator, a Colonel gave a brief speech about how happy we were to be in their country, and then passed out military coins to each student.

After watching a few minutes of this, I walked into the crowd and began asking students, “Seu nome?” (“Your name?”).  I would then give them my name, shake their hand, and ask, “Voce consegue ler?” (“Can you read?”), pointing to Romans 6:23 in my Portuguese New Testament  (“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”).  The student would read Romans 6:23 out loud to me and I would reply, “Bom!” (“Good!”).  Pretty soon, students were crowded around me, eagerly waiting their turn to talk with the American soldier and read the Scripture.  Even though it was just one verse, it is the power of God for salvation, and like a tiny seed, can bring life and fruit.

It was a thrilling experience and a marvelous reminder of how God uses ordinary people who trust Him—even in circumstances that seem impossible—to accomplish His purpose.  Let me encourage you to pray, “Lord, I don’t want to miss out on anything you want through me,” and see Him work as you step out in faith!

Looking forward to what the Lord will do,

Pastor Ron Prosise

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