SÃO PAULO, Brazil—Isaac is a writer and a poet. He’s twenty-two years old and a recent alumnus of UNC at Chapel Hill. He describes his life before Christ as “religious” and “truly far from God in heart but not [in] action.” But while he was in college, God changed his life. Now he’s using his gifts to share the hope he has in Christ with students in São Paulo, Brazil.
São Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere and home to over one million college students. These students live what Chris Julian, a local IMB missionary and founder of Zoe Church, calls “realidade”, or “reality”. They wake up before sunrise, take a two-hour bus ride, spend the day in classes, then go to work, travel two more hours home, sleep and then repeat. Most of them aimlessly walk this rote lifestyle and they live without the joy of knowing Jesus.
Enter Isaac. His heart is for Brazilian students to be awakened by the Gospel, but he’s not waiting for them to come to him. He goes to their campuses. He eats lunch, drinks coffee and hangs out with them on the weekends. He gets to know them and he’s not afraid to ask the tough questions. By establishing real relationships, his goal is to connect them to Zoe, a church that takes its name from the Greek word for “life in abundance.” And together, they want young people to see that there is more to life than landing the dream job and making lots of money.
Two other Hands On students and a team of missionaries are there with Isaac. All across the city, they are spreading the Good News of the finished work of Jesus. They’re telling it to students who would otherwise be too busy to see it and too worn out to rest in it.
One such example is Bia, a twenty-two year old photography major at one of São Paulo’s major universities. She told Isaac, “Isaac, I’m not a believer yet. But I don’t hate God and I’m going to keep praying. I’m not going to give up.” She’s been praying for God to make Himself real to her and she’s not the only one. In fact, through his support letters, Isaac rallied prayer partners on 4 different continents, 9 countries and 25 states to pray for Bia. “Will I get to see [her believe], maybe not,” Isaac said, “but I have faith and I believe Bia will, too.”
Isaac will return to the United States this month to intern with a church in Washington, D.C. For more information about his story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.