TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Mark 1:1, 14-15

There is no one that I know who embodies the Gospel better than Miguel Monteiro Souza. When I met Miguel in February of 2013, he was quiet and meek, sitting on the back row of our outreach class in Belém, Brazil. At that time Miguel was using cocaine every single weekend. When he couldn’t get the drugs, he spent the nights in local bars drinking. Miguel’s teenage son was living with relatives across the country in Rio de Janeiro. His younger son was living across town with his mother, who was hopping from one boyfriend’s house to another. Miguel’s life was a wreck. He was financially broke. His family was scattered and broken. His only solace was the next high. But something changed as he sat on that back row and soaked up the message of the Gospel. The powerful words of Jesus in the Scriptures penetrated his heart and broke down the barriers. Miguel was touched and moved, but he was not ready to believe. He had lived such a life that he did not think things could be any different. What Miguel didn’t know was that we were different. As ambassadors of Christ, we continued to love and encourage Miguel. He started making changes. He allowed us to come to his home for Bible study. He came weekly to my home for a group Bible study. He began attending the Sunday morning church meetings.

In July of 2013, Miguel told me one Sunday morning that he would be baptized that afternoon. Satan entered the scene and took away his transportation that day. Miguel was late. I didn’t think he was really coming. He had set out walking from the other side of the city and walked all the way to my house for his baptism. It took another 7-8 months for him to really get free of the substance abuse. Today Miguel is my best friend and partner in the work of the Gospel in Brazil. Both his kids live with him now, and he studies the Bible with them every night. He baptized his oldest son last year. The obvious transformation has captured the attention of all his extended family and neighbors. Now Miguel lives each day with a smile because for him the Gospel truly was good news.

Today, I will…read Isaiah 61:1-4 and pray for the poor and broken people that I know or have contact with.