The Lord guides us to do His will when we submit to His authority. The bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.” I truly believe that.
Many prosperity gospel false preachers take the former scripture out of context and argue that God wants us to be wealthy and that lack of wealth means lack of faith. What they fail to mention is that prosperity can mean something other than financial success. A prosperous well beings and health condition is also prosperity.
I’ve learned that I was “Olive” not white in the eyes of many Mississippians. That was weird, I shall say. It was cultural… I guess.
Anyhow… when we do God’s will, amazing things happen in our life’s, even if God’s will isn’t necessarily what you’ve planned for initially.
I must say that coming to Alabama wasn’t on my plans when I was in living back in Pennsylvania looking to move my family to the south. I was hoping to move to Georgia, Florida or California not Mississippi and Tennessee.
I’ve learned a big lesson. God takes us places for a very good reason. It’s to develop us to bigger assignments orchestrated by a God to advance His kingdom, I think.
I’m now understand why the Lord took me to Pennsylvania in the late 90’s, then Mississippi and Tennessee before coming here to Alabama.
Coming from Brazil, where I literally had everything under the sun but little to no maturity, God took me to the outskirts of Pittsburgh in order for me to learn western PA culture, which is heavily based on what you do instead of who you are. I needed that back then.
Putting me in a cold and grey area made me want to study instead of wanting to go to the gym and the beach everyday and neglect my studies. For the first time in my life, I had to start from the bottom. It worked! Against all the odds, I got a bachelors degree with a high GPA, in a second language, with little to no training in secondary education. God exists!
After getting a PhD from and eventually tenure at IUP, as a family, we decided to move away from the north and move to Florida, hopefully. It didn’t work as we planned. I ended up taking a college teaching position in Mississippi, of all places. What?!?!
Yep. In there, I’ve learned what racism really is in this country and the implicit biases that are ingrained in a large number of Americans regardless of political affiliation. I’ve witnessed much hate against African-Americans which was something that really bothered me as a Christian.
I’ve come to also learn how kind Mississippians can also be, especially when their buddies aren’t around when you speak with them. Being there, reminded me of Brazil in many ways. It was tradition over progress, heritage above reason many times, and very good food!
The Lord took me to Jackson, a predominantly black city to understand black culture best. I’m glad that He did. I met some of the most amazing African-American personalities while at JSU including James Meredith, Demarco Morgan, Mignon Clyburn, among many others.
I was lacking in black culture. Not anymore… I wanted to be a pastor. The Lord exposed me to a wide variety of people while living in Mississippi, that’s for sure.
The flock comes in many shapes and colors, the Lord reminded me, through scripture. I was there for a reason! Then a major state crises came and my plans had to change. God clearly wanted me someplace else. I had to go…
The options were Louisiana or Tennessee not California or Florida. I chose Tennessee due to a college having a Christian component and my dream of working as a pastor somewhere. Why not serve as a professor full-time and pastor part-time somewhere in town? Good plan, not what God wanted.
The truth: It wasn’t until I moved to Cleveland TN that I was constantly mistreated and undervalued in higher education. I met some of the meanest people I’ve ever met in my adult life and a few kind ones but they were outsiders. Many of them were openly racists while pretending to be Christians. How hypocritical! Very, in fact.
I witnessed devilish people claiming to be part of the flock using the argument that speaking in languages makes them holy and others not having the holy spirit in them but the Lord again delighted me with his teachings, “By their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20.
God made it clear to me who they really were. All the masks were taken out. I could see through them all and the schemes they were planning against me and others. Remember: The Lord protects.
I had to get out, ASAP… For my family’s sanity.
I must add that despite my experiences I. Tennessee were literally horrible, the Lord has taught me how to deal with “sneaky mean” people and how to leverage their unkind behaviors for the advancement of the gospel. I’m so thankful for that. There are many lost lives in that town — They need a lot of help, that’s for sure.
The new chapter in my life started a week ago. So far, so good. I’m sure there will be challenges but this time around, I bring cumulative cultural experiences from a variety of places within the United States. It takes much longer for me to be upset, I have a thick skin now and will act immediately and firm if injustice or misbehavior occurs.
I’m here to guide our kids majoring in Mass Media Studies at Talladega College to find a place under the sun. I will do what I can to help them. I’m much better prepared for this job. I give thanks to God for having developed me over the years. God interfered in my self growth professionally, I’m convinced.
Without Him, my ministry journey in higher education would have been much shorter. As my wife once said, “Higher education is full of crazy people” which was a small variation from what one of my chairs once told me, “To work in higher education, you need Prozac.”
I’m looking forward to what God is preparing for me this year and beyond. That His will be fulfilled. I’m ready.