An interview with Nelson (and Lisa) Monteiro, PAOC global workers in Latin America
Q: You currently serve as a global worker in the Latin America region. Tell us about your call to go to the mission field, where that took you, and what that journey was like as a family.
My call started as a child when I heard many missionaries (global workers) preach in my home church in the city of Belém, in the Amazon region of Brazil. Years later, in 1989, my church sent me as a global worker to Canada to plant churches among the Portuguese-speaking: first with Calvary Temple in Winnipeg, Manitoba; then in Victoria, British Columbia, with Glad Tidings, where I met and married Lisa; and finally, with Broadway Church in Vancouver, where we spent 12 years, and where Gabriella and Luc were born. There I also completed my Master of Divinity degree at Regent College with a focus on missions and church planting.
In 2004, the PAOC sent us as Canadian global workers to Brazil. A few years before this, God had started to burden us with the needs in Brazil, and I felt an increasing debt of love for the nation and the people who had sent me to Canada.
As a missionary family, we have experienced God’s faithfulness in every aspect of our lives and ministry. It is a journey that has enriched our family and in many ways matured our children beyond their years. Our kids have experienced the depth, richness and challenges of being bicultural, a reality common to many young Canadians today.
Q: What has God called you to do in Brazil? Has your ministry focus evolved over the years?
During our first seven years in Brazil, we worked with missions training at the PAOC Bible school in Recife. We would spend the next six years in João Pessoa raising up and equipping the next generation of Brazilians to be servant leaders who would impact society with God’s truth and love and bring kingdom transformation to Brazil and the nations.
In partnership with the local church in João Pessoa, we developed Institute One27. The name refers to James 1:27 and is also a code. It represents “One” truth that brings transformation—our Christian world view; “2” attributes of God in action—mercy and justice; and “7” representative spheres of influence in society: education, family, arts, media, science and technology, economy, and government.
Through Institute One27, we have created curriculum, taught courses, administered local, regional and national gatherings, translated books, and put the students’ learning into practice locally through our ministry to kids and families in the needy community of Vila Feliz.
This work has been interlaced with my role as a facilitator of Disciple Nations Alliance (DNA) in Brazil. After six years in this role, many new horizons have opened up on the local, national and international levels.
Q: What difference have you seen in the lives of the people God has called you to serve? Can you share a few testimonies?
This is the joy of ministry: seeing individual lives transformed and those individuals being used as God’s agents of blessing. Here are a few testimonies from different areas of ministry.
At Vila Feliz
Six years ago, the residents of Vila Feliz said the average age for a boy to die in that needy community was 17 years old due to drugs and crime. Today, these kids’ lives have a different trajectory. One27’s ministry in this community of 4,000 has recently culminated in a church plant under the leadership of Pastor Roberto, our former world champion jiu-jitsu instructor, and his wife, Mara. Pastor Roberto himself was delivered from drugs and street life and has been a testimony to many. Now, rather than dying at 17, these boys are becoming leaders of home groups and bringing many others to meet their Saviour, Jesus!
IDEIAR – World view prep course for university students
Kevin, a pastor’s son, wrote:
“After I got into university, I struggled with my faith. I couldn’t see it being relevant and able to stand against the things I was learning in this secular humanistic environment. I had many unanswered questions and even started to question the existence of God. The IDEIAR course was very important to me. It was instrumental in my ‘new’ conversion. The course helped me understand that my Christian world view is much larger and more satisfying than the one the world is following. It also helped me see that my vocation is to be God’s agent so that there will be more of God’s kingdom through me in the sphere of life where He has positioned me. This course fanned the flame of the gospel that had died within me.”
Book translation ministry
Our son, Luc, and I translated into Portuguese Darrow Miller’s book Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women in Building Healthy Cultures. Among other things, this book challenges the lie in Brazilian culture that men are superior to women.
“Maria” is an evangelical Christian leader who was greatly impacted by the book. As she prayed, God directed her to give it to a top official in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The official, Ms. Anon, is also a Christian. Miraculously, God orchestrated an encounter with her. She read the book, distributed it to her staff, organized a meeting with the author, and is working to implement policies based on its godly principles.
Q: You are now in Canada on home assignment. What do you see on the horizon, and how can we partner with you in God’s work?
We do feel that our horizons are expanding.
• Our work with DNA is rapidly growing in Brazil. “Coram Deo Basics” and “Monday Church” are two powerful online DNA courses that we have translated into Portuguese which teach about world view, vocation and transformation. More online options are in development.
• There is a need to systematize world view curriculum and materials for all age groups in order to offer churches a comprehensive package.
• Partnerships are being formed on many fronts. We are looking forward to greater impact by merging with ministries working in church and community development.
• We envision this ministry blending with initiatives in Canada, the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, and other parts of the world.
We are excited about new frontiers in our ministry with the next generation. We stand in great need of strategic prayer and partnerships, and of people who will respond to and be equipped for this “exodus” call, moving individuals and societies from where they are to where God created and redeemed them to be.
Nelson and Lisa Monteiro have been serving as PAOC global workers to Brazil since 2004 with their children, Luc, Gabriella and Daniel.
Images courtesy Monteiros. This article appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.