Next week we are excited to be joined by Marcio Garcia, the founder of the Evangelical Mission for Assistance to Fishermen. In preparation for his arrival we asked several members of the Canadian Christian community to share some of their experiences visiting Marcio and the church movement in Brazil. This weeks blog comes to us from Gerry Morneau, the former executive pastor of the Peoples Church who visited EMAF in Brazil.
I first learned of Marcio Garcia in January 2010 through Partners International Canada, while serving as executive pastor of The Peoples Church (TPC). At the time of my first contact with the Evangelical Mission for Assistance to Fishermen, they had achieved the initial vision of establishing mission outposts in fishing villages along the coast of Brazil and the Lord was extending the vision westward along the Amazon River. Presented with an opportunity to see the ministry in action, I was responsible for leading several members from our TV ministry, Living Truth in an assessment of EMAF.
Our team visited established mission outposts wherein we met the local missionaries who provided care for children, education, skills training and introduced them to Christ. Churches were established to nurture and disciple people and the communities were being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit through the work of faithful EMAF servants. As one of our team members, a scriptwriter with Living Truth, interviewed people in the communities, we witnessed the work God had done and was continuing to do in healing, equipping and empowering them to live life in the fullness of Christ. We discovered what God had sent us to discover—what He was doing and what He wanted to do next through Marcio and his EMAF teams.
In getting to know Marcio Garcia, I found a man who cares deeply for what God has revealed to him about Himself and to what He wanted to accomplish through him. Damaris (Marcio’s wife) herself felt the tug and they lived out their purpose within God’s ongoing mission in the world. Within the body of Christ globally, there are few, who have given themselves so fully to the Lord. Marcio has done so and continues to do so some thirty years on and counting. He is a man after God’s own heart.
What I have observed and experienced of Marcio may best be summarized using ACTS as an acronym. Marcio embodies Acts—in a true sense, he reflects in many ways the mission-driven actions the first century missionaries did as we read in the book of Acts:
Abandoned to God
The first century missionaries left their homes, families, security and often supported themselves financially while going to where the Holy Spirit led them. They took risks that most others would not in achieving the purpose of God in their given assignments. This is true of Marcio and because he abandoned himself fully to the Lord, the Lord went before him, with him and came up from behind him—as Marcio persevered—the Lord guided, provided and protected and accomplished this aspect of His global mission through him and his mission partners.
The first century missionaries were all in—fully committed. They gave themselves fully to work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord their labor was not in vain. Marcio has been and continues to be fully committed to the Lord first and secondly to what the Lord wants to accomplish through Him and through his fellow workers within EMAF. Being all in enables Marcio to stay focused on achieving the God-given mission while ensuring His walk with Christ is steadfast and his family responsibilities are equally maintained.
The first century Christians (other than Ananias and Sapphira) had nothing to hide. They gave of themselves freely to each other, were mutually accountable. In my working with Marcio Garcia and EMAF within our partnership with PI Canada, every dollar sent was used as it was supposed to be used and was accounted for. For example, the project team at a mission base in Afua used composite wood products in construction and installed solar panels to produce electricity, thus demonstrating sensitivity to environmental as well as mission sustainability.
The first century missionaries found their security in Christ. They allowed themselves to be led by the Spirit of Christ operating within them, accomplishing things only He could do. He was their all in all. They were mission focused, but that was secondary to their relationship with Christ. Marcio’s disposition is such that it is easy to discern the presence of Jesus within him. He exemplifies what it looks like to be fully satisfied and secure because of his deep love for the Lord and the desire to please Him. I am certain, he is not aware of the extent to which the Lord is seen within him and the full breadth of how He is working through him—and that is a good thing!