Maria Gloria left her home in Brazil for the first time five years ago, at age 25, to become a missionary in Colombia. When Mikayla Boyers, an ANM staff member visiting Colombia on a short-term missions trip, first met her, she complimented Maria Gloria on her beautiful blue dress. It turns out that Maria Gloria had just learned to sew in the past week, and the dress was her first finished project. (In the photo above, Maria Gloria helps distribute clothes to indigenous people.)
Maria Gloria set out to learn sewing because she knew that there would be no clothing available to purchase in the outlying areas where she would be working. She needed to learn to be independent and take care of herself. Her attitude was to learn to make what she needed and make do with what would be available.
She trained on the field for five years with Crisalinco, also known as Christ to the Unreached Tribes. She learned, among other things, to alphabetize a new language, grow produce, and raise animals. But she still lacked some necessary skills, so she was returning to Brazil to learn more: driving, riding a bike, swimming, and other useful skills for the mission field. Her whole goal in everything was to prepare herself for ministry, to be a more effective missionary. She planned to come back to Colombia after her training is complete.
Mikayla was inspired by Maria Gloria’s determination to prepare for ministry and her sweet spirit. “Maria Gloria reminded me of the determination it takes to give your whole life to God,” Mikayla said. “Missionaries are wildly faithful people, and it’s so easy to forget how selfless and faithful they are. The biggest honor of my life has been meeting and knowing people of whom God will say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” Mikayla came back home impressed and challenged by the level of commitment she observed in the missionaries she got to know.
The vision of Crisalinco, one of ANM’s oldest partners is to take the gospel to every tribe in Colombia that doesn’t yet have an established church. Often Crisalinco’s missionaries, compelled by their compassion for the people, stay on as long-term pastors in the communities where they first preached the gospel and started a church. Meanwhile, the ministry remains focused on training new missionaries to send to more tribes that don’t have churches yet.
Seeing the ministry leaders focus and fine tune their vision encouraged Mikayla to do the same. She has felt God telling her to turn down “merely good” opportunities that aren’t the best ways to push her vision of ministry forward. Through this trip, Mikayla has been inspired to be intentional in what she does and how she does it to serve the Lord according to her calling. She explained, “This is what missionaries all over the world are like. They are faithful people focusing on what God is calling them to do—not just focusing on good opportunities, but God opportunities.”