«But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry» (2 Timothy 4:5).
DIFFERENT EVANGELISTS have marked my life and fostered love for the salvation of others. Among many others, stand out Pastors Arturo Schmidt and Daniel Belvedere, who injected me with that passion; Pastor Rando, who led me to baptism; and Pastor Alejandro Bullon. These and so many other men of God, together with Paul’s powerful testimony, left deep imprints for which I thank God. However, I want to talk about Pastor Luis Goncalves, leader of evangelism in South America.
I spoke more than once with this friend, a faithful servant of the Lord, who lives through and for evangelism. Thus, he told me about his «road to Damascus» experience (Acts —19): «I was a catechism leader in a Catholic parish. One day, while I was reading the Bible, I stopped in Exodus 20, especially the fourth Commandment that asks us to honor the Sabbath. I received Bible studies from Carlos Maia, his wife Yolanda, and Sister Elena from the city of Sorocaba. Before long, I accepted Jesus in an evangelistic campaign and had the joy of being baptized by Brother Alcides Campolongo. A short time later, I was called to be part of his team as a Bible worker. I have now been a pastor and evangelist for more than twenty-five years. I have gone through many challenges, sorrows, and enemy attacks, but God’s love sustained me at all times.»
I asked Louis what evangelism meant to him and this is what he said: «Every evangelist lives on the edge: grasping God with one hand and a sheep with the other, with the sole purpose of saving it. Conscious of the time we live in, I face every sermon as if it were my last. To do the work of an evangelist is to preach with conviction, truth in season and out of season, to be passionate about Jesus and souls. I need to evangelize and baptize. It is a matter of urgency and priority for me to live to save. God is holding back the winds of the Apocalypse for a while longer and urges us to go and deliver hope, and to make disciples to the ends of the earth.»
We have to be those who soberly and carefully listen «for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord (Evangelism, p. 221).
An evangelist is not someone who speaks of God, but God speaking through someone.
Thus, it is as Brother Goncalves said:
«It is not enough to be an Adventist; you have to be an evangelist.»