Like many before and after him, José Carrasquel left Creative Access Country X in search of a better life. He planned to travel to Chile, where his brother-in-law had already settled, but Jóse only had enough money to reach the first town across the border in Brazil. He soon realized God had a different plan.
On the first bus in Brazil, God used a Portuguese-speaking Brazilian woman (José spoke only Spanish) to tell him to go to Manaus instead. She paid his passage (the equivalent of two months’ wages) and said, “Don’t thank me, thank God.” Later, a man gave José food to eat, and another gave him information about a shelter and repeated the same message. Through miracles of communication, provision and opening the doors to a shelter designated only for Brazilians, God made His presence known. José began to serve alongside a church ministering in the shelter. Soon God called José to full-time ministry. The church helped him get established in an apartment and gave him money, enabling his
family to join him in Brazil.
For four years, he served, assisting the church with its humanitarian initiatives and starting a church in the homeless shelter. José was comfortable and doing good work, but then a pastor friend challenged him to extend the gospel using the Community Church Planting model the Free Methodist Church in Latin America has implemented.
Six people attended the first “House of Peace” (a church plant started in the home of a non-believer) meeting. In the second “House of Peace,” the family invited its extended family, who, in turn, invited many of their friends. When José arrived, there wasn’t enough space in the living room to contain everyone God continues to add new people and families to the fold, both from Creative Access Country X and Brazilian. Two young couples have joined the leadership team, and new believers are learning to obey the commands of Jesus. José currently oversees a network of six “Houses of Peace” and a sports outreach project. The goal is to have 15 “Houses of Peace” in Manaus by the end of 2021.
José is still moved when he remembers the miracles God used to lead him to deeper waters and challenge him to “let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Five years ago, his plan was to make a better life for his family. God’s plan was to extend His kingdom and offer eternal life to the residents of Manaus, Brazil. Today, José cheerfully declares, “Manaus will be for Christ!”
Jardy Castro is the prayer coordinator for Latin America, and Beth Gómez, is the administrative assistant to her husband, Ricardo, the area director.