September 10-13 in Panama City, Panama, DNA leaders and partners from all over Latin America will gather to share stories, renew vision and address the Great Commission which involves making disciples of all nations!
Since 1999, DNA partners from all over the world have gathered about every two years to renew their vision for their work, to share how the biblical worldview plays out in their various ministries, and to build new partnerships for even greater impact.
This year, the DNA Global Forum was a milestone. For the first time, it was hosted in Latin America, and two new countries declared themselves as local DNA networks: Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic!
The Forum, in mid-March, was hosted by the newly formed DNA-Brazil network. More than 60 delegates from 16 countries spent six days at a retreat center operated by Igreja Batista da Lagoinha, a 51,000-member church in the city of Belo Horizonte. Many leaders and members of the church participated in the Forum, the topic of which was “Possessing the Kingdom: A Call to Truth and Love.”
Here are some reflections on the week by John and Kate, long-time partners of the DNA serving in South Asia:
Below are a few photos from the week. Click here to see many more! Over the next few months, we’ll feature stories on many of these people and the work God is doing through them. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay informed!
My name is Mary, and I’ve been part of Disciple Nations Alliance for just about six months, now. My favorite part of working with DNA is the privilege of being immersed in God’s amazing work. Every day, I get to talk with people who are being used by God to bring restoration and new life to their communities. It’s easy to see that the devil is active in our world, but we must not forget that it’s not an equal fight! God is always in control, and with his power, his Church is on the offensive — not the other way around.
Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you … on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
Here is one example of God working in the lives of people all over the world: In João Pessoa, the poorest and least evangelized part of Brazil, a Christian non-profit called Institute One27 is ushering in the Kingdom of God through a training and mentorship school for young adults and ensuing projects in the community. This video is sure to encourage you; watch it!
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.” Psalm 135:1
Human passion often is described in terms of fire or flames. “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” said the French WWI hero Ferdinand Foch.
If Carlos Calill Pires’ passion to see transformation in his country was a crackling campfire three years ago, today, it is a wildfire that cannot be contained. It leaps from person to person, like trees in a forest, electrifying communities and gaining momentum. The fuel that set it off was an encounter with DNA teachings in 2009.
“The DNA was an answer from God for our ministry,” says Carlos, a 27-year-old leader of the National Union of Christian Students (UNEC) in Brazil. “We realized that even our group had many Christian people without a biblical worldview. It means that we were working hard but with no great results, if we consider results as transformation of life.”
After hearing Darrow Miller speak at a conference in 2009, Carlos studied Discipling Nations, a book which continues to speak profoundly into the minds and hearts of God’s laborers worldwide. Then, he and some friends studied LifeWork, which examines how we glorify God with our daily tasks. “My life was so impacted that many concepts and ideas for UNEC were changed,” he says. “I realized that many efforts we had focused on were not effective.”
Taking it to the streets
“I can see churches nowadays worried to have a great number of people inside the temples,” says Carlos, “but they don’t worry to disciple those people in order to impact society.” To counter this, Carlos and his team equip other young people to use their professions to disciple their nation.
- Teaching English >> While it is very expensive to study English in Brazil, knowing this language is a valuable asset. UNEC has built a partnership with a public school in the city of Belo Horizonte, selecting children from poor areas to receive top-quality education. “All the families selected to this project asked us why we do this,” says Carlos. “It is a great time to share love to the community!”
- Discipling youth >> Through seminars and other trainings, youth learn how to practice biblical values in their homes and in civil society, choosing areas of the city to invest their gifts and start small projects.
- Sports outreach >> 1,500 students at Christian schools learn about biblical worldview through two regional sports leagues.
Taking it across the globe
The vision of Carlos and UNEC is so big that it busts through political borders. They are in the beginning stages of forming a Youth Leadership Exchange Program — a collaboration of Christian universities from several countries. Sharing ideas, debating global hot-button issues and critiquing each others’ work, these students of an ever-increasing global society will collaborate to become Christian leaders equipped for Kingdom work, whatever their professions may be.
Iron sharpening iron, the students will examine each others’ worldviews and form a solid web of next-generation leaders ready to transform their societies through the gospel.
Contact Carlos: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Darrow Miller’s book, LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day, is now available in Portuguese! Nelson Monteiro, DNA Brazil Team Leader recently reported:
I just came back from our Forum DNA Brasil in Brasília. You probably know that Bob and Darrow were there ministering. We released Darrow’s Lifework book in Portuguese during the conference. It was a victory to celebrate as that had been a long time desire of Darrow’s. As I mentioned before, it was published through Rodrigo’s Instituto Transforma.
We spend 50 to 75 percent of our waking hours and 60 to 90 percent of the years of our lives working. Yet many of us never invest even a fraction of that time exploring the vision that drives our lives and work.
In this book, Darrow lays out the thought background necessary for each of us to establish a meaningful, integrated understanding of our life and work. Whatever our work or vocation, God calls each of us to a new way of living–fully in his presence.
The book sells for R$ 40.00. You can order by email or telephone:
Phone: 55 (41) 3095 2269
Or write to: Rua Alf. Marcilio Machado 181, Tingui, Curitiba, PR, Brasil
Go here to see DNA books available in other languages.
Ana Lucia Santos is a Brazilian woman with a mission. Her efforts were largely responsible for the recent successful conference, Transforme, at which Darrow Miller was a keynote speaker. Ana agreed to tell us a little bit about herself.
I grew up in the north part of Brazil. My father is a church planter and pioneering was part of our family life. He served in very unusual places, especially among the underprivileged and those in conflict with the law.
When I was nine years old, I received a specific call to be a missionary. At 17 I tried different venues, including attending 18 months of civil engineering school, starting a business and traveling. But God had in mind something bigger than myself, beyond my dreams.
At 20 I joined Youth With A Mission (YWAM). After attending the Discipleship Training School in Belem, in northern Brazil, I served with Mercy Ships for two years and then joined the YWAM base in Tyler, Texas. After completing two training schools (Evangelism and Frontier Mission), I decided to attend Foundations in Community Development training. This school was directed by Christine Colby, and Vishal Mangalwadi, Bob Moffit and Darrow Miller came together to teach at the same time.
By now I understood that missions was more than just saving souls. My heart for the underprivileged was growing stronger. I knew I had been called to see the invisible ones. But I also knew that feeding and clothing them wouldn’t change their lives. I might feel better, but God was directing me to see that even after teaching people how to fish if they couldn’t get into water to catch the fish, the whole lesson would be no more than a busy time of fellowship for everyone involved.
A new believer from a Muslim background once asked me, “What is the Christian way to be just?” As a Muslim he had trusted the Koran to teach him, but as a new Christian he didn’t have answers. For a few days I struggled with this question. I knew Christians had good motives, but we separate the “secular” and the “sacred” and end up using humanistic values and ideas.
I came to see that as agents of transformation we should be influencing decisions at all levels. We must make known God’s truth as the solution for the chaotic and corrupted systems ruling so many nations.
I began to ask God for His favor to get into the offices of policy makers and legislators in governments. Even Christians involved in government are often influenced by a Greek dichotomy and fail to operate from a biblical worldview in the area of justice. Instead of biblical concepts they use humanistic ideas in their life work.
It became my food to see God’s “Kingdom come and His will be done,” to see His Justice and Mercy applied. This is what I want to do until I die.
My desire is to influence decision makers as well those directly affected by those decisions. This why I am choosing this path of justice and mercy. In particular, I want to be directly involved in the rescue and restoration of children and women in high risk situations.
Another personal goal is to continue to help others connect their vocation with the Kingdom of God.
2. What has been your history with the DNA?
I believe my history with DNA started even before DNA started! In 1994 I met Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt in Tyler, Texas. It was a divine appointment in my life; crazy, but good! Darrow and Bob were trying to see how the messages about worldview, the Kingdom of God, and transforming communities could come together. We were meeting in a classroom but I felt like I was inside a lab. My brain was exploding(!) but my heart was completely happy to know that God was giving me a tool that I must not let go of. I embraced both of these brothers with my heart and since that time we have worked together as much as possible. Whenever I work with them, I grow very much and I am able to take others with me.The DNA message was simple and challenging at the same time. When Darrow and Bob came to northern Brazil to hold a vision conference, more than 700 leaders and pastors attended.
I joined a Brazilian development organization on their earlier days, CADI, a ministry that was just beginning in the south of Brazil based on DNA teaching. CADI has had strong success with concrete results in education, healthcare, business, and other areas.
Another turning point came after I started relief work at a women’s prison in Northern Africa in 1998. The prison management accepted our proposal and decided to train female guards to replace the male guard who often abused the prisoners. The trainer for the first week was Darrow Miller.
Many of the trainees in Darrow’s workshop were Muslims from the Ministry of Justice department. He lectured on the dignity of the human life, focusing especially on women. He was not allowed to use the Bible, yet was teaching Muslims the truth. I saw firsthand the changes in these women; they no longer treated the prisoners as inferior.
I came to see that we needed to redeem the church’s view of vocation. We needed to reach each individual so they could connect their vocation with the Kingdom of God as their specific calling. In my mind this was revolutionary; this could change the way we have been doing and perceiving missions. I loved it!
3. How has the DNA message impacted your life?
By understanding that “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’” The most impacting message is to see how Darrow doesn’t just teach it, but he lives it. Because of Darrow’s and Bob’s simplicity, even I am able to grasp how knowledge and revelation can come together.
4. What can you tell us about your DNA-type ministries or activities?
For the past four years I have been working with young people from my church. I see it as a golden opportunity, as most of them have graduated, and have been in some type of training (such as a YWAM Discipleship Training School) and they are so open to learn. We started by having field projects combined with our Mentorship Training School. Because people are different, we decided to include in their studies, the spheres of influence in the context of living here.
The experience has been amazing as I can see today how our students and church people talk about worldview, life work, and politics with a different view, having good consequences. It is still a small percentage, but my heart rejoices as I see that it is not just activities, but a small glimpse of what the Lord is doing around the world. I see today in some of our projects children not throwing garbage on the ground but starting to understand their role as God’s agents of transformation. At the same I see others in the field of politics doing and thinking differently because they see themselves now as monitors of laws, calling out the church into God’s mandate in this arena.
5. What most encourages you about the recent Transforme conference?
The possibility to see more people engaged in the mandate of discipling the nations, leaving with a new paradigm and being inspired to connect their vocation with God’s Kingdom.
6. What do you hope to see different as a result of this conference?
I hope we come out with a mentorship network throughout Brazil, where individuals living in mega-cities or on the Amazon where there is little access to information, could exchange ideas and results as the message of Life Work is exposed.
Carlos Said Pires has a dream. Since graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration in 2009, Carlos has thrown his energies into a new national effort—the National Union of Christian Students (NUCS). The vision of NUCS is Christians serving as opinion leaders in society, well grounded in Christian principles and prepared to lead the transformation of a nation. To achieve this goal, NUCS works with youth in four arenas: sports, arts, politics, social assistance.
Carlos believes it’s time for those who know the truth and believe the Bible to tell people that the problems of the world have one solution: Jesus Christ.
Sports is one natural venue for transforming society. NUCS leaders believe Christian students will respond to leadership training built around sports, and some early results confirm that hunch.
“Two months ago,” Carlos reflects, “we had our first championship soccer match of Christian schools here in Belo Horizonte. Almost 200 students in 20 teams played 45 games.”
Within four years of this first-ever national gathering of Christian athletes, Carlos expects to build a national training program to teach players what the Bible says about sports, equipping them to serve as influencers in every domain of the society. The next tournament is scheduled for September.
Carlos credits DNA’s influence in his life. When Darrow Miller taught in Sao Paulo two years ago, Carlos attended. Darrow’s material on the importance of worldview issues gripped him.
“DNA materials are the basis of our association,” Carlos notes. “[For] every training program … we are building our curriculum on DNA materials: Discipling Nations, LifeWork, The Seed in the Forest …” among others.
Another goal of NUCS is building a Christian perspective on politics and encouraging appropriate engagement in political activity. This includes developing a curriculum including political studies, social realities and citizen involvement in serving the poor and other underserved communities.
Carlos envisions every member “using their profession to develop the quality of life of the people. For example: a nutritionist helping the people use their own resources to make healthy food. Eventually our goal is to train 20,000 children, including those in poor regions here in Brazil.”
Funding for NUCS will include events, memberships and sponsors for all four fronts—Arts, Social Assistance, Sports and Politics.
Carlos represented Brazil at the 4-14 Window Global Summit in New York, September 2-5. This gathering was “to bring together some 500 Christian leaders from 100 nations who are called to mobilize the global body of Christ to reach, equip and empower the 4-14 Generation to transform their communities and nations.”