“This was the week I was considering using drugs,” I told myself. You’d think a young boy in a mountain town in Brazil wouldn’t be getting into trouble. But I’d fallen in with the wrong crowd, even though my mom and dad became Christians when I was just 2 years old.
My name is Al Da Silva, and this is my LWF story.
My parents made sure we kids attended the Baptist church in our town, Belo Horizonte. At age seven I gave my heart to Jesus, but never really understood what it meant to be a Christian.
As I grew, I began having serious asthma attacks. Living 2,700 feet above sea level made it tough to breathe. When I was 10, my parents sent me to my grandparents on the coast. My asthma got better, but my life didn’t. I started getting into trouble and was sent home. But God had His hand on me—maybe because He knew what He was going to do with this boy from Brazil.
One time, I remember repeating those words, “I’m going to start using drugs.” But God said, "Al, wait a minute."
Asthma hadn’t bothered me in five years since I returned from the coast, but that week I had an attack so bad I almost had a life and death experience.
Out of school for a week, away from those friends, I asked, "What am I doing with my life? If I continue, where will I end up? Lord, I'm so far away from You.” Nothing good could come from where I was.
I had one good friend, Daniel, who always spoke truth in my life. I asked him to help me start back to church. Daniel took it from there: “I'll be by your side. Don't worry. I'll help you make friends.”
At church I met Wade and Sherri Akins, IMB missionaries who were highly supported by Adrian Rogers’ church in America. At Sherri’s weekly Bible study I started to understand what it meant to walk with the Lord and have the Holy Spirit living inside.
Wade started “Pioneer Evangelism” there, sharing the Gospel and building chapels. Churches like Dr. Rogers’ began sending volunteers to help. There was lots of excitement, and I got involved.
Wade needed interpreters for these volunteers. I knew a bit of English, but was hardly fluent. I noticed in his office lots of LWF cassettes arriving every month and I asked “What are these?” He told me about Adrian Rogers and his big church. “The pastor's a great friend of mine. He sends me sermons.”
“Can I borrow them?”
At high school during breaks, I’d listen to them on my Walkman.
Dr. Rogers was so easy to understand, pronouncing the words so clearly. I learned a lot of English listening to those tapes! One day someone told Wade, “Al speaks English.”
"No he doesn’t. He couldn't learn that fast.”
But I had! Those tapes had been my English teacher!
One team, traveling from Union University, made a lasting impression on me. I knew I wanted to go to school there. Along the way, a frequent mission worker and trustee at Union, Gary Taylor, saw the Lord at work in my life. One special time when he arrived, he had my Union acceptance letter in his hand. My college education was also supported by my home church, Sulphur Springs Baptist Church in Gray, TN and Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN.
Here’s what God did with this boy who got into so much trouble: I went from a public school kid in Brazil to the pre-med program at Union University. I met my wife there, graduated with a biology degree, then a master’s in business administration. But God wasn’t done.
I went back to Union, got my nursing degree, became a critical care nurse. Then got a second master’s in healthcare administration and now I’m an administrator with the University Clinical Health a practice plan of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. And what I learned from Wade, I use so much now.
Several years ago, LWF CEO, Cary Vaughn became a good friend and mentor. I never fully grasped the reach of Love Worth Finding until I visited the offices and saw the pins on the world map indicating where LWF is broadcast.
Through every media available, LWF uncompromisingly proclaims the truth. Today, Christianity is being watered down to fit the culture. But Dr. Rogers never watered it down. He had such grasp on the Word of God and a way of seeing Jesus on every page.
That's what this ministry is all about! Get involved—in prayer or even financially—for raising the name of our Lord Jesus. You’ll find like I did, this is a great ministry!