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COME MEET MARTIN
‘Sometimes I feel like I’m on the defence line of a football team. It can look like you’re not really doing very much, but at the right moment, you kick the ball and it makes a big impact. Likewise, my work here in accounts is unseen to the public, but I know it’s right where God wants me to be right now. God challenges me every day to always be ready’.
I had the privilege of meeting Martin this week….. and these words of his, have stuck in my mind ever since! What an inspiration he is. Martin is a guy with great wisdom, and our conversation was marked by his vibrancy, humour and sensitivity. So, let me introduce you! Martin is our very own ‘Mr Bookkeeper’, ‘money counter’ or ‘numbers’ guy! As I sat down in his office, with a hearty laugh he said, “I’m in the last room and the last person that anyone wants to see…but accounts, that’s what I do”. And what a great job, I discovered, he does!
How do you see your role in accounts and missions together?
For me being a missionary is a lifestyle. It goes beyond what your job is or beyond teaching or preaching. It’s those things, yet more. It’s in the moments when you are seen or even those when no one can see you. It requires obedience and for me, there is key found in relationship. When you focus on the relationship, you can see a ministry in whatever you do. Here at YWAM Harpenden, we are all team players, each department helping the other and together we create something beautiful that is much bigger than ourselves. I’m always trying to be ready in my own role, that God has given me here, to make the move that God requires from me, at just the right moment. I take the opportunities I get in my free time to minister to people that God lays on my heart, be it at a playground with my wife and kids or during occasional street ministry projects. I’m not always hiding here in the office! (Martin laughs with a big open grin and I end up having a good laugh too!!).
So how can I as an outsider get more insight into your job as an accountant and understand your role here at YWAM Harpenden better?
Well, I work in ‘petty cash’ within accounts, which means I receive all the cash and card payments. So, if people need to pay U of N school fees, monthly housing costs, outstanding payments, cash or card donations (the list is endless!) they come and see me. For example, just this last week I oversaw all the cash for our Apple fest – giving a money float for each activity stand, cashing up the turnovers and documenting it all.
Wow, this is really a huge task Martin! So I guess people can come to you if they want to bless someone anonymously?
Yes, that’s right! You can come here, tell me who you want to bless and I can organize to have your gift credit their account.
This to me is a ministry of its own Martin! So how did you end up here in Harpenden? We all know how amazing Brazil is, but can you share what ignited your heart to be here in England?
Well, we came on a ten-day holiday in 2016 to visit some good friends from Brazil. Two of them who are staff here in Harpenden. On our last day, we came to the campus to see where they lived. As we put our feet on the ground, I remember I felt the presence of God so strongly. What was remarkable, is that I had been praying for about 8 years, that if we should ever re-enter YWAM to serve full time as a family, God would give me a sign. This day, during our visit, marks a turning point for me. On that day Tina (my wife) and I also drew up a list of forty things to pray for over forty days, on our return to Brazil. Those forty days spilt over and became a whole year of preparation. There was much to consider, having young kids, being in a stable job etc. We needed to be 100% sure God was in this if we were going to uproot our lives. Also, I had worked for my church as an accountant for seven years carrying significant responsibility, so I knew a key part of this journey would be to find a replacement for me. I will never forget, first needing the courage to speak to my pastor who was also my boss! Tina and I prayed for a long time to find the right words. When that day came, and I told him what we were sensing, I thought a huge discussion would unfold. But it was quickly evident in that conversation that God’s favour was all over this decision because our pastor, my friend and boss looked at me and simply said that he would send us out together with his blessing. On top of that, he said that we had the church’s full backing in prayer and some could help financially. Amazing! So, if you are reading this now, can I encourage you that no matter how hard you may feel it is to approach change or transition, if God is in it, He will pour His favour over you!
Thank you for that strong word, Martin! So, when did you leave Brazil to come here?
We left in January 2018 with the four of us and only 7 suitcases – crazy I know! But it was so freeing at the same time. We either sold or donated everything we owned. It was a crazy wonderful rollercoaster ride but we’re so happy and challenged to be here. It’s not been all glamorous or easy. We’ve moved on base to new housing many times, have had to share dormitory bathrooms and kitchens at times, which has all been challenging in different ways with little kids. But we’ve held strong to the words God spoke to us, and its helped us to see each challenge through different eyes.
How powerful and beautiful to be in such a place! Do you have specific visions & dreams for the future?
For now, God has put it on our hearts to fully trust him. We know that he wants us here in England and has given us a heart for English people. In coming here we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone and embarked on the biggest faith journey we’ve ever been on as a family. But we know that the relationship with God is the most secure place we can be. Standing in this place, we heard God speak to us, “I’ll take the ground away from under your feet and give you heaven”. And this has been our experience daily! Therefore, we are peaceful in taking it one step at a time, to seek God’s will for us. Currently, Tina is doing her DTS, so, for now, our next step is the DTS Outreach in Greece for 3 months and after that, we will see what He has planned for us.
Martin, it’s been such a fun hearty hour with you! I’ve loved hearing more of the journey God took you on and how you show us all, how when we give God back the gifts and skills He’s given us, we allow Him the opportunity to use everything for His greater purposes.
Martin is 40 years old, born in São Bernardo do Campo close to São Paulo in Brazil. He’s married to Tina and has two children age 4 and 6. He did his DTS in 2000 and staffed on the LOGOS II Ship. He then completed a degree in Business, Administration and Marketing that led him to work in accounting.
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