Alex Gulart is a missionary in Paraguay. Him and his wife, Deltha have an incredible ministry and and testimony and it would be worth your time to read their story Here.
We continue this week to get to know our missionaries that are around the world serving Christ. This week we have the exciting privilege to hear from Alex Gulart, who we mentioned above. We appreciate his unique ministry and the time he took to share his heart and life with us.
1. What most excites you about your field and ministry?
It is so exciting to live among people from more than 50 ethnics groups, to use 4 difference currencies, to hear 6 languages every day (and English is not even one of them!). It is so exciting to live surrounded by mosques, religious temples and Christian churches with such bad theology that I would never recommend them to anyone! Why is all this so exciting? Because we were created to shine in the darkness. We are the light of this world. As there is more darkness around us, the more there are possibilities of shining bright and exalting the One who is the eternal light!
It is also so exciting to be part of something bigger than us, something bigger than our capacity and even bigger than our imagination. I try to imagine how the future will be and I love to dream, but this is also scary… how a family or two will start a solid ministry to reach others for Christ? In the end… it is not us. It is the Grace of God and it is so exciting. It is so exciting that nothing of what we are doing is enough to reach a nation for Christ, but praise the Lord that this is the way it is… for He is enough, and He will make it possible. This amazes me! This is so exciting!
2. What is the most difficult about your field and ministry?
Language and cultural diversity! This answer could be the answer of what excites me most… but the reality is that this is a big challenge. There are a lot of foreigners that know enough Spanish to survive… (some even don’t get to this level like in the cases of many women), but they don´t know enough Spanish to understand the Gospel. Thanks be to our God we can share the Gospel in Spanish, English, Portuguese and we are trying to learn as much as possible in other languages. We will even start an Arabic course. However, the reality is that the reality is that we cannot learn Arabic and Bengali, and Chinese, and Guarani, etc., etc.
One of the ways we found to help “fix” this problem is to teach Spanish and English. The Lord is Good and He is helping us to communicate with so many friends. Our hope is that when somebody from a specific community comes to know the Lord, they will help us translate and reach others in their community. After all… we are dreaming with of a church “for all the nations…”
3. Name 3 things God has taught you as a missionary.
First: It is not about me.
I´m not the main character in this “movie.” God does not need me. He wants to use me as part of His grace, but He doesn´t need me. The Gospel came to Paraguay way before us and will stay way longer than us.
I will be in a good position when the people see and hear more of Christ and less of Alex…We are just instruments…
Second: People will hurt us.
We are all sinners, some are redeemed and forgiven, and some need redemption and forgiveness, but we know for sure that we will not find perfect people here on earth. We all have the potential of hurting others, and others have the potential to hurt us. We have to be careful to try not to hurt anyone, and when somebody hurt us, accidentally or with intention, we have to act like Christ and forgive.
We must show Grace to others in the name of the One who showed eternal Grace to such a sinners like us. Unforgiveness is not just a poison inside of us, but an act against our Savior, a sin. Hurt will happen, especially from the people that we love most, could be coworkers or our spiritual children, our family or a stranger, but the answer remains the same: GRACE.
Third: People are more important than activities.
Even as Christians we get caught up in the culture of doing things. We have things to do all the time; our churches are a calendar of activities. It is easy to think that it is not about going out and reaching people where they are at with the Gospel, but that it is more about creating programs and if they want to come, they will make the choice for themselves. That way, if they don’t come it is their responsibility, and we feel satisfied and not guilty. We made a program! BUT, I´m convinced that this is NOT the way.
Of course it is correct to plan, to make programs, and to organize activities, but we cannot lose focus of what it is important. Missions are relationships. Instead of just inviting people to evangelistic outreaches or to our services (which is ok), we should invite more people to our house for dinner, for a coffee, we should go to their houses, to set apart times to speak with them, to hear their problems, sufferings, sins, etc. and to share my life and the life of Christ with them. Of course this is less easy and less comfortable than invite them to a program in church.
I learn that I have to be intentional. I have to walk certain streets to meet certain people. I have to buy things in certain shops to meet certain people, and to make an effort to start conversation with people with the hope of sharing Christ with them.
4. What did God use to call you into missions?
In my case God used a passage in Scripture (among so many different things like people, trips, experiences, etc.) In Deltha´s case, God used a book about 5 missionaries that lost their lives while being missionaries to the Auca Indians. In any case, I believe that this is a process where God begins opening our eyes to the reality of the world and places the desire and passion of sharing Christ with others in our hearts.
5. If you could share anything with someone considering missions what would it be?
A- Get. Get more information about countries, people group, mission’s organizations, etc.
B- Read. Read biographies of missionaries and read books about missions.
C- Ask. Get in contact with missionaries, and ask a lot of questions.
D- Go. Take some time off to participate in a couple of short term mission trips.
E- Think. Think about whether, after everything what you read, listened, and saw, you should stay or you should go.
F- Write. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you to come and serve with us! 😉
6. In what ways have you seen God’s faithful provision?
We saw God´s provision in so many ways… I have been working full time in ministry for 12 years. I have never been hungry or without clothes. What people need to understand is that this doesn’t mean that you can have all that you want any time you want it. Normally the Lord tests our faithfulness and faith by not giving us everything that we want, but simply what we really need.
7. What is a favorite thing about the country you serve in?
I love being in an international environment. The food is good and the people are cool! What else can I ask!?
8. Who was one person that had a big influence in your decision to become a missionary?
It wasn’t one person… I think God used different people at different times to create a passion in me.
9. In what ways can others best encourage missionaries
I´m not sure about others missionaries, but I love to received letters. Receiving a message means people took the time to write. I love to hear (or read) affirming words! Many people think that missionaries are tired of hearing encouraging things, but this is not true, our ego will not explode either… it is good to hear affirming words.
10. What is one of your favorite funny memories from the field?
Once I was trying to learn some Guarani words (the local language) and there were a couple words that I heard all the time, and I thought I knew the meaning. So, I went to a meeting with pastors, and I wanted to show them my progress in my Guarani language….so I shout my new words in Guarani. Then I realize all the pastors were in silence and one Pastor asked me in front of everybody… do you know what you just said? I said NO. He said, “You just sent us all to…” Well, I think you can imagine where I sent them. Better not repeat that!