It is no small feat to reach the remote tribes of Central Africa with the gospel. Brazilian missionary and pastor, Oséas Cardoso, began his missions work in Africa by taking a monumental risk that would endanger his life at every turn.
Pastor Cardoso was invited to share his live-giving message in Africa by an African who had been living in Brazil. He was warned by many that he would not survive. They told him he would be killed by the apes, if not the apes, the crocodiles, and if not the crocodiles, the hippos, and if not the hippos, the lions. Finally, they said if ... if he made it past all that danger, he would be killed by the cannibal tribe.
Pastor Cardoso only arrived to the remote tribes of Africa after days of travel by car, on motorcycle, on foot, and by canoe.
Many who have arrived at these cannibal tribes of the Democratic Republic of Congo are killed before even being given a chance to speak. But Pastor Cardoso knew that God had called him to deliver a message, so he took the risk.
While his church and family were praying for his protection 24 hours a day, he made the long journey to the remote tribes. As they rode their motorcycles into the village at 6:00 a.m., those living in the village ran to meet them. They were dressed in the clothes they wear only for times when they will prepare to kill and eat the people who come into contact with them.
They stood by with spears in hand as Pastor Cardoso delivered his message through an interpreter. By God's grace alone, the cannibal tribe let him speak.
This was the beginning of the missionary work that has now spread to over 50 tribes in multiple countries across Central Africa. And it all started in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Eventually, Pastor Oséas Cardoso's visits caught the attention of the DRC's government. They initially saw him as a hostile actor and sent a government spy to investigate.
When the spy heard Pastor Cardoso's message, instead of encountering hostility, he heard a message that resonated with him - one that his country needed to hear. Cardoso's first message to the cannibal tribes was about unity and the dignity of all people.
Soon thereafter, Pastor Cardoso was invited to visit The People's Palace of Congo, where he was welcomed and even granted DRC Citizenship.
While Pastor Cardoso's message has reached many in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country remains deeply divided between the darkness of witchcraft and faith in Christ.
Witchcraft in this part of the world is not the caricature we so often see portrayed on television. Pastor Cardoso tells the testimony of how witches would appear and disappear in rooms and how he had to fight for his life all night in prayer. He told about how these witches can simply point to someone and their life would be taken from them.
However, these supernatural powers of darkness only come at a price. It is a deep darkness that includes human sacrifice; even of close family members. Horrifically, the witchcraft includes child sacrifice and human cannibalism.
Although the darkness is almost unspeakable, it is no match for the supernatural power and protection of God. God has worked through Pastor Cardoso and his missionary teams to plant churches, build schools, build hospitals and share the gospel far and wide.
Pastor Cardoso is the President and lead Pastor Igreja Evangelica Assembléia de Deus of the Assembly (Assembly of God Evangelical Church) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their missions efforts continue spread throughout the world and have even reached the remote invidious people of Brazil.
Pastor Cardoso's church continues to reach vast numbers of people through their missionary work in Central Africa and the remote parts of Brazil.
Their work is far from over and the impact of the risk Pastor Oséas Cardoso was willing to take will have an impact for years to come.
Ryan S. Howard, Ph.D., is the founder of Your Faith At Work, a ministry and business that helps Christians partner with God to advance the Kingdom at work, at home and in the culture. Ryan has worked in the global manufacturing industry for over 15 years and has visited over 20 countries. Ryan hosts a weekly podcast and is the author of "21 Days to a New Workplace You." He lives in Iowa with his wife, Bruna, and their son, John. Learn more at ryanshoward.com.
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