In 1997, Pedro Figueiredo was already making his mark in professional soccer in Brazil when Judson University offered him a scholarship to come to the United States and play for them. It was there that he first heard about the Lord and began his journey toward discovering how he could use his profession for God’s glory.
After college, Pedro returned to Brazil and to his work in professional soccer. But, in 2011, Pedro and his wife felt an urge to return to the United States. They moved to Chicago where Pedro taught high school and started coaching futsal (a sport similar to football) teams in the community.
When Pedro’s wife started a medical residency in Searcy, Arkansas, the family moved again, leaving Pedro to wonder how he could get plugged into his new community. He knew church was a good place to start, but he didn’t really know how to connect.
Meanwhile, members of Valley Baptist Church knew what it meant to actively spread the Gospel around the world. They traveled on missions trips and actively participated in Arkansas Baptist missions events such as the One Day Acts 1:8 Missions Experience. Then the pandemic hit, shutting down all of their existing missions activities, including the One Day Missions event in Russellville scheduled for October 2020. So, Valley Baptist began looking for ways to reinvest their missions energy right there in their own community of Searcy, Arkansas.
When pastor James Hayes learned of One Day: Serve Local, he knew this alternative to the event in Russellville would not only keep his church engaged in missions, but it would also equip them to find ways to serve their community. Valley Baptist set up a car wash, cleaned up yards, helped bag and carry out groceries, and sent out teams for door-to-door evangelistic visits.
When one of these evangelism teams knocked on Pedro Figueiredo’s door, they had no idea that God had already been working in that home and family. But because of their faithfulness, they were able to help Pedro move from knowledge of the Lord to a relationship with Christ as his Savior.
It didn’t stop there, though. Pedro immediately found ways to plug into Valley Baptist, including using the church’s Family Life Center to begin coaching soccer teams. As families come to him, he then works to connect the church to these families, that they, too, may hear the Gospel.
Because Arkansas Baptists have been faithful to give to the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering, ministries like the One Day Acts 1:8 Missions Experience have been able to develop, grow, and thrive. But it doesn’t stop with giving, because money alone doesn’t put God’s people on the streets serving and knocking on doors. Obedience and action must follow, with believers stepping out to participate in missions.
That obedience accomplishes far more than we can ever imagine. When we are ignited to serve Christ, He connects us to the work He is already doing in lives all around us. We simply have to follow the example of churches like Valley Baptist in Searcy, praying for God to direct us to opportunities so we can give and go.