Many a football fan would have longed for or dreamt of a chance to travel to Brazil when the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup was being held there. But for Beverley Pinder it was more than hoping and wishing. She actually got the opportunity.
However, her intent was not to take in any of the football action. Rather, on June 29, Pinder and four friends from the Carrington Wesleyan Holiness Church took the nigh six-hour-long trip to Sao Paulo with the sole aim of evangelizing, and working with Youth With A Mission to reach street children, prostitutes and the homeless.
A football fanatic may describe hers as a wasted trip; but not remotely so Pinder. In an interview with Barbados TODAY on the grounds of Thicket Plantation in Thickett, St Philip, this afternoon the devout Christian, who returned this past July 19 weekend, reported that it was an overwhelming success.
Even though the group would not have interacted with as many street people as they had hoped, they were yet able to evangelize and hopefully reach many of those people who made their way to various stadiums where football was played. One of those people, she recounted was a less fortunate man they met while handing out “yellow cards” with information on Christ.
It was during the second week that they met him. He walked with a limp, from a badly injured leg; and, with his permission, the group prayed for him. The following week, as the group combed the streets, they came upon the same man –– this time walking without impediment.
“It was exciting for us to see that God had really touched that gentleman . . . .
“There was another gentleman who was overwhelmed at the stadium; he literally cried because he was so pleased to see that persons had left their countries . . . to come to Brazil, at a time when there was upheaval, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the reverend recounted.
This wasn’t Pinder’s first trip to Brazil. It wasn’t her first trip to minister at such a huge event either. The 41-year-old has also travelled to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, among other occasions in places like St Vincent, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, the United States and the Czech Republic.
For the past 23 years, Pinder has fashioned her life to the pursuit of ministering the Gospel, be it in Barabdos or all across the world.
One may ask: why would a youthful, attractive woman give up all the treasures of this world, in the prime of her life, to commit to spreading the Gospel? The answer is simple: she was literally scared for her life.
Like several others who have told of the aha moment when their lives changed, the Church Village, St Philip resident divulged enlightenment came her way one day at age 18 as she sat in church. A self-professed “Crop Over wuk-up type” back in the day, her mother forced her to attend Sunday School; and it was there Pinder heard the Word, realized she wasn’t living the “right” life, and became scared she would go to hell for it.
“The message that was being preached was that if you are not living right . . . you are at war with God. And I didn’t want to go to hell –– that is the truth. The picture that was painted was serious; so honestly I was scared.
“I said, ‘Lord, I am going to make a decision for you’.
“Then one day, while at home doing the dishes, the whole picture of God just came back [and] I told Him I would serve Him for the rest of my life. I was in a relationship, and it would have taken me a while before I actually got serious with God; but then I said in my heart I made a promise with God, and I had to follow it –– and I did.
“I broke up the relationship, and ever since I have been following God in faith, and just trusting in Him; and I have proven He is real. For me He is real because there are things that I would talk to Him about, and there are things He does that I know it is God who has done these things,” Pinder said.
But not even she would have thought her calling would be that of missionary. She told Barbados TODAY for sure she knew she was called to spread the Gospel, but it was only on an occasion after Bible School that God again spoke to her, telling her she would be a minister of religion globally.
Since that time, the petite woman has been going every place God has taken her. Furthermore, she declared she has no intentions of ever stopping –– not even for a husband.
“I hope when he comes, he is mission-minded as well, or he is very understanding of what I am called to do, and he will support it,” she proudly proclaimed laughing.
“. . . But I don’t ever intend to stop, as long as God gives me breath, and He gives me the finances. I think he has greater plans for me to go even farther places thaa I’ve gone before and to meet other people.
“I have a heart for people. I cannot change people; but I think just being there to talk to them, to smile with them, to hug them . . . . Just those kinds of simple things make a whole difference to people. I would like to take that all over the world.
“So the opportunities which are opened to me . . . I just say, ‘God, thank you’. And, He opens doors and I just walk through them,” Pinder declared.
“I want to say to people we have personal convictions, and we have to know what is going on within us. We all go through a struggle of whether God is who He is; or if the life we are living is the life we are supposed to live. What I would advise you to do is give God a try. If you have never done it, do it!
“See the kind of peace that comes when you know Him. Feel the kind of inner strength you get in knowing Him. That is [what] I’ve experienced . . . . Even though things are not what you expect them to be, you still have that inner strength; that ‘I can make it for tomorrow; I can make it for another day’.
Reverend Beverley Pinder would encourage people to just try God and experience His inner peace and inner strength. It is simply her very mission.