Originally from Brazil, Lelmer and Renata Campos now serve with Latin Link in Weymouth, England.
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” – Matthew 10:40
Renata and I arrived in Weymouth, Dorset in August 2012 to serve a local church as children’s workers and to pioneer their schools ministry. We were greeted at the train station by one of the elders from Ebenezer Evangelical Church, who we stayed with until the church manse was ready for us to live in. David and Anne Peach welcomed us to their home with open arms and blessed us with their hospitality and practical love.
The same welcome was given to us by the church leadership and congregation who made us feel immediately part of the family. Unconsciously, and very naturally, they were living out the gospel challenge to welcome a stranger as Christ. They believed our calling to serve the local church and exercised immense patience in helping us adapt to a new culture, learn a new language and develop our gifts in a foreign environment.
Fast forward eleven years… and we are still serving in that same church. It is not a perfect church by any
stretch of the imagination and it is full of imperfect people (myself included).
“It is a church that tries to see Christ in the face of a stranger.”
Many visitors have shared with me that they felt very welcome the moment they stepped into our building and were greeted by members of our church family.
I have a personal longing to see in the local church a microcosm of heaven, where under the Lordship of Jesus we will welcome people from every tribe and language and nation, to the praise of God and the worship of His glory (see Revelation 7:9-10; Romans 15:7).
“In a world that divides itself into groups and categories of all sorts, in a society that is fragmented at every level, the Church provides an alternative.”
We welcome the stranger, we love the outcast, we recognise as equal the rich and poor, the black and white, male and female, young and old because in Christ Jesus we are all one.”
I love the monastic movement of the 4th Century and how they placed welcoming the stranger at the centre of their mission. St. Benedict writes, “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 53)
May God help us as His co-workers to reflect the welcoming nature of Christ that says, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37).
If you would like to support Lelmer and Renata Campos click here for their fundraising page.