A Different Journey in Missions: Delays Reveal God at Work Behind the Scenes
Brian Correia felt God's call to missions, but even though it didn't happen in his preferred timing, God's timing has proven to be far better.Brian and Raquel Correia are in their second term as Assemblies of God World Missions global workers in Colombia. Their journey into missions is a story of God’s guidance and provision.
Brian Correia’s first missions experience came during high school by participating in AIM (Ambassadors in Mission) trips sponsored by the New Jersey District of the Assemblies of God.
“That was the beginning of a process,” he says.
“After graduating high school, I decided to take the next step and enroll in the AG’s Engage program. In this program, college students can spend the first few years of their college experience serving alongside active missionaries while also doing courses through one of our AG universities. Engage is like an AG study-abroad program. This can serve everyone, whether they are certain of a missions call or not,” Correia recalls.
Correia served for more than three years in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Managua, Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, he says, he felt absolute confirmation that he was created to serve in missions and became especially well-equipped to live a life of missions.
“I began praying for a country of service, and God told me, Colombia,” he says.
Yet Correia’s process to full-time missionary appointment was filled with unexpected delays.
“Because this journey took longer than I anticipated, ministry opportunities drastically increased in Colombia,” he says. “Patience is not my strength, but it is something the Lord is painfully working out in me. We may see something as a delay or redundant, but all the while God is doing something beautiful behind the scenes.”
One of the most beautiful results of Correia’s waiting was his marriage to Raquel, who also came from New Jersey to serve with Engage in Nicaragua. Since age 12, she had felt a missions calling to Latin America. Once Brian and Raquel met, they quickly fell in love, sought AGWM missions appointment, and went together to Colombia.
In mid-2018, the Correias moved to a city in southwest Colombia. They are the first missionaries to live in this region.
“Our heart is for the least reached peoples of Colombia — from the marginalized neighborhoods in the cities to the indigenous communities in the jungles,” Brian Correia says. “We desire to see the people of Colombia experience life-changing peace, reconciliation, and freedom in Christ.”
The church there has struggled to grow because of the 60-year ongoing internal armed conflict. Since the first AG church was planted in the province 50 years ago, eight others have followed. But there is still an incredible amount of work to be done, considering there are 42 municipalities (comparable to a county) in the province.
Many farmers lack access to typical trade routes and have been left to harvest coca (the base crop from cocaine) as their only viable source of income.
“As we prayed along with the existing local churches, we felt that the churches needed to become a greater resource for communities in addressing economic issues. We also felt that by having greater community engagement we could better resource new church plants in the region.”
Correia continues, “As I looked for other ways to minister, I began knocking on doors, one of which was Convoy of Hope. In 2022, Convoy of Hope helped us open a brick-and-mortar location in Colombia. Convoy of Hope has several initiatives that allow our churches to have greater community engagement.”
1. Children’s Feeding Initiatives. In 2023, we provided a meal a day to nearly 2,500 children in our region and across western Colombia.
2. Agriculture. We work with more than 400 farmers, helping them improve food security in their communities as well as strengthen new agricultural products and reduce dependency on illegal crops.
3. Women’s Empowerment. We have equipped more than 100 women with a biblical worldview and empower them to be pillars in their homes as well as to begin new entrepreneurial ventures.
4. Girls Empowerment and Boys Programs. These programs help us teach girls and boys in local schools how they can best plan for their future in a way that honors God and others.
5. Disaster Services. This program allows us to be a light when natural or humanitarian disasters occur.
“We offer these resources to local churches so they can better connect with their communities,” Correia says. “One way we do this is through our Seed Project Farm. On this farm we train local leaders in best agricultural practices. We grow 100% organic food for our children’s feeding programs run by our local churches.
“We also use these resources to strategically equip new church plants. We are not the heroes of this story, the Lord’s Church is. The Church is front and center as the primary executor of all of these projects. We simply facilitate.”
Recently Correia was asked to be one of five panelists, along with representatives from USAID, the UN, and the local government. Each panelist shared advances this year and future projections. The governor’s office mentioned that Convoy of Hope has done important work and generated confidence in the territories. Correia was able to publicly highlight Convoy’s commitment to uplift and partner with the local church to accomplish greater community development.
Correia concludes, “While we have seen God do incredible things so far, we know He is just getting started. We see Him redeeming an area of Colombia that has been bound by stigmas of violence and using the Church to be the source of blessing to the rest of the nation through the resources that Convoy of Hope is bringing to our area.”
*This article originally appeared in Worldview magazine, Vol. 10, Issue 1. Used with permission.