12 Jan 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
This is a story of how God drew the heart of one man to leave everything he had in Portugal, to answer his calling to serve in Malaysia. What an amazing God we have! He drew a man across oceans to serve a foreign people in a foreign place.
On Jan 7, Fernando Brito—professional oboe player of the Symphony Military Band Guarda Nacional Republicana in Portugal and preacher of God’s Word—came to preach about his testimony at the Full Gospel Businessmen (FGB) Meeting of the Ebenezer Chapter led by Steven Toh.
Knowing God through Music
At only 17 years old, Brito became a professional military musician for the Symphonic Band in Portugal who traveled around all Portugal and Europe to perform. Although he had achieved success at such a tender age, he still felt empty inside. “Somehow, it’s like something’s missing. When I was alone, I would ask questions like, ‘What are we doing here?’” Brito said.
When he turned 20 years old, a musician invited Brito to a church Sunday service in Lisbon. “I am a shy guy and I did not have the courage to say no to him,” said Brito. And on that morning he became one of the 70 people who accepted Christ in a revival movement that saw 600,000 saved souls in the next five years. He witnessed many miracles and amazing healings and demonstrations of God’s power every single service for several years! More touching than physical were transformed lives and marriage healings and demons fleeing from people who used to be possessed! Our God is an Amazing God!
“I went home praying that day… God, if you are real, I want to be like that preacher because if it’s true, I want to tell everyone all the days of my life,” said Brito. He began to see changes in himself—he would offer favors that he would not do in the past, and also looked at girls differently. The desire to imitate Christ in everything said or done became a priority.
Defending the Truth with Boldness at Work
No one knew about Brito’s faith until one day, at the GNR cafeteria having the breakfast someone in the room mocked God, when Brito—over consumed with godly passion—suddenly and firmly said, “Don’t you ever talk like this about God! Go and read a Bible and don’t be ignorant!”
His zealousness was welcomed with dead silence. From that moment onwards, he felt that he was treated differently. But Brito was steadfast in his faith by becoming the devourer of God’s Word.
Another time a group of musicians began mocking God again; a musician in front of Brito suddenly looked back at him and said, “Now, you belong to a cult! You cannot have girls!” Shaken by his remark, Brito stood up and said, “You will never speak again to me about Jesus the way you did.” Everyone became dead silent; Brito realized that everyone was listening to his words.
But after one hour of making the remark, the musician came to apologized to Brito, “I apologized for what I said. I said that because I respect you… I admire you because I would not be able to do it…”
“In many situations like this, God demands us to live out of our conviction, not convenience. If you start reading the Bible, you will find out that Jesus never avoided hurting a person’s feelings to defend the truth,” said Brito.
Being Salt and Light at Work
And how God opened the door to share His Word. In one occasion Brito was asked to take a course in order to be promoted to the rank of major sergeant. One of his subjects was Ethics and the teacher was a Catholic priest. Although Brito was reluctant to go, he went after being persuaded by his wife Sonia.
Without knowing he took the seat upfront which was intended to the head of the class. In the class during the introduction, the Holy Spirit nudged him and said, “Introduce yourself with your spiritual credentials, not academic credentials.” Brito knew the cold response he would be getting, but he obeyed the inner voice and said, “I am a pastor and a preacher of the Word of God.” At that moment, the priest immediately jumped backwards away from Brito, as if he said something quite deadly. Everyone was silent until the priest broke the ice.
But the Lord was good in paving the way to share the gospel. During the next lessons, Brito was able to share the Word of God with the other captive students in the class. “We would argue the Word with the priest for hours. I did what I am supposed to do, to plant the seed inside their hearts. It’s not to convert anyone. God did not call us to convert people,” said Brito, citing how Jeremiah was sent to preach the Word for 40 years but the nation didn’t repent. Indeed, we are called to preach the Word, while it is up to God to grow the seed.
“If you believe in God, you will be busy, busy, and busy. If we know HIM we will be fruitful, fruitful, fruitful! We are losing fruitfulness in life because we are too busy. Jesus said that I want you to be fruitful,” he added.
God will Make a Way for His Will to be Done
In 6th October2001, Brito had a dream in United States that he would leave his job to serve God. But the dream looked impossible to him! How could he leave his job?
In 2004, the door to Malaysia was flung opened. His former youth leader in Portugal Evangelist Luis Cabral, invited him to perform with his oboe at a Christmas event in Penang. At this time, the Lord had been working in Brito’s heart. At that time when invited, he felt the Holy Spirit joy and desire to go to Malaysia but his chief officer declined his offer to take leave raising legal objections. Feeling disappointed, Brito was planning to give up but his wife asked him to pray to God once again. While praying, Brito was reminded of a dream God gave him 2 years before (2002)
“In the dream, I was walking with my oboe side-by-side with Luis Cabral (the evangelist who was now inviting me to perform with my oboe) from the back to the front of a big church. And then I walked up and sat with him at the front row. At that time, I know, I know, and I know that God wants me to go to Malaysia,” said Brito.
He returned to request his chief officer again; reassured this time in his heart that God would make a way. This time the request was directed to the General, Top Commander of the National Guard. Two weeks later, Brito was not only approved of his leave but also was given an extra honorarium to cover travel expenses. He was released officially in representation of the National Guard Institution GNR in foreign countries. Praise the Lord!
The Waters will Not Engulf You- Tsunami in Penang
Hence, Brito came to Malaysia on the 22nd of December 2004 and arrived at Evergreen hotel located near the sea. On the 26th while he was tying his tie on the 16th floor, he could feel the building swaying. But when he looked out of the window, everyone was walking normally on the streets.
“I thought, ‘Fernando, think… you are in Asia. People in Japan felt a mild earthquake and they go right back to work,” said Brito who was at peace. But the pastor’s wife called him and bid him to come down from his room in a frantic voice; Brito was probably the only one left in the hotel. The shaking was not normal; it was a sign of a tsunami that would hit Penang two hours later but nobody knew that.
He went with Ev. Luis and wife to Penang’s First AOG for the Christmas 2004 Celebration. When he was to present one of his songs, he heard the Holy Spirit said, “You will change the song. You will sing “Fear Not” a Portuguese song.” “And this song is literally taken from Isaiah 43:1-2, which says, ‘When you go through the fire, you will not be burned. When you go through the waters, they will not submerge you,’” said Brito.
Brito was singing a promise that the water would not submerge them and the tsunami would not engulf them. When he went back to his hotel, he witnessed the aftermath of the tsunami—the place was flooded, with boats on the streets. And from there, the desire to come to Malaysia grew stronger. He returned to Malaysia in 2006 twice to perform and minister in Penang and KL.
Nothing will Hinder God’s Plan
In year 2007, doors were opened for him again to Malaysia. This is the year where the prophecy he received would come true, that he would arrive Malaysia on 07/07/2007. But leaving his job is a nonsensical decision, especially when he could retire in the next couple of years.
“When I left my job, everyone thought I was crazy. Many said, ‘What are you doing? You left your job. Why are you going to Malaysia?’ No one understood but I know that it was God’s plan for me, God’s idea for me”, said Brito.
He sold his car to come to Malaysia with his family and children. And on 05.07.2007, Brito packed his bags and stayed overnight in a hotel near the airport in Lisbon with his family. In the morning of the flight and a couple of hours before schedule, his son Gabriel started jumping on the bed. Before they knew it, he crashed down head-forward onto the floor. Brito heard a strange noise that something happened in his skull. His son sat up, telling he was getting sick and wanting to vomit and he could not stay awake. More alarmed he was not able to speak or say anything making sense. Brito knew something happened to his brain.
As Gabriel was dozing off, a loud voice rang in Brito’s head, “Go bring your son to the hospital! What are you waiting for? He is going to die! Go now before it’s too late!” But in the middle of that shock and confusion, a still voice spoke to him, “You shall arrive in Malaysia on 7.07.2007.”
Even though panic is now the dominating feeling Brito gathered his wife Sonia to pray together for Gabriel who was then fast asleep, “I rebuke the spirit of injury and death from Gabriel and I command it to leave my son, in Jesus name!!!” The couple prayed and by the grace of God, Sonia went ahead carrying Gabriel to the airport and wait for the flight. Brito stayed back at the hotel with his daughter while his wife was at the airport coffee shop with Gabriel asleep at her lap and praying in tongues all the time.
About forty minutes later Gabriel suddenly woke up, oblivious of what had happened. “He said to me, ‘Dad I am hungry. When are we going to eat? Where is sis?’ So, we just all rejoice and trying to forget all about the incident went straight to the check in” chuckled Brito.
He reached Malaysia on God’s appointed day without a job or even school for his non-English speaking children and no money to go back. The only thing he had was faith in God, and that was the most important thing to have! God opened doors and in no time, Brito was invited to preach at over 100 churches in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore in English language which is for Brito one of the greatest miracles in his life.
A Good Idea may not be God’s Idea
In closing, Brito shared that we do not know God enough today because we do not spend enough quality time with Him. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.” In Hosea 6:3, the prophet cried, “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him!”
“Thousands of people go to church, they believe in Jesus, and listen thousands of sermons; the message is only in their mind and do not produce any fruits of the Spirit. Unless we are desperately thirsty and hungry we will never be able to move from Believing to Knowing Him and daring to say boldnessly… I Know You! Be careful with good ideas, the devil cannot deceived you with bad ideas,” said Brito. The devil cannot deceive you with a bad idea like stealing or killing, but he can deceive you with a seemingly ‘good idea.’
The brother of Jesus in John 7:4 asked, ‘Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world?’ (John 7:4) Jesus, this is a good idea! But Jesus said, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do (John 7:6).”
In Deuteronomy 1, Moses told the people, “See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” But the people said, “(We have a better idea). Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”
“Moses replied, ‘It seemed to me a good idea.’ He was the leader and he did not consult God. This ‘good idea’ turned to be the greatest disastrous thing in Israel history. We believed that we are smarter than God sometimes,” said Brito.
“The key to Know is thirst and hunger. Everyday, when I wake up, the first thing I want is Him and my Bible, not going to my cell phone. It is time for me to be alone with Him. God told me one day ‘I never call you to be busy. I called you to bear fruit, to be fruitful!
Malaysia knew Christ because of the seeds of love planted by our brothers and sisters-in-Christ from other countries many centuries ago. Perhaps, it is also time for us to send servants/warriors of the Living God to serve other nations as well, right now in deep Spiritual need like how Fernando Brito is blessing us now.