Each of us will meet only a few men or women in our lives that model Jesus in such a way that we are motivated to draw closer to God. They make walking uncompromisingly close with Jesus attractive in such a way that we want more of Him. They are completely human and yet the love that they have for God and for people is so clearly beyond human. Our Vineyard pastor in Altamira, Clenildo, is such a man. His passion to see others know the Jesus that he knows is contagious. His work ethic to accomplish this is tireless, and has been for a long time. The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control) is all over him. The joy that emanates from Him makes a being with him light and without burden, even when discussing deep and personal issues such as past wounds and sin, as is always the case in sharing the Gospel. He is considered a special friend by virtually all who have met him, christian and nonchristian alike.
He is a native Brasilian and was the first Xingu missionary in Altamira 13 years ago, moving here from Santarem. He was soon joined by the North American missionaries. He has been the Vineyard pastor and the missionaries’ pastor ever since. He has discipled and trained the other Vineyard pastors of the Amazon region. He travels to the interior constantly, holding meetings in the most remote and difficult places and to join him is always a fun and fruitful experience. There is no sense of duty or obligation in his work, but rather an obvious passion for being the Holy Spirit’s hands and voice. An ever thankful heart is perhaps his most endearing quality. He is humble, self-depreciating, approachable, and encouraging and because of all this, he is quite a gatherer of people. An easy smile and laughter is a part of virtually every message and conversation, yet the sober and deeper motivations surface quickly in each and every interaction. He is quite the story teller and he is as animated sitting on a tree stump in the jungle with one person as he is in front of his church on Sunday. Virtually every conversation leads to Jesus, and in a way completely apart from religion and “shoulds”. It is His love for Jesus that motivates him and it is this love for Jesus that he wishes for each person he encounters.
I have felt so privileged to work with Clenildo and to observe him while he serves, loves, and speaks with, those living difficult lives in the interior. I have learned so much and I’ve been encouraged in my personal walk with Jesus, just by spending time with him. I’ve seen Jesus in this man like I’ve seen in only a few in the course of my life.
Knowing Clenildo has changed me. Knowing Clenildo has changed my perception of a godly man. Knowing Clenildo has changed my view of Jesus. Knowing Clenildo has made me want to draw ever closer to my loving, caring, powerful Father.
I had the opportunity to tell all of this to Clenildo today. It was a special joy to be able to do so. Of course, he deflected all of it to Jesus. Who has been a Clenildo in your life? Do take the time to tell them!