Roberto Brandao, 33, is from Brazil and Annamari, 31, is from Finland. They are former IBIOL students who lived in London faithfully serving at KT and IBIOL. Both graduated from the HDM program in 2005. They moved to Finland and now have two daughters, Sara (4) & Amanda (1). They are currently pastors of the Harvest Ministries Church in the South East of Finland. This is their story:
We both joined the IBIOL in 2001, and little did we know that God had placed our spouses in the same Bible school.. That's where we met and 1½ years later we married. During IBIOL God built firm foundations into our lives. We got to know his Word better, he confirmed his calling over our lives to be pastors (we both did the pastoral stream) and in many ways he practically trained us to live it out as Christians. The training we received that time is still something we draw from in the ministry today, many years later. We appreciate the input we received from so many that ministered to our lives that time - the lectures and sermons of pastor Colin Dye, Bruce Atkinson and RT Kendall are still alive in our minds and hearts.
Ian Hendricks, who at the time was the head of IBIOL, personally encouraged us a lot. He took the time to mentor us, to give us opportunities to minister in churches around London and even after we moved to Finland he continued to support us. There are so many that influenced our lives that time and we're thankful to God for all those people, for example our cell leaders.
We were leading cells at KT for several years and we were committed to the vision of the house. What God specifically taught us was how his heart towards the people in the cell was that we would love them like our own family. This sense of family was key to us when he then later sent us to plant a church in Finland. We knew that if there's love, the living presence of God and his Word being preached, we would see many touched by the Master.
Whilst still in IBIOL we visited Finland together and God spoke to us about what he would do in the nation of Finland. We saw a vision of people going to the Living Free course and encounters, and God setting them free. He also showed us a clear map of the South East of Finland where He later sent us.
In 2006 the time came for us to move to Finland. We found out there was already a group of people in the area where we moved to that had been praying for over 10 years for God to bring a new church there. Bit by bit we began to meet the key people in the area and in 2007 we started regular Sunday meetings and weekly cell meetings. We've had several encounter weekends since then. Annamari has translated the Living Free course material into Finnish, and several other churches in the area have been running the course too.
In 2010 we had the official opening of the Harvest Ministries Church - or Sadonkorjuuseurakunta in Finnish. David Adeola from KT was our guest speaker in the opening celebration and there God released prophetic words over the ministry and over our area. Today we're witnessing the fruit of that.
We came to an area where there was a clear need for the local churches to be strengthened and to find ways to work together. We invited the local pastors and church workers to our house for prayer and now we regularly meet with them to pray for the area. It's important for each local church to know their place and purpose, and also for them to work together for the sake of the great harvest. Because of this, since the launch of the Harvest Ministries Church, we have consistently co-operated with several churches around Finland.
For example this Easter we got together with two other churches and organised an event called "The Change" where a live worship CD was also recorded. We believe God is bringing a breakthrough into this area through true worship. God has called us to be an encouragement for other local churches and He's given us opportunities to minister in different places, even though we're still a new church in the area.
Besides Finland, God has called our church to minister to the needy in Brazil. We have been donating food for those who have very little around the capital. The church has also bought a place in a rough and poor area where we will later build a children's home. In January this year we held a family event in the capital area for over 100 people and around 70 of them gave their life to Christ. Now a local church in Brazil is in touch with them and there is a project that's helping these families with monthly food and education. Our church has also helped other nations in times of crisis, e.g. Haiti, Pakistan and Japan.
Today we've seen God give growth to what he has initiated. Early this year he called us to expand the church to another city, where we're also now having cell meetings. We have seen people getting saved, healed, increasingly discipled, and also mobilised to reach out to others with the love of Christ. Something that touches our hearts is to hear people say things like "I don't know where I would be today without this church and what God has done in my life as I've been part of it".
God has turned around "impossible" situations in people's lives in areas of marriage, finance, employment, health. We prayed for a couple who couldn't have children for a long time and are now expecting a baby! A baby that was born prematurely and given no hope by the doctors for survival is today alive and well after having been prayed for in the name of Jesus.
We're looking forward to going further in the vision of God for Finland. There is a spiritual change taking place over this nation, God's raising up His army and people's mindsets are changing. Finland has a history of being a fatherless nation as the wars in the past damaged the fathers of this country and made them unable to show much love, and this has given birth to a lot of pain in the generations after them. Nevertheless God is restoring this nation by revealing the love of the Father. God has been speaking to us that this ministry will plant many churches in the near future, and we will also have a Bible school.
We covet your prayers for the nation of Finland. Please join us in praying for a lasting revival to take place here and for God to send more workers into the end-time harvest.
For anyone who wants to know God better, find and fulfil their calling in Christ, and be equipped in it, IBIOL is the place to be. Our experience has been life changing and following Christ deeply addictive (in a good way)!
Dudley graduated from IBIOL in 1997. Here he reflects on his time at IBIOL and how it prepared him for his current role overseeing the Pastoral department at KT.
You were at IBIOL for two years? Well, it was 3 actually: at IBIOL for 2 years followed by a year's apprenticeship.
From your current perspective of overseeing the pastoral ministries division at KT, how would you describe your time at IBIOL? IBIOL was an excellent training ground. What attracted me was the focus - we were challenged to do things. It was basically training for action rather than an intellectual training. Also the multicultural aspect of the college attracted me - being with people from many other nations. A lot of preparation for ministry was forged during that season. We were fired up and challenged to do things for God. We planted a church during that time. These were all foundations for ministry.
What were the highlights of your time at IBIOL? Highlights? Mainly it was the spiritual atmosphere on a daily basis and the quality of teaching. We had direct input from apostolic leaders, Colin, Bruce as well as key international guest speakers. I remember we had Ayo Oritsejafor, Myles Munroe, RT Kendall and the like come to speak to us. I personally enjoyed the international celebrations that we had. You felt part of the global church. We had people from China, Brazil, South Africa and other places all together with one purpose to be trained for the great commission. Other key highlights were the worship, prayer and ministry. Also the prophetic input we had from people and God using me in that area.
What has kept you going in ministry since your time at IBIOL? Knowledge of the call as well as a sense of the spiritual need. The ministry has all been about motivating people to have the perspective that there is a call of God that we need to answer and also to be aware of the spiritual need all around us. We are God's only answer to that need. What are we going to do about it?
You oversee the pastoral ministries division in KT- is that something you could see coming when you were in IBIOL? I always felt my calling involved training and missions. In my secondyear application I put down that I felt called to a pastoral role - this was long before I worked for KT.
What would you say to people who are considering applying to the Bible School? It is one of the best decisions you can make if you want to fulfil the call of God on your life. You would be coming into an environment of faith, worship and spirituality where people are passionate for the things of God. Another highlight I have to mention was the mission trip. We went to Albania where we had to minister hands-on, pray for the sick and preach the gospel.