On the surface, someone might look at Brandon and describe him as a cheeseball. He’s loveable, easy to talk to, and always good for a laugh. He’s an Oregon kid, so yeah, doesn’t that say a lot too? He’s a hipster in the making. Once he makes it back to his homeland and thrift stores are on every corner, he’s gonna be decked out in plaid flannels. Seriously though, when you get to really know this guy more, deeper than the Oregon luster, you realize something; he is lost in a romance with God.
Brandon is a radical guy. Spend an afternoon with him and you’ll hear him say things like; “In Jesus’ name. Hallelujah. Lift your voice. Bartledoo. Shouldaboughtahonda. Insteadiboughtakia. DDDDDDD. Amen.” That really is a segment from this interview, but the humor is laced with truth. He believes in calling things out in Jesus’ name, and his faith is evident in the miracles he’s seen. A few months ago, Brandon met a man in the street during an event being put on by the church. Gustavo was his name, and he had a bad wrist. Brandon prayed with him over his wrist and as he walked away the man kept looking back at him, probably a little awestruck… his wrist was healed. Now, Gustavo has opened a bible study in his home. “We had our first meeting last Tuesday (in December) and there were five people: him and his siblings. I’m really excited to see what God has planned for them and I’m praying that their hearts would be good soil and that the Word would produce a crop in them. But it was just really cool how God opened the door to their house through one miracle and now we get to go and talk about Jesus every Tuesday night at 6:00. I’m eager to see it grow and to see them become disciples. Shakababa.”
It’s refreshing to be around Brandon. I feel like if you were laying in bed and you couldn’t fall asleep, all you’d have to do is ask him to read you a bed-time story and he’d do it. No complaint. And if that didn’t work he’d get you a glass of warm milk, if that’s your thing. He’s also a positive guy just wanting to serve. It’s obvious in the way he looks at his ministry. “Last week (in December) my Wednesday cell group had one person… including me. I have faith that next week it will multiply by 200% and that my talk with the leader last week has encouraged him to step out and invite new people.” I don’t know about you, but if I went to a bible study I was leading and the only person that was there was me, I’d be pretty upset. But, that’s Brandon!
In February, Brandon, along with the rest of his team, is going to say goodbye to all the people they’ve invested in over the past two years as their church plant project comes to an end. When they began their work in Ambato, Ecuador, there was no church community. Now, they have over 100 regular attendees in their Sunday morning services. “I think at least 70% of our leaders are under 30 and I’m blown away by their passion, their organization, and their honesty,” says Brandon. “I can say now that I have friends here, and they’re not just people. They’re people I believe in, I know I can trust, they know they can trust me. I’ve seen people walking into our church; they know nothing about God or the Bible. They are now preaching and making disciples, and there’s nothing better we could give our lives to. I believe our church is going to be in good hands when we leave and that through the passion of our young people, that the church is going to continue to produce fruit.”
Producing fruit is something that has been laid on Brandon’s heart this past month. It’s something that ministry people think about a lot. He says, “My greatest challenge has been figuring out what produces fruit and not getting discouraged when something doesn’t go the way I think it should; but not letting disappointment slow me down and just to keep pressing in.”
As Brandon and his team are wrapping up their work in Ambato, he has a few prayer requests if you’d like to help him vet them out. “Pray that as I go back to Oregon in February, that a new season would begin in my spiritual walk and that I would draw closer to God than ever before. Pray for wisdom, self-control, and for the Holy Spirit to flow from me in my prayer room, when I see people at church, when I’m at Walmart, and when I’m sharing the Gospel with a homeless person. Pray that His Kingdom would come and manifest itself through my words and small acts of obedience.”