Why Brazil

I’ve shared a little bit of intro of why I’ve joined full-time missions staff at Gateway House of Prayer (more to come), but I’m going to veer off a little and talk about the most immediate thing that is happening in January.

I’m headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Why? Is Gateway sending you there? Are you doing nursing? How long will you be there? Do you speak Spanish?

I’m glad you asked. That’s why I’m here, to answer the questions that are lightbulbing off in your brain. Unless of course you’ve settled yourself on the likely theory of, “It’s Britt, she’s a free spirit, taking in all the opportunities she can to travel and do missions work.”


Well, around the beginning of August I had a night at work at Lancaster General Hospital, where I had the simple thought of, “I think I’m done with this job.” Slowly I began to look into jobs and contemplate what direction I was to head with nursing.

No job I looked into seemed right, and I was really just hoping the perfect job offer would come knocking at my door. It didn’t.

End of August I spent about a week out at International House Prayer, in Kansas City, and during my time there I felt like God really began to expand my vision. The boundaries of what I could do or where I could go were lifted, and people around me began to encourage me to dream and pray for big things, for the desires of my heart.

Through prayer I came to the understanding that I was supposed to quit my job and do something in January. The “something” was an open door of opportunity, which was exciting but a little nerve wracking because I just wanted to know what it was, so I could explain to people (and myself) where I was headed.

Along the way, I decided that my long term plan was going to be to join full-time missions staff at Gateway. Through talking to my parents I realized I still felt called to the House of Prayer for this season. But that didn’t answer the questions of where and what I was supposed to do in January.

My eyes and ears were open to where I might go, and I initially thought I was going to do medical missions work.

Then I had conversation with someone who began talking about Heidi Baker and as he was talking I was thinking, “Wow she sounds like a woman I would like to grow up to be.” So I went home and looked her up and found out about Iris Global ministries, founded by Heidi and her husband, Rolland. And as I looked up missions opportunities I found this global school in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first time it was ever happening, it was happening in January, and it was one month long.

Below is a description of the school, it was one of the first things I read. And after reading it I felt like a little kid in a classroom, after the teacher asks for volunteers, and I’m raising my hand saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”

“There is a new breed of missionaries being released across the earth, transparent saints, with oversized hearts, beating in rhythm with the heart of their Bridegroom King Jesus, carrying His glory across the earth. Fearless, laid-down lovers that know a love that has no boundaries, and are ready to run into the darkest places of the earth and bring in the lost, the dying, the poor and the broken. Jesus came with ceaseless love for both the one and the masses. Now we must do the same: stop for the one, but believe for the multitudes.”

It actually wasn’t immediately obvious to me that this was for sure where God was leading. But as I kept searching and praying it became clearer and clearer. The confirming point for me was when I was in the prayer room at Gateway one night and I was in turmoil asking God to confirm to me if I was to go to Brazil. Then one of my friends got up on the mic to pray and said, “Tonight we are going to praying for Brazil.” At that moment I realized that we had been praying for Brazil for the past several months, because human trafficking is on the rise due to the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. I got really excited in that moment, because it’s such an awesome opportunity to get to pray for a nation and then go there. It’s like being the answer to your prayers.


That’s the story. Here are the details.

It’s a global school, what that means exactly I don’t know. But I think it’s mostly going to be learning by doing. It’s called a school because it’s only a month long, so even though we will be doing a lot, it’s short term, so the emphasis is learning. I love this outlook on missions, because so often missions work is viewed as what “we,” the ones going, have to offer “them”. But that’s only half the story. God is doing amazing things all over the earth, especially among the poorest and unlikeliest. So I’m going to learn from the poor. Also the focus of the school is preparing people for third world missions, which is where I see myself in the future.

Will I be doing nursing? No and Yes. No, because its not a medical missions school. That’s not the focus. Yes, because I usually always end up doing medical work on trips and it’s one of the skills I had to list when applying for the school.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do I know Spanish? I know a little, but that doesn’t even matter because they speak Portuguese in Brazil. Rio is the second largest city in Brazil. You probably have seen pictures of this beautiful city because one of the seven wonders of the world is there, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor). Like most cities there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Rio is three hours ahead of eastern standard time.


Heidi and Rolland Baker are originally from California, but Iris ministries is based out of Mozambique and they have bases all around the world. Because of that there will be students in Brazil from literally all over the world.

I leave for Brazil January 7th and will arrive on the 8th. I will be there until the end of the month and then I will be spending a little over a week in Haiti. My close friend, Ashley Messersmith (pictured below), has been living there for 6 months teaching English, so I will be taking this opportunity to visit her.



I don’t know when and I don’t know for sure, but I believe one day I will live and minister in a third world country. I don’t have a clearly articulated answer as to why I feel that way. I know that as I get to know Jesus and His kingdom I see that “the least of these” are the people He especially loves, or at least the ones that He points out. He chooses the things unseen, the ones that are low and even despised of this world (Corinthians 1:26-31). He loves the orphan and widow (James 1:27), and many that are last now will be first in His coming Kingdom (Luke 13:30). Also to be honest these are the environments and cultures that I feel most at home in.

Amy Carmichael and Mother Teresa are two of my biggest heroes. There are so many famous quotes spoken and written by both of these women. Their words are so filled with truth that we can’t help to say “AMEN” in our spirits when we read and hear them. But the reason their words are powerful is because they lived their words. They lived lives abandoned to Jesus. Leaving lives they could have had to love the poor and the needy, because of the love of Calvary. I can’t help but be inspired by them!

“I had feelings of fear about the future…The devil kept on whispering, “’It’s all right now, but what about afterward? You are going to be very lonely’”….And I turned to my God in a kind of desperation and said “’Lord, what can I do? How can I go on to the end?’” And He said, “’None of them that trust in Me shall be desolate.’” That word has been with me ever since.” – Amy Carmichael on ‘weighing the cost’ of missions work

Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus. – Mother Teresa


*Would you consider partnering with me? I still need to raise about $1,000 for my trip to Brazil. Email me (Brittany.zimmerman1@gmail.com) for more information, or Click Here to donate online. All support is tax deductible.

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