By Lisa Rieck

Persevering in Faith: Ziel Machado at Urbana 12

Ziel Machado knows what it means to persevere physically, spiritually, and vocationally. After a crisis of faith in his teenage years, he sensed God calling him to student ministry—and he’s been at it for over thirty years now. 

For the past 13 years he’s served as regional secretary for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) in Latin America. He’s also an avid marathon runner, a pastor, and the academic director at Servo de Cristo Theological Seminary in São Paulo, Brazil. We’re excited to hear from him on the main stage at Urbana 12. Here’s a peek at the wisdom he’ll offer.

Why are you excited to speak at Urbana 12? What is your prayer for Urbana participants?

I do believe that God blesses his people when we are together as one body in his name, and Urbana is a wonderful manifestation of this reality. My prayer is that God, in his mercy, will give us a humble heart in tune with his voice and will. 

What can the North American Church learn from our brothers and sisters in South America?

Whatever God wants! We also, as people of God, have the experience to walk with God in our context, sometimes doing good and right things and sometimes not. The lessons we have learned so far could be useful for the Church in the north. At least it will allow you to see our weakness, which could be an inspiration for your calling to come down to help us to do what God wants us to do! Please pray for us!

In what ways can we cultivate and grow more partnership between our brothers and sisters in South America and North America?

By taking advantage of every opportunity to be in touch, and looking for some ways to share what God has given to us in order to lead us to maturity in Christ. And by finding ways to get to know each other’s ministry agenda and priorities and defining those people or ministries who can build a bridge between us.

What is one thing you hope students will take away from Urbana?

I hope that everyone at the end of Urbana may be able to trust more in the Lord with all their heart, and lean not on their own understanding. And that, in a fresh way, everyone may be able to in all their ways acknowledge him, because he will make our paths straight. I hope that everyone gets a deep passion for what God is doing in the world and desires to be a full participant in this history.

Lisa Rieck is a writer and copyeditor on InterVarsity’s communications team. She worked at InterVarsity Press for over nine years as a proofreader and Bible study editor (and, as it were, resident limerick-writer). She is continually inspired by the beauty of the sky and loves good conversation with family and friends over steaming-hot beverages.

You might also want to read about others who'll be at Urbana 12:

Andy Mineo

Daniel Bourdanné

Chai Ling

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