Brief Personal Testimony of Salvation and the Call to Missions
By the mercy of God I was born in the “Bible belt” in Pensacola, FL, raised enjoying all the liberty and prosperity that has been granted to many American due to the labor of others and the blessing of God’s hand. Typical in American society, I was soon to be raised by a single mom in a split family being the youngest of three rowdy boys. Thankfully I was given a mother with more spiritual tenacity than most “modern” American Christians, and she kept us in church where I was exposed to preaching on sin, judgment and hell.
Around a century ago, my great, great grandfather Daniel M. Merritt donated some farmland so a small group of believers could build a meeting place for church in a rural area a little north of the city of Pensacola. Later it was called Olive Baptist Church, we attended there on a Sunday evening in 1986. Who would have known generations later I would sitting there on the same land donated by my great, great grandfather under conviction from the preaching about sin, death, and hell.
Sitting up in the balcony, I said to my mom, “Mom, I don’t want to go to hell.” I knew I was a sinner and that no one, not my friends nor my brothers taught me to sin. It was in me, I was a sinner. At that my mother opened her Bible and showed me where a similar situation was present and she read Acts 16:31 and explained what Jesus had done for me. At the reading of the scripture, I understood my sinful condition and then prayed asking Jesus Christ to save me from hell. I am still understanding more and more each day how great a blessing it was to hear, know, and accept the truth of salvation at a such a young age. God has been very merciful to me!
Afterward, no exhilarating feeling or mystical signs happened but I did have the burden lift, as I knew I was no longer going to hell. Later on for various reason we soon left Olive Baptist Church and began to attend Bible Baptist Church where Dr. Ruckman was the pastor. After attending Bible Baptist Church for a few months, my mom still had some concerns about my salvation and Dr. Ruckman was very helpful counseling me with the scriptures to give me assurance of my salvation. Soon after he baptized me. After some years at the church the Lord saw fit to join us to the Ruckman family when he and my mom married in April, 1989.
After salvation, being brought in as a son in the Ruckman house was one of the greatest things that ever happened in my life. This was such an undeserved blessing and I know I will only see and understand its full benefits in eternity. I know that the consistent influence and faithful example of my dad, Dr. Peter s. Ruckman has led me to peruse things of eternal value more than any other man I know outside of Jesus Christ. I understand it is the Lord working through a yielded vessel but he exclusively and powerfully used this one man to be my teacher, pastor, father, and friend directing me ever closer to the Lord. I could not ask for a better heritage.
With that said, my burden for mission was planted and nurtured by him. I observed his tender heart for those outside of the comfortable lifestyle of this country and living and dying in darkness without the truth or hope. He was continually seeking ways to get the gospel over seas to the lost and also influencing many others to do the same. As a young boy, mission stories at VBS and sermons added pressure and I began to feel burdens for other people around the world who did not have the chance I had to hear the gospel early in life. After ending some years of straying in my teenage, my burden for missions returned. This time the burden was more specific as the Lord made me aware of the need in Brazil and that our church had sent scores of missionaries to Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa but none to Brazil.
After prayer and searching God’s guidance through his means, he directed me through Psalm 71:16 and I began planning a trip to Brazil my second year of Bible school. I went in August, 2002 to visit with veteran missionary Joseph Domingos and the Lord answered a direct prayer and a one man trusted Christ as his Savior after the last service. I returned certain that the Lord wanted me there but every effort I made to go back for an official survey trip the Lord closed the door. As my dad would often say, “the calling is not the enabling.” The Lord began my enabling process by giving me clear direction to stay and help my dad. I am immensely thankful the Lord directed me this way, I spent the next 15 years doing all I could to be an Elisha to him and to be just a servant that “poured water on the hands of Elijah.”
During this time the Lord gave me a great helpmeet, Lydia, in 2008 and we have stayed active in any ministry the Lord put us in. We learned a great deal about Lord’s work all the while the burden for Brazil remained in my heart. In 2016 the Lord open the doors for me to go back to Brazil to visit missionary Matthew Sherrouse, this time with my wife Lydia. The Lord confirmed and blessed the trip there with letting us see 5 souls saved from the preaching in church and 2 from preaching in public. Again I was given a directing verse out of Acts 16:4-9 and I knew then that the Lord wanted us to labor in Brazil.
The call was confirmed to me and on our return to the US it became clearer and stronger on when his timing was through the light of God’s word and counsel and circumstances that only God could make happen to give further direction. I am privileged to be called into any work for the Lord and as the Lord tarries, we look forward to laboring in the field of Brazil for his glory. Praise God for his mercy!
Michael A. Huggins
"Where there is no vision, the people perish:"
Our desire is to spread the gospel in Brazil through the efforts of a local church and by reaching them where they live in their houses, in prisons and on the streets.
We are continually being made aware of the many opportunities in orphanages, schools, recovery homes, shelters, prisons, and military installations to present the gospel to the lost in Brazil and we pray the Lord lead us as the doors open to us .
WHAT WE DO
We are currently living in São Paulo with over 20 million souls around us in the city. We are enrolled full time in language school learning Portuguese and Brazilian culture. While our ability to communicate in Portuguese grows, we were blessed to be able joined up with a national church in São Paulo to learn about evangelizing and ministering to Brazilians from a natives perspective.
We are truly thankful for everyone who has helped us along the way in our journey to reach Brazil for Christ.
~ Learn the Language and the Culture
~ Evangelize the Lost
~ Train National Ministers
~ Establish Local Churches
~ Minister to Orphans and Street Kids