Back to Brazil
By Savannah Brewer | South America
“Twenty-five years is a long time,” said Daniel Nakano. After decades away, he and his wife Isabete returned to their home country of Brazil in the summer of 2021.
The Nakano family spent that time in the US where Daniel worked as an engineer. After leaving the workforce, the two decided to return to Brazil as SIM mission workers.
“It’s not like vacation,” Isabete said of retirement, with a laugh. Daniel agreed, “It’s like a new start for me and for us like a second career.”
Much has changed since they left. For one, they arrived home during a global pandemic. “That was another big challenge,” said Daniel.
They self-quarantined for two weeks when they arrived. Reunions with friends and family were put on hold. This didn’t stop them from receiving a warm welcome. Daniel said, “We got to our place at around 10am. At 11am, a friend delivered a basket of food. God has been providing for us from the day that we arrived here.”
One of the greatest blessings of the Nakanos’ return has been their involvement in the local church, especially their home church in São Paulo. Daniel said, “We wanted to start at the church like newcomers. I said, ‘To be honest, I don’t even know if we should go back to that same church. Maybe God’s going to lead us to another church or something like that.’”
The Nakanos’ hesitations were proved groundless. Daniel said, “They were very receptive to the fact that we came back. And they wanted us to participate as much as we could … That helped our adjustment a lot.”
Daniel splits his time fifty-fifty between the church and his ministry with SIM. He has been working remotely as the regional coordinator for ministry effectiveness with teams in Central and South America, concentrating on governance and finance.
He said, “My role is a new role that never existed before, so we are kind of building the job description as we go.
“The way the Lord has opened up the opportunity to work with the local church and then work with SIM it has been very nice. It has been a blessing to us.”
Daniel, who spent 30 years in the corporate world, has learned a lot as he has adjusted to a new environment. He said, “I am still adjusting to be honest with you. I’ve never worked in a mission organisation or non-profit.”
The Nakanos have also connected with the Brazil office of the Lausanne Movement, an evangelical forum of global Christian leaders.
The Lausanne team emphasize the connection between faith and work, closing the gap between evangelism and everyday life. Daniel and Isabete were invited to attend a three-day virtual meeting with Lausanne, during which Daniel delivered a biblical reflection on being a Christian in the marketplace.
The Nakanos are very hopeful for the future. Daniel said: “Sometimes we are so keen to try to do things but we need to balance with being silent and listening to God. We hope that God can continue to use us.”
Pray with us
• Pray for the Nakanos as they hope to visit their daughters in the coming spring. Both of their daughters live in the US, but travel is difficult as the omicron variant takes hold.
• Areas around 150 miles from the Nakanos have experienced flooding recently, including SIM’s Uruguay office. Pray for encouragement for the people in the midst of these difficulties. Pray alongside the Nakanos that God would help them know how to pray and assist those in this situation.
• Pray for God to provide wisdom for the Nakanos on how to serve him through SIM and the local church.