Aryanne Batista is an instant friend to many who know her. Her love for the Lord is contagious and her heart for people is apparent in everything she does.
Our paths first crossed in 2009, when I went on a short-term mission trip with my local church to Manaus, Brazil. Global Partners missionaries Tom and Grace Ensz intentionally introduced us, knowing we both sensed God’s call to be a missionary. This was an exciting time for The Wesleyan Church of Brazil, as the church was growing and preparing to send one of its own in Aryanne (pronounced Are-E-ahn-E).
In 1959, North American missionaries were sent to Brazil to plant a church. Aryanne’s parents were some of the first to place their faith in Christ through the new ministry. At the age of seven, Aryanne accepted Christ. She went on to earn a degree from the Wesleyan Bible College in Manaus, was active in her local church and participated in every outreach opportunity the church undertook. She was a rising leader in every sense of the word.
After graduating from seminary, Aryanne got married. At first, her husband supported her involvement in ministry and was seeking the Lord himself. But, soon, their relationship turned abusive.
“In 2013, I experienced the most difficult moment of my life,” said Aryanne. “After seven years, my marriage ended in divorce. I went into depression for almost a year. My main thought was that I was the shame of my family, my church and that God could never use me again. I had left God’s call aside for marriage and now I had nothing. How could I ever serve or teach at the seminary after this?”
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”Isaiah 54:4
One evening after moving back in with her parents Aryanne told me, “I went into my room and told God that I had no strength and that if he did not take away my sorrow I would die. God directed me to Isaiah 54:1– 8 and spoke to me through each verse, giving me new courage and renewing his call to me. God rescued me from depression and gave me another chance.”
The year following her divorce, Tom Ensz invited Aryanne on a routine short-term trip to the interior of the Amazon. She questioned him, “Pastor, are you sure? You know my past.” He immediately responded, “Has God not called you to be a missionary? God is not done with you!” It was at this moment that Aryanne understood God was still willing to fulfill the promise from Isaiah 54:4. “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”
Aryanne was ordained as a Wesleyan pastor in 2018 and is serving as the director of missions for The Wesleyan Church in Brazil. Together with Ensz, Aryanne leads the Brazilian church in Transcultural Missions Training (TMT). This training consists of six trips to five continents to learn, practice and live on mission. As a leader, missionary, professor and preacher, Aryanne has inspired many people to consider missions, many of whom have heard God’s calling and have responded by entering the TMT. Because of the new program, more than 60 Brazillian Wesleyans are participating in missions.
In the last four years, she has served on teams and individually in Mozambique, Haiti, Guyana, the United States and East Timor. While in East Timor for three months, she mentored and discipled two Brazilians to explore their role in God’s mission alongside her. Aryanne reflects on God’s goodness in her life, stating that, “God redeems our past; he uses us despite our flaws. After my divorce, I had to again accept his forgiveness, his love and believe in his promises to me.”
God is moving to reach far and hard places throughout The Wesleyan Church of Brazil.
The reality they are experiencing today started with one person who heard God’s call and had the courage to follow it with perseverance. That was Aryanne. She is a pioneer and part of closing the Gospel Gap in our world. Her life inspires me and others to persist in the Lord, to push past feelings of shame and take hold of God’s higher call.