New Hands, New Heart
Milton Mathias’s ministry in Brazil tackles the deep issues of disablement. They come to him broken. Missing an arm. A foot. Both hands. But Milton Mathias sees more than physical needs.
“Their hearts are much more disabled than the bodies themselves. They need more than just prosthetics – they need to be ministered to.”
The director of a Brazilian orthopedic company, Milton treats around 1,000 patients a year, from the private sector as well as the government health system.
For this Haggai Institute alumnus, compassion and care are paramount.
“My H.I. training gave me a burning desire to be the instrument in God’s hands for the accomplishment of His purposes here on earth, carrying out His plans and His dreams.”
And Milton is willing to put his words into action.
“I had a patient from Bolivia, injured by an electrical accident. His body endured 13,000 volts – it’s a miracle in itself that he survived. But both his hands and feet were burned in such a way that they had to be amputated.”
By the time the patient, Javier Salas, arrived at Milton’s office, he was hopeless.
“He wanted to die. Things are so difficult in his country he knew he would not have any kind of rehabilitation. So I decided to take him into my home and take care of him during his rehabilitation.”
Javier spent three months in Milton’s home, being cared for physically and spiritually. Milton seized the opportunity to share Jesus with him.
“He accepted Jesus and grew in his faith,” Milton says. “Time went by, and he became a mature Christian. Now he is a testimony of what Jesus has done in his life. He’s employed, has a wife and three children, and uses his situation to motivate other people.”
Discovering His Gift
Looking back, Milton clearly sees God’s hand at work throughout his life.
“My preparation to exercise this gift began when I was a child, through friends that had disabilities. I had close relationships with them and protected them.”
Milton drifted away, though, and saw life only through the lens of destructive “fun.” He says, “That’s all I wanted from life, but my mother accepted Jesus and started praying for me – praying very hard. And I felt that she loved me very much because, despite my behavior, she still loved me and kept praying for me.”
Because of her influence, Milton, then newly married, allowed a Bible study to meet in his home. Six months later, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.
“I understood after reading the Bible that I had a God-given gift to help people, especially those with disabilities, because I had had friends with disabilities.”
Milton began working for a company that produced prosthetics, and before long, he and his brother started their own retail company. Eventually, he realized he didn’t want to just sell the products; he wanted to produce them.
He says, “I began studying so I could provide the material I was selling. Working with disabled people, I discovered I was not working just with the body of the person but also with their psyche and social life. They needed counseling and support. And that is what I gave them.”
Kingdom MotivationMilton’s ministry carries over to his personal life. He and his wife host a weekly Bible study in their home. In the beginning, of the 12 families living near them, only one person attended. But eventually, all 12 families began attending.
“We have truly become one big family,” he says. “Similar to the early church, we also share problems, victories, sorrows, dreams, realities, and celebrations. Many who were living together but not married decided to rectify the situation, and all are officially married now. All of them have received Jesus Christ as their Savior, have been baptized, and are part of a local church.
“Many have attended the theological seminary where I was the facilitator. Everyone who worked as an employee now has their own business.
“Haggai Institute motivated us to motivate others to dream and achieve their goals. Many things have been achieved, but there is much to be done, and with the grace of God, we will achieve them.”
Through his church, Milton coordinates a ministry called Tribes, which is an extension of the pastoral ministry. Many have been saved and discipled under Milton’s leadership. He and his wife are also elders and lead the Sunday School ministry.
As the years go by, Milton is focusing on the future.
“In my work, I am preparing a succession team because what I have accomplished in the last 35 years cannot die with me. I have to pass on the knowledge I have gained.
“Seeing the movie of my life, I can only thank God for giving me the privilege of living in this scenario so full of love and serving Him through people with disabilities.”
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