As a federal prosecutor for Brazil’s public ministry, Delton Dellagnol wanted to make his home country a better place. The Brazilian justice system was broken and ineffective. The most powerful were immune to criminal prosecution. In early 2014, an investigation into a money laundering scheme uncovered a web of corruption. Hundreds of people, including top politicians, were implicated. Billions of dollars paid out in brides and overinflated contracts were uncovered. The task of securing justice would be difficult. Moreover, his team of twenty lawyers was up against hundreds of the top paid lawyers in the country. At times Delton wanted to give up. “The system is evil. Is good ever going to prevail?” Delton would say. It was his Christian faith that kept him from giving up. “I believe” said Delton, “you are not only responsible for what you do, but for the good that you don’t do.” The investigation became known as Operation Car Wash. To date: 844 warrants have been issued, over 140 people have been convicted, over 1,500 years have been sentenced, and $3.25 billion has been recovered.
Engaging the unfinished mission of God will lead us to places where courage will need to be resolute. After Joshua gave instructions to Israel, they responded, “All that you command us, we will do; wherever you send us, we will go.” They were dedicating themselves to God’s mission. However, they had a couple requests for their new leader. One of them was, “Only be strong and courageous.”
Gary Haugen, CEO and founder of the International Justice Mission, says there are three things we fear when it comes to doing the things Jesus calls us to: 1) fear about how we are going to meet the need, 2) fear about what it will cost, and 3) fear about whether it will be successful. Fear can prevent us from stepping forward. Fear “replaces love with a preoccupation with self.” Courage, on the other hand, sets God’s mission ablaze.
Delton’s team drafted the largest anti-corruptions bill in the history of Brazil. Over two million Brazilians supported it. Yet, the Brazilians congress dismissed it and wrote their own, a bill that actually made corruption harder to prosecute. Undeterred, Delton led by his faith, continues to seek justice and equality for the people of Brazil. Likewise, may we, the people of God, respond with resolute courage as we seek to engage in God’s mission.
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