There is a sweet, sweet spirit about today’s guest writer. Each word she releases into the atmosphere vibrates the most beautiful melody. The words sing a song of love for people, especially the orphaned – all in the name of Jesus. Simply put: Grace’s heart is big.
A cab ride to SheSpeaks 2015 crossed our paths. God is quite the orchestrator. If you remember from last month’s #YourStory, Joanna was also privy to this ride. Both our lives are forever adhered to Grace’s, and I hope, in some small way, yours will be, too. My friends, please meet Grace Fragoso Seay.
When I think of my life, I like to see it as a book that God chooses to reveal, a chapter at a time. Maybe just to keep me on my toes, or even better, on my knees.
I was blessed to be born to missionary parents who believed the mission field was the “uttermost parts of the world”. Eager to leave, they had to wait for my birth to go to the mission field. My dad is a man whose faith and walk with the Lord are an inspiration not only to me but to everyone who crosses his path. I was 41 days old when my parents took off on what was my very first missionary trip. Now, I take those trips as often as I can.
The first four years on the mission field involved all 5 children plus my parents living in the house my father bought to start a church. Yes, I lived in a church for the first four years of my life! At the age of five, in that very church, I gave my life to the Lord.
We watched our parents live by faith, learn to live with less, and still have the most thankful and generous hearts I have ever seen. As soon as we had a house, they opened it to local orphans. Today, 44 years later, they are blessed to have raised over 700 children. They were “Mom” and “Dad” to each one of them.
Their methods were simple, their faith unshakable, and their hope always renewed and focused on the Lord who always provided. As children, we loved to try to figure out how God was going to come through “this” time. Would it be even cooler than last time? What I did not know at the time is that God was teaching me to NEED LESS and DEPEND MORE.
...God was teaching me to NEED LESS and DEPEND MORE. ~ Grace Fragoso Seay Click To Tweet
At age 18 I gave my life’s work to the Lord, but since I did not sense clear guidance to go anywhere specific, I focused on a study of the English, German, and Spanish languages. After graduation, I landed a teaching job as well as a translator and interpreter position for several international companies in Brazil. I did that until the Lord showed me it was time for my assignment: a challenge to come to the USA for a year as a volunteer. I sold my new car, got rid of many things and came to America with two suitcases: one with books and another with clothes.
I was given a chance to practice the NEED LESS part of my motto.
One day I was called to the office of the non-profit where I served and was given a heavy bag with lots of quarters. They added up to $200, which I rolled and took to the bank. These coins came from gum machines placed in several restaurants, and I received some of what came from the machines. That’s when the DEPEND MORE part of my motto came in. All I could do was depend on the Lord. He blessed me with the best host family and gave me great friends who provided for my needs and wants.
I decided that I wanted to live like that my whole life, in total dependence of the Lord. ~ Grace Fragoso Seay Click To Tweet
My challenge became a passion. I have been in the USA for almost 16 years and now run a home-based, non-profit agency for Brazilian orphans. This came about when I saw there was huge support for little orphaned children but less as they got older. They were not prepared for life, somewhat like jumping off a cliff. The idea of the non-profit involves creating connection platforms which help teens get jobs and learn skills, spring boarding them from life in a children’s home into the plans God has for them.
The Lord blessed me with a wonderful marriage and touched my husband’s and my life with the gift of adoption. Through the trials and challenges God allows in my life, I see the common thread of needing less of what the world deems important and trusting God for the things truly needed. Depending on the Lord is the most amazing decision I have ever made, for what He has planned is always better than I could ever desire or wish.
I am now 44, and this week I enjoyed the privilege of walking around with my dad and keeping his pace. The same legs that were so fast to go where God led him are now weak and need support. The roles have reversed and now I am the one waiting for him to catch up.
Every time he holds my hand as we walk, I am reminded of our walks when I was a child. My little hand could not hold more than one or two of his fingers. At that time, he seemed big and strong. I looked up to him. Now fragile and slower, I look up to his testimony and walk with the Lord: a prayer life that moves heavens and brings about change. What a legacy God has given me!
...a prayer life that moves heavens and brings about change. ~ Grace Fragoso Seay Click To Tweet
I can clearly see that God has given me a story to tell, of His goodness, guidance, and provision – also of comfort and care when life gets tough. Each chapter gets more and more exciting and I am so thankful that this one involved me sharing my life with you!
My encouragement to you comes in the words of Psalm 34:8 NIV:
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
And Proverbs 3:5&6 NIV:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Grace is wife to Keith, the love of her life, and mom to Gabi, an adorable two-year-old – a miracle herself. She has worked with orphan care for the last 20 years. Currently she runs a non-profit agency for Brazilian orphans from their home. God has allowed Grace to serve Him around the world and share His love wherever she goes. She loves to make their home pretty and open it to friends. After all, hospitality is a fun blessing. She loves family, missions, languages, travel, cooking, and baking. Whenever possible Grace enjoys reading and writing in the company of good Brazilian coffee.