At a young age, family introduced Denilson Reis to the ministerial call. Years later, it was family who encouraged him to answer that call.
Reis was born and raised in Brazil with the Adventist message embedded in his upbringing. Although his dad’s desire was that he would become a pastor, Reis got a degree in mathematics and spent 15 years teaching math, physics, and computers in elementary and high schools. On the weekends, he worked for recording studios and as a music consultant. In each job, ministering to others was at the heart of his work.
After arriving in the U.S. in 2001, he worked in construction while learning English. He later met his wife, Becky, a former missionary teacher, who inspired him to reconsider ministry.
“I can’t be in construction the rest of my life. I’m thinking of ministry,” Reis confessed to his friend and spiritual mentor, Pastor Tom Dodge, during that time. “Be patient,” Dodge said. “The call to ministry can only be answered by you and God.” Dodge shared the call to ministry at Reis’s ordination service.
Reis soon saw God change the trajectory of his career with a move to Michigan to pursue his master’s in divinity at Andrews University. Fulfilling his dad’s dream from 25 years prior, he started pastoring the Los Angeles Portuguese and Highland Park Spanish churches in August 2012.
The ordination service, conducted in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, was filled with music and emphasized the importance of familial support. “Ministry is a family affair,” prayed pastor Bill Payne, as he and all ordained pastors present laid hands on the Reis family. “Lord, let them know that you will never leave or forsake them.”
In his response, Reis described pastoring as being like a beggar who finds bread and teaches others how to find bread. “My wife and I hope that in this walk together, we can learn more about each other,” Reis concluded, “so one day you could look back and say, ‘You brought me to heaven.’”