Serving the church has been a way of life for Kyle and Valeria Roy since even before they met. Once they were married, their desire to serve others grew into a longing to take the Gospel to other parts of the world. But it was within the local church where they gathered the tools they needed and pursued the calling to full-time missions.
Kyle has been with the International Mission Board (IMB) since 2013, but his exposure to missionary life goes much further back since he grew up as a missionary kid in Uruguay.
“I counted it up once,” Kyle shared. “As a missionary kid, I heard the Gospel around 400 times before I accepted Jesus.”
Although Kyle’s relationship with Jesus began when he was 14 years old, he really began to take that relationship seriously when he was in college. He led Bible studies and prayer meetings while he was a student, and through those small acts of obedience, God began to stir Kyle’s heart for lost people around the world. So he began taking additional steps.
“I really never wanted to be a missionary,” Kyle said. “But I went on a couple short-term mission trips to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil. And during those trips, God started working on me.”
Kyle thought he wanted a career in construction. However, as Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord directs his steps.” And the Lord directed Kyle’s steps back to Uruguay to help a friend in missions.
“I agreed to come help as a volunteer for three months; then I stayed for another three months,” Kyle said.
While there, the Lord directed his steps again—directly into the path of a woman named Valeria, who would later become his wife.
“So, at that point, I had no incentive to leave,” Kyle shared with a smile. In all, Kyle stayed in Uruguay for two years. That’s where God solidified in his heart that he was called to missions full time.
Valeria, a native of Uruguay, had a path to missions that was quite different. God had placed a desire for Him and for missions in her heart from the time she was a teenager. Before that happened, though, she grew up Catholic and was very religious.
"I was very interested in religion, but I felt like God was far away," Valeria said.
Valeria accepted Christ when she was 14 years old, just like Kyle, after a friend invited her to a Bible study. Despite her involvement in religion before that day, it was at that Bible study when she finally understood the reason Jesus had to die.
“I think it’s important for people to know that sometimes people really do immediately accept Jesus after hearing the Gospel for the first time,” Kyle said. “And sometimes you have people like me who have to hear it 400 times. We have to be diligent to share.”
A fact that brings their backgrounds full circle, the church in Uruguay where Valeria accepted Christ was a church that had been planted by IMB missionaries. Through those like Kyle’s family who were on mission in Uruguay, Valeria not only came to know the Lord but also heard the importance of taking the Gospel to the nations.
“That church was always very missions-oriented,” she said. “There was always someone sharing about missions. God used those leaders and the Great Commission in my life.”
Before she and Kyle began dating, Valeria spent 10 months with an aunt in England, where she attended a Hispanic church. Through that experience, she gained more exposure to other cultures and how God’s Church was moving in other parts of the world. By the time she returned home to Uruguay, God had prepared both her and Kyle’s hearts for life on mission—together.
After getting married, the couple moved to Memphis, where they became heavily involved in Bella Vista, Bellevue’s Spanish-speaking campus. They also acquired valuable experience in missions, leadership, and discipleship through ministries such as the Christian Mobile Dental Clinic, the School Supplies Giveaway, Evangelism Explosion, and much more.
“Looking back from the mission field, our time at Bellevue helped teach and mold us into what we are doing now,” Kyle said. “Bellevue was very intentional to give us training as well as cross-cultural experience.”
Now, along with their three boys, Kyle and Valeria are serving full-time with the IMB in Brazil, ministering to the descendants of European immigrants—Italians, Germans, Ukrainians, and others.
How do they engage the lost in the Americas? Through a strategy Kyle called a “catalyst for church planting.”
“Our goal is to get other churches and other associations to plant more churches in Brazil,” Kyle explained. “You can’t reach an entire region on your own. There is a need for more evangelism and discipleship, leadership development, and church planting.”
Pray for Kyle and Valeria and their three boys as they continue to reach Brazilians and European descendants living in Brazil. Specifically, pray they can develop a strategy to reach the Italian descendants living in their region.
If God is calling you to engage with the lost in the Americas, visit bellevue.org/missions and begin taking steps to serve the nations both here and around the world.