"We are broken people who have gone through difficult and painful experiences throughout our lives—as individuals, within our families of origin, and in our own marriage. Our prayer is that we will strive to struggle to the best of our ability and to turn to Jesus every time we hurt. Our hope is to love on others so they too can do the same."
MEET THE BRAGAS...
Connie grew up on a farm near a small town in South Dakota, while Joaquim (Joa) grew up in Maceio, a large city on the coast of Brazil. We joke we met halfway between both places while attending Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, but clearly that’s not quite accurate. What is accurate is that God led us both to Bible college where we had a heart to learn more about Him through His Word. In college, we both desired to learn and be involved in counseling that honors Him and that is a part of the transformative work Jesus continues to do in people’s hearts around the world. We graduated in 2001, Joa with a degree in Pastoral Studies and Biblical Counseling and Connie with a degree in Biblical Counseling. Our shared beliefs and our friendship throughout college was the foundation for our marriage later that same year.
After college, Connie completed a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling and Joa a Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Studies at Calvary Theological Seminary, also in Kansas City, MO. However, the desire for Joa to refine his counseling skills led us to Dallas where he graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with an MA in Biblical Counseling in 2007. He continued on in schooling to complete a PhD from Texas Women’s University in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2017. Since 2007, Joa has worked in the counseling field with families, individuals, and couples in the areas of addictions, trauma and abuse, marital conflict, family of origin issues, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, etc. He has also had ample experience teaching both undergraduate and graduate counseling courses, as well as supervising counselors in training.
After graduation from Dallas Seminary in 2007, we walked the struggles of infertility and multiple failed placements with adoption. That painful and transformative journey resulted in two of our greatest blessings in life. In January 2013 we welcomed Bella into our family, and in July 2014 we welcomed Nicolas home. We believe our children are an integral part of our ministry team!
Bella has been described more than once as a firecracker. She is 4 going on 14. Or 20. She has boundless energy and is always eager to welcome all into her circle of friends. She is kind and thoughtful when she takes a moment to slow down, and her enthusiasm and zest for life are contagious.
Nicolas is our sweet-natured toddler who loves to sing and to imitate everything his big sister says and does. Every. Single. Thing! He loves “Old MacDonald Has a Farm” and someday plans to have a thriving farming business somewhere in Brazil.
We are broken people who have gone through difficult and painful experiences throughout our lives—as individuals, within our families of origin, and in our own marriage. Our prayer is that we will strive to struggle to the best of our ability and to turn to Jesus every time we hurt. Our hope is to love on others so they too can do the same.