I have not included Libby's prayer & praise points but remember the two boys & that she will be transitioning back into Chile & Chilean culture within the next few weeks. Lib does not like transitions!
Psalm 27:3 “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
This time in Brazil has been amazing. I’m being stretched on a daily bases to look at my-self, to look at how God could use me and to consider how I can implement what’s being taught into ministry, current and future. It’s challenging, especially when you’re asked to not limit God nor how God could use you. I mean, imagine—without limita-tions—how big you could dream and how capable God is of seeing those dreams come to fruition. The course is helping me to focus, to dream and to be prepared to take big leaps of faith. This is not easy but God is faithful. God is the same today as he was yesterday as he’ll be tomorrow. This will never change. What is important, more than God’s faithfulness, is my willingness. God has shown me that I have the ability to chose and to accept whatever call is placed on my life. The limitation is not God, it’s me and how I choose to have God working in and through me.
I arose, just like any other day not knowing how much that the day could change me if only I was open to the possibilities. It was our first full free day off in two weeks. We had spent the last three weeks looking at different characteristics of children at risk, focusing for quite some time on children who live on the streets. We looked at the reasons and the lies that keep them there. We saw how hard it is to get them to come off the streets but how important it was to not only focus on the child but also the family and the community transformation. During the weekend we were a part of a human trafficking seminar which is why when today arrived we were looking forward to a relaxed day.
With the normal homework due, a team planning project due, an examination, book report and personal project due all within a few days of each other another team mate and I decided we’d go for an adventure. We wanted to see the monkeys in real life. As we ventured out the door four other team mates decided that they also needed to find a way to relax and refresh, so joined us. None of us come from this city so it was a bit of an adventure to find the bus stop that we needed but eventually did. Here is where theory and paper work collided with reality.
My heart started to beat rapidly fast. The bus stop was packed with people, the roads full of cars and buses. It was a busy time and there was a young boy
who was climbing onto the side of the bus, the back of the bus and taking joy rides. We watched as the public ignored him. The only moment that they acknowledged his presence was when they shut a window on a bus or rolled up the window in their cars. Some even moved from the window seat to the seat on the other side. This young man was taking his life into his own hands as two older guys watched on, encouraging him to act so foolishly.
After thirty minutes of watching his antics I and another lady said, “Why don’t we invite him to come with us to the park? We can give him some food and invest in his life.” Before we knew it or thought of the possible consequences to our actions we’d hopped onto a bus with him. It’s here that we heard little G......’s story. He’s been living on the street for three years and has constant nightmares that his mother finds him and shoots him. He’s only twelve years old. It’s a tragic story but it’s amazing to see how soft his heart still is. When we arrived at the park he was given an ice cream and fresh bottle of water. He showed us around, his favourite places and led us to the monkeys. When we arrived at a little pond/waterfall he took a bath. It was maybe his first bath in at least a week, if not longer. Despite his situation this young man was a delight to be around. He was friendly, courteous and shared what he had.
When we got back to town we bought him dinner, underwear, shoes and socks. When we encountered his younger friend, L..., he woke him up, gave him his only pair of thongs and we invited him to have dinner also. Luis, more so than G......, broke my heart. He was obviously high on something and pleading with his eyes for us to take him home. He wanted to come off the street unlike his companion. What could we do but give him a number that he could ring , an address to go to for safety and to pray? As we searched for a taxi, being the safest way home, I sensed a shift on the streets. As darkness became prominent so did the sense of the secrecy of this hidden world of oppression.
This time in Brazil has been amazing. I’m being stretched on a daily bases to look at my-self, to look at how God could use me and to consider how I can implement what’s be-ing taught into ministry, current and future. It’s challenging, especially when you’re asked to not limit God nor how God could use you. I mean, imagine—without limita-tions—how big you could dream and how capable God is of seeing those dreams come to fruition. The course is helping me to focus, to dream and to be prepared to take big leaps of faith. This is not easy but God is faithful. God is the same today as he was yesterday as he’ll be tomorrow. This will never change. What is important, more than God’s faithfulness, is my willingness. God has shown me that I have the ability to chose and to accept whatever call is placed on my life. The limitation is not God, it’s me and how I choose to have God working in and through me.
The CAR school team is made up of 9 people representing 6 different nation-alities, Holland, United States, Sweden, Philippians, Australia and Brazil. In these three months we are expected to work together as a united body to develop and implement a project in the local community. We spent the first few weeks investigating the local area, getting to know it and thinking about what we could do in this time to invest in the local people. This lead us into planning times, which for me were the hardest as cultures clashed and we learnt how to communicate and work together within our differences. At the end of our last meeting we had a confirmed plan. Our proposed objective is this; After 4 afternoons we want to have discipled children and their parents in the community Vila Dias, about sexuality, identity, child raising, and family through a group for the children and a group for the parents at the community centre as well as house visits during the week with 9 staff and volunteers from the local church. This coming Monday we will have the opportunity to present this idea to the leadership and seek their permission to go ahead with it. Upon receiving their permission we will have another 3 days to fine tune the details as well as getting permission from the local community centre and inviting the local church to become involved. It’s an exciting time as we consider the verse from Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ‘These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’ Our hope and desire is that through an education of God’s word that these families will have something to talk about together, that it will cause a restoration in the relationship.
As this is a bilingual school we, as a team, are using Portuguese and English constantly. Only one person on the team can speak English and Portuguese fluently. We do have an official translator that helps us to communicate and classes are always translated into the other language so realistically it’s not much of an issue. What I find challenging is connecting and communicating on a personal level. The first few weeks were the hardest. Portuguese, even though it sounded somewhat familiar, was very foreign and strange to my ears. Of course having Brazilians from different parts of the country means that I needed to adjust to each persons accent. As each week passes I praise God because it becomes that little bit easier to understand and communicate. It’s been super helpful having a foundation of Spanish and often I translate the Portuguese into Spanish to be able to process and under-stand what someone’s saying to me. What I find the funniest is that the two people I’ve connected to the best are from Brazil and Holland, neither speaks the others language. I can walk in their room to see them using google translate to communicate. We are a strange testimony on the streets as well. English, Por-tuguese and Spanish is being used to communicate when we are together. That, obviously is something others can find super amusing but it always starts conversation about why we are here and gives us an opportunity to share about God!