Brasil #1 (Futbol)

June 15, 2010

So, after 10 hours on a plane, I arrived in Brasil yesterday morning to one of the warmest greeting I may have ever recieved. I immediately knew that I was going to love this place. This being only my second time to leave the country, I had no idea what to expect. I have never been to South America,  I had barely heard an entire sentence of Portuguese in my life, and I  felt as if I had no idea what to expect. Basically, I thought I was going to be completely and totally thrown out of my comfort zone. And I was right. I have been here for less than 48 hours and, already, God has ripped me out of my comfort zone and thrown me into something wonderful.

Basically yesterday was just a rest day. I got to know the people that I was going to be doing ministry with for the next month. And they could not be a better group of people. I am pumped.  Today was even better than yesterday. The morning started with a meeting about what to expect for camp and then I got to experience the watching of the first Brasil World Cup game in Brasil which was kind of awesome. The entire country shut down for 90 minutes to cheer on their team. It was, in my opinion, community at it´s finest.  And I love it.

Within minutes of the futbol game starting, I had developed close friends and community just over the fact that we were cheering for the same team. And that only lended itself to deeper community. The hardest part about living in Brasil is the language barrier. I have learned some Portuguese but I still have, in no way, the ability to hold a conversation by any means. This proves difficult in communicating but somehow, during the futbol game, I forgot that we were speaking two different languages and instead just got to bond over a common interest. I love it when God breaks down language barriers.

Then the real pleasure of the day came. After the game and after hanging out with some of the kids from the youth group, I got to go to my home for the next few weeks and meet my new family. They are wonderful. My ´father` and the kids speak English pretty well but my ´mother` struggles with a lot of words and so all through dinner they were translating and making sure that everyone at the table could be apart of conversation. It was so cool. My ´father`started out the dinner praying both in English and in Portuguese. I felt welcomed and learned so much from this family in just one night.  I am a stranger from another country and the first thing they told me is that their house is my house.

Before she went to bed my mother came upstairs to me and, though it took awhile, searched for the words in English to tell me how glad she was I was there and if I needed anything at all to ask her. There is love here. I can already tell that I am not going to want to leave in a month. I am already praying that God brings me back here one day, maybe even to live.

I can´t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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Change

June 12, 2010

I have never been a fan of change. I think most people are this way. Most people, to a certain extent, are okay with things staying the way that they are. Most people, of which I am foremost, hate change. I get in a routine and I want to stay in that routine. Any change that may upset that routine, whether it be good or bad, is not welcome.

Unfortunately for me, change is inevitable. And usually it ends up being a good thing because I see what God is doing through it but at first, it flat out sucks. There has been a lot of change happening recently. I feel like the way it always goes is, as one thing changes, more and more things start to change. Or at least I become more adept to seeing those changes. I even saw change in the cups that Potbelly uses today and reacted slightly.

I think the thing about change that I have always hated is that, most of the time, it means goodbyes. I have always found it weird that people can come into your life, impact it, and then leave, sometimes before you even realized what that person taught you.

I am good with people and I am typically good with words but I can never seem to find enough of the right words to properly thank a person for the impact that they have had on my life. Heck, sometimes that person doesn’t even know that they did a thing. I feel like lately, as I go from college to home to summer job at Ozark to Brazil, the rate at which impacting people come in and out of my life is alarmingly fast. I went to orientation and worked first session at Ozark, formed awesome relationships that totally pushed and encouraged me toward the Lord, and then was gone, never to see some of those people again, before I knew it.

I guess all of this goes to say this: In a world that is constantly changing, where people are constantly coming in and out of my life, where sometimes I feel like I don’t have one second to catch my breath before moving onto the next big thing, and where sometimes I make a mistake before even realizing it is one, I am thankful for a consistent God. I am thankful that my Savior is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be tomorrow. He loves me the same. He does not waiver. Does not change. Does not leave for a season. It reminds me that He is merely using those relationships to help me to grow. He is using those people only as supporting players but He is desperate to show me that He is the star who maintains throughout the entire show.

I am thankful for at least one constant in this world: A God who loves me more than I can fathom.