Well.. our futebol (aka soccer for all of those non-Brazilians out there) party was almost a week ago and I never posted about it. I’m so sorry to anyone following along. It’s been a crazy week.
We had a great party last Friday, we played lots of soccer, and my competitive side came out!
We connected with readers in ways that we haven’t been able to before, and our party was a great success.
I got to wear my new Brasil gear, which we all know how excited I was about that, and everyone loved my double French braids…. it’s not a very popular hairstyle here but maybe I can make it a thing. 😂😉
OH AND I HAD A WHISTLE. Sorry to everyone for having to deal with the annoyance of that, but I had fun giving people red cards. 😂
I don’t have too many pictures from this day, as we were running around on the field for most of the time.
This is such a huge part of their culture, and I’m so happy we could enjoy playing soccer with them.
On Saturday we get to go to a REAL futebol game, and I’m so excited. We really are treated like royalty here!
By the way, (reader) Alex, if you’re reading this, you’re the BEST!
The end of Week 3 also marks the end of our time with Melvina, the LST coordinator of our trip. She was able to come and stay with us for a while, get us all set up and help us begin to develop relationships and have a little fun before she had to go back to the LST office to work. She has been a blessing to us in so many ways. Today we were sad to see her go, but we were so very thankful she was able to be with us.
We can’t believe that in the same amount of time, just 3 more weeks, that will be us heading out and saying our sad and tearful goodbyes.
I’ve mentioned this before, but we really have developed a family here. Our friends from the church and from reading sessions have all taken care of us, from tracking every single Uber rides to the hotel to make sure we get there safely to driving us in their own car when we want to go somewhere to paying for our meal or inviting us in their home for one. We are so blessed.
Our reading sessions have been great and have led to some deep, convicting, conversations about the wonderful love and mercy of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
This week, and today especially, was full of ups and downs, but I am enjoying the time here and learning to “ride the waves.” 🌊☺️
God bless you all!
Oh, and my Portuguese is coming along nicely for those of you wondering at home. 😉
I am convinced that God blessed my life so richly with some of the sweetest human beings on this planet.
I LOVE BRAZILIANS.
We have been chauffeured around the city at no cost, taken out to dinner, taken on a boat ride at sunset, and just taken care of in general.
Y’all, I hope you see the significance of these people that I see. These are people we have known for less than two weeks, inviting us into their lives and letting us taste a little piece of their world daily. It’s incredible.
Just a couple examples:
Last night we went to a restaurant with a couple who are both readers in our LST program. They took us out to one of their favorite local places that we would never have found on our own, and it was one of the best experiences we have had. My food was in a coconut!!!! 🤤🤩
And then today we were invited into the home of our minister for a homemade meal at lunch. (I didn’t get a picture of the food… sorry! But it was delicious!!)
After lunch we went on a boat ride courtesy of one of my readers. He and his fiancé treated us like their lifelong friends. The boat ride was amazing, with lots of great views, but the best part was getting to do it with my reader! It’s so fun to see them in their element, with their people, going to their favorite food places, and getting to join in on that.
Last night we held our first LST Party, which was a huge success. The goal of these get-togethers are to connect with our readers outside of our reading sessions and to get to hang out with them and their family. We also had several members of the church there as well building bridges and making connections that will last for much longer than the six weeks we are here.
Below are some pictures of our party. We enjoyed every last bite of fresh pineapple, took lots of selfies (only one is pictured below), and enjoyed the company of many people.
Some things that we did not get pictures of, because we were having such a great time of course, was the “Who Am I” game (where a name is taped on your back and you have to ask yes or no questions to guess who your person is), a competitive game of musical chairs, and a limbo contest that acrobats would be jealous of.
I am thankful that God blessed us and dropped us into the midst of such a welcoming church family, brought us fun readers, and allowed all of our lives to intersect for this moment. It was a wonderful time with lots of food, lots of laughs, and a couple different languages!
God is good, and he is working here in Fortaleza! Continued prayers would be appreciated for the success of the rest of our time here!
Hello friends and family! I apologize for not writing in a few days. Yes I have been busy with readers and taking in this amazing city, and yes my internet connection is a bit spotty, but really I just haven’t taken the time to connect all of my thoughts and type them out on here. But no worries, all I well!
So it’s been one week since we’ve been here. I can’t believe how fast one week can fly by, and how much change 7 days can make on a person’s life. WOW!
A few things we have done so far:
On Monday we had our first real “off day.” We went to the Central Market, it was massive… but it was amazing and filled with lots of neat stuff . I bought some shoes (sorry mom!) and we had a great time hanging our with our readers there!
Sunday lunch was held at the church. I played soccer in my dress and all (and still showed up some boys 😉). We had Brazilian BBQ, which is surprisingly similar to KC BQQ, with more rice and beans of course. ☺️
Rosi is such a sweet girl, we are so happy to get to read with her!
We attended an event Friday night at a mission school called IRIS. They have locations around the world. If anyone would like to know more about how I saw God work that day, please ask! It’s a little too much to include in this blog post, and might be a little too personal, but let me tell you GOD IS ON THE MOVE in my life and it’s an honor to get to be along on this ride. ❤️
So yes, we have had an eventful week. Maybe one of the most eventful weeks of my life. But it’s been so good, and watching God reveal himself and his power to my readers and to myself is such an incredible experience, I can’t even put it into words. I have been stretched and grown in ways unimaginable in one single week, and all I can say is “thank you God.”
Although I did not get to update this blog last night, (sorry!) I will tell about my first official day reading with people. I got meet and develop relationships with every reader that sat at my table yesterday. This was an experience I have been training for since January, but no none can prepare you for the feeling of developing a friendship through the word of God. Some people who sat down with me knew a little more English than others, but with every reader we could discuss deep issues like what God’s plan was in the Bible and what God’s plan is now for their life. I will be reading with the same people three times a week for the next six weeks. It is only the first day of readers and I already know these relationships will become deeper than I could imagine. All the glory goes to God for that.
I am slowly but surely adapting to the Brazilian culture. We enjoyed some more traditional Brazilian food for their lunch, which is their big meal of the day. We have experienced some language barriers with restaurants, but nothing we couldn’t handle. I am picking up on more and more Portuguese daily, and I hope to be intentional for next six weeks while I am here to learn more.
On some level, I still can’t believe that God made all this happen and opened this door for me. He is so good, and I don’t know why but sometimes we fail to realize all the good He does for us. Let us not take our time for granted and help everyone we come into contact with know Jesus, at home with our friends and neighbors or across the globe.
At 3:00 am on May 13th, I woke up in Kansas City, MO, and headed the airport to get on a plane to Miami to meet up with the team. I got to Miami and everything was going well, until my teammate, who was flying in from Orlando and was supposed to be there less than two hours after I got there, discovered that her flight was delayed. I was only supposed to be by myself in Miami for – like I said – less than two hours. It ended up that I had to go through customs and check my bags for the international flight and figure all of this out… on my own. No worries though, I made it and did not have too much trouble, other than sitting around by myself for 6 hours. My other teammate from Dallas arrived about an hour before our international flight started boarding, but our Orlando girl didn’t make the flight.
Melvina and I landed at about 3 am (our time here in Fortaleza is two hours ahead of my usual central standard time). Our site hosts, the ministers from the church of Christ we are working with here in Brazil, picked us up from the airport. They are amazing, and have already done so much for us. They even contacted and confirmed our AirBnB for us to make sure they would have everything ready to check in at 3 am. I know they will take great care of us.
When we got outside the airport, we realized that for the next 6 weeks we will be sweating non-stop. The 23 degree Celsius temperature with (seemingly) 200% humidity in the middle of the night was quite different than the mild 50 degree Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius for those of you following along) weather I left in the midwest.
We got to our AirBnB (with an incredible view of the ocean by the way!), slept for a few hours, and then got up and walked around our area. We found a nice little breakfast cafe and stopped in for some food. I had the freshest orange juice I have ever had. It was incredible.
Once again, our ministers went above and beyond and took us back to the hotel to meet Tani, our teammate. She had caught the next flight into Brazil and landed about lunchtime, so thankfully she made it safely and we did not have to go too long without her. Praise God!
With Tani completing our group, we went grocery shopping, drank coconut water fresh out of a coconut, and settled into our apartment. Phew.
And here comes the best part….
We met our readers today! It is such a different feeling now that I have names and faces attached to that word. I have already started developing relationships that I know will lead to life changing conversations about Jesus and the AMAZING God we serve.
So today was a good day. And a long day. And a day that I will never forget. (And kind of two days, traveling here and then being here. Oh well!)
Anyway, GOD IS GOOD Y’ALL. I’ve been smiling so much today I think my dimples grew.