Here’s the last post from our trip to Brazil! This will fill in all the blanks. 🙂
Monday night our teammate Darrell finally made it to Brazil after being held up in the US for an extra week. You remember the old “my dog ate my homework” excuse we all used in school, and insisted to our teachers that it really did happen? Well, it really did happen except it wasn’t Darrell’s homework. A dog got a hold of his passport – with the visa inside – and shredded it. He had to apply for a duplicate passport, then apply for another visa. Of course it had to happen over Thanksgiving weekend, which meant it all took longer than usual. Anyway, he flew in Monday night and we picked him up from the airport in Northern São Paulo. That was another amazing thing! We left from the centro to head up to the northern part of the city and drove for two hours to get to the airport. Two hours. On a major road, roughly equivalent to an interstate. Now, granted we were driving in Rush Hour traffic. But even on the way back, driving at highway speeds (the speedometer was in km/hr, so I’m not exactly sure how fast we were going, but it was fast) it still took an hour to get home! The city is that massive.
Tuesday Pastor Nathan showed us the camp that BMM owns, just within the city limits on the South end of the city. We spent a good deal of the day out seeing the camp and chatting about the ministry. There are a lot of opportunities with the camp, and its location is great – it’s on an island.
Wednesday morning Pastor Hebe took us around his bairro (neighborhood) and introduced us to some of the people from his church. It was neat to see his passion for the area where God has placed him and some of the stories from his time of ministry. There certainly are a lot of opportunities there!
That night we went to Igreja Batista Betel. Cleverson preached that night and Emily and I both gave our testimonies. Our other teammates went to other churches that evening. It was a lot of fun to be able to talk with the Brazilians and hear about their churches, their needs, and how God is using them.
Thursday was our last day in São Paulo, so Pastor Hebe took us to a feira, which is kinda like an outdoor farmer’s market. They have the feira every day, and it’s the best, cheapest place to buy all your fruits, vegetables and fish. After coming back from the feira we packed up the van and headed back to Curitiba. It took us 3 hours just to get out of the city! We finally got back to Curitiba at about 7:30 that night. As we drove back into Curitiba we were amazed by the difference between the two cities. When we first got to São Paulo, I really didn’t notice the differences between the cities. I felt like I was still adjusting to the differences of Brazil in general, not really ready to notice the differences between two cities in Brazil. But having now spent more than a week in Brazil, the differences between the two cities were clear as day. Compared to the US the homes in Curitiba are much more humble, but compared to São Paulo the homes in Curitiba felt like wealthy upper-class. São Paulo is just so much more densely populated and financially needy.
The rest of the week went by pretty quickly. Friday we went to the centro of Curitiba and did some gift/souvenir purchasing. We saw Pastor Clauder, currently a pastor at Igreja Batista Salem, at the end of the day and got to talk to him a bit about the ministries currently going on there in Curitiba. Saturday we visited with an old friend of Adam and Laura’s, after which Pastor Clauder took us guys out to see the work that he is beginning in the suburb of Piraquara. He was very excited about this ministry, and excited to see us get on board with it. There certainly are a lot of needs in that suburb. There is a community of 100,000 people there in Piraquara, and not a gospel-preaching church in the town. Pastor Clauder and a few others have already purchased a property for the new church, and Pastor Clauder and his family have already moved to that neighborhood. There are several other locations in the Piraquara area where another church could be planted, which Pastor Clauder pointed out to us as we drove around.
Sunday morning Emily and I went with the Farias and Brandon Bell to the church in Guaratuba. I had visited this church once when I was in Brazil in 2007. Currently this church is without a pastor. Guaratuba is a pretty poor neighborhood, and ministry in that neighborhood is tough. Pray with us that a man will step out on faith and take leadership of the ministry in Guaratuba. Sunday night we went to Igreja Batista Salem, the church I went to when I was in Brazil in 2007. It was really neat to see so many people again, and to introduce them to Emily. The church was packed out that night. Cleverson preached, and Emily and I gave our testimonies. It was kind of sad as we were talking to people, because we were getting ready to leave the next evening to come home to the states, yet we felt like we were finally starting to get a decent handle on our Portuguese. We were finally getting comfortable understanding and being understood.
Monday we wrapped up a few things, said good-bye to our friends Flavio and Viviani, with whom we had spent a lot of time while we were in Curitiba, and making some last minute purchases (coffee, anyone???!!!!!). With our bags packed, we headed to the airport in the mid-afternoon and got back state-side early Tuesday morning.
We were struck by the very apparent needs both in São Paulo and in Curitiba. There is a lot to do in both places! Both Emily and I are very excited and looking forward to going back. After telling one Brazilian where we were at in our support, he told us “you have one foot in America, and one foot in Brazil!” Yes indeed! And we are looking forward to the day soon coming when both our feet will be there. During the trip God gave Emily in particular so much more of a passion and heart for the people now that she has seen it firsthand and not just heard of it from me and others. Continue to pray with us that God will get us there in His time, and soon if that be His will.
Below is a link to the photo gallery on our Facebook page. Enjoy the pictures and let us know if you have any questions about them. In fact, just pose the question as a comment on the picture, and we’ll reply as quickly as we can. Thank you for taking the time to read these rather lengthy posts and thank you for your prayers regarding the trip. We would appreciate your continued prayers as we seek the Lord’s will as to where exactly He wants us.