Howdy one and all! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were some of the best days of the trip so far and I'm so excited for what God is doing and is continuing to do in Brasil!
Tuesday started off with construction yet again. I talked to the guys about trials and how they each can overcome them because of 2 things: the fact that Christ is with them through it all (because we serve a God who knows suffering!) and because our current pain is nothing compared to our future glory! In the afternoon, after pouring lots and lots of concrete to the floor, we finally played some USA vs. Brasil soccer. Needless to say, we lost about 17-4 (maybe worse, I'm not positive). Either way, it was loads of fun! That night, Jordan and I taught our last lesson at church over Communicating with God. I spoke on the importance of prayer: talking with God as our Father. Jordan spoke on the importance of reading The Word: God's love letter to us and the way He speaks to us. It went extremely well! That night, we (all the white folks) ended the night with some much-needed worship to a greatly-deserving God!
Wednesday was beach day! We all went early in the morning to Future Beach and the nice restaurant there, Atlantis. During the morning I swam, played both kinds of football (yeah that's right, there are two kinds. The American is the better kind though), including loser to Pastor Eudes and his team 4-2. After a shower and some yummy lunch, we were off to the Central Market. Picture a ginormous mall consistent of flea market-esque shops. There, I found jewelry for my mom, jerseys for friends (including one for Pastor! Love that guy!) After a while of hanging with Jordan, Dougito, and Patrick, we went straight back. We were going to see the sunset, but the sky was super cloudy :( So after getting back, we went to the Wednesday night study, where J.T. (Copperfield's youth pastor) spoke very nicely about murder and the redefinition of murder (by Jesus himself). He's a real good speaker. That night, I gave Fabricio a Tiery Henry jersey (his favorite player). Earlier in the week, he gave me one of his favorite jerseys. He was really touched by the gesture.
Thursday from start to finish went extremely well. At 7:15, Thiago, Renan, Fabricio, Manuel, Evair, and Toim-Toim were here to learn, sing, and pray... and that we did! I gave them 5 things to focus on in order to grow and become men of God, all with scriptures (Encourgae, Lead, Love, Pray, Serve). Around 8, we started praying for each other and the community for a good 45 minutes! I knew at this point I hadn't just made friends, I had made disciples! We even laid hands on Evair and prayed . Something was troubling him, so we laid hands on him and one by one thanked God for him and prayed for his needs. It was so cool. By 8:45, breakfast came and we all went to eat. After breakfast, I played some basketball with the guys before packing up my stuff. Then we all (including the guys from Brasil) "rated the week". We talked about what we learned and our high points. After a great time of sharing and encouraging, we circled up and prayed for one another. After a great lunch, Jordan and I had our lesson over being lukewarm. We had Julianna, Benjamin, and Renan taste 3 things, the last being nasty. Julianna spit out the stuff, making the illustration perfect (thanks again!) We talked about what is lukewarm and why God hates it so much. We then had a time to share testimonies. On the bright side, Evair, Michael (brasilian), Fabricio, Renan, Fatima, Josh, Juli, Blaise, Alyssa, Jordan, and I all shared our testimonies. There still are many who didn't, so I pray God continues to write His story in the kids' lives and gives them the strength to tell the story well. In the afternoon, Bill told me Pastor Eudes and his family could use some money (they just found out his wife is pregnant!), so whatever extra money I have I could give to him as an "offering". After rounding up some money, Bill informed me this was 4x's more than Pastor even prayed for! I was brought to tears realizing I was used by God as an answer to prayer. I got the amazing opportunity to give him the gift and to pray with them about their ministry and their family. After a final time with the kids in worship, we ate and showered up and were on the road. I did get a final picture with the guys, something I treasure very much! Anyways, after a sad busride to the airport (with thoughts of my time still running through my head), we arrived. After a good Bob's milkshake, I finally had to say my goodbyes :( Oh, how I look toward the day when I will never say goodbye again! Anyways, thanks for all the prayers and all the encouragement. I'm excited to see what God has in store for me in the near future!
Signing off for now but never done,