The team and I have been "going hard in the paint" since we have gotten here, and it has been both exhausting and rewarding. (I use that phrase because one of the girls that is living with us full time to help us as a translator and also because she is on staff with Campus Outreach in Belo Horizante was on the phone late the other night outside of my room so I told her that she was going hard in the paint on the phone. It was funny trying to explain what this meant to her. Anyways...) It has been exhausting attempting to learn and "master" the Portuguese language. We have been told since even before we left that Brazilians feel honored just by time spent with them, so it is great to know that we have a lot of freedom in learning their language and in messing up. It is a lot of fun, but it also has resulted in some pretty funny/highly inappropriate mistakes. For instance, I though that I had learned a slang word for muscles, yet it apparently was the word for a very unfortunate male body part; it was outright hilarious for the Brazilian staff girls when I told another member of my team, Hunter, that this was very large for him. This is only one of the many instances in my life that have given me insight into the fact that God has a sense of humor, but also that I must pay closer attention to what it is that I am learning.
One thing that really caught me off guard was the fact that our mission here is going to take a great deal of patience. I think that in preparing for a decently long mission trip such as this, I tend to get very excited about sharing the gospel and am anxious to get to talk with people in Brazil about Jesus as quickly as possible. However, we learned in getting here that this is very off-putting to the Brazilian people because organized religion is often times very corrupt here and will even attempt to steal all of their money from them and then just leave them out to dry. This is at least the experience of many of the students in the region that we are currently living. With all of that said, it is our goal to make relationships and genuinely pursue friendships with people and let them know that we care about them as a person and not necessarily just as a "convert". This is important in America as well, but it is definitely tough to think about the fact that we may not be able to talk about Jesus Christ with many or all of the students until the very end of the trip. Please pray for my patience and also for God's plan in Brazil to be first over my own.
Despite the fact that I must remain patient in learning to love the Brazilians themselves and be humble in learning a lot from the Brazilian culture and how I can learn from it, it has been amazing to see how relational the Brazilians are and how open they are to conversation with the team and me. We were only able to go on the university campus for two days last week, yet we had a party yesterday (Saturday, May 17), and there were about 15-20 students that came. This was absolutely awesome and was truly an encouragement to me. I don't know that I would have the adventurous spirit or friendliness to do this if the roles were reversed, so I was humbled by the Brazilian students' willingness to spend time with us. There was one student in particular that I got to spend a lot of time with during the party. His name is Junior (because his Brazilian name is quite difficult to pronounce for us and he has the same name as his father). His mom and dad got divorced at an early age, and then his step dad divorced his mom just recently. He has definitely had to deal with a lot of hardships within his family. Also, he admitted that this was the first "party" that he had attended while he was at university and he has been there for two years. He said that he is introverted and that is why he has never gone to any parties, but he said that he decided to come to this one because he felt like our entire team was very friendly when he met us on campus. Please be praying for him and that his heart will grow to desire at least investigating the person of Jesus (even if that does not happen while I am here).
The Wifi in our house has not been working, so I am writing this blog post at church right now. I may not be able to post until next Sunday. If this is the case, then I will attempt to update you on the team dynamics and also on more about the culture in Goiânia. Here are two pictures: one of the house from the outside and one of the street that we live on.
It is casa (caza) sweet casa for now. Thank you for spending your time reading this and for all of the prayers and support. Once again, God's kingdom doesn't grow without the entire body's involvement, so thank you.