Fala mano (What’s up, man?),
I think that we have definitely reached a point in our trip here where we have found a level of comfortability with the neighborhood that we live in, a growing depth in the friendships that we have with students, and an understanding for the Brazilian culture (at least according to the citizens of Goiania). For these things, I am incredibly thankful. The nature of our trip was to investigate the campus and city of Goiania to see if it possessed a culture that is ripe for a ministry. It is hard to say with certainty as a human being whether or not it is God’s will for the Federal University of Goias to have a full time ministry, but He has called Christians to go to all nations. With that in mind, I definitely feel like this campus would be a fruitful place for God to use a ministry; I am excited to hear in the future how this thought aligns with God’s will. Despite the fact that it is highly unusual for students to actually live on campus, they have had a large willingness to meet us at different parks, malls, and our house. Also, they have from the very beginning of our trip invited many of us to their parties, houses, and meals. They have had a great curiosity about the American culture, but also have wanted us to know their favorite parts of Brazilian culture and even some of the things that they don’t like. This level of transparency has amazed me. When it has come to the discussion groups that we have held at our house, many of the students have been very open to share. For example, there is a large religious movement here called Spiritism. From what I have gathered, Spiritists believe in something similar to reincarnation. At the end of each life, you are judged for your “good” moments and your “bad” moments. Theoretically, you then are able to know what it is that you did wrong in that life and go back and fix it in your next life. Through this thought, you may eventually have the chance to live a life that is fully good. There are a few students that have come to things that are Spiritists. There have also been Atheists, students that believe in things similar to Karma or god being a form of energy, and students that believe in many different aspects of different religions all at once. I am grateful that each of these students has come to our discussion groups or has spent time with us and shared their views on life and has been open to discussing my personal view as well. There has even been one girl who stated that she was very open to changing her belief system from Spiritism because she is not convinced of its certainty. Her name is Ana Clara. Please pray for her by name! Pray that if she investigates Christ as a Lord and Savior that she may find great joy in this and be overwhelmed by His love.
|Here is me hanging out with Heron and Mario during halftime of the World Cup game.|
|We had an interesting time trying to hang this flag from the ceiling of our living room. These little flags were strewn about our entire house. We spent a decent bit of the afternoon taping them to strings to hang them up.|
|Here is one view of many of the students and people from our team that watched the game together.|
This past weekend we went to El Ranchero in Corumbá, Goias. It was about a two hour drive and we took a large bus. It was absolutely refreshing to hang out with the students in a new environment. I would try to give you the nitty gritty details with words, but I can imagine how you feel at this point about my descriptive writing and words would not do the things that awaited us justice anyways.
|Here is a view of the sky at the camp. It looked more like a painting than it did real life. There were rolling hills past the little houses that we stayed in with a ton of paths to walk and explore.|
|This is a view of the biggest waterfall in the area. We estimated that it was about a 150 foot tall waterfall, and this cliff overlooked the major drop. We were able to swim in some of the pools that were close to the edge.|
Those pictures give you a good idea of the awesome scenery that we were able to take in over the weekend. This was also the first weekend that we talked about the person of Jesus Christ with the students. It made for a very interesting period because a few of the students walked out when they first saw His name on the projected slide, but they eventually came back because they were intrigued at hearing out our view of this very polarizing figure. Our discussion groups for the weekend revolved around what it would mean if Christ's claims were actually true and how this would shape our view of and relationship with God. I think that it was a very fruitful time for us with the students that we have been connecting with. Please be praying for the following guys by name that our team has connected with: Kledson, Klebor, Heron, Felipe, Humberto, Mario, Wilson, Nikolaus, Lucas, Enrique, Artur, Geisson, Rafael, Diego, Bruno, and Junior. These are the girls that our team has connected with: Ana Clara, Lidia, Lizz, and Amanda. Pray that the Lord can connect them to Brazilians that they can follow up with after we leave, whether that be at the church that we have been going to, Igrega Luz, or with other Christian Brazilians.
There are only two more weeks here in Brazil, so please be praying for my focus and energy as the trip goes on. Thank you so much to everyone that has made this trip possible for me and my entire team. I realize with every passing moment that this really could not be possible without every prayer, dollar, translator, and Brazilian resource that has been sent out way. I feel blessed to be apart of this experience and am hopeful that I have helped you to feel connected to how the Lord is at work and how life in this area of Brazil is lived.