I’m writing this Saturday night, but not sure when I’ll have Internet to send it. We leave for Rio at 9:00am – about a 3-hr drive. Once we check into our hotel, everyone is free until evening when we’ll go to local churches. Monday we will check out early, then we have a tour planned for the day to see the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city, enjoy Brazilian BBQ (a real meat fest), and some other site seeing. We’ll head to the airport in the evening for our 10:00pm flight out.
The training ended well. For our final two days, we had more training in cross-cultural ministry. Bishop Juao Carlos Lopes did a session about the importance of working with the local church that exists in most places missionaries go. Then two US missionaries who have lived in Brazil for many years shared about their own personal experience of applying much of what we have learned. It gave a practical and personal face to the stuff we’ve been teaching.
Thursday we had an America-style cookout. We grilled hamburgers, made baked beans, potato salad, and brownies served with ice cream. The folks scarfed them down pretty quickly.
Today we ended with a bang – literally. We shot off bottle rockets that the kids (and the not-so-young kids) had made. That’s always lots of fun. This evening we had a worship and communion service, followed by a bonfire up on a hill that overlooks the valley. It was a time for people to share testimonies of how God has spoken to them during these days. Many people shared about the transforming experience this has been – changing lots of the presuppositions they had coming here. While they may have seen that missions is a bit more complicated than they had thought, they all experienced an even stronger sense of calling to trust God to help them meet the challenges. Many spoke of the friendships they’ve made here, several with people who can’t understand each other’s language, but still connected over a common love of God and commitment to His mission in the world. All the folks from the US were pretty amazed with the level of passion that the Brazilians bring to an event like this!
So, we’ll head down the mountain to a hot, humid Rio – just glad it is winter, not summer there! The memories the trainees have built here will be with them all their lives. It’s always awesome to see how when we set the context for God to bless, He just shows up in a big way and consistently exceeds our expectations. This week has been yet another example of that.
If I have connection in Rio, I may send a brief note from the airport. But I’m not sure that’ll be possible, so if you don’t hear back, assume your loved ones are boarded on a plane Monday night and headed home safely. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get to give you a glimpse of what the folks have been experiencing here. At The Mission Society, we understand that it is not just the missionary and their immediate family who are impacted by their call. But that there are relatives left behind who miss them and perhaps worry about them. We’re always glad to speak with you should you have questions or should you just have a need to talk with someone who understands what you are experiencing yourself.
Grace and Peace,