Brazil, Day 19: Preparation for Sacred Music Week

I woke up at 5:15 to watch the sunrise, but there were no clouds in the sky to make for a beautiful sunrise, so I just went back to bed. At 6:40 I woke up again to go running. This time I went up and down the seminary campus steps several times.

For breakfast we had scrambled eggs with ham, toast, orange pineapple juice, and papaya. Stephen, Sarah, Olivia, Danae, Jennifer, and I had a meeting at 8:00 in the chapel to start cleaning the campus in preparation for the music week, so we headed to yonder chapel immediately after eating.

We started the brief meeting promptly at about 8:15, everyone being told to start cleaning out the dorms and the chapel. Danae and I went over to help clean the dorms, and she helped with some of the sweeping while I tried to find a job to do.

There were several people in there, and no one really had a job assignment, so I never did do anything except take a couple pictures. Mark Wilson came and asked for help moving some mattresses out of a storage room to air out in the sun, so Danae and I quickly volunteered to go do it.

Together we transported 17 mattresses in four trips from the classroom building to the amphitheater steps and left them there to breathe.  Then I went to the chapel and helped Jennifer clean the bathrooms. I learned a whole new way to clean bathrooms this morning!

Basically, we just gave the whole bathroom a bath. We got everything wet and then sprinkled powdered soap all over. We scrubbed the sinks with a sponge, the toilets with a brush, and the floor with a broom. Then we poured water on everything to rinse all the soap onto the floor, we poured water on the floor, and we used a squeegee to push it all down the drain or out the door.

It was great! So everything was washed with soap and water, and since everything was ceramic (sinks, toilets, tiled walls and floors), it worked really well. In the end, the dry heat dried anything that was still wet. I wish I could clean more bathrooms that way.

I joined up with Danae and Sarah and remarked to Sarah that it was like cleaning at IRBC. Back in 2005, Sarah was a full-time lifeguard at IRBC while I was a part-timer. We worked together to clean the chapel and the bathrooms all over the campground. Eight years later, we’re doing it again, but in a different country and in a different setting.

We all went over to the classroom building to clean the bathrooms and mop the classrooms there. Around 11:00, we were finished, a lot sooner than they normally get done cleaning the campus. Lunch wasn’t until 12:30, so we just meandered back to our houses to relax for awhile.

At about 12:40 we ate lunch in the dining hall with all the other helpers. It was a traditional Brazilian meal of rice, beans, cornmeal, some noodles, chopped tomatoes, shredded cabbage, lettuce, and chicken. Mix it all together…mmmm…

We were told that we wouldn’t have our next meeting until 4:00. Pastor Renato is in charge of everything that is going on this week, and he would have a meeting with us to tell us what to expect this week as staff for the event. So, back to the houses we went!

My devotions today were in Acts 12. The story is of John the Baptist’s death by separation of head from torso and the imprisonment and subsequent release of Peter. I love this story because of the reminder to pray in faith. Peter was set free by an earthquake and he went to a home where Christians were praying for him. However, when the believers were told that Peter was standing outside the house, they didn’t believe it!

How often do we pray, but with little faith? How often do we pray believing that God will actually do the “impossible”? If we don’t pray that way, then why pray and waste our time? God is able to do absolutely anything, but sometimes we give Him too little credit not only after He does something great, but before He does it.

Besides my devotions, I also wrote a prayer letter to send home and tried to take a short nap because I had no idea what the evening would hold. Stephen and I walked to the chapel, arriving at 4:00, and we were the first ones there! We set our stuff down and waited. A few minutes later, Mark Wilson came and told everyone there that Pastor Renato would be 10 minutes late because he had to pick up some stuff.

So we all waited around and talked for awhile. 10 minutes after the hour, we began our meeting. Oh, by the way, it was 10 minutes after the next hour. We started the meeting at 5:10. So now I have been exposed to true Brazilian time, and I was really wishing I had brought a book with me. Well, I know for next time!

We received instructions for, well, I’m not really sure. It was in Portuguese but Sarah translated for Danae and I. Basically, we got some general information about what was going on, I was introduced as the official photographer, and we received staff shirts to wear tomorrow.

As Danae said, she’s not really sure we should be wearing these when we know so little Portuguese! But we’re working on learning some more as each day goes by. Also, the shirts were quite big on us because they never got our shirt sizes, but as Stephen said, if we had smaller shirts, they would probably be too short since we are a little taller than most of them.

For supper we ate the same thing as at lunch, only this time with beef instead of chicken. Danae and I talked about the food in Brazil, college, and some churches back in America. We also talked about orchestra and band and our experiences over the years as instrumentalists.

Afterward we followed Sarah and Beth Wilson back to the administration building where we received some choral music and a schedule for the week. Supposedly we’ll receive our specific instrumental music tomorrow. We got a rundown of the daily schedule, and man, it’s packed! We’re gonna be pushed to our physical limits this week, but it will be filled with music!

I also got to meet William Atha, one of the missionary kids with whose family I will be working later this month. He’s a great kid, and we spent some time talking about musical instruments. He asked me questions about violin because he plays guitar but he’s been dabbling with a violin recently. It will be great to meet rest of his family later.

Back at the house, I practiced the piano for awhile, playing some music out of the books I just got, sight-reading some accompaniment parts for Danae (I’m going to accompany her trumpet solo at church later this month), and playing some of my favorite music out of a Portuguese hymnal- Christmas music!

Mrs. Leonard was making a cake, and she told me about some of the music here in Brazil. The churches don’t know many traditional hymns, or many songs at all. In fact, they don’t really know any Christmas songs! She said that if you ask them to sing a Christmas song, they’ll probably hum “Jingle Bells”, but they probably won’t even know the words to that!

The seminary has tried to introduce some Christmas songs to the people in the churches, but without a whole lot of success. The traditional Christmas songs we sing are all new to the people here. Wow, I can only imagine Christmas season without so many of my favorite songs. I can’t even imagine not hearing Christmas songs all year long, and that’s why I played them tonight!

Well, I’ve been working on some Portuguese and writing out this blog post for awhile now. I think I’ll respond to my family’s emails and then go to bed. Jennifer came back to the house and informed me that Pastor Renato wants pictures as people are arriving, which could be as early as 6:30am…ah dearski. Here we go!

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