We woke up and had a great breakfast of cinnamon rolls with some of the leftover frosting from the cookie-decorating on Friday night. I took SO long to eat my breakfast. Frosting is SO yummy and I put SO much on my rolls, but I also took time to enjoy them, so it took awhile to finish my two.
This morning was the first of four days of classes with Uncle Jim, Aunt Renate, and Uncle Byron. Today we got an overview of the theology of missions as well as an introduction to missions in Brazil with Uncle Jim. Aunt Renate then gave us some Portuguese lessons, teaching us the alphabet and the pronunciations of the letters.
After four weeks, I have already learned a lot about Brazilian missions, but it was good to sit down and hear more about it. I have also learned a lot about Portuguese, but it really helped to finally see the alphabet and hear how to pronounce words correctly. For awhile, a lot of my struggle to understand Portuguese was caused by by ignorance of Portuguese pronunciation.
I’m looking forward to three more days of classes! We also laugh a lot during these meetings because all these missionaries have such a great sense of humor.
When we were finished, I spent some time finding songs for the Hope Encounter. I needed songs that were simple and repetitive so that they would help the people with their English. But I also tried to make it a good mix of some fun songs and Bible stories too.
For lunch we ate rice, beans, pieces of beef, macaxeira fries, and some vegetables which I don’t recall. After lunch I compiled my list of songs into a PowerPoint with all the lyrics. At 2:40 we went up to the seminary to welcome people as they arrived for the Hope Encounter which was scheduled to begin at 3:00.
The Hope Encounter is a three-day English retreat for any and all Brazilians who want to learn English, just as the Semana de Musica was for any and all Brazilians who wanted to learn more about music. We start at 3:00 each day and go until 9:00, but we have packed the program with lots of activities, American meals, and stories from Scripture about God’s plan of redemption.
We have around 70 people signed up, and we figure that most of them are unsaved, so it will also be a good opportunity to share the gospel. They each get one of those Hope books that I brought with me on the airplane, and Uncle Byron will go through the entire book over the span of six sessions during these three days.
People slowly trickled through the gate , and we helped direct them up to the cafeteria. Some of them spoke okay English, and some of them are just beginning to learn it. I think they started around 3:30, and by 3:50 I joined the group at the dining hall as they listened to Uncle Byron tell the story of hope.
The first game that we did was a picture scavenger hunt. Everyone was divided into five teams for the week, and we had to go around and take pictures with different things around campus like the SBC sign, a dog, and a basketball hoop on the court. We also taught them how to play “I Have Never” and we had an absolutely amazing time playing that game.
With the help of some of the others, I taught the group how to sing the Bible Alphabet Song, God Is So Good, and Row, Row, Row Your Boat in a round. It was a lot of fun, and we heard the people singing the songs later, especially Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
For supper we introduced the Brazilians to Sloppy Joe’s and carrot sticks along with chips and cajuina. Uncle Jim tried to explain to them that in America we don’t use napkins to pick up our sandwiches (or any other food) and that Sloppy Joe’s are messy, making it silly to even try.
But the custom in Brasil is to use napkins to pick up their food so that their fingers stay clean. So it was really funny to walk around and still see people grab their Sloppy Joe’s with napkins and try to eat them that way. Hahahaha, they had such a mess on their hands- literally!
Following supper we played more games, had another Story of Hope session, and sang some more songs. Afterward we hung out with some of the students and just enjoyed talking to them in English, helping them learn more grammar and vocabulary. A couple of the students had to stay around for an extra hour, so we talked with them for awhile after everyone else was gone.
It was a great day because we got to do the people a favor by helping them expand their knowledge of English. At the same time, we also learned a few Portuguese words and tried to practice what we knew with them. In the end it was a blessing to be able to communicate with them as we both learn new languages.
Most importantly, the gospel was presented to everyone. Two more days of this blessing!