Preface: This post (and the next four) are LONG overdue. I completed my ministry in Brasil in July 2013, but I never finished writing about it. After spending time with Uncle Jim and Aunt Julie tonight in freezing Iowa, and soon to embark on a new ministry experience, I decided I need to get on here and finish recording my Brasil experience.
Sunday. One last Sunday in Brasil. Hard to believe it had already come to that, but it had. I loved Sunday’s in Brasil, and this one was no different. I only wish it had not come so soon. But God controls time, and in His perfect plan, we would have one more amazing Sunday ministry before heading home to the states.
As mentioned in the last blog post, Saturday was a late night, but I woke up on Sunday excited. For breakfast I enjoyed more sweet bread, a ham/egg/cheese sandwich, manioc root cake, and some splendid maracuja juice. Man, I still miss that maracuja so much. Anyway, breakfast was great, but before long it was time to head out.
This morning we got to visit Igreja Batista Esperanca (Hope Baptist Church), and it was such a great experience! The people welcomed us just as warmly as the beautiful building, and we prepared to present the program of music/testimonies/preaching that we had shared at two churches just a week earlier.
As the service got underway, Uncle Doug got up and introduced our Aventura Brasil team to the congregation, and Danae and I picked up on a good portion of his Portuguese as he told the church how he hoped we would return to Brasil and stay there. Of course, we laughed a lot because he is so animated and humorous, but I also wished that I would indeed have an opportunity to come back someday. But only God knows when and for how long it might be.
When it was our turn, we sang and talked and preached with just as much energy as we had before. Once again, the people responded well, and they joined in their Portuguese dialect as we sang the well-known songs in English. Ah, it was so great! Afterward I enjoyed visiting with some of the people. Just like many of the other churches, it was hard to leave after only one visit.
For lunch I had chili, cornbread, and cajuina, and then I rested a little before the evening service. One more ministry opportunity…one more.
After a light supper of sweet bread, manioc root cake, and Coke, we loaded up and traveled to a larger church that was a little farther away. The building was packed that evening, and I recognized faces from Seminario Batista do Cariri.
As we got up to sing, I was overwhelmed. Not by the number of people- crowds don’t scare me. Not by the task at hand- we had done this three times already at three different churches. Not by weariness- I was full of energy. No, I was overwhelmed by the significance of the moment. Here, at the end of seven weeks, I was standing with three other people who I had become close to over the last several days, and we were about to expend ourselves one last time in a ministry setting before heading home.
As we sang, and as the people started joining in the tune, I had to fight to keep from crying as I stood up there. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” I was sad, but at the same time, I was SO happy! Thank you God for bringing me to Brasil this summer!
We finished singing, we finished the testimonies, and I preached one final time with Uncle Jim as my interpreter. It was a great night. It was an absolutely great night, and we lingered a long while outside that building before leaving that evening. It was such a huge blessing.
For supper we went to a bustling pizza restaurant and enjoyed pizza and guarana. Of course, like a good American, I ate my pizza sans ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, even though the opportunity presented itself. I just couldn’t bring myself to ruin such a good piece of food, so I saved the condiments for those who like it.
We had a good time of fellowship and fun. It was nice to spend a little more time with the missionaries, especially with the Reiner’s.
Finally I was tired. The day was good, the food was good, and God was best, just as He always is. The rest of the week would consist of a little fun, a little relaxation, and a slow march back north, first to Crato, then to Fortaleza, then to Iowa.