Brazil, Day 12: Several Thoughts on Missions6 min read

I woke up and almost considered skipping a second straight day of exercise. I did not want to get up, and I had an almost unnoticeable headache that lingered from the night before. But I finally got up and ran a kilometer before doing some hill runs, tackling the hill on the seminary’s road eight times with minimal rest in between each one.

Once again the weather was beautiful outside. Man, I sure couldn’t have been invited to come at a better time of the year! Clear skies with the sun shining and warm temperatures with no humidity. Great for running in the morning.

For breakfast we had baked oatmeal and homemade granola. I really enjoyed the granola from last week, so it was great to have it again. Oh, and I had a slice of papaya for dessert!

Today in my devotions I read the last half on Acts 8 where Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch. There are so many things to take from this text, but today I thought about how Philip was sent by God to the desert for a short time to fulfill only one task- to lead the Ethiopian to Christ! Right now God has placed me in the desert of Brazil for a short time. Am I fulfilling those tasks for which He has placed me here? I sure hope so!

Pastor Jim and I went to town again to but some devotionals at a Christian bookstore, mail some letters at the post office, buy some bananas, and get some other hardware supplies for the house. When we arrived at the post office, I experienced the best parallel parking job I have ever seen.

Along the sides of the streets there are parking spots designated for cars and spots designated for motorcycles. Well, we found a spot, but a motorcycle was parked perpendicular at the back end of the parking spot, and the car in front was too far back in its parking spot. But Pastor Jim backed right into it, with less than 18 inches to spare in the back and about 10 inches to spare in front after we were situated. It was absolutely amazing!

As I crossed to the median in the middle of the street to get a picture of the parking job, a bus approached, but the driver kindly stopped so he wouldn’t photo bomb my picture. I finished and crossed the street again, but the bus didn’t move! I looked back, and he was smiling and holding two thumbs up, indicating that he wanted me to take his picture too! So I obliged (even though I couldn’t really see him because of the reflection off the windshield) and then he continued driving his passengers down the road.

In the post office we waited for several minutes and finally sent our mail. Here in Brazil, we can’t purchase stamps and drop mail in a mailbox. We go to the post office and pay the postage and they put the stamps on the mail for us! That was definitely a new experience for me. I mean, I’ve done that in the States, but I always have the option of just sending mail from home if I want.

We then walked around downtown, looking for hardware stores and bananas that weren’t already overripe. I’m starting to become acquainted with the layout of the downtown area after having been there several times. Today there was no soccer game so the place was bustling with activity.

For lunch we had mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetables (onions and bacon and spinach I think), and flat fried chicken. In the afternoon I helped rearrange the house next door. One of the reasons we did it was to prepare it for people to live there next week and for a few more weeks during the summer.

We took the double bed from my room and moved it there, switching it out for the two single beds that were over there. I now have two twin-sized beds in my room, awaiting another guy to come stay with me next week for the seminary’s Sacred Music Week.

Over the next few weeks, several people will be coming to join us here. Some will help with the music conference and some will come to participate with me in Aventura Brasil. My time alone here is quickly coming to an end! But that’s okay because I’m excited to be joined in ministry here.

I spent about a half hour working on my Portuguese with the guy who teaches the English classes that I attended. He’s helping me work on my pronunciation and some simple phrases so I can begin to do some elementary communication with people here.

For supper I had beef soup, herb bread and butter, crackers and cheese, and guava juice. We ate with some older missionaries who are leaving tomorrow morning to go on furlough. It was fun to meet them, and he even gave me some cowpies to eat! (well, they were actually caramelized peanuts, but the package called them cowpies.)

Shortly after supper, several other missionaries arrived, and we met on the poor for a prayer meeting. It was encouraging and fun to hear them go around the group, talking about their most recent experiences and share prayer requests and praises. Missionary life is not easy, so this is a great chance for them to interact about life and encourage one another.

We broke up into groups of three to pray and then we had a short time of fellowship with ice cream and homemade brownies, courtesy of Jennifer Leonard.

Something that was sobering for me was seeing the age of the missionaries. The average age of the missionaries tonight was probably no lower than 60! On the one hand, it’s encouraging to see the faithfulness of these men and women. On the other hand, is there anyone else younger coming to join and eventually replace them?

Well, that’s it for the day, but there’s something else I want to quick mention. When we were in our small groups to pray, I noticed lots of tiny ants scurrying across the tile on the porch. They were so small yet they zoomed across the tile, almost as fast as that teleporting frog I met last week.

It made me think about Proverbs 6:6-11, the passage of Scripture that tells sluggards to look at the ants and learn from their work habits. I’ve always heard that we need to learn to work hard and plan ahead just like the ants do. But as I watched them move so fast tonight, I also thought about the importance of working with a sense of urgency.

At IRBC we talk about “walking with purpose” anytime you’re doing something or going somewhere. That’s what those ants did! They walked with purpose! What about missions though? Do we do it with a sense of urgency? Unlike the ants, we know that Christ is returning at anytime, and we don’t know how much time we have left.

Perhaps even hard-working Christians need to go to the ant and consider her ways and get out of the rut known as “sluggish evangelism.” We are all called to be missionaries somewhere, but are we pursuing our opportunities with urgency?

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