Brazil, Day 15: Odd Jobs and Leadership Conference6 min read

Ugh…I don’t like waking up in the morning! Well, I do, but I don’t like to wake up early and I especially don’t like to exercise alone. But I had to do what I had to do, and I ran 6 kilometers.

My devotions were in Acts 10. In this chapter, Cornelius and Peter both have visions which lead to Cornelius’ conversion. I didn’t actually read about the conversion yet though. I read the first 23 verses, detailing the two visions and the entourage that was sent to summon Peter. Wow, God works in interesting yet exciting ways sometimes!

For breakfast we ┬áhad fried cheese with guava jam on toasted bread, papaya, and orange juice. That was really good! Of course, I’ve had the friend cheese before and I love it, but I did not have a chance until this morning to try it with guava jam. Pastor Jim said it tasted good, and he was right!

Mrs. Leonard told me about a large grasshopper that she found dead on the washing machine this morning, so I went to take a picture of it. Man, she wasn’t joking! Those things are huge! She told me that that’s just how big they are though. Sometimes you see the baby ones, and they are the size of our normal ones back in Iowa. I now have it sitting here in my room with a rhinoceros beetle getting a piggyback ride on it.

We went to Crato in the morning to do a few random errands. We first stopped at a government place that is almost the equivalent of the humane society. They pick up stray dogs around town and keep them for a week. People can come claim them or adopt them and whatever ones are not chosen are put to sleep.

We actually picked up shots for the dogs there. While we were there, I looked at some stuffed animals from the area like monkeys, snakes, and a few other things. They also had several snakes, scorpions, and spiders preserved in bottles.

We went to the home of a friend who has his own machine repair shop, and he tried to remove a saw blade from a brick saw for Pastor Jim. This man is a strong believer and has a desire to someday move to another town and begin a church there. He actually quit his job and started his own business repairing things just so that he could someday move and support himself this way.

When we left his house, we drove past an old Catholic seminary that is located in the neighborhood. That area is known as the seminary, and once some people ended up there after intending to go to the Baptist Seminary. They took a bus and asked to go to the seminary because they didn’t know any better. But when they arrived there and walked in, they were met with quite the surprise!

We passed by a Baptist church in the neighborhood that the Leonard’s formerly attended, and Pastor Jim told me about his history of involvement with the churches in Crato. We also talked about issues such as membership and tithing as a missionary on the field.

It was a lot of good stuff to think about. I had thought about these things before as a watchcare member at another church while going to school, but I never considered the difficulties that may arise on the mission field. For example, do you become a member of the church you attend on the field, or do you retain your membership at your sending church?

Also, who should receive your tithe? After all, you’re still an extension of your home church’s ministries, so you are working in a different country on their behalf. There’s not necessarily a single right answer to these questions, so I enjoyed hearing Pastor Jim’s perspectives on them.

For lunch we had stir-fried chicken with vegetables, rice, pineapple, and orange juice. Got to use chopsticks again!

In the afternoon I worked on my blog, wrote letters, and went to Juazeiro with Pastor Jim and Jennifer to pick up some stickers for her brownie business and stop at a couple other home improvement stores.

Several of the seminary ladies came to the house to help Mrs. Leonard with the Betty Luken flannelgraph that my sister’s Bright Lights group cut out. They organized all the pieces in the storage box, and they learned how to use it for teaching

One of the ladies was the missionary to Bolivia who presented at church on Sunday night, and she is receiving one of the two flannelgraph sets that I brought down. They were all so excited to help and learn, and I could tell they were having a good time together. I spent a few minutes taking pictures of them.

Supper consisted of Mrs. Leonard’s retirement project…or so she says. We had homemade chicken croissants. She refuses to give away the recipe or teach anyone how to make them because it is a secret recipe and that’s what she’s going to make when she retires. Well, whatever recipe it is, it’s good.

At 7:00pm we went to a pastors and church leaders conference at First Baptist Church in Juazeiro. The speaker for this weekend’s conference is Pastor Rick Goertzen from Grace Baptist Church in Hutchinson, Kansas. It was interesting because he spoke through an interpreter, but I could understand what he said before it was translated. That was a first for me here, being an English speaker in Portuguese land.

His text was Romans 12:1-2 and he talked about the concept of sacrifice. Perhaps the thing that really stuck out to me the most was that true sacrifice should not truly be sacrifice for me. In other words, when I’m sacrificing for God, I should embrace it so much that it really doesn’t seem like a sacrifice to me. It’s just something I love to do for my God.

He told he story of David Livingstone and how he told people that he didn’t consider himself to have ever sacrificed for Christ. By all of our standards, this courageous adventurer/missionary of Africa sacrificed a lot. But by his standards, he was serving God and it never felt like a sacrifice to him. That’s a really neat concept.

When we came back we drank hot chocolate and played some three-handed Rook. I do miss playing four-handed with my favorite partner, Aaron Moore, but just getting to play Rook is fun enough, and three-hand is lots of fun. Now I’m just enjoying the air-conditioning in my room and finishing this post.

That’s all for now…

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