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Happening’s in Brasil

Saturday through Sunday

One of the neat things about traveling to new places is learning about cultures and customs of people. Saturday afternoon we were invited to a “thanksgiving service” for a gentleman who had recently completed construction on a building. The service was full of worship songs and testimonies from his family and friends. Pastor Leandro gave a short message acknowledging God’s goodness. After the service there was an assortment of different Brasilain foods.

Following the service we went out for açaí, a deep purple berry found in South America. You can find it in America but mostly as a juice. It’s considered a super food because of it’s nutritional value. The way we ate it was more in the form of a sorbet. In addition to the açaí you can mix other fruits into it. It was a nice cool treat on a hot and muggy day.

Trent trying Açaí

Most days have been in the low 90’s with high humidity. A couple of us already got a sunburn. Fortunately, some of the evenings have brought in some cooler air. It is, however, a double-edged sword. When it cools off we try to open our doors and windows or sit outside, but there are swarms of mosquitoes. I (Matt) have five bites on my middle toe alone!

For our first Sunday service we all went to church in Mogi das Cruzes. I preached from Luke 8:22-25, where Jesus calms the raging sea. It is always a blessing and humbling for me to preach in Brasil. God’s word knows no bounds. Jokes, on the other hand, do! A couple people talked with me and my translator after the service and they expressed the blessing the message was to them, praise the Lord!

The church in Mogi das Cruzes

One of Lauren's friend from kids camp who brought her bunny to church!

In the evening our group split up and went to three locations. My mom and I stayed in Mogi where I preached again. Trent and Jade (a young man from Kansas who was here last year) went to Suzano. Trent was able to share his testimony and talk about and invite people to the camp. Lauren and Cassie went to São Jose dos Campos. They had some thunderstorms that killed the power at least twice while they were there.

Trent sharing his testimony.

Monday through Tuesday Afternoon

Monday was a free day for us, which was much needed. I think we were still adjusting to the schedule and times. We were able to go to the beach, which is about an hour away. Denis, one of our main contacts down here, found someone who invited us to use their home. While we were only expecting a place to park the cars and a bathroom, we were blessed in that they opened their entire home to us and cooked us all supper! It was a great opportunity to visit and relax.

Monday evening our team met so we could discuss the plans for the camp starting Tuesday evening. I (Matt), will be teaching through the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. We discussed some of the lessons and prayed for each other. Each of us is excited about the opportunities we have at this camp. One of our major roles will be to host discussion groups after each morning chapel session. Last year these were a great opportunity to not only take the content from the chapel session deeper, but to also share about things going on in each others lives.

Tuesday morning we met with our Brasilian counterparts, a great group of people, most of whom we met last year. Once we looked over the schedule for the week, we decorated for the camp and set up the cafeteria area. The girls organized some of the gift bags and prizes we will give out during the week.

Once all of this was done it was time for lunch! We headed into town. Driving in Brasil can be interesting… For certain things I (Matt) have needed to drive. I ran Julie’s car out of gas, fortunately it was at the top of the hill on the camp.

Leandro using a magazine to funnel in the gas.

Putting on my driving shoes...It's illegal to wear flip-flops while driving a manual transmission car.

Please be in prayer for us as we anticipate the arrival of the campers. We are setting up some last minute details and going over some things. Thank you for your prayers and support.