We all met up with eager spirits on Saturday morning to head out to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. After a short flight from Kansas City, MO to Charlotte, NC we were on our way to Rio. We spent time briefing as a team on the week ahead and even meet a celebrity in the terminal. We loaded up at 10:30PM for a 9 hour flight to Brazil. After a long sleepless night for most, we landed in Rio at 9:30AM this morning. We all groggily left the plane and headed through customs to baggage claim. With so many donations we ended up having 40 checked bags.
Needless to say, baggage was pretty hectic. We finally made our way through and split up into vans. We headed to Pousada Barra Sol where we’re stationed for the week. We had about 30 minutes to settle in, change clothes, brush our teeth, and hop back into the vans for a late lunch. We ate some wonderful Brazilian cuisine and headed to our missionary host’s (Jay Bauman) new church plant, Igreja De Redentor.
Today was the official launch of the new church plant and we were blessed to be a part of the gathering. We were able to listen in on Jay’s sermon via translator and enjoyed a meet and greet over finger foods. Then we loaded in the van for another church in the favela near Pedra De Gavea.
As we drove through Rio, the scenery changed from ritzy shops and restaurants to market places and exposed shops, then gradually to dirt roads. We saw wild horses in the city just standing in the middle of the median. Pedestrians are as fearless as the driver and we couldn’t help but wonder how people managed not to get run over. As we drove through our first favela, the word shanty town seemed fitting. Wires upon wires surged through the building tops supplying bars (if you can call them that) with power to light up their billiards games.
We finally made it to the church and parked. As we exited the van, children came running to us yelling, “Americanos!” We were immediately greeted with hugs and welcomes as we walked in the church. Though the building looked like it could seat 80 it overflowed with more than 100. The doors remained open as people crammed in the window seats and sat on stairs to take part in the gathering.
As we sang familiar songs in two languages (Portuguese and English) it was easy to imagine that this is what heaven will be like - people from different cultures and tongues singing of the glory of God. Harmony Zeicheck and Hannah Gudde shared testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. I (Billy Glosson) had the honor of sharing the word through preaching.
Now as we wrap up and prepare for the day ahead I must say I am overwhelmed. Something about the raw love of the Brazilians has already struck at our heart strings. My prayer is that as you read this you would be stirred to see that the Kingdom of Heaven is on Earth in the Church. That you would be moved to share the love of Christ.
Tomorrow we are having our first day of VBS in the City of God Favela. We will also be working with a homeless shelter. We hope to bring supplies, serve, and share testimonies. Please continue to pray for our team and check our twitter page for regular updates to know the safety and journey of your loved ones.
Soli Deo Gloria, Billy Glosson
Learn more about the favela and a homeless shelter on Day 2.