So much to process. To summarize these last two days will be a bit difficult but I’ll do my best to recapture some of the wonderful moments we’ve had.
We awoke Friday morning to a time of rest. We ate breakfast together and then many of us explored Baha where we are staying. We walked to the beach and went to the super market just to get a small taste of Brazilian life. We returned to the Pousada spend time as a team processing the week. We prayed together and prepared to reenter The City of God for VBS.
We packed the vans and ate a quick lunch at the Pousada. We headed off to The City of God. What happened upon our arrival was unbelievable. We expected 50-60 kids, instead we had over 150 kids join us for VBS. We were told we’d be doing pioneer work. To our knowledge no Christian organization has made an attempt at this kind of intensive ministry in The City of God. It was glorious chaos. There is no other word. We spent time laughing and loving all of the children. We told them about God’s love for them despite their sin. They listened and laughed and sang and melted our hearts.
The wrap up was insanity! Kids climbed all over us, followed us and hugged us! We gave out candy which was so difficult but wonderful as well. We did our best to love on and hug all of the children. At one point I was holding 4 kids, one on my back, one on my shoulders, and one in each arm. I love them dearly. As we left they patted the van and yelled, “Tchau!”
We then left for dinner at a Brazilian Steak House. To say this was a nice meal would be perhaps the understatement of the year. The food was unbelievable. They were the best cuts of meat I’ve ever had. Anything from caviare to chicken heart, it was all there. We ate and laughed and soothed our aches and pains from having children hang from every limb over a refreshing meal.
We wrapped up the evening with a time at the Bauman’s house. Jay is awesome. The guy sacrificed so much to spend personal time with our team. We sat in the living room and sang several songs of praise. Jay shared with us a reminder that it was Good Friday and I read the crucifixion story. We recounted the horrific glory of the cross and prayed together.
After this we walked from Jay’s to the beach and spent time together with the Baumans enjoying the beautiful night. We returned to the Pousada exhausted and fell asleep for the next day.
This morning we woke up, packed for the day and headed out to an orphanage on the outskirts of Rio.
As we drove down muddy bumpy roads we wondered what we were about to encounter. We arrived at the orphanage just as a Christian motorcycle gang was leaving. The kids were simply delightful. We laughed and played. We colored with the kids and taught them how to fold paper airplanes. Some of our ladies played house with the little girls. We even had a ping-pong tournament in the back yard.
While it was wonderful, it was also extremely emotional. A few 16 year old mothers were living at the orphanage because they had nowhere else to go. Their stories really gripped our hearts as we saw the burden they carried not knowing what would happen once they turned 18 and had to leave. We got back in our van and prayed for the kids and these young mothers, leaving a piece of our hearts with them.
Jay took us to a small independent baptist church on the way to the favela for lunch. We had planned on eating out but they insisted we eat with them. They served a traditional Brazilian dish and fed us more than we could begin to handle.
We listened to the testimony of how God had grown the church. They invited us to come back next year and put on a evangelistic outreach with hopes of reaching their small city. We felt honored to be so loved and welcomed by strangers in a physical sense and brothers in the truest sense.
We then went to the City of God with a new plan in tack to keep the day a bit calmer. We arrived and only had about 100 children this time due to the rain. We had a longer main session and trimmed down our breakouts to keep us from intense rain and boredom from the children. Praise God today was much calmer and very delightful with the children. Again we left with heavy hearts and told them we'd return tomorrow for one last day.
We ate dinner and returned to the Pousada to pack up our remaining materials to bless the church here in Rio and have one final day of VBS.
My heart is heavy. I long to see many of you and be back at Karis, but I am so not ready to leave. I love these Children. I love these Churches. I love the Baumans; I love these People; I love Brazil. Pray for us as we will have a long day followed by a long plane ride. Pray that God would save Brazilians, that he would truly restore Brazil.
Soli Deo Gloria, Billy Glosson