by Tyler Eads Tyler here. It’s about 11pm. We just got back to the posada (hostel) we spend our nights at. We are all pretty tired, but I am excited to stay up and tell you all about our day.
The day started off on a pretty relaxed note. We had a slow morning - we woke up late and went to the beach. As we walked there, I was struck by the dichotomy of brokenness and beauty that is really evident in Brazil.
The beauty of the backdrop of mountains and ocean starkly contrasted the trash on the streets and the polluted water next the pousada. At the beach, the waves were huge. Eric Papp, a Karisite who now works for Restore Brazil, said that he has never seen the swells so large.
Several of us went out and body surfed them - if you can call it that. Really, it was more like letting the waves tumble us like pairs of socks in the washing machine as we were thrown to shore. The waves were so powerful. They were consistent, yet was hard to tell when they would break until they got right on top of you.
VBS was fun today with the kids. It was our second day of VBS at the same church, so there were a number of familiar faces with new ones mixed in. The kids seemed even more excited today about our program.
We talked to them about being fishers of men and how - with Jesus’ prompting - Peter and his fellow fishermen were able to catch so many fish that the boat couldn’t hold the catch. Sometimes it is hard to tell how much the kids understand, but that isn’t our main concern. We want to introduce them to God’s love and His power in our lives and allow the local church here to continue in the discipling process.
The church we are doing VBS at is so receptive of us. I can feel my love for fellow Brazilian believers and my teammates growing. The church itself and VBS have been very different this year from last year because it is in a more urban setting, but it has been so good. What is the same as last year is that these kids need Jesus. He is the same Hope for them as He is for us.
Tonight was so special. We went to a government-run homeless shelter for men. The streets were dilapidated and half-clothed prostitutes lined the road as we drove up. Many of the guys had physical impairments from brain injuries and strokes. Some had intellectual disabilities and others were there because they had committed violent crimes. Pastor Sergio, the lead pastor at one of the partnering churches with Restore Brazil, led some of the service and we led the other part. We shared testimonies and Rob shared a word from Revelation about Christ making all things new. We sang songs (in very broken) Portuguese, but the guys didn’t seem to mind. They clapped and sang and worshiped with us. Then (this was really incredible), Sergio had us pray for and lay hands on some of the residents. As we prayed for them, they began praying for us. The entire room was lifting up prayers, each in our own language. Sergio began to play and sing and we all joined him.
“Hallelujah. Hallelujah. For the Lord God almighty reigns. Hallelujah. Holy. Holy. Are you Lord God almighty. Worthy is the lamb. You are holy.” The holiness of God and His power was so present at the shelter. The dichotomy of beauty and brokenness was evident, just as it had been in the morning. We all shared in the brokenness of our sinful state before God and yet reveled in the beauty of His grace. As one of our team members said, “It was as if the skeleton bones were raised up in front of our eyes.” (Ezekiel 37)
Just as on the beach that morning, the Holy Spirit sent us spinning as we were elevated to what felt like an awe-inspiring height where heaven crashed into earth and for a moment we glimpsed at what it will be like someday when He returns. Hallelujah! The word is same in English and Portuguese - it’s a call to God’s people and an exhortation to the Lord. To praise the One who calls us out of the grave. The One who takes our brokenness and give us beauty.
Goodnight friends. Please continue praying. Please share our stories as we continue to share the story of Jesus and His redemption here.