Airport-time! Bags checked. Tickets scanned. Airsickness miraculously soothed away through prayer and gentle fingers on aching heads. Safe landing. Layover.
Leave the States, plane-bound to Brazil. Our team contorts bodies into strange positions to get a few hours of sleep 31,000 feet high.
Oi!! See the beaming faces of Karis Member, Eric Papp and his Brazilian girlfriend, Suzanne. Feel the Brazil humidity and warmth. Feel the bumps of the road as we see first-hand what Brazilian traffic is like.
The gondola sways as we climb over rainforest and crashing waves. Sugarloaf Mountain, claiming the best views in the city, is treated to our ooohs and aaaahs and we take an hour to orient to the city before jumping in with all 30 feet. Hour 34
We meet Jay and his wife, Lu, at the evening service of Jay’s year-old church plant. The team is brought to the front of the church and the congregation reaches their hands out to us in prayer, asking for God’s blessing and presence throughout this week. After the service, we eat the most delicious chicken, rice and beans.
We view moments in the van as valuable for talking schedule and prepping for the next thing. Tyler leads the van in practicing a song for the next service as we enter our first favela.
“So we are his portion and he is our prize,”
The road suddenly becomes narrow, with little breathing space between the tightly packed buildings.
“Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes,”
A teenager picks his way through the potted, water-filled street carefully carrying a bag.
“If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.”
Our bus driver barely misses hitting a car. A man walks along the street with his Bible closely tucked under his arm.
“So heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, And my heart turns violently inside of my chest..... Oh how he loves us!”
Our driver, who two weeks ago thought that Jay’s church was a cult, beams as the song comes to a close and says, through an interpreter, “You should sing every day.”
Tyler and Stephanie share their testimonies.
T.J., our friend and Lead Pastor from Redemption’s Hill, an Acts 29 church in Columbia, Missouri. He preaches from Ephesians 2 that we can’t earn God’s love...it is an undeserved gift freely given to all who would believe.
The team preps name tags for all the children tomorrow. Everyone has hit their 15th second wind, because the room buzzes with talk and laughter.
Tired heads hit the pillow and now all are sweetly sleeping.
A new day dawns. Stay tuned for more stories. Pray for the team as we hit the ground running full speed again tomorrow!!