Day 2 of Updates from the 2017 Brazil Team, Written by Tabitha Kohl
Today was a day of seeing God work, despite imperfect situations and faulty vessels.
I emerged from my room this morning to the sound of rain on the tin roof. For me, this is a blissful way to start my day. To the more experienced and practically minded on the team, it brought groans and wariness. Rain turns City of God’s dusty streets to mud, and we were in for a long day of traveling. Beyond that, there were other difficulties in the day to face: the disappointment of not getting to go witness to the men’s homeless due to government issues, paint supplies at Instituto Consuelo Pinheiro (ICP) being so delayed in arrival we were unable to bless them by doing that work, and facing again the restless and untamable spirits of the children in Cidade de Deus (City of God).
However, through mishaps, God is ever faithful. While we weren’t able to go to the men’s homeless shelter today, we can continue to pray that God will work through that connection and open doors in the future. Though we were unable to paint at ICP, we were able to spend twice as much with the children and mentally challenged adults there, and they were an absolute joy. We had a blast, and all the workers at the facility were very excited about how things went and are open to more such work there in the future.
And as for the reckless children, our VBS at Cidade de Deus went much smoother today than yesterday, rain and all. My team, vermelho, has the eldest children. Yesterday they were obstinate in getting what they wanted, constantly talking over us and our translators alike, and simply leaving activities when they got bored. We didn’t even get through our Bible story for the day; we were happy just to get them to say the memory verse a few times. And today I was handed the baton of the storytelling section.
I would have to lie to tell you I was not absolutely terrified. Public speaking is not in my niche, no matter how informal the setting. Considering my crowd, I fully expected less of a Bible story to make its way through than the day before. Things had looked good in the first few sections. We got through our craft with everyone making their project and without our children taking all the supplies. The kids’ fiery passion still led to some extreme competition in the games, but overall they had fun. And when we sat down in a circle for story, team vermelho had its own little miracle for the day: relative silence.
The kids that had been bouncing off the walls the day before actually sat, and a number of them seemed to truly be paying attention. While listening to our wonderful translator relay the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from the Garden of Eden, I was captivated by the sight of so many beautiful little dark eyes looking back, interested. It was, in fact, only ten or so children. But to me I felt like Moses, watching a whole people pay attention as God gifted me a speaker to overcome my slowness of tongue. I can’t tell you anyone had a conversion experience, but I feel confident God planted some seeds today—and that it had absolutely nothing to do with me or any of us for that matter. It has everything to do with the fact that God cares about Brazil—about these children that I am afraid to care for, because to care for them is to hurt, seeing how they live with the traficantes patrolling the streets and the pigs living outside or on their doorstep.
But God is not afraid to hurt for them, and God will move.