Gwhizchucktown's Blog

Heaven Must Be Like a Brazilian Village… | May 4, 2010

amazonian sunset“The tranquility and peace we found on the mission field is tough to duplicate in the states.  It was like a Holy Ghost adrenaline rush, right? I figure the enemy was waiting for us when we got off the plane. I’m praying for the Holy Spirit to help us reclaim the spiritual bliss he gave us and show us how to put it into action right here in the Tri-county.  I’m faithful that we’ll experience that fire for God soon enough– whole nutha level kind of faith that makes the Brazilian Christians pause… Amen (taken from Facebook profile)?”

Thirty five days have passed since our mission team returned from Santarem and it seems like an eternity.  Taking the time to thank those of you who prayed and contributed financially to make this trip a reality is way overdue.  But for every God enriched minute that I’ve grown closer to Him, the harsh truth is that the enemy was waiting to knock me upside the head.

Even still, returning to the place that God branded into my soul 22 years ago was literally like going back home.  As a 17-year-old Rotary Exchange student, I felt like the only Black American on Earth in Sao Jose do Rio Preto.  It didn’t last long of course, as I grew to experience the culture, a essentially live like a ‘Brasileira’ for 10 glorious months.  Although I grew up knowing God existed, I didn’t have any kind of relationship with Him until I was a 31-year-old single mom of two alone again in Charleston, SC — the closest thing to Sao Jose do Rio Preto I could find in the US.

Eight years later, God was in on every Seacoast mission team meeting that drew our ragtag team of 7 closer together.  Based on all that the enemy tried to do to shake us up, we knew the He had some powerful plans for us over the course of 10 intense days.  Little did I know how quickly I’d form a bond with my first Christian ‘host family.’  Project AMAZON’s mission team ambassadors Don and Betty Best were truly heaven-sent.  Through them, time and space shifted and it seemed as though I had never left.  Raru, Leuna, Joaoquim, Geraldo, Clara, David, Dan and every other Igreja de Paz Christian that we encountered made this trip more special that words can describe.

Santarem is a picture postcard.  Trees overflowing with mangoes that fell like rain on roof tops; family style dinners with all the Guarana, maracuja and acerola any one person can stand; and fish so fresh that it literally swam on our plates – yup, I’d risk a serious food allergy for just one bite.  What could be better than that?  How about a church service that looked and felt like the half time show at Jesus’ Super Bowl.  And as powerful as each Sunday service was, we marveled at the cell group philosophy that focused on the spiritual growth of each individual member.

A couple of days later, we packed up a boat and traveled 5 hours to a remote Brazilian village.  There, we went to work right away on putting up walls on a new community church and learning center.  The Christian couple that led this village made the wise, but unpopular position to situate the church directly in the middle of the village the invisible line between the haves and have-nots.  The team also to split up and traveled with Betty to minister to the people living there.  We acted as the prayer team and walked with her on worn paths through fields of cattle, chickens and tiny wooden houses built on stilts.   Am I getting closer to what I imagined the First Church experienced?  I could really get used to this.

Gotta stop for now, but here are a few links to pictures.  Will be back later with a few final thoughts and a boatload of pictures.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2030343&id=1208806988&l=33c34e7e28

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About author

Almost 40 something wife and mom of 3 in a love/hate relationship with balance. Only 2 hours old in blog years so please excuse the mess..

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