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Wednesday, June 13

Brazil update....loving it!

Sunday was a wonderful day here in Brazil. We had an early wake-up call since we had to leave the Bible camp at 7:30 am. Rod Myers and crew got up to fix a light breakfast (some chose to go the Pop Tart route) before we loaded the bus. We have a 26 passenger bus (with life support capability… aka air conditioning) that we have rented for the week along with a bus driver (for all of the Honduras readers out there, he does not resemble Loco in any way what so ever).

We traveled into Recife and went to the congregation that Randy Short works. The church has been in Recife since 1980 and since that time approximately 90 congregations are now in the northeastern part of Brazil. There are 18 just in Recife. Of course, in the greater Recife area there are about 4,000,000 people. The congregation we attended is located in Boa Viagem and meets in a beautifully remodeled house especially set up for church services and gatherings. The bilingual service was really cool. The Brazilian song leader had a wonderful voice and one of the men of the congregation preached. Randy Short taught one of the Bible classes in English (there are some members there learning English and were very happy that we were there to practice with during class).

After services we went to a local restaurant to eat. In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, Brazil has great food. We had fish, chicken, steak, rice, and bread for about $5.00 per person. After lunch we went to the School of the Bible to change clothes. Randy took us on an extensive tour of the city. We went to a couple of different places that overlooked the city for photos. We also had a group prayer to pray over the city. We saw many beautiful buildings and parks along the way. We also went to a hill (a mountain for all of the Florida people out there) where the Catholic Church has its greatest stronghold in South America. There must have been 25 cathedrals built on this hill. On this side of the river Catholicism is so strong that if anyone living in this area converts to Protestantism their house is burned down and the family is forced to move. Many of the buildings were very, very old and some were really beautiful. But it is sad to see religion used in such a way, especially when it preys upon the poor.

From there we went back into town to an area that was built up by the Jewish community. Because of persecution they were forced to leave (many came to Manhattan) and it was taken over by multiple groups of people. Today it is an amazing shopping area with all kinds of outdoor booths set up. Since this month Brazil is celebrating the Festival of John there were all kinds of special events going on. It reminded me of the state fair back home. Live bands were playing everywhere and the city is decorated with all kinds of banners, flags, and colorful flyers and décor. Amazing deals were found everywhere and we all concur that the ice crème down here is the best we have ever had.

We went to a Brazilian steak/ sushi house for dinner. It was an all you can eat extravaganza. Waiters came by literally every 5 minutes with all kinds of meat mounted on swords. Yes, we are toughing it down here. It literally became comical as we ate our food and eyeing the next waiter coming down the table to see what he had to offer! We ate till we could eat no more and settled up on the bill. From there we walked across the street and had a beach devotional. The beaches here are lit up at night and it is only about 40 yards from the 6 lane highway to the ocean. A far cry from Siesta Key but cool none the less. It was difficult to talk over the pounding surf and wind but I did the best I could. I spoke about the faith of Peter stepping out of the boat. The launching of faith requires getting out of the boat.

Today (Monday) we continued our renovation projects around camp. We were very busy today and spent the entire day at camp. After a morning breakfast of breads, fruits, scrambled eggs and cheeses, we had morning devotional. Ron Bontrager, an instructor at the Sunset School of Preaching, spoke. He spoke of being a living witness and things that are here only by the grace of God. He concluded by saying that we should be remembered for being too good for this world, not because of how good we are, but, because of how bad the world is.

Our work force was divided into many groups today. The faithful few, known as the Pew Crew, finally completed the task of assembling the new benches that will go in the chapel area. We had a landscaping crew that picked up trash and cut the grass. Now, I have to stop here for additional details. Here in Brazil, they have very small yards. Most lawns are cut with either a machete or a swing blade. Although we have both here, Randy “spoiled” us and went out and bought a mower. It’s electric. 12” cut (like in 1 foot). Randy bought an extension cord long enough to mow the grass 322 feet from the outlet!!!!!!!!!! It sounds like blender on the lowest setting. It takes 2 to operate it; 1 to mow and the other to keep the cord out of the way so it won’t be cut by this marvel of technology!). The front lawn was cut before lunch, which was good, because the BOTTOM fell out of the clouds today. Man, did it rain today. We were getting wet and we were sitting 25 feet from the windows!!!

Our paint crews were divided into 6 teams. We had the white team (white paint), the blue team, the flamingo team (I just can’t bear to call it pink), and the yellow team. There were also 3 teams painting murals today. I was working on one that is at the front entrance, Kyle Matey and Bev Bontranger worked on one inside the dinning hall entry, and one of the Brazilian ladies (her name is Maria but goes by Li – Leigh) was painting the logo of the camp near the cafeteria where I painted the Brazilian flag a couple of days ago. Were a painting machine today! We still have paint to do but we are really getting close to being finished. We still have to paint the picnic tables and the floor of the dinning hall (we have dripped and spilled so much paint this week that we felt obligated to paint the floor to cover it all up… the same is true for the tables….).

Tonight Tim Brumfield, another Sunset instructor, gave a powerful lesson about creation. He showed us a great video called, “The Watch Maker.” Awesome! He explained to us that we witness the miraculous everyday but because we see it so often we just don’t pay attention to it but that the world is without excuse to know that

God is the creator. After devo Randy gave us information about the camp history and some of the visions he has for the facility. Then we went to the dinning hall and formed an assembly line to put together about 150 food bags for the food distribution Tuesday.

Another awesome day working for God in His kingdom. Sadly, the trip is coming to an end soon. We are worn out and exhausted, but each night we go to bed with a smile on our faces knowing that we gave it up for God today. We hope your walk is going well too. Hopefully one more blog before we come home. Love to all.


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