In May we received four students from OSU through a program that teaches the Bible in English called LST (Let’s Start Talking). The four students that came were Stephen, Mary, Becca and Scarlett. They arrived with the mission of teaching the Bible in English through personal weekly meetings during their stay of six weeks. And in no time these four complete strangers became like family to me! They jokingly called me papa Josh as I ran around making sure everything was okay during their stay here in Brazil.
It was a blessing to see about 80 students complete the course, building relationships and drawing nearer to Jesus. We have students who had no interest in church who are now asking to study the Bible.
I asked each team member to write down a few thoughts on their stay here. Below are each of their comments:
Going on this trip has proven time and time again to be such a blessing to me. I have made countless genuine friendships and met countless friendly people. Seeing the poverty of Brazil and the living arrangements of some of the people here has given me a newfound respect for what I have been blessed with at home. God has taught me so much after such a short time here. He has taught me patience, because Brazilians move at their own pace and are thirty minutes to an hour late everywhere. Also, traffic here is terribly unpredictable. So for a girl who wants to get where she is going as fast as she can, this has been a wake-up call. Some other surprises that I have discovered are the lack of air conditioning in most places, though fortunately most of the places we are in have air conditioning and another surprise is how affectionate they are. Everyone greets everyone with a kiss on each cheek. I love it, but it was shocking at first.
I genuinely believe that our readers were meant to be with each of us for a reason. I see it the closer I get with my readers. Each one is different in their own way, but we have similarities that I could never have expected. Who would have known that I would be making these Godly friendship with people across the world. “God can do anything” Luke 1:37
In six weeks you can do a lot of things. You can visit multiple beaches; buy more souvenirs than you can carry home. You can hold around 170 hours of class and learn that the English language makes zero sense most of the time. You can make new friends. You can find a new family.
I did all these things and I could go on and on about the reasons I love Brazil. The fruit here is amazing. There is always something beautiful or interesting to look at. The people from the School of the Bible and the church are unbelievably kind and welcoming. Not to mention unbelievably inspiring. And I could go on and on about the things that surprised me most about Brazil: the poverty, the corruption, the traffic. What all of these things have taught me is that no matter where I am or how far from home, God is always there and there is always an opportunity to serve Him. I have never felt so close to God as I do when I am surrounded by our amazing students, host families and church members. Even though we don’t always speak the same language, it is so cool to know we serve the same God. The same God that has put us in each other’s’ lives for reasons I don’t know but am so grateful for.
Maybe in the long run, 42 days doesn’t seem so significant. But for someone like me, it was life-changing. This has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. As much as I hate to leave this amazing place, I can’t wait to share my experiences, memories and pictures with everyone back home. I can’t wait to share with them the passion for life, the passion for Christ that I found here.
So far the trip has gone great. I am enjoying the raw beauty that Brazil has in its trees and especially its clouds. Not to mention the selfless actions of the Brazilian people. I know Oklahoma has a reputation for its kind people but Jeeze, the people here are incredible. It has all been a humbling experience really. I was given the opportunity to serve the homeless ministry here one evening. Seeing the way people live and still maintain a great attitude was very… Inspiring. The people in general live in, not as fortunate living conditions, as we do. An even when a disaster strikes it has been my observation that the people here always manage to maintain a positive attitude; very laid back. I keep waiting for the time to come when I will “exit the honeymoon stage” but even under my “less than comfortable” living condition that I just so recently inherited, I can’t seem to NOT like it here. I do believe we are doing good work here. Every day I see God’s hand in everyone I read with. I am proud to be here representing the Christian followers of the United States.
I unfortunately lack the space to fully appreciate God for bringing this team together. We work so well together, and have grown closer together with a strong foundation in Christ. I praise God every day for this team.
Being here in Brazil for 6 weeks has been a challenge and a blessing. The people here differently from what is lived in the United States. In the US, we are exposed to easier ways of getting by like hopping into our car and driving easily through traffic but here it isn’t that easy. People here have to improvise by using the resources they are surrounded by instead of making a “Wal-mart run.” Through all the difficulties experienced here like having to walk to not having air conditioning, I have great respect for the hearts, minds and attitudes of Brazil. There’s a different spirit in this country that the world should adopt.
Students with their teachers and certificates in hand:
See more photos of the LST project here:
Photos of first meeting with students;
Photos of reading sessions with students;
Photos of certificate cerimony;