On my arrival Friday morning to Recife, I was greeted at the airport with a loving smile from my brother. After hugs and hellos we loaded up my luggage and headed to his home. As we passed the city’s shore with the ocean and sandy beach on one side and tall buildings on the other side, it was beautiful. We stopped and stepped out to feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the view. I was handed a cold green coconut with a straw sticking out of it to drink. Coconut water, very different from anything I have tasted.
Sunday we arrived to the church building and I observed how loving everyone was to each other as they greeted one another. Hugging and kissing on the cheek, excited to be in one another’s company. I attended one of the smaller classes, the English speaking class. I was very grateful this class was offered being that I don’t speak Portuguese. After class I made my way to the assembly to find it full. Hardly a seat left. The singing was beautiful even though I didn’t understand the words I knew they were praising God. During the lesson as I looked around every face seem fixed on the speaker with attentiveness, eager to hear. I longed to understand the language. During the week as I became involved in the organized activities I grew closer to the people and found some who could speak a little English.
On Wednesday I helped the ladies in the build-a-teddy bear program from recycled fabrics for the sick children in hospitals. I observed as they talked and laughed together sharing and bonding their lives. Then one lady began to cry and we all joined hands and prayed for her and her son. It was a blessing to witness.
Thursday I helped in the classroom for the students learning to speak English. I observed all ages from young to old, men and women eager to learn this, as they say, the universal language. It taught me through their struggles that I too could learn to speak another language. The students made me feel like I was a famous person with their excitement in conversing in English.
Saturday was a work on the building day. The attendance was great. The day was hot, the work was hard and long into the evening, but not a complaint. Some ladies even came to cook the lunch to feed the workers and everyone ate hardily.
Through my stay I had the privilege of visiting some of the other congregations. One of these churches was small and met in a woman’s home. She actually gave up a portion of her home to be dedicated as the church building. I was moved by her unselfishness. I’ve always thought how families want bigger homes, more space to put stuff. She gave up space to allow God’s children to gather together.
I will always be grateful to God for allowing me to witness the work in Recife. It has helped me to grow closer to God and I have truly enjoyed my visit and will pray I can return again.
Sincerely, Pam (Pruitt) Mize