Day 11: We got to get down and dirty today as our team moved dirt to begin the foundation of a local church. With many hands we were able to accomplish this task in 3 hours that would have taken them an entire week to complete on their own.
In the afternoon, I was able to run medical screenings, with the help of my friend Heather, for the staff at the hotel we were staying at. Many of the staff are not able to get routine check ups and Mrs. DeLima asked if we could help them out. We were happy to help. The staff were not all so willing to let us stick them for the blood sugar testing though. 😳 they survived and we finished in time to go back to visit the nursing home we visited at the beginning of the trip. It was a pleasure to see them again and minister with the entire team for a little bit.
Our team finished the long day with a long dinner at a Brazilian steak house. It was AMAZING! In Brazil they traditionally eat very slow and use this meal as a time for fun and fellowship.
7 June 2017
Day 10: The background story is necessary to explain the first activity of today. Mr. DeLima is the owner of Laina's Place, which is the hotel we are staying at. His daughter, Leticia, is our team leader. Mr. DeLima was a professional soccer player in Brazil many years ago before he had a family and moved to Pensacola. He came to Brazil with our team to do some business. While he was there the stadium decided to have him cut the ribbon at the opening of the 2014 World Cup stadium museum. They invited the entire missions team to join as they honor him. It was a pleasure to hear more of Mr. DeLima's story and be able to see so much history of "futbol" on the tour of the stadium ⚽️
The rest of the day we were able to return to our volleyball girls and run more drills with them. Playing volleyball with them was definitely a highlight. I forgot how much I had missed playing!
As many nights have ended here in Brazil, Churros are a necessary late night snack. We went almost every night!
6 June 2017
Another big day in the school today. Since we are teaching mostly the same things every day just to different classes we have been trying to change up the stories and songs a bit. You can only act out the "3 little pigs" and sing the "baby shark" song so many times. But all of the kids have loved singing along every time.
During our lunch break some of the students pulled me onto stage to teach me the traditional Brazilian dance found in Natal called the Foho. I loved seeing the culture and be able to experience it for myself, although I definitely don't think I could pull off their outfits. 💃🏼🇧🇷
The group photo at the end is of the English teachers clinic I was able to help with that evening. While I was here, there was another group of college students meeting with our team for an English course. Many shared their testimony and 2 people made professions of faith! So exciting to see God at work in the lives of the people in Brazil! Everyone has been very open to the gospel.
5 June 2017
Day 8: we started this week off back in the School teaching English. The day seemed to never end as we went from one class to the next without stopping. In the afternoon, I was able to help out with the volleyball clinics. The first group we had was a beginner level of energetic young girls. We also worked with another group of intermediate level girls. My favorite group was the varsity volleyball girls. No instruction from us was needed, they were amazing! I was very impressed with their level of play and even more so with their hearts. Our leader asked me to share a quick challenge on the spot with the girls before the practice. Though it was unplanned, all praise to God for giving me the words I needed to say. Some of the girls even had tears in their eyes and smothered me with hugs after. It was truly humbling.
That evening the school hosted a banquet to thank us for our help at the school. They prepared traditional Brazilian food and gave us the souvenir hats seen in the pics.
4 June 2017
Day 7 we had the opportunity to serve in two churches. The first church was very small and our group made up 2/3 of the congregation but they still worshiped as if they were in front of a congregation of 1,000. During this service I gave my testimony, our team sang songs, and some helped in children's church. Again, we sang songs in Portuguese that we would sing in English so it was amazing being able to sing along. The coolest part was to stand there and think that even though we both speak different languages we all were singing to glorify the same God.
For lunch we went to Camaroes (which means shrimp in Portuguese). This is one of the most famous restaurants here in Natal. One plate can feed about 4-5 people. I definitely thought of my family because I think it would be a family favorite if we had one back home in the states. The food was great and the architecture was beautiful!
3 June 2017
Day 6: We got our workout in for the day. Our 7 girls on the team that play on our college basketball team played against the college girls team at one of the local universities. This was definitely an experience playing in ninety degree weather without A/C. Fortunately all of our girls survived the physical Brazilian play and brutal heat and still managed to win the game. 🇺🇸 The boys players on our mission team also played after us. The teams asked to play us again while we are here and even to just hang out. I love that athletics is a universal language.
That evening our team led a youth rally for people from ages 14 to 25. We had a great turnout! Some girls from our basketball clinic even came. Many people on our team gave their testimony and we sang songs. I loved the songs we sang in Portuguese. They were all songs we sing in the states just in another language. After the service we played big ball volleyball which was new to them. I'm sure it won't be the last time they play.
2 June 2017
Day 5 started off with a morning out in Brazil. We saw the worlds largest cashew tree. They make juice from the fruit and produce over 75,000 cashews in a year from this single tree! After trying the cashew juice I decided that I will just stick to eating the nut.
That evening we spent time at a facility called AMAR. It was a religious based organization to provide free child care for underprivileged children during the day when they are not in school. I absolutely loved the kids! It was a good feeling to freely share the gospel without hesitation of government restrictions. We helped the kids make "wordless gospel bracelets" that has 5 different colored beads that each represent a part of the salvation plan. Though we couldn't understand a word they said, their smiles were more than enough to know that we had made an impact.
1 June 2017
Day 4 was eventful as our team experienced the Brazilian hospital. We all got fluids and meds. We were all grateful that most were able to recover from the stomach virus after the one day. The lingering symptoms were mostly a headache, fatigue, and a strong disdain for anything meat 😝
Praise the Lord that there were still at least 7 healthy members of the team that were still able to go to the school that day and even have another basketball clinic. Whether there are 7 or 23 team members, God has shown himself able to work in all situations!
31 May 2017
This post is from day 3 of the trip. I apologize for it being late, but I hope it is understandable after my following explanation.
Day 3 began with our entire team teaching English in the schools. The kids LOVE us. We definitely feel famous as the kids scream and ask for autographs whenever we walk by. They do their best to speak to us in English and we attempt Portuguese until we come to a general understanding.
By the middle of the day a couple of our team members got sick. The nurse in me wanted to do everything I could to help but unfortunately my teammates and I were supposed to lead a basketball clinic that night and I had to leave the sick people at the hotel.
The basketball clinic began well as the 5 team members that weren't sick walked the gym with the flag and sang our national anthem 🇺🇸 we did our best to teach the girls basketball despite the language barrier. Day 3 ended early for me after getting sick in the middle of the clinic. Let's just say it was a long night
30 May 2017
Though our medical team is inexperienced, they impressed me with their willingness to jump in on any opportunity to help the staff in the nursing home today. We helped provide baths, vital signs and meals for all 30 patients in the home. Some of the nursing students even assisted with other medical procedures. We had a session where Victoria (the pastors daughter) translated for me in Portuguese while I taught on the topics that would be most helpful to the staff and be practical with the environment they worked in. The nursing students and staff were very grateful for the help. One of the volunteers that took care of the bathing and feedings for patients even said "I have worked here for 2 years and have never gotten a chance to sit down and relax while with the patients." Some of the staff, patients, and even team members were tearful to say their goodbyes at the end of the day. I left today with the hope that we made a difference in someone's life and opened doors to help again.
29 May 2017
An exciting first day serving in Brazil! Our team split up into two groups. One group went to the school to teach English and my group went to a local nursing home to minister. The purpose of being in the nursing home today was to make connections with the staff and survey what could be done tomorrow. The conditions of the nursing home was not what I expected. They have very little supplies and poor living conditions. What surprised me the most was the compassionate care that the patients were receiving despite having so little. The lady that gave us the tour of the facility was a physical therapist that loved on the patients and you could clearly see that the patients loved her. She said she hadn't gotten a paycheck in 6 months but believes that going home every day and being able to tell her children that she helped people today is payment enough. I pray that our team can bring that same compassion and Christ-like love as we look for more ways to help at the nursing home tomorrow.
27 May 2017
Last night we started our trip to Brazil leaving out of the Miami airport and headed to Bogota. Our team quickly realized that South America is no different than the US when it comes to bathroom lines. The women waited out the door and the men just walked on in.
Praising the Lord that everything has gone smoothly so far as we are about to finish out the last stretch of our trip from São Paulo to Natal, which is where we will be for the next two weeks.
Though our team is already tired from the overnight travels we look forward to spending the rest of the day resting and preparing for our first day in the school and nursing home tomorrow.