Friday, October 19, 2007

Newsletter 5

Hello again family and friends!!!
Sorry I have not written for quite a long time. I hope you are all well and enjoying the summer turning into fall. I heard that Colorado is already getting dumped on by snow. Burrrr! The other day it got up to 36 degrees here. I don't really know what that means but I think it was in the 90s. I got a good sunburn the other day at the beach and was reminded that I need to be really careful, it's still early spring. In fact we just sprung forward so I am now 3 hours before CST zone.
These past three weeks we have been invited to many incredible places. The Brazilians are incredibly hospitable. They share everything they have including food and home with us, gringos they have only known for a very short amount of time. If you want to know where all we have been go on Google maps and look up: Mangaratiba, Mendes, Barra de Tijuca, and Floresta de Tijuca. At Mangaratiba we spent a weekend at a friend's beach house. It was awesome! And incredibly relaxing. It was exactly what we needed at that time. The following weekend we went to Mendes, the home of the leaders of Timonis (the after school program in the neighboring favela). It was up in the jungle/mountains and was the first time we have really been away from all the people. The floresta de Tijuca we have been to a couple times now. It is the national forest located on the mountain we see from our bedroom window. Beautiful place. And Barra is the less touristy beach that we have also used a couple times. These places have been great retreats from the taxing life that we get engrossed in. However, we still haven't made it up to the Christ Statue. Our updated plans are to go early in November. It is difficult to get there and a bit pricy so that's how I have lived here for over two months and not gone to such a well known national symbol. And one thing I learned from all this travels is that grilled pineapple is to-die-for! Don't believe me? I challenge you to go fire up the grill, slice a pineapple and throw it one for a bit on each side to toasty it up. Ummmmm! Delicious.
On a more serious note, while in Rio I am required to do some kind of project to benefit to staff in Rio or Word Made Flesh staff around the world. My idea is to put together a book a prayers (and other stuff) that will remind the missionaries why they do what they do. But I need your help. I need to collect a ton of prayers, poems, art, short stories, or anything else that might be useful for reminding the staff why they do what they do which is serve the poor, encourage/refresh/rejuvenate, or stimulate thinking for fresh ways of dealing with corruption/violence/poverty/abuse/etc... also including theological works of justice, peace, and poverty. If you know of any of these articles that we could use please email them along so we can be partners and this work.
Half of our stay here is already up and everyday I find myself loving Brazil more and more. I love the work so much more now too because I know and love the children, the nuns, and others we daily interact with. My life here reminds me of what I used to idealize and tried to make my life at LCU. For a short time there I was invited to serve in groups that fed the hungry and cared for the orphans. These two services are essentially what I do in Rio, but I'm having a blast all the while. I'm fairly certain this is what I want to do with my life. But I still don't know where. There are children's shelters all over the States that I probably will work with until God sends me out again. But for now, I'm here for another two months. It's exciting to be doing the thing I love so much. This prayer has taken on new meaning for us here:
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

One more thing, we keep getting emails saying, "keep up the Lord's work." which sounds good but it's not really true. The interns talked and agreed that we aren't doing the Lord's work but he is doing his work in us and hopefully through us as well. My prayer for you these next couple weeks is that God will be working on and in you as well.

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