Wednesday, November 28, 2007

almost over

I can't promise I will write any more blogs during my time in Rio. I will write lots I assume once I return and am trying to make since of my time in this place. But for now, I'm pretty busy both with normal ministry activities as well as additional end of our time stuff like Christmas parties, farewell parties, debriefing retreat, and growing desire to spend time with our Brazilian friends. Today was a bit out of the ordinary as far as ordinary days go. I'll try to capture a few moments from it for you now.

Today, being Wednesday, was a long day of work. We were up a bit before 8am to make cafe de manha (breakfast-meaning coffee) and head out to catch a onîbus (bus) to Lapa (an area of downtown where the Missionaries of Charity is located). The bus didn't come right away. It seemed like every other possible bus had passed by several times before a very full bus that would take us where we wanted to go arrived. We had to stand about half the 45 minute commute and when I finally sat it was in the back row (5 across) and I got stuck in the very middle between two men. One was asleep and seemed to seemed to drift more and more onto me. Finally the man on the other side of me got off the bus and I got to sit on the crack between two seats so the sleepy man wasn't leaning on me anymore.

We arrived at MoC and say hi to all the wonderful old women who cook amazing almoça (lunch) on Wednesdays. We tell them that this week we have brought the sobremasas (desert), it is chocolate bolo, but we like to call it Brownies. After that anouncement, we joined the Sister from Rowanda to help with the laundry. She told me happy birthday in both English and Portuguese and asked if I danced for the party. She really likes dancing but I think that pleasure is a bit stiffled if you are a nun, but of course I can't be sure. A little later after the laundry is done and after we learn how to get coco (coconut) out of a dried green oblong shaped ball and how to then shave it like what you would find on the baking isle of a grocery store, the sisters let us try some candied coco. It was heavenly. Then they said to take it home with us to share with the other Americanos. After more time has passed and we have prayed with the cooks and eaten their amazing meal of rice and beans and noodles, and mean and salad and pineapple they get to try our brownies that we have been trying to make and give them for over a month now.

After MoC we get on another bus and ride 30 minutes or so to Tijuca, another area of town between DT and where we live. We check the mail box, nothing for me, then walk to Projeta Vidinha (the orphanage). Kids are eating lunch. IN (a 10 year old boy) is playing with the four little kittens with a clothes hanger. B (2 year old girl) is in a great mood and having my head be a race track for a matchbox like car. R (8 year old boy) is obediently eating. No other little kids there at the time. We take them to the main room after they eat to play a memory card game. It works for a bit before the other Americans on staff show up with their baby. B is playing with markers and stealing our cards. T (6 year old boy) and PV (8, boy) arrive. R has started to cheat. IN is rearranging the cards. R is becoming more obsinate each minute. Finally the other Americans who can speak excelent Portuguese come in and give the kids more direction. Now they will create Christmas cards for their American sponsors. Last week they created cards for their Brazilian sponsors. So because of this repitition they weren't very excited or engaged in the assignment. IN followed directions well once he possisioned himself on the other side of the room from me and requested marker colors he needed in Portuguese and had me throw them across the room to him back and forth. R just wasn't having a real good day and kept pouting. The other boys T and PV focused for a total of 10 minutes. Once they were done so were Heather and myself. The house quickly became chaotic again with kids trying to use us as jugle gyms, yelling and fighting each other. All the while I'm locking in having to throw markers across the room at IN. Three and a half hours of being in this house finally pass and we decide we've had enough and need to get home for the evening. We get directions for the next day from the American staff then start saying our good-byes to the kids. I ask little B for a hug in good enough Portuguese for her to have no doubt about my request for a hug, I said, "Eu preciso uma abrasar." She got a really big smile on her face, opens wide her little arms and flings herself at my chest. I'm squatting on the floor so it's perfect. Then the other kids see me within their reach so before I know it PV and T and R are all on my back. This frustrates me as much as it makes me feel loved and appreciated. We finally leave and tell the kids we will see them again Friday for Enlgish class.

So we leave and hobble like wounded soldiers the half mile or more to the bus stop more aware than ever of the toll that being in a forein country, doing manual labor, and working with kids has on a person. The bus this time is another 45 minutes and I settle in comfortably by Heather and start to drift to sleep (not deep sleep but just kinda nodding off now and again). We get off and walk home another 1/2 mile through the favela. At home Heather and I part ways, her to the internet cafe and I to the roof of our house.

At the roof, I take "Announcing the Reign of God" a book we will be discussing as a group tomorrow that I haven't finished yet. I also have my water bottle and disposable camera hoping to catch a good sunset and noticing that the neighbor kids are trying to get their kites to take flight. I love watching the flight of their little kites. It looks like a lot of work but well worth it. One of the kids has a roof like ours that is really tall above all the buildings around it. The other is under several clothes lines and has taller buildings on three sides so it's much more difficult to get a kite to fly from such a position. I watch them struggle for a while and then I hear teenage girl voices behind me and realize the kids from a couple houses down are joining me on my roof. I recognize them but have never had conversations with them before. Now I speak more and am up for the challence. T (14 year old girl) asks to see/use my cameral. I let her. She takes a picture of her friends. Then one of me confussed that she has so quickly figured out how my camera works, I will trash that one once I get them developed. Then she takes one of her friends and me with the mountains and kites in the backgrownd. We talk a bit about names, ages, where I'm from, do I have a boyfriend, my favorite types of music, and that was about all. Then the oldest starts beating up on T. Not really sure why but it destroys our moment of conversation and they find their way back to their own roof.

I look up after this and see the kids have finally sucessfully gotten their kite flying. I hollar PARABANS! (congratulations) at them and the girls I was talking to start laughing of course. Just as quickly as the kite takes flight it seems to crash back down so I decide I can probably invite them over to my roof because it is so much better possitioned for flying a kite but no kids live here to do the honors. So I hollar over again "vocês pode vam car aqui com suas peples." please excuse my spelling I'm not sure of my accuracy with Portuguese spelling but this is my attempt to say "Ya'll can come over here with your kite." They act like they understand and seem to say, really? After one attempt the kid runs downstairs and looks like he's asking mom for permission but then returns to the roof and resumes flight there. So I give up and just enjoy the sunset with the kids still trying to fly their beautifle kite for a long time. Heather joins me after a while with her camera also. I share a cookie with her that I got last night at my birthday party.

Then we go downstairs and evaluate our options for super. We are now out of noodles, out of rice, out of meat, cheese, we have two eggs, some slightly moldy bread, and good spices. I have no money. I have just enough money for the bus fair until we get paid Friday morning. I have so little spare money that I have been borrowing toothpaste and soap all week. I made the mistake of going out to eat Chinese food with Lisa on our birthday. It was worth it but now I have no extra. We don't get much money to live on, which is good. About 1/3 of the R$100 we get goes to transportation. The rest basically covers our food. But then we always end up doing things during the week with our Brazilian friends and nothing is cheap. So we decide to make egg sandwiches with curry and tabasco. Heather has some spare money and buys two slices of cheese. She is very generous to me. Most of her weekly allowance probably went to my birthday celebrations. I decide to contribute to the meal by sharing some Crystal Light to go Cherry packets with her. It is a really good meal.

After eating I came to the Lan House where I am at the moment. I hope you enjoy my day. So ordinary and yet so amazing. I really love Brazil. I love Rio. I love my teammates and friends. I really love the favela. And I thank God for drawing me to this place in relationship with all these people. Thanks for reading. I'll be back to Texas in two and a half weeks and to Chicago at the first of the year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Eu Sou Muito Amavi

Today I found this picture and received a package of all the things I miss most about being home (minus the people I love) from my co-workers. I feel loved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends.

Today I am thankful for you, my friends. I want to say a special thanks to all of you who throughout the past 3+ months have taken the time to send me emails. You will never truly know how encouraging those emails have been for me. Thank you also for those of you who have sent me letters and packages. Getting mail always makes for a great day, no matter what else occurred during that day. (however please don't try to send anything else my way because it wont get here before I leave)

I also thank you friends for your prayers. I have full confidence that many of you have been praying frequently for us, our safety, our ministry, and probably many other things. Thank you for bathing this experience in your prayers. And now as we are coming into the home stretch, only three weeks remaining in beautiful Brazil we will need your prayers all the more. We are already getting choked up at the thought of saying good-bye to our many friends here. How do you tell a 10 year old good-bye for real when you are so accustomed to saying I'll see you tomorrow or next week? How do you tell so many close friends and casual acquaintances in this place that we wont see each other again most likely until the throne room of God? My prayers now are that those we have been ministering with will come to see us as not-so-distant cousins that they will always be able to look back and fondly remember and know that someday we will get to romp around again and create wonderful adventures. Because we all are in fact family. The children we have become so close to are our brothers and sisters in Christ with equally strong bonds as any blood family could ever be. I hope you will realize that these new friends I have in Brazil and that I write stories about are also your brothers and sisters. I'm sorry you may not have the opportunity to meet them face to face but they are still your family too.

On this Thanksgiving, as anticlimactic as it is in a country that obviously doesn't recognize this holiday, I am thankful for the opportunity to meet this part of my family in Brazil. I am so thankful to have met this extension of the body of Christ. I am thankful to see the movement of the Spirit in this place. I am thankful for being part of a family that isn't bound by nationality, ethnicity, sex, income, occupation, time, or distance. I hope on this Thanksgiving day you too will remember your extended family and brothers and sisters that may currently be unknown to you but that live all over the world in all conditions imaginable.

I pray for you also. I love you and miss you. I will be coming home to you soon. We fly out of Rio at 11:55pm December 15th. So I'll be back to Texas on December 16th and back to Chicago-land December 31st-ish.

Deus te abençoe (God bless you),

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Slacking

on creating new posts that is. I have finished several books since my last quasi report and intend to at some point in the near future at least record what books I'm been reading and a one or two sentence summary of each. But for the past few weeks I just haven't felt like writing such seemingly unimportant words that may or may not take up your time to read when you could be living life in some more constructive way.

I also haven't recorded for you enjoyment any funny stories from our experiences in Rio, which have been occurring undoubtedly, but again I have not slowed down my own life in order to reflect on these moments and type them out in a humorous account. So sorry, you will have to wait for more fun stories from Rio.

The things that have happened lately that I would want to write about are unfortunately very difficult to reconstruct with words when I know that my readers are primarily if not entirely based in the U.S. suburbia. There is nothing wrong with you being a US suburbanite, it just makes trying to explain particular events in daily life in Brazil a bit more challenging.

For instance when I talk with a Brazilian I can say this morning as we were leaving the favela we encountered the Caverão face to face for the first time. And immediately that statement conjures up countless relevant images in their minds and they begin to tell us stories that relate to my one short statement. Yes, I will attempt to describe the Caverão and other things that are happening in our lives but perhaps some stories I will go into deeper detail with once I return and practice trying to describe the events face to face with close friends before I go off trying to type it out. Then maybe what I will say will make a bit more sense.

Suffice it to say that life is still moving at lightning speed. We realize the we will only be in Brazil for something like 24 more days. We know the exact number of times we will return to each ministry. When we left the Missionaries of Charity today we said to each other, 5 more times. We will go to the streets 2 more times, the orphanage 7 more times, etc. We have two more weekends after this coming one that we are busy planning. We want to make the most out of each moment. That's our life right now.

No more time to write now, I have life to live and processing to do for what we have experienced. I don't want to be a basket case when I return. I want to make some good healthy decisions before I hope on that plane. Right now I feel very healthy mentally. I don't think I will freak out as bad returning even as I did when I returned from China. I will be tired however and in desperate need of alone time. I haven't had alone time in four months. How blessed it will be to have my own room for two weeks while I'm in Texas. Yeah! Life is good.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What are we doing in Brazil?

Just so you know,

Our time in Brazil is being spent relaxing

on the beach

and in the slum.

Newsletter 6

Oi Friends and family,

I have been observing that Brazil has a lot of holidays. There were at least 2 last month: children's day and teacher's day. November 2nd was All Saints Day and November 12th I think will be another holiday. These are on top of our own Thanksgiving holiday and double birthday party the following Monday.

This month we will also throw a big birthday party for all the spring birthdays at Projeta Vidinha (the orphanage). The founder of that home, Dora, has a birthday on November 13th so I'm guessing that's when we will have their party.

2 Women from the Word Made Flesh staff in Omaha, NE are visiting the Rio community in mid November as well for about a week. We are all hoping to do many touristy things during that week because even after having been here for two and a half months we still haven't been to the Christ statue or a couple of the world famous beaches.

Though our life continues to maintain a type of simi-consistent weekly rhythm I realize I have yet to really expound upon what we do here. What follows is a brief description of our responsibilities but it all adds up to a long newsletter. I apologize for this fact and hope you will persevere to the end.

Sunday morning we attend the Timonis church in the favela Maginhos. The church was began there in early October I think. Sunday afternoon we go to the market and buy fresh fruit and veggies and decide which church to attend in the evenings (Sunday night is the big church gathering).

Monday mornings we study or rest up, eat lunch together, then travel downtown to a gorgeous cathedral with a tragic story. This cathedral is called Candelaria and during our time there we pray before walking to Praça XV to spend some time with our friends the street kids. Generally we spend a few hours with them. Chatting, playing uno, drawing, and solving math problems before distributing sandwiches, fruit, and chocolate milk. They generally are more appreciative of our time then of our food.

Tuesdays we still split up to double our ministry involvement. David, Will, and Lisa work at Timonis, a place for the kids in the favelas to learn the bible and play. I explain more about that later. Heather and I head to Tijuca (a nice part of town) where Projeta Vidinha is located to play with the kids living there. We learn each others languages, draw, do homework, chat, rest, eat, and generally have a decent time together. Sometimes we tell Bible stories and pray and sometimes we don't. I don't feel any guild about this. It's a very religious environment so often we share the love of God in more creative ways.

Tuesday afternoons we travel downtown to Lapa (the aqua ducts) and walk to the Missionaries of Charity home where we find the nuns in their personal quarters praying and the gentlemen in residence, thrilled to have two American women greatly limited in their understanding of Portuguese ready to attempt to converse or play dominos for about an hour. Most of these men are seriously limited in their mobility by various forms of cancer or injury. Then we descend to the kitchen and dinning area to assist with transforming the tranquil monastic setting into a bustling soup kitchen for homeless men for the following couple of hours. It's exhausting but also lots of fun.

Wednesdays are a reverse of Tuesdays in which we begin our day at the Missionaries of Charity and end at Projeta Vidinha. Wednesday morning at MofC are the weekly big cleaning day. We have have frequently been put to work doing laundry, washing windows, organizing the clothing donations, or changing the sheets and cleaning the men's rooms. We have the most fun when working along side a sister and get to hear a bit of her story. My favorite sister is a young woman from Rwanda. She makes me laugh a lot. Last week we threw four 50lb. sacks of jeans down the stairs together. She knows how to have fun while she works. After our tasks we return to the kitchen for more laughs with the crazy old women cooks. They are so full of joy, so beautiful, and their food is to die for! Yum!!! This week we promised them we would bring the sobrimesa (desert) and their faces lit up with excitment. We are going to try to make carmel brownies. Brazil doesn't really have brownies which is a shame. I think they will like it. After lunch we return to Projeta Vidinha and continue to spend quality time with the kids.

Thursdays we have community time. In the mornings we discuss our reading assignments. We just finished reading "From Brokenness to Community" by Jean Vanier. Then we eat lunch together and in the evening we have our Portuguese lesson for a couple hours.

Friday mornings we teach English at Projeta Vidinha. This class is going suprisingly well. David and I team teach the high school class. Heather, Lisa, and Will teach the younger kids. They do fun stuff like paint by numbers. David and I just talk from the chalk board.

The rest of the day Friday and all of Saturday varry from week to week. Sometimes we go to the beach, sometimes we go to the mountins. And sometimes we do nothing at all. This Saturday I slept until 9, read for a while, spent some time online, then went to the roof of the house in the favela Jacaré for a couple hours just to see the view. I think the mountain behind the favela is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I spend a lot of time on the roof and I have the farmer's tan to prove it.

That's our week and the regular responsibilities we uphold. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays David, Will, and Lisa work at Timonis is the neighboring favela. It is a children's program where they teach a Bible story, do a drawing, eat a snack, and play hard like there's no tomorrow. We also do other things of course. We have many Brazilian friends now and they are showing us the city bit by bit. We went bowling last week and went to a pizza rodisio (all you can eat brought fresh to the table including desert varieties). They boys went to a Brazilian broadway musical, sometimes we get taken to a beach or to a friend's home for food. Rest assured we are quite busy, healthy, and staying safe.

Congratulations on making it to the end of this long note. I hope you are all well. I'll see you in a month and a half if you are a Lubbock friend or 2 months if you are in the Chicago area. There's still time to get a birthday card sent to me (Nov. 26th). It takes 3 weeks to get here. My address is:
Jen Pare C/O Ben Miller
Caixa Postal 24103
AC Tijuca
Rio de Janiero, RJ 20550-970
Be sure to send air mail. Remember I have a blog, and have added new posts tagged "fun stories" that are quick blurbs from my life in Rio. The oldest ones are best. And please continue to send prayers, art, and other articles for my WMF project to encourage their full-time missionaries around the world. I have also added a snapfish photo album of some of the early moments of Rio. More will be added soon. Here is a link to view those photos. is doesn't work let me know and I'll find out a better link.
Thanks for reading. God bless. Don't freeze this winter.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I Heart you Chicago!

Word Made Flesh Project Progress

This is doesn's have many enteries yet and I need you to continue to submit prayers, scrture, personal art and writting, articles and other stuff for this project to benefit the staff of Word Made Flesh to help keep the burning passion alive in each person for justice for the poor around the world. Thanks to anyone who does submit through comments more enteries for this database.

You may know that I'm collecting "stuff" (poems, prayers, verses, art, articles, etc) for an encouragement prayer book to gift to the workers of Word Made Flesh in their endevours around the world. Here is where I will collect that stuff. If you can submit any materials, please do. Thanks!

1. When I dare to be powerful–to use my strength in the service of my vision,then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid-Audre Lorde

2. The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

3. 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. Amen

4. The Real Work by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to doWe have come to our real work,And that when we no longer know which way to goWe have come to our real journey.The mind that is not baffled is not employed.The impeded stream is the one that sings.5. Life is on our side.The silence and the Cross of which we knoware forces that connot be defeated.In silence and suffering,in the midst of dishonesty (most of all our own dishonesty),in all these if victory.It is Christ in us who drives us through darknessand which can only be foundby passing through apparent despair.Everything has to be tested.All relationships have to be tried.All loyalties have to pass through the fire.Much has to be lost.Much in us has to be killed, even much that is best in us.But Victory is certain.The Resurrection is the only light,and with that light there is no error.

-letter to Cxeslaw Milosz from Thomas Merton
February 28, 1959, CT 57-58

Shawn Mcdonald - Here I Am
lay myself at Your feet

Asking You won't You meet

Won't You meet me

I cannot do it on my own

I cannot do it all alone

Here I am, oh, tonight

With my arms open wide

Won't You come inside

Won't You come inside, God

Come and fill this heart of mine

I'm in need of You

Of Your touch, of Your life, of Your love

I need You

I need You

By Julie Clawson, December 2, 2007
First Sunday of Advent - Hope
Some hoped for a warrior. One who would come to overthrow the Romans. A great and might King who would stand above the masses and once again bring glory to the nation.
Some hoped for a purifier to come and cleanse the nation of it’s sin. One who would enforce the laws and punish those who transgress. One who could motivate a nation to toe the line of legalism and save themselves through piety.
What they got instead was a baby. God incarnate indeed, but God incarnate lowly, poor, and vulnerable. And a kind of hope that those obsessed with delusions of grandeur or religious fervor could barely comprehend, but which echoed in the hearts of the oppressed desperate for any hope at all. The type of hope that the one who bore this child understood when she proclaimed -
“My soul glorifies the Lordand my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for he has been mindfulof the humble state of his servant.From now on all generations will call me blessed,for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation.He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.He has brought down rulers from their thronesbut has lifted up the humble.He has filled the hungry with good thingsbut has sent the rich away empty.He has helped his servant Israel,remembering to be mercifulto Abraham and his descendants forever,even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:46-55
Jesus came as the incarnation of this hope for the brokenhearted. He urged us to love others and bring freedom to the oppressed. He healed the sick and ate meals with outcasts. He offended those calling for violent revolution and scandalized those upholding the letter of the law. But he proclaimed hope.
On this first Sunday of Advent we are called to remember that hope. To celebrate the incarnation that brought hope to those who had never dared hope before. But celebrating doesn’t mean just saying a few nice words or a prayer of thanksgiving. It means being that hope. It means as followers of Christ expressing his incarnation by being his hands and feet. By healing the sick, by setting the oppressed free, and bringing good news to the poor. Hope must be tangible and make a concrete difference in the lives of those who need it for it to be real hope. Let us not just proclaim hope, but be true harbingers of hope as we seek to live in light of the incarnation.
The words to one of my favorite carols of the season, O Holy Night, capture a bit of what this incarnate hope can look like in our lives -
Truly He taught us to love one another;His law is love and His gospel is peace.Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;And in His name all oppression shall cease.Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,Let all within us praise His holy name.


One of Word Made Flesh's central values is community. This concept of community is one of the main reasons I chose to apply with WMF. I have learned that I need community. But I don't want to get into that here.

Brazilian culture seems to foster community in many distinct ways. I would like to share a bit about what I have seen community to be in Rio.

Primarily, the family is community. It is quite common (at least among the people we know that are middle to lower SES) for adult children to still be living with their parents and still sharing one room regardless of gender. Nobody ever leaves home except when a man gets married. Then he moves in with his new sogra (mother-in-law). And our Brazilian friends love their families and especially momma's cooking. I think this form of community is a beautiful arrangement because ever Brazilian has a place in society provided you get married and have female offspring who outlive you. The elderly are loved and charished. They have family to take care of them. It's beautiful and economical.

Secondly, nas ingrasas (in the churches) you will find community. Sunday night is the big church time but they have other sevices for the "real christians." Christian culture here seems really ridgid to me but they have the community in place to support it. Sunday morning church is like Willow Creek Wednesday nights for the believers craving meat. This is also where they quarterly community is served. On top of Sunday morning and night, they also meet every night of the week for special prayer time and healing. These services go late into the night. And after each gethering of the church they must eat together. And often smaller groups of church members will get together before sevices to "hang-out" so essencially the "real christians" spend all their time that's not spent at work or sleeping at church and with church people. This is odd to me but it is definantly a strong form of community.

We have now lived inside and outside the favela and through the recent displacement we realized we were experiencing a separation from community. The favela (slum) is a community. Everyday in the favela we waved and chatted with the same neighbors as we executed the daily routine. The neighbor kids would invite themselves over to play Janga or Uno, the mom of a friend from the local church would prepare us some homemade Brazilian Cuisine, the drug dealers would say "gringas" as we passed y in their ominous ways, and the list of acquaintences that somehow add up to the community of the slum continue. We had only lived there two months and already we had connections with tons of people. I can't imagine how vibrant the bonds would be if I were a hild of the favela and my family had lived there for several generations. Wow!

There are two more types of community I want to talk about but not now. I want to describe them in story form when I'm feeling more creative. These communities I'm thinking of are the Choparias (bars) and the street kids. Wait for it. I promise to get these stories up next week.

Friday, November 02, 2007

MTVs The Real World

In case you guys haven't been watching MTV lately, it was just announced that next season's Real World will be in Brazil and will be featuring young Christians oddly enough, where people stop being polite and start being real. Get this, our veggi stand neighbors said they saw us on TV a couple weeks ago at the Brazil vs. Ecuador futbol game at Maracanã.

We had been suspecting something was up for a while. Ben seems to be best at spotting the hidden cameras. One time he and Rich were downtown when people and cameras came out of nowhere and engulfed them in hugs. They said they were "free hugs" or something like that but we suspect otherwise. Another time Ben saw the cameras and upon inquiring was assured "don't worry, it's for the Amazing Race." Now I am convenced, these things are no coincidence. We are being made into a TV show. And a darn entertaining one too I'm sure.

People are interested in how young American Christians living co-ed in another country will behave. I'm not ashamed. America can see how we live, how we get angry, how we spend our time in a small house in a poor neighborhood.

Just so you can know what part of the season is currently being filmed, I think we just reach the climactic fourth of the way in where MTV really gets the viewers hooked on evesdropping into our lives. 2 weeks ago Will dropped the monumental quots, "I'm not going to live like your not coming back." This proceeded Will and David's weekend trip to visit some twin girls in São Pãulo which corresponded with the weekend the girls moved out of the slum to Jenna's one bedroom apartment in Hiegenopolis. The following weekend's Episode was where 3 out of 4 of our leaders were abroad so we had to fend almost completely for ourselves in the big city.

This week they filmed the episode on who our feal friends are. One group of friends from Jacaré are taking us bowling and some other friends had invited us to go to their beach house in the country. We are living large and living Real.

The Real World!

Evangelical. Am I?

I've been feeling frustrated with a friend a few times when Brazilians ask "are we Baptista" He says Will and himself are and the rest of us are Evangelica diferente bla bla bla Portugueseness....

A few days ago Lugamila (our new language teacher) was asking each of us individually this denomentational question. Lisa was asked first and said Nazerine and David chimed in with the Portuguese pronounciation. I was next and said "No, I don't have a denomentation" They were confussed so again David chimes in with the Portuguese, "Evangelica não-denomenação bla bla bla... I say "I'm not Evangelical!" and cut him off. I was rude. I didn't mean to be. Luge asked if I was Catholic and I wanted to say yes but I knew she wouldn't understand my intention so I said No. Rillo (Luge's brother) asked if my church had a name and named off all the denomenations he knew and I said we didn't have one of those. Next time I get that question I'll say I belong to a house church and if they want more details I'll say I ascribe to Emergent Anglican Theology. If that doesn't seem to make sense, I'll say we're a bit of an intelectually liberal church. I don't know what liberal means to Brazilians. Maybe I will substitute the word progressive in place of liberal, but that doesn't seem quite right either.

Do the members of Via Christus consider themselves evangelical? I know Church of Christ would not and thus I would not. Technically if I belong to a denomination it would be to the CoC. But I agree more along the lines of Angly/Catholic/Orthodox theology minus the institution which are all also outside the Evangelical parameters. But if it's the institution I have problems with, maybe I'm not Christian at all. Maybe I am simply a disciple. As much as I study and strive to imitate Christ hopefully nobody not even myself could argue with that label.