I have now been in Rio 3 weeks and we are in the midst of a colonial revolution. Yesterday we blockaded their points of entry and poisoned the disputed territory. This morning I found 8 enemies dead and only 3 living but I know the battle is no where near over. As often as we discuss colonialism and our role hopefully as reverse colonialists we are actively participating in the genocide of Baratas (tiny Portuguese roaches), the natives. They have the run of our kitchen even though we clean thoroughly everyday. We store nothing in the cabinets or drawers. Our food is kept in plastic containers with sealing lids. Our dishes are stored in the fridge. Never fear, we will prevail!
Since being here I have read a lot, "Tuesdays with Morrie", "Dispossessed", "The Jesus I Never Knew", "A New Kind of Christianity", along with Ester, Job, and Joshua. I am now reading "Compassion" by Nouwen, McNeill, and Morrison, "The Kite Runner" and Judges. I also picked up a copy of Runners World in Portuguese. It is the August edition even though we are now well into September-oh well.
It has been a bit overcast and drizzly since Sunday. This weather has me thinking about fall in Chicago. It would be great running weather if that were an option for me here. Instead I sit inside and read.
Perhaps because of the gloomy weather we had a great gathering of children and young families on the streets Monday night to hangout with. Mondays are when we walk the streets looking for people we know living without homes. There were nearly 25 of our friends in one place. The past two weeks we have maybe found 3-8 people generally in a couple areas. This time we were able to set up for a few hours with a soccer ball, sidewalk chalk, drawings, Jenga, Uno, a Bible story (the story of the lost sheep), food and drink, and lots of attempted conversation. The smallest children are very precious, when they see Dandy or Jacqui (Brazilian staff) walking up they run for an embrace. It is evident that real relationships have been formed. And many women have benefited from Project Ester, the conversations and connections formed there.
Yesterday was a big work day for the Servant Team at Project Ester. We sanded and painted metal handrails and a suspended iron gate. We were filthy from the dust that had settled for so many years and tired from working from a ladder for so many hours. But the place looks pretty good, much improved anyway since it was purchased a year ago. Yesterday was also Brazil´s first independence day so there was a big parade in downtown and a "march for Jesus" in our favela. No work for Brazilians but extra work for Americans.
Thanks again for reading. This weekend would have been Mother Teresa´s 100th birthday so I will leave you with a quote, "If the work is looked at just by our own eyes and only from our own way, naturally, we ourselves can do nothing. But in Christ we can do all things. That´s why this work has become possible, because we are convinced that it is he, he who is working with us and through us in the poor and for the poor."
Just a reminder of my continued financial need. I left three weeks ago trusting that God would provide the support necessary for my participation in this ministry completely before I return in December. To date I have received $3500 of $5200. If you want to support you can either through the WMF website (www.wordmadeflesh.org) or by mailing checks to Word Made Flesh P.O. Box 70 Omaha, NE 68101. Remember not to put my name on the check but in an enclosed note. Thank you for your prayers as well!
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" Luke 14:11
Please join me where you are in learning to be a servant, humbly walking with God, seeing every lowly person as Jesus who we are sent to serve.