This is a quote from Caleb, a young man on my servant team who always seems to have the best quotes come out of his mouth. Jesus taught us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. In this upside-down kingdom I find that I have been born into a disadvantaged position. I have been born into relative wealth and possessions can be dangerous. `Possessions are dangerous because they often encourage unconcern for the poor, because they lead to strife and war, and because they seduce people into forsaking God. Even more, they put people in the never-ending loop of covetousness.`Ron Sider `Rich Christians in an age of Hunger.` I´m still trying to break the bond I have to things and security.
Last night we went to Central Rio and hung out with 25 people or so (someone is always coming and going). We took our usual food, games, and bible story. I sat with children coloring in my lap most of our time there. As we were getting up to leave, I pulled my rain jacket out of the bag and began to put it on when a young man (16 or so) with his arms tucked inside his tank top asked me for my jacket. My response was Eu pressiso (I need) and I think my facial response was to quickly close down. I failed to see him as a person surviving the elements without the opportunity to easily acquire his perceived needs as I was. Another young man who has been meeting with Word Made Flesh for nearly seven years stepped in to rescue me. He knew me and this group as friends so he helped me get my arm into the jacket. The first boy asked next for my sun glasses and the second boy in again. He rescued me from this uneasy situation.
I desire to be seen as a friend, not a rich American. And I desire to see these people as real friends not people I have to guard against. There is so much between us.
This week we went to a passeo (field trip) to Quinta Boa Vista (a big park) with the kids from Projeto Vidinha, 15 or so ages 4-18. I played lots of baseball, soccer, Frisbee, and other games. It was a wonderful time. I got my first sunburn since being here. It has been raining a lot these past four days but the sun came out long enough for us to enjoy the park.
Afterwards we went to a Brazilian friend´s house and ended up watching A Walk To Remember. This was NOT chosen by the Americans. Cheesy!
Sunday we went to a place called the Jerusalem Cultural Center which was a large model of the city of Jerusalem during the years 66-70 CE. It was complete with Herod´s Temple, the palace of David, Upper and Lower city, the city of the second wall, and the New City. This was really cool. I love maps so this 3D map got me really excited. I wish I had access to this while studying bible at LCU and Wheaton. The model was located on the property of a mega church not to unlike Willow Creek. It even had a Bob´s (Bob´s is like Brazilian McDonald's) on site. Afterwards we walked to church in the pouring rain.
I´m still really enjoying being here after 7 weeks. I´m loving having access to fresh fruit and veggies. I made a veggie stir-fry for four the other day and spent about $1.10 USD in total. Today we bought 2 pineapples and a pint of strawberries for $1.75. We´ve been making smoothies often to try to stay cool and get our vitamins. It´s a real treat. Anyway. Off I go. Cooking pizza tonight. Tchou! Thanks for reading.