Sunday, October 24, 2010

Things are Heating Up

I realize that over the past month I have not been updating as regularly as I had intended to. Part of that is because of busyness (limited freetime to devote to rest, reading, internet and whatever else I may want to do) but also because of costs. If $ were no factor to things I would then I would have uploaded all my photos, emailed many friends personal updates and generally kept closer to you whom I love states-side. As it is, I´ve limited myself to R$5 of internet usage per month. Please understand/respect my decision to live simply.

Recently we´ve had a few really hot days. The kind of days where you come out of the shower and instantly begin sweating again. These days are difficult in a world where I only experience air conditioner once a week for a brief time. But still there are some cloudy days and some rainy days so it´s not like day after day of continuous sweating.

For instance, this Monday on the streets it was raining heavily. So we ducked under an awening with 8 or so of our friends who call the streets their homes, regardless of the weather. One women (19) and her 1 year old baby boy were there asking if we could help her find a shelter that would take her and her baby. The next day Rich searched but some shelters had closed down and most required money. There are so few shelters that will allow women to stay with their children here. And it seems that the government does not fun sufficiently very many options for this friend of ours.

On a brighter note, Friday night at the Missionaries of Charity soup kitchen for men of the streets, we had some very exciting conversations. Our Portuguese teacher has done a very good job with us and it´s exciting to be able to understand people´s stories and then to be able to tell people what we are about.

Yesterday we hiked Corcavado (the mountain of the christ statue) with four of our closest Brazilian friends. It took us 2.5 hours to climb up but then back down part way to the vans that shuttle people to the top. They were charging R$24 to get up to christ. Last time I came it was free. I thought charging so much was an outrage so 5 of us walked as far as was permitted without a ticket and took pictures of the backside of christ. Then when the group got back together we continued to walk all the way to Alto do Boa Vista. We had to have covered 10-12 miles, some VERY steep. This was an absurdly fantastic adventure.

Thanks for reading.
Happy Birthday Matt!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Meio Passado esta passada

Half this trip is now over. I feel like we have gotten to the pinnacle of the roller coaster and now we will be flung down in a whirlwind to the end.

Tuesday was Children´s Day. I am convinced that this holiday is expressed by blasting music and shooting fireworks until 5am the night leading up to the holiday prohibiting children and parents alike from any sleep. On the holiday taking children to the park for a picnic and lots of cake. Culminating in street parades and singing happy birthday to no one in particular at 10pm. And ending the event with a mix of American dance club music (especially Lady Gaga) and Brazilian Funk until 3am. Of course the day before and the day after the holiday are taken off from work to allow for such involved partying.

Needless to say, I haven´t been getting much sleep these past few days. So while composing this message I was relaxing at a used bookstore/cafe enjoying espresso with dolce de lette topped with whipped cream. The espresso was strong and bitter, well paired with the sweet toppings. This was a great way to prepare for working at the sala (Projeto Ester).

On Children´s Day we escaped to the beach for the majority of the day. We all got a lot of sun but our Brazilian escort/housemate Diego probably got the most sun burnt despite having used sun screen. We also endured frequent pummeling from the ridiculously strong waves and wind. Truly it was a wonderful day. I look forward to a quieter week ahead.

Diego is a really neat guy. We (4 gringos) moved into his space 9 weeks ago and now I think he kinda loves having us around, mostly. He is from North Brazil and has worked with YWAM in Argentina and Paraguay as well as in other parts of Brazil. When he was much younger he was called by God in a dream to minister to children in Mozambique. Now he is 22 and this January, Lord willing, he will be on his way there for a year of service, though he feels called to 5 years. He will be a dad to the orphans while preaching the Good News. I have loved getting to know this brother. Currently Diego is on staff with WMF. It will be really hard for the community here to see him go but is will also be a miracle. Fundraising and acquiring VISA and passport have been very difficult for him even though he has a very close and wonderful church community.

Thanks for reading. Please pray for the Brazilian servants of God-their tenacity to follow the callings they have received. Ta ta for now. Thanks for reading and praying.

``Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that I need, or I shall be full, and deny you, and say `who is the Lord?´´