Today started like all other days in Brazil. Breakfast at 7 and then we load up in the Kombi and go to our destination. The difference today was our destination and little did we know that THE day started much earlier than OUR day did.
Frank and Flavio picked us up after we ate to go to a nearby town to take part in “Living Stones”. It’s a program that Flavio ‘runs’ where he provides a lesson, some music, games, and a warm meal for children in the town that may not have a chance for any of those things otherwise. We went to his garden first, to pick up so produce to deliver. Well, I guess you’d call it a garden. To me it was more like a small farm in and of itself. It was HUGE! We spent a little time there seeing what he grows and what it is used for and I was VERY blessed to be able to pray over it.
We thought we were going to weed or help pick the produce that was to be delivered, but Flavio had already picked and it just needed to be put into the crates and in the Kombi. He let us do a little ‘weeding’ to get our hands dirty. This is when I first realized for myself, what type of man Flavio is.
We loaded back up in the Kombi and took the produce to another city where he sold it for a small profit and it will later be dispersed to people in the area in need. Then we headed to our a town where he does the program Living Stones.
He gave the lesson and a 13 year old girl who had been playing the guitar for 3 months, led us in the first song. Flavio and Frank both led a song and Morgan shared a little bit of her testimony and then we went outside to play some basketball and soccer.
After teaching them some things with the basketball, we split up in to teams and played soccer. As expected, they were all skilled and we had a lot of fun playing with them. When we had worked up a good sweat, they went in to eat and we wrapped things up for the morning and went back to Carpina.
As we drove the 2 or so miles up and down the road back to a main road, I thought about the years that Flavio had been doing Living Stones in this community and the days upon days that he walked those last 2 miles up and down, with his guitar on his back, to bring the Good News and a lot of love to those kids. I’m overwhelmed, even as I type this, by his heart. There is a need in his community and he does whatever he can to fill it. He didn’t wait to get a vehicle before he went. He didn’t wait until someone else would go with him before he went. He didn’t wait for government money (that would never come) to finance it. HE JUST DID IT. As I think about my life and how easy it is, I wonder if I would have done that. The last 2 miles of road are very poor. They are also not just a straight walk, but they are very hilly. The place where they meet is very remote and there were 15-20 kids that came. Come on, is it really worth the work? I’m sure that was never a question Flavio asked. Of course it’s worth it, to bring Jesus love in many different forms, to those kids.
This trip isn’t for me. This is a trip where 3 college girls get college credit for taking part in this and several other assignments on the way. I’m just here as the professor that needs to come and make sure they do what they’re supposed to do and get out of it what they’re “supposed” to get out of it. WOW! If that’s what I thought about this trip, I was very wrong. I’ve been on mission trips before and seen very special things. I’ve seen God work in big and small ways. I’ve come back with a different perspective before. But for some reason, this man, with his huge smile and even bigger heart has drawn me closer to God through his faithfulness.
Oh that I will some day be a man like Flavio! Thank you Lord for speaking to me today, through your servant.
p.s. I also got to go back to the gym with Morgan and watch her interact with the younger kids and coach her with the older ones. I didn’t realize a trip to Brazil would get me this ready for basketball practice to start.
p.p.s. It was a good long day!