Hello everyone! Good evening/morning/afternoon/night ect. (All depending on when you are reading this!) It is nighttime here. 🙂
Today was my last day to spend the whole day with the sports camps. This morning I was able to attend the girls & guys practices they have & help out with those. I’ve grown very fond of those girls & despite not being able to communicate verbally, we were able to communicate through the game of basketball using hand signals & body language. The same thing with the guys. (By the way, there are some very talented kids down here that just need some small fine-tuning & they could be even more amazing!) Caitlin brought down a bucketload of bouncy balls that she had no idea where to give them away to. So she allowed me to take some & pass them out to the kids. They were all very appreciative & loved them! They all even learned how to say “thank you” in English! It was so sweet! Then lunch came & I went back to eat at the school with Caitlin, Brandie, & Ryan. All week there has been this “pack” of 4-5 girls who will save me a seat at lunch, tell me I’m beautiful, & then proceed to ask me questions via one of the girls who can speak English. They’re so sweet & I am very blessed by them. They’re the ones who are really beautiful. I’m just so glad that I get the honor of sitting with them. Brandie & Caitlin spent the day in Susan’s classroom with the 2nd graders again. I know those kids love those girls a lot! Brandie & Caitlin are truly doing some good things at the school! This afternoon, Ryan & I went back to the gym where I got to help lead & coach some younger boys. My excitement came through this session. On Wednesday, there were two young boys approximately 4 years old maybe. Well these two boys were constantly wrestling & fighting that the coach spent quite a while separating them or telling them to sit down. Well when some of the older little boys were scrimmaging, I went to these boys & did different things with them like push ups & sit-ups & wall sits. We would all count to 10 in Portuguese (they would count & teach me as I learned) and then do something else. Well, today those two little boys never once wrestled or fought or ran away from things but instead followed me around, gave me hugs, explained to me what to do as best as they could with hand motions, & listened to me. It was such a blessing to see that by just spending a little bit of time playing with these young boys that they then in turn spent time with me and blessed me today. I just wish I could speak more Portuguese so I could let them know how blessed I am by God because they are in my life & how much God loves them! After the younger boys practice, there were girls & then the “big kids” practiced. Ryan coached again. We had to leave early from that because we went to a church tonight. Ryan stayed at the school this morning to prepare for the sermon at the church because he was asked to preach. We went out to the same church where Living Stones is located (the place we went to on Wednesday). It was a good service even if I couldn’t understand anything except what Ryan preached about (which was over Ephesians 1). Ryan did a very good job by the way.
One thing that I’ve noticed in the last three churches we have gone to: they play a song so that people can go around & have “fellowship” with each other. In every church I’ve been in, this has been the greeting where you go & shake someone’s hand who you’ve never really shaken hands with before or someone who you know very well. What that means here, give hugs. Many of you know that I am not a hugger. I don’t give many hugs, I don’t receive many hugs, I really just don’t do hugs. At the first church when this was going on, Frank Penna walked by us & said, “This is torture if you’re not a hugger.” I agreed entirely then. There were all these random people coming up & giving me hugs & it was honestly, very uncomfortable for me. The next night at church, the same thing. Throughout this whole week, though, numerous kids have given me hugs at the school & at the basketball camps. And I can’t really say no to an adorable 6 year old with big brown eyes. So I’ve been accepting hug after hug after hug this week. And to be honest, it’s softened my heart & has made it easier for me to accept hugs. Tonight at church was a whole lot easier than the first night. Now, to all the people back home who are reading this & are huggers, be patient with me because yes, my heart has softened with hugs, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to start running around giving random hugs. I just will be able to accept them more. 😉
Something heavy on my heart tonight is one thing Pastor Flavio (the pastors for the church we went to tonight) said. He said that it’s hard around here to reach out to people because their hearts are hard. As we all started talking about it, we realized that this is true in most places & the reason some churches struggle bringing people to the service. People have hardened hearts. This reminded me of Moses & Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened & he wouldn’t let Moses take God’s people away. But Moses didn’t let that stop him. He continue praying & God gave them a way to escape Egypt’s wrath. That’s one thing I would like all you to pray for: that God can soften the hearts of the people here in Brazil, in the United States, in Greece, just everywhere. To soften their hearts & that they become open to what God has to offer with His love for them. That’s really on my heart right now.
Also, pray for the Greece team! We all did tonight! We love you Greece Global & can’t wait to hear what God is going to do over there!
Good night my friends!
Always for Him & not for men,
(Is it bad to have that many endings?) 😛