Wow! We have had some very amazing days down here at Brazil! And they didn’t even require internet. 😛
Tuesday was a whole new adventure. Since even God rested from His wondrous works, we decided to rest as well. Our rest led us an hour and a half away to our contact’s (Steve) private beach house. Yes. It was a beach house. On the beach. In Brazil. About 100 yards away from the Atlantic Ocean. Did I mention it was a beach? Well as wonderful as that sounds. That first day did not go quite as according to plan. As we were leaving, it began to look cloudy & on our drive out there it rained off and on. When we got there, it was mainly overcast and kinda dark. Once we got all our things settled in, it soon became apparent that Ryan’s bag that had all of his essentials had been left behind due to some miscommunication!! That was such a bummer. However, thanks to the kindness of Steve, he lent Ryan some extra clothes, we went shopping for some basics, & Ryan was able to put up with what he had. So God is good even in our most trying situations! Before we went shopping for Ryan’s stuff, we walked down to the beach & immediately the fisherman from the local town were pulling in a catch! This consisted of fish, crabs, & shrimp! It was a really neat thing to see this happen. Afterwards, we went to a local diner where we happily munched on some shrimp & chicken. That was delicious. Then finally we went shopping for Ryan. I happened to find a super cool hat so I was able to make that purchase as well! Once we got all of Ryan’s needed items, it was back to the beach house where we all prepared to go down to the beach. It was still rather overcast & dark, but we still went out anyways. There we went swimming & played around in the Atlantic Ocean. I found a live sand dollar that I had stepped on in the water! I would had kept it but I decided to let it live & see if I can find one that was already dead. 😉 After a little while, we all went back to the beach house where there were four different hammocks set up right on the front porch! These were wonderful! There was one hammock that Ryan spent practically our whole time at the beach house in. As the sun began setting, a storm most definitely was nearing. Soon the storm did hit & we were all forced to go inside. That didn’t stop us from enjoying some barbecued meat from Jeff – Steve’s son – and some other deliciously made food. After the meal, we all played quite a few different games that Jeff had brought along. Despite the day not going quite according to plan, it was still a very good day.
Wednesday was a brand new day! We woke up with the chance to have eggs & meat for breakfast that Steve cooked for us. Then Brandie, Caitlin, Ryan, & I spent most of the morning walking along the shoreline collecting seashells. It was such a beautiful morning. Brandie even found a dead sand dollar! I never did, but I’m glad she did. 🙂 Ryan and Caitlin took a good amount of pictures. Along our walk, we came across a pile of seaweed. Among the seaweed were some crabs that we decided to mess with just for a little bit. Their eyes did this real freaky thing where they would turn sideways to look at you then back to the look the other way. It was weird, but cool. After our walk, we went back to the beach house where Brandie, Caitlin, & I all prepared to spend more time down at the beach. There we laid out on some lawn chairs and listened to the ocean. After a little bit, Brandie & I went to go frolic in the waves. Yes. We did frolic. We would wait for the biggest wave we could find to come, then we would dive with it & have it take us to shore. We spent a good amount of time laughing, swallowing salty sea water, & frolicking through the waves. It was a blast! When it came closer to lunch time, we all went back up the house were we enjoyed basic sandwiches (American style). Despite being basic, they were lovely! Then we all relaxed for a couple hours either taking naps in a hammock, reading, or writing in our journals. Eventually, some of us did go back down to the beach for another hour or two. There I built a sand castle (more like a sand mound) with a moat with Melody, Jeff & Lindsey’s precious 3 year old daughter. That was fun. Evening came too quickly and we enjoyed some more grilled food & more games. I ended up going out to the porch to read for a few hours on a hammock. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the ocean and the breeze and reading while slowly swaying back and forth. I don’t think I could have asked for a more perfect night!
Today (Thursday). God does some amazing things. I’m not a morning person at all, but God woke me up somehow this morning with ease at around 5:15. He reminded me that the sun was about to rise & that I don’t want to miss it. So I went out with Ryan & Caitlin & we all enjoyed the beauty of watching a sunrise over the ocean! I am just blown away by how beautiful it was. After spending some time watching the great ball of fire make it’s way into the sky, I decided to continue sleeping – in a hammock! That was fun. Then we all woke up between 7 & 8 where we enjoyed some coffee & more eggs & meat. Then we began the process of packing & cleaning the beach house. After a few hours & one more trip down to the beach to say goodbye & take a picture, we were off–back to Carpina! We arrived in time to be able to take showers & refresh ourselves before eating lunch for the last time at the school. Here we were able to say our goodbyes to all our friends that we had made within our short time here! It was hard saying goodbye. I’m going to miss a lot of these people. 😦 After lunch, we went shopping for quite a few hours in downtown Carpina. It was quite an adventure & now I feel very much like a tourist! Now we are back at our hotel & resting before going to a very local & popular food joint called Boca Loca. I’m excited to see how the rest of the day turns out!
There are quite a few things that being at the beach has really taught me. First off, being near the ocean & on the sand really put quite a few Bible verses into perspective for me.
Genesis 22:17 “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”
There was a lot of sand on this seashore. And the beach we were at is just one small section of sand on a seashore! There are millions & millions of seashore all with quite a bit of sand on them. For this to be promised to Abraham is a really big promise. But God is faithful & always knows what’s best! Seeing all the sand everywhere really put this verse on my heart.
Another verse that really hit me was James 1:5-6
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
This verse has always made me think & question if I doubt God or if I really trust Him. Sitting in the ocean in the section where these tiny waves would go in and out from really put this verse into perspective. Despite weighing as much as I do, I would still feel a slight pull out to sea as the ocean sucked back, then I would be moved forward with the rest of the water as the wave continued it’s ascent up the beach. For me to be moved is minuscule compared to the waves that are moved constantly. Waves can’t sit still. They are constantly going in and out, side to side, front to back. They just go everywhere and anywhere. For our faith to be tested and compared to that of a wave, we are going to have to be extremely solid in our beliefs. We have to know that God will deliver and since this verse particularly applies to having faith that God will give us wisdom, we must have complete faith and be completely grounded in God. Our faith may be challenged by other people, our own thoughts, & even God’s timing, but we must – we must, we must, we must – believe and not doubt. We should not be like the waves of the sea.
Finally, one last thing that really stood out to me was during our morning walk Wednesday morning. As I saw the footprints we were all making along the sand, I couldn’t but help be reminded of the story called Footprints. It is a really good story & if you haven’t read it, I say go look it up. Anyways, the story is about a man who has a dream. In this dream he is walking along the beach with God and scenes from his life life are replaying. As the man looks back, he noticed only one set of footprints on the beach during some of his hardest times instead of the usual two, him & God. He questions God about this. The story ends with God telling this man, “My precious, precious child. It was during those hard times in your life that I carried you.”
I am reminded & so ever thankful to have a God who can carry me through all my hard times & struggles! I need not worry no matter where I am whether it is at home, at college, or even in Brazil. God is with me wherever & I can always count on Him all the time. The beach sure did teach me a lot of things & despite not being able to do basketball, I know that God used these past couple days to really teach me some life lessons.
I miss you all & can’t wait to tell you all about Brazil in person someday! Just come up & ask! You are all wonderful people. God loves you. Keep living for Him & not for men.
Here is a pic of the sunrise this morning! This is even with my iPhone! It does little though to truly grasp God’s craftsmanship though. No picture can compare to His wonderful art!