Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Homecoming Part 2

A big thanks for all of your prayers throughout our journey and in our traveling. We have safely arrived in Virginia and were greeted at the Richmond airport by friends and family. We had fantastic flights on the way home; our long overnight flight was actually much more comfortable than our flight there and the plane was only about half full, which gave us some room to stretch out and sleep a bit.

Even though we sprinted to the gate in Atlanta, we missed our flight but we were put on the next one which was only one hour later. I assume that everyone has made it back to Stuarts Draft; I actually left from the airport to come to Blackstone for a provisional residency event.

We will be at church on Sunday, dressed in our Brazilian best and excited to share the stories with you! Keep checking the blog for a little while longer; we will try to post stories from some of the other team members describing their more powerful moments that they experienced.

God bless you! Deus ti abencoe!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Final thoughts from Fortaleza

It really has been a wonderful time here with the church. I cannot explain how we have become so connected and so close to the people of Aerolandia Methodist Church without feeling awestruck by the power of the Holy Spirit to call us together as one church, one family of sisters and brothers. There is no other explanation.

Many people asked before we came, do any of you speak Portuguese? The answer is no. It would be great to have that ability, but it is also powerful to witness how we can learn to communicate and love each other without having to understand every word from someone's mouth. We did have help from a couple of bilingual and trilingual friends, and we are deeply grateful to Andressa, who works as a Volunteers in Mission coordinator in this conference and spent the 11 days with us, Andrè, a young man who is visiting with his family for a few weeks and helped us tremendously with translation as well as being a really fun person, and Rosangela, (André's mom) who also helped with translation and cultural learning.

We were tremendously blessed to have Teca Greathouse, a United Methodist GBGM missionary to Brazil, travelling with us all week and taking care of us. We are thrilled that she will possibly be in Virginia in the spring and are hoping that she will come to visit us in the valley! We know that everyone will enjoy meeting her when she is able to come.

We have talked a lot about Radical Hospitality in the last year or so, and that is an understatement in describing the way that we have been welcomed and loved here. We will be happy to see all of you when we return to VA, but it is heartbreaking to leave. The tears already started last night when we left after worship, and I'm sure they will flood when we say goodbye at the airport in a few hours. The children and youth face tremendous challenges and risk here, and yet, they are deeply committed to following Jesus and being the church. When they sing and dance in worship, they are the embodiment of the praise psalms.

Thanks be to God for the children and youth who are leading the way. May we have the courage to follow them and be a part of the movement.

Flight Schedule

Bags are packed and the group is currently at the mall, where there is air conditioning. We have already checked out of the hotel, leaving all of our bags in one room (miraclously, they fit!)

Here is our flight schedule:

We leave Fortaleza tonight at 11:00pm (10:00pm Virginia time).
We arrive in Atlanta at 6:40am.
By the grace of God, we will leave Atlanta at 7:25am to arrive in Richmond at 9:00am.

Please keep us in your prayers. In particular, it will be MIRACULOUS if we actually make our flight in Atlanta...we have 45 minutes to get off the plane, go through customs and immigration, check in again, and get to the gate. But we do believe in miracles!

More photos

Kristin and Neanhy

Kristy and Vando

Sarah and Lucilanya

Pastor Pedro and his wife Franci

Sunday photos

Pastor Kristin and Pastor Pedro in front of the new plaque. It says thanks to the churches who have helped in the construction of this church.
The mural is finished in time for Sunday worship! Several of the kids and youth from Calvary wrote cards to the kids and youth here at Aerolandia. They are now on the bulletin board so that everyone can enjoy them!

Bible School 4

Most of the Bible School kids.


Bible School 3

Working on friendship bracelets.