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.