Hello from Fortaleza, Brazil....we send our Love.
Our Sunday began at the Church where we had bible school with the children. As always we were greeted with large sparkling eyes, smiles from ear to ear, and hugs beyond compare. Many of us do not speak Portuguese, but the language of the heart is universal. We sang with the children, helped with crafts which we had brought for them -- a necklace of a wooden cross on a hemp string they could decorate, a banner made from yellow felt which they decorated with the United Methodist flame and cross and a green cactus from their country. The banners were on a stick with a ribbon for hanging.
We came back to our room to refresh ourselves and have lunch. At 6:00 we returned to the church for their church service which is always held in the evening. The youth are the major part of the church and they had prepared a dance to some of their church songs while they sang (much like our children sing and do skits). Our hearts were full because the church was so full of God’s presence with us. There was prayer and a song by Cher, one of the daughters of Pastor Pedro. Pastor Kristin delivered the evening message while Andressa interpreted. We all sang “I Want to Know You More”each in our own language together.
Pastor Pedro added some closing comments and recognized the wonderful work of Penny who spent almost her entire week doing a painting on the entire wall at the front of the church at the request of Pastor Pedro. Last year, she painted the flame and cross on the same wall and this year she surrounded it with the ocean, some beautiful sand dunes which we got to see where the sand is naturally many different colors and cactus. As with our Grand Canyon, the beauty of this wall can be described, but to really appreciate it is to see it in person. There were several prayers for our lives, our safe travel home, the church in Fortaleza and our world.
We concluded our evening with our equivilence of passing the peace. All of us were laughing and crying together because our hearts were heavy to say goodbye to our brothers and sisters. It is now Monday, and we will spend the morning at the church for the last time. We will leave for the airport around 6:00pm for our flight home at 11:00pm to return to our own families and friends and our church. We leave, however, knowing that for the time we spent here, we were truly also at home because the people here have made us feel so welcome, loved and at home. The journey hás truly enriched each of our lives. See you soon, with all of our love.