During our first week in Brazil, we got to experience so much of the culture and build friendships with our LifeShape partners.
We were immediately welcomed by the LifeShapers with open arms when we arrived at Água Viva after our two travel days. Though we spoke different languages, one of the first things we did together was sing worship songs before dinner. We all enjoyed the beauty of worshiping God with people we had never met, and we realized we all had something in common even if we come from entirely different cultures.
On our first full day, we enjoyed an excursion to a park where we hiked to five different swimming locations with waterfalls, rope swings, and jumping rocks. While having fun and admiring God’s creation, we continued to meet and become connected with the LifeShapers.
The next day was the first day of the Impacto Conference, so we moved to our second location, a monastery, and began to meet the other people on our conference team. At the evening service, we enjoyed worship music from the Brazilian worship band Projeto Sola and heard a message from Pastor Ebe, who spoke about hearing God through the small blessings we find in life.
We started the next morning by doing a solo devotional around the monastery grounds, then broke out into small workshop groups for a short message and discussion. Throughout lunch and free time, we enjoyed the company of LifeShapers by talking over meals and playing games. The second service of the conference brought more worship led by LifeShapers and a message about avoiding evildoers who might hinder our spiritual growth. Our time at the conference ended as Ana Paula spoke about finding gratitude in ordinary things and glorifying God with all we do.
On our first Sunday in Brazil, we were able to worship God as a collective body from both Brazilian and American cultures while also hearing how God is moving in individual lives through testimony. Todd Foster preached about how we can renew our minds through the Holy Spirit by breaking out of the patterns that society has created for us. Afterward, we got the opportunity to explore Brasília and the LifeShapers showed us around a local market.
We Fellows are continuing to become comfortable with the customs of Brazil, even though the language barrier still exists between many of us. We know that God will do great things through our partnerships on the upcoming mission projects and the relationships we will build. We have been inspired by our partners’ love for the Lord and their welcoming attitudes. Please pray for the people we will reach and for our own open hearts so that God may continue to teach us on this cultural immersion trip.
Juleigh Haynes and Garrison Keeton