Recently the IMPACT 360 class of 2010 took part in their month long International Experience in Brazil. This trip, an integral part of the IMPACT 360 program, opened many student’s eyes to the reality of poverty, the real meaning of scripture in their lives, and the impact that their personal life stories can have on others in the world.
Many of the students would tell you that their time in Brazil was stretching. The Coke tasted different, some lived without running water, and the language barrier all added up on a daily basis. For Emma Wagler, when times got tough, the Lord taught her to lean on him and his words, “One of my biggest take aways from the International Experience was the realization about how I had not had a passion for God’s word. I had this new desire for God’s word that I had never experienced until Brazil. I think this happened because I was forced into situations that I had to depend on God; his word was my water in a dry and weary land.”
In a culture where we value individualization and where our own daily lives consume us, it is difficult to remember that others suffer and live with unique life stories. Jackson TerKeurst, spent a week with two boys who touched his heart and reminded him of who God truly is. Luan (11) and Ruan (12) lost their mother at a young age and were taken in by family friends. The never knew their father, and expressed to Jackson that they missed their parents very much. “The great thing is that they were always hanging on me and calling me their big brother even though they just met me! Who ever thought I’d ever meet someone from another country that has a similar story as mine. This is God moving.”
During their time in Brazil, the students worked as a whole group of 25 and broke off into two smaller groups to take on specific ministry tasks. In Brasilia, the students worked with local churches on services and evangelism, painted an orphanage and did door-to-door ministry in some of the poorest cities in Brazil. In Porto Alegre, students worked at a summer camp, washing dishes, playing sports, and putting on church services. Chaarity Williams reflects, “without going to Brazil I would not have seen how important it is to be praying for the lost people of this world and that I am the person that God wants to use.”

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