Oi from the Brasilia Verde team!
At the beginning of this week, we traveled halfway across the world to Brasilia, Brazil with open hearts and minds for whatever God had waiting for us. When we learned that we were going to learn and help in the underprivileged community of Santa Luzia, we were excited and ready to see how we could impact all of the people we were going to encounter. However, we were not expecting for the people to impact us as much as they did.
When you walk down the dirt roads of Santa Luzia you can’t help but notice the abundance of trash and graffiti. Everywhere you looked, there was discarded food packages, stray dogs, broken shoes beneath our feet. The houses are small and held together by scraps of all sorts from the junkyard. Young children run along these streets at any given time. It is definitely not the more modern, clean building structures that we were all used to back home, but this is the reality for over 30,000 people.
While in Santa Luzia, our team along with a group of students from LifeShape Brazil partnered with an organization called Educamar. Educamar is a project started by a faithful woman name Jessica. Jessica shared with us that for the past six years, her heart was set on serving in Africa until God called her to start Educamar, to meet needs of the children in the community of Santa Luzia. She felt a calling to minister to the children of this community by providing a safe and inviting place for children to learn and engage in activities, such as Jiu-Jitsu and Ballet. It took her a while to “say yes” to this ministry. It was a big leap of faith for her because she didn’t know where she would get the money or what the whole project would entail. But she listened to God and said yes. Because she said yes, over one hundred family’s lives have been changed in the community of Santa Luzia. Jessica’s “yes” gave our team a chance to be a small part of Educamar’s story. Her testimony is a witness that following Jesus and saying yes to the Lord, holds a bigger impact and story than we could ever even imagine. Who knew that Jessica’s YES would not just impact the community of Santa Luzia, but it would act as a moment for 16 US students to be brought face to face with the power, sovereignty and provision that God holds and what saying YES to the Lord truly could mean.
The small things we did while at Educamar seemed just like that – small. But looking back at everything, we realize that we had to say yes to God even in the small things throughout the week. It was incredible to see just how much a couple of coats of paint and moving some dirt around really helped out these people. Saying yes to God in little ways doesn’t seem very important in our finite minds, but after seeing the faces of the people who will be a part of Educamar for years to come, it is obvious that God uses the small things to impact people in big ways. We have been encouraged to not just be concerned about saying YES to God for only the grand moments in our lives but challenged to shift our mindset to being concerned about saying YES to God in the everyday small moments. What would it look like to give God the small details of our lives?
One of the biggest things we learned is how the joy of the Lord is not dependent on material things. Some of the people in this community do not even have safe shelter or shoes that fit correctly, but they are some of the most joyful and inspiring people we have met so far in Brazil. Growing up in America, it can be easy to see these things as essentials to our happiness and survival, but the people of Santa Luzia have proved that is not so. Our worth, happiness, and relationship with Christ can thrive in whatever circumstance we are in if we just say yes to Him! It is important to be thankful for everything that we have been blessed with- even the little things.
Our team has been challenged to say yes to God in the small things because not only will this make it easier to say yes to God in big circumstances, but it also opens new doors to experience God’s Kingdom and the body of Christ in new ways, as we did at Educamar. Our team is excited to see what God will do with our time here and how we and those around us will flourish for the Kingdom of Heaven.
With joy and hope,
The Fellows for Brasilia Verde