A month ago, as we were preparing to leave for Brasilia, I shared with my team that I had high hopes for the next month. Not having traveled for over a year and a half, I was anxious to set my feet on foreign soil. This trip was long overdue. I knew this would be an adventure I would never forget, and I expected God to teach me and strengthen me in ways I could not imagine. And man, He sure did.
Let me preface by saying that when we discovered who our teams for Brazil were, I was not a happy camper. My three closest friends just so happened to be on the other team and I did not know why. However, I knew God had a plan for me in Brasilia and Sao Paulo and He had a plan for my friends in Porto Alegre. Before we left, my four friends and I wrote letters to each other. My friend Anna, who was on the POA team, wrote me a letter about relying on the Lord. That is one of the three lessons I learned while in Brazil. Every single day I was away from my friends, I had to rely on Him. When I was homesick, He comforted me. When I missed my friends, He never left my side. When I was weak, He was strong. I needed to learn to run to His arms. Without being separated from each other, I do not think anyone on either team could have learned that.
Secondly, I learned to be patient. Patience is definitely my lowest fruit of the Spirit, and if you cannot relate to that, then you are surely mistaken. For the past few months, I have had to be patient with everything. Being at Impact 360, I have struggled to see where God is leading me this coming fall. I don’t know where to attend college or what to study, and the vagueness of it all has left me frazzled and frustrated. His will for my life is a mystery to me, but I know He will reveal it in His time. Note that I said His time and not my own.
Being in Brazil, I have had to be more patient than I have ever been in my life. From taking two hour long bus trips to work sites in Brasilia to sitting around for three hours in Sao Paulo waiting for the game plan, I have done my fair share of waiting. It’s been so frustrating at times, but God has taught me to watch my tongue and keep a steady head. I have learned that my timing is definitely not perfect, but His certainly is.
The third and final lesson I have learned while being in Brazil is trust. I have trusted Him when everything seems hazy. I have trusted Him to keep all thirty-nine of us safe as we were separated. At first, I was not happy with my team for Brazil, but I trusted that He had a plan. He has taught me so many things that I could not have learned had I been with my closest friends. When in doubt, trusting Him is the wisest thing you could ever do.
To close, I wanted to share a verse that my older sister left me. My sister, Katelyn, wrote me an “Open When” letter. For those of you who do not know, these are letters friends and loved ones write you when you are feeling sad, happy, frustrated, etc. My sister wrote me an “Open When You Feel Like You Just Want to Go Home.” Her letter came to me in a time of need, when I felt claustrophobic in my team and in Brasilia. She reminded me that this trip was not about me; it was about Him. She also left me a passage, which just so happens to be my life verse. This passage empowers me when I am weak and just want to give up. I hope it does the same for you.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us-to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21
Brazil has truly turned out to be so much more than I could have ever hoped or imagined.