Our time in Brazil has allowed us to cultivate amazing friendships. It’s been such a joy to experience strong relationships with so many Lifeshapers. From the beginning of this season to the time we said goodbye, we experienced lots of growth with one another. Many of our final conversations reflected on how God is at work in Brazil and in each of us.  

On the last day, we celebrated with a Churassco, which is a Brazilian barbeque. Afterward, we planted a tree to symbolize the time that Class 17 spent in Brazil. This is an annual tradition for Lifeshape, and it wags cool to look at all of the trees that past Fellows classes have planted. Planting the tree officially marked the end of the season. There were many tears as we said goodbye to the Lifeshapers, exchanged notes, and took final pictures together. I (Abby) am grateful to be a part of the legacy of the Impact 360 and Lifeshape partnership. The relationships I have made have shown me how strong and vibrant Christianity is, even in different countries.  

After this final celebration, we began the process of debriefing the trip with our teams and leaders. One thing that has greatly helped me (Emmakate) with transitioning back home has definitely been solitude with the Lord. As I think about the next steps I want to take, seeking intentional silence with the Lord while still in Brazil has helped provide some clarity. This trip has been full of many experiences and friendships. There are many things to consider as we all go back to our regular lives. In our debrief, we talked about how to direct and share our experiences with those close to us. We also talked about how to continue our new relationships with the Lifeshapers.

Another factor of the transitioning process is the return of the other half of Class 17 that has been in South Africa. Each experience is different because the culture and challenges we faced were different. It will be fun to reunite and also a challenge for us as we share all of our experiences back at Impact 360. It will be helpful to have a heart posture of understanding and curiosity during these conversations. 

Our time in Brazil was unforgettable. It was a huge stepping stone used for growth in my faith (Emmakate). I recognize that there are struggles and needs in both my country and Brazil. Even though each culture lives a little differently, that does not mean that either is doing something wrong. Instead, it causes me to see beauty in our diversity. God created us with so much dignity and Brazil reflects his glory. 

Abby Trent and Emmakate Ostrom