Hey there! Or, perhaps bom dia, would be more appropriate. Yes, we are now in the beautiful country of Brazil, in a camp near the city Porto Alegre, and are quickly learning how to say that we don’t understand much of anything said to us. (no intende, by the way) But perhaps I should start at the beginning.
We departed at about 9:00 pm Eastern time Monday night, and exited the plane around 8:00 am the next day, adjusting watches three hours ahead. There our team split in half, one half staying in Brasilia, and the other catching a quick connecting flight to Sao Paulo, and then to Porto Alegre. Needless to say, by the time we arrived, we had the brain capacity of a baby zombie, the balancing capabilities of a dizzy monkey, and the comprehension level of a two-year old. But, we were in Brazil, and even our weary bodies could not help the tingle of excitement that came with setting foot in foreign soil.
And indeed, it felt like an entirely new world. The bus ride through the city to our camp was an eventful one, reminding everyone that imminent demise could be just an ignorant driver away. But, our own driver was clearly an expert, operating the steering wheel with one hand while making hand-gestures for his conversation to the passengers with the other. But as we found the city behind us, and the countryside before us, I couldn’t help my jaw from dropping and rolling on the floor.
It was almost as if from an imaginary world, one whose creator clearly had beauty in mind. Being as far south and as close to the equator as we are, the sky is a more clear blue than in Georgia. The clouds that looked like cotton-ball-ice cream from 10,000 feet above them now provided shade and texture to the sky. It is a shock going from a country where it is winter to a land in summer. It is entering into an explosion of green vegetation, a sight long missed in cold Georgia. A look around our camp and beyond yields the amazing view of rolling hills, bright green grass set against a brilliant blue sky, with cows spotted throughout, grazing peacefully. Even the trees seemed otherworldly, with all of their limbs at the top, and spreading like out-stretched fingers out and upward. The many birds that nest there are not shy in singing their salutation in the morning, filling the air with beautiful song.
Of course, there are other campers, and not all of them speak English. There is a barrier there, but some of it was broken down when the worship team led us in corporate worship. It was a known song, and the voices of multiple different languages were raised in unison, sounding different, but meaning the same. We are here to give glory to God.
And that’s what strikes me most about Brazil. God clothes the trees in splendor, and bids them to change at a word. He formed the mountains with a breath, and stirred the winds with a motion. Yet we are His workmanship. He delights in us. We are the only ones He stooped to hand-create, and the only ones He saw fit to breathe life into. And yet, the rocks will cry out praise to God if we do not. We have no excuse regarding language or comprehension when it comes to the glory of God. The tree has no mouth to sing to God, but it shows His glory all the same. The mountains cannot proclaim the works of the Lord with voice, but they prove that the Lord is mighty.
We are His delight. He spent more time on us than the trees, or mountains, or sparrows. And He has given us more than them. He has given us lips to never cease in our song to Him. And we shouldn’t, despite any barriers we think we see. The tree has no excuse, and neither do we.
Until next time, boa noiche. Your brother in Christ,
P.S. Each of us will be contacting our parents next week!