God calls all believers from all cultures to live out His commandments. In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus declares the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.” Throughout our time here, our team has been given many opportunities to live in obedience. Our local partnerships allow us to practice servanthood, a form of love. I (Grace) have truly seen the importance of taking each opportunity to serve others as it connects to our call to love.  

One of our partners was a church called Igreja Batista da Restauração (IBR) in Brasilia, Brazil. It is so important to have an open heart and mind that is willing and eager to serve wherever God wants. I (Kayla) loved getting to help clean the church and prep it for a day of fun for the local kids. We had a blast getting to learn how to clean the “Brazilian” way and how to make homemade games for the kids to play. When the kids started showing up at the church, I was filled with joy! I realized it was a special opportunity to play with and encourage them.  

Even though most of the local kids didn’t speak English, God was still present. The Lifeshapers and volunteers helped us by translating. The language barrier did not stop the many relationships we formed. The jumping, laughter, and dancing went on and on but what mattered most was the love of Jesus we shared. The community that we experienced at IBR has impacted the life of each member of our team, causing us to serve others with much more purpose. 

My view of serving others was a lot more one-sided before this week. But, when love is added into the equation, I (Grace) started to see the reason why I am called to serve. It’s all about love. Galatians 5:14 states this truth: “…but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” When I serve those around me, often their response is also love, which motivates me more.

Ultimately, the greatest example of love comes from Christ. He modeled servanthood perfectly, which is why as we try to grow more in Christlikeness, we strive to follow in His footsteps. I (Kayla) have been so inspired by this partnership as I have seen the members of my team serving even when no one is watching. They resemble Christ so well which has been an encouragement to me. We truly enjoy each opportunity to grow here, especially in our ability to love. 

Grace Yoder & Kayla Edmisten