Just about ten days ago, the entire Brazil team landed at the Brasília airport, loaded onto a large yellow bus (not to be confused with a school bus) and drove about an hour outside of the city to a place called Agua Viva. Along with us we brought more than 2600 pounds of luggage. Months and months of preparation have built up to this moment; one month spent in Brazil serving alongside many of our Brazilian brothers and sisters. With all of the time and effort put into this month, it only makes sense to ask the question, “Is it all worth it?” And further, “Why exactly do we do this?”
The obvious and most common answer is often to share the good news of Christ, and don’t get me wrong, this is certainly at the foundation and core of what we’re doing. But I have to believe that it goes even deeper than that. Certainly the Brazilian believers we are serving alongside are just as capable of sharing the good news of Christ as we are, perhaps even more capable when it comes to sharing it with their fellow Brazilians especially when you consider how short of a time we are here. So why do they need us? Do they need us?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “Yes. They do.” And we need them. The Lord’s kingdom expands around the globe and when you think about it, most of us experience such a small part of it. Even the lucky few who get to travel, experience very little when you stop to consider the vastness of what God has going on throughout His creation. But every time we step outside of our little pocket of the kingdom, we grow in our awareness of both who God is and His intentions for the world we live in. We are reminded that the Lord is certainly at work and what He is doing in our neighborhood and what He is doing in other places is all a part of one great plan.
This is why the International Immersion is so important. The Impact students spend 8 months in the classroom (including a week or two in the woods) growing in their understanding of why they believe what they believe and all of the implications of that. But for one short month, they get to encounter God in a way they never could in a classroom – and it enhances everything else that goes on in the classroom prior to and after Brazil. Once you have seen it, you can never un-see what the Lord is doing in His kingdom around the world. It stays with you and if you allow it to, it will broaden and expand your view of and relationship with God for the rest of your life.
This is our purpose and hope for the students’ time spent in Brazil, that it would be a transformative time for them, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. And that it would continue to transform them and those around them for the rest of their lives.