The church service was amazing. It was such a blessing to be there worshiping at the top of our lungs (in English and Portuguese and something in between) in a quaint courtyard in between the buildings, with the rain pouring down. There was a row of young girls that were worshiping with their arms outstretched and eyes closed and the looks on their faces, filled with passion for the Lord was so beautiful! With Mariana translating for the congregation, Dan led worship, Rob spoke, Scott spoke and prayed scripture over the congregation and we also were privileged to hear a special song from a gentleman from Paraguay who is a Spanish teacher in Juiz de Fora. I really enjoyed talking to him afterwards.
Rob’s message inspired me very much…he shared about waiting on the Lord and that our choices have eternal impact. He talked about how we hope God works like he did with Elisha – sending a bear to run off the twerps who were making fun of him, or like the time He provided the loaves and the fishes and fed the multitudes. But sometimes His response puzzles us, like allowing Stephen to be martyred instead of intervening. He then shared a bit about Joseph’s life and the evidence of what happens when we persevere in trial, or in the times when we don’t understand what is going on.
We were all challenged to consider whether or not we were willing to persevere and follow after God even during the times that don’t make sense and were reminded of this through the story of why we were even there attending,that our choices have impact far into eternity. Here’s my best attempt to explain: My father was led to the Lord by Dave Powers’ grandfather, Doug . My family and the Powers family remain close still today. Rob was introduced to Dave as a result of this connection, who came on staff at Northern Hills Christian Church and introduced us to his brother-in-law Rocky, who is also on staff at Northern Hills. They both have traveled to Juiz de Fora, ministering in Lucy’s father’s church – where we were – and Rocky introduced our good friend Dan to Mariana, who is now Dan’s fiance and the reason we all went to visit Brazil! Whew, if you made it through all of that, the point was this – you have no idea of the impact of the gospel and your faithfulness to share the good news with others can have, but God does and He chooses to use us in ways beyond what we can ever imagine! Thanks, Doug Powers, for sharing your heart with my Dad. This is only one sliver of the impact it had in my life!!!!)
P.S. We are now back in the US a bit jet lagged, but overjoyed from our experiences in Brazil. Through tears in our eyes we said goodbye to Mariana and her family and we anxiously wait for the day when Mariana can join her new family here in the US. We hope more than anything that it is a comfort to Mariana’s family that she is well loved here in Colorado! I still have more to write about our trip, but will save it for the next post. For those of you who were praying for us, thanks! I look forward to catching up personally with you very soon.