Tag Archives: Brazil

Sunny, Silent, then Sleepless (but the good kind)

The first three weeks moved at pace that was completely set by me, which had its advantages, but also some significant challenges, like the absence of people.  I was completely in control of my own life, but only because I preparing work to reach out to people.  I just wasn’t doing it yet.  -Well, that’s changed.  It’s no longer just about preparing, which I am so excited for.

A group of teens at Swan Creek Community Church just headed back on their bus to Delta, Ohio.  I was able to write about a few of my experiences with them while they were here, but just know that so much more happened.  The first 48 hours felt more like a week, but in a bad way.  We just accomplished a lot.

On Sunday morning the team headed out to a Haitian Missionary Church in Long Island and we all experienced our first service in Creole.  After service, Swan Creek put on a children’s program for the kids, which I hear went really well.  I didn’t have a part in their little production, so ducked out with Swan Creek’s youth pastor, Josh, to hang out with the teens.  I have to say that was definitely one of the highlights of the week for me.  Josh asked a couple opening questions without much of a response.  He walked the group through a devotional, still without much interaction.

Afterward though, God broke through.  One girl started talking, I commented with a question, and the group got going.  The formerly totally silent crew started sharing their thoughts about their church and community.  It was really cool for me because I’ve led groups like this before, and sometimes I’ve gotten to a point like that, but it usually doesn’t happen in one meeting.  I also observed the importance and value of tag teaming.  I wasn’t leading the discussion or anything, Josh was, but before people really started talking I jumped in once or twice, which I think helped break the ice.  It was nothing major, but I’ve been spending a lot of time studying the interactions between churches, culture, and how ministry is done.  Our meeting with the teens just really felt significant.

Heather with several of the girls

Sunday night Swan Creek put on the same program at a Brazilian Church in the Bronx.  This time, we swapped the Creole for Portuguese, but I know the team still really enjoyed the worship.  I don’t any of us had ever line danced to worship music before, but that’s what they did, so we joined in.

The guys praying before leading games with the kids

On Monday, the team took part 2 of the prayer walk.  We stopped a major symbols in the city and took the time to pray on location.  Monday’s stops included Bryant Park (culture), Grand Central Station (people in the city), Pfizer World Headquarters (health), the UN (world peace), Trump International Tower (money and greed), and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (closing location/personal reflection and prayer).

All in all, a great trip.  Lots of positive experience.  Learned lots about how to do it next time too (which is good because 2 more teams are coming in the next week!)

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A Weekend

Given that I spent last weekend back on campus for commencement, the last couple of days serves as my first official weekend in the city.  To a degree, it’s slightly overwhelming, at least in the sense that there is more to do here than I could ever see/do/visit, but in another sense I also really don’t know what all is available to me.  I have a couple of friends from school in the city, but I’ve only met a couple of people since I’ve been here.  My goal this weekend was to hopefully make a few personal connections with folks.

Friday was fun.  Gerald and Miriam Steele were missionaries in Brazil and Portugal and are now here pastoring the Brazilian Church.  They live half a flight of stairs beneath me.  On Friday, they took me out the Brazilian pay-by-the-pound lunch buffet, which was great for two reasons.  1) It was just a good lunch and 2) I never would have gone in their alone not knowing how to get my food or what the various dishes were.

Brazilian lunch with the Steele's

Despite being able to move into the church last Saturday, I still was unable to fully unpack.  The new carpet was put in several days ago, but there was a big wedding this weekend.  I was told that my room was going to be needed to hold the food.  Turns out my room wasn’t going to be needed, so I was finally able to empty my suitcase and scotch tape a couple of old photos to the wall (mostly 1-2 year old Christmas card photos I swiped from my mother’s refrigerator door last time I was home.)

On Saturday, I joined the Getz’s for an afternoon picnic at Central Park.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot.  The park was pretty densely populated, but it was still nice.  I had a really good time talking to Christina (Jeff’s wife).  In the evening, the Getz women showed me where to go shopping downtown, which was excellently helpful with the whole getting-my-bearings-on-where-I-am-actually-at-and-knowing-how-to-find-my-way-home-from-wherever-that-may-be objective.

Unzipped Suitcases and Weekend Travels

After a week of not being able to move in, I finally got the green light to unpack, sort of.  I’m living in a children’s classroom at a Brazilian Church in Queens.   The carpet still has not arrived and has since been further delayed because of next weekend’s wedding.  So in short, I’m still not unpacking.  I will need to evacuate the room for the wedding and still wait for the carpet to arrive the week after.  I don’t really mind though.  At least now, I can finally unzip my bags and spread out a little bit.

The church I'm living in

I’m basically still just working on the database compilation project I started last week.  It requires a lot of tedious cross-checking and some idea of what my spreadsheets are going to look like when I finally enter all the information I have (and the information that I’ll have in say six months).  However, I have begun keeping notes on a couple side projects.  One of our goals for the summer is to formalize NYIC’s internship program.  I’ve been discovering, for example, that just because two trains run in the same direction and are the same color doesn’t mean they are going the same place and the importance of immediately learning the exact street you live on.  I figure my record of misadventures (which will undoubtedly continue) will prove pretty valuable when it comes to sitting down an writing up the specifications for NYIC’s internship program.

All of this comes after a rather action packed weekend.  I moved in on Saturday morning, but left Saturday afternoon for Wesleyan’s commencement.  I was only on campus for a few hours, but it was worth it.  The trip was also valuable it because it forced me to have to find my way around, which I personally feel is always better when you are trying to get to specific place rather than just walk around.

The trip still had its challenges though.  Getting to the vicinity of Wesleyan is easy, getting from a nearby location to campus, not so much.  I had to switch my departure plans last minute, and literally spoke to/called/texted 20+ people in an effort to get back to New York.  Eventually, a good friend of mine who cooks at school gave me a ride to the New Haven train station.

It’s good to be back though.  Now that I’m living where I’ll be living for the rest of summer, I’ll be able to fall back into a routine.  I’ve been in transition for a long time, so I’d really like that.