I just got back yesterday from a week long visit to Altamira. I was there to take care of some things with my permanent visa. I was last there in December, but this time around felt very different for me. I realized how much my life has changed in just a few short months here in Portel. My first 2 years in Altamira were all about preparation. Now, I am finally in the trenches.
This is both exciting and challenging. There are days when it seems like getting even simplest thing accomplished required all the resources you can muster. Just a few weeks ago, I went to the electric company only to find that they were without electricity so their system was down. It is the rainy season which makes it a little cooler, but I am also constantly fighting mud as I ride my bike through the city. My clothes often take a few days to dry. Taking care of my house is a full time job in itself with the leaking roof and toilet. I live with a can of bug spray in my hands to attack the mosquitoes. Even taking out the trash is a bit of an art form. It's difficult to describe to you my daily life, but it is a life of few conveniences compared to what I was used to in Altamira. Having a week away was something I really needed.
Now that I am back, I feel refreshed and ready to take on these challenges again. Because despite all these difficulties, I know I am in the right place. I have been waiting a long time in my journey through ministry to finally start building something, and I truly sense that that is happening here in Portel.
It is not only the English school, but the church. I told you that I started discipling a few women in our church, and I am seeing them grow. I also recently started a home group in my house, and I am already seeing the people in the group growing closer to knowing Jesus.
We meet on Saturdays for lunch. Lunch is the big meal for everyone here, so I thought it would a great opportunity for people to relax and spend some time getting to know each other. A little after lunch, we start our group. Manoela takes the children in the kitchen to do a craft, and I go with the adults to do a Bible study in the living room. I am introducing them to the Bible as a story, and each week, they open up more with questions and thoughts. I feel a sincere hunger among to learn about God and understand how they can have a genuine relationship with him. After the group, sometimes we hang out more or we go swimming at the beach. It sounds simple enough, but it's something I've wanted for a long time. I've wanted to see God's work in progress, and I've wanted to be apart of that work.
What has also been a blessing is having a new couple living in my house. They are Jim and Joann McCann from VCDC. They arrive about 3 weeks ago and will be staying until mid-June. They came for the main purpose of wanting to serve, and they have been doing that since they arrived. Everyday, they head over to Richie and Christie's house to help with homeschool. They have also been helping with our home group by hanging out with the kids and praying for people. Another thing that has been a true blessing to us is, once a week, we have a small kinship for the missionaries. It is not often that we get a chance to receive ministry, and I believe it has been a great help to all of us. Jim and Joann have great attitudes about all the differences here, but they have been suffering from the heat. Please, pray that God protects their health and allows this to be a great experience for them.
I few weeks ago, I had the privilege of following my friend, Jennifer, around to take some pictures of the work she is doing in Portel. We spent the morning in Portelinha, which is the poorest part of our city and also where our church is located. I have added a link below of the images so you can get a better idea of those who live in our neighborhood.
For Easter, Manoela, Jim, Joann, and I spent the morning helping the kids from Portelinha color Easter eggs. The kids had a blast making their eggs, and then we served them cake. I included some pictures of that as well.
Of course, I always need your prayers. I am sure that you have noticed in your own lives that the needs are always greater than the resources. We are constantly asking God for provision in so many areas of our lives. God is so faithful to us and always willing to help us. Please pray that he continues to give me the energy and resources I need to do the work I am doing. Please pray that he puts the right people in my way to help me. And please pray that those who are hungry to know God would find us. Thank you so much for your loving kindness. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and faithfulness.