Yesterday, I returned from Brazil. What better time to surprise the world with a blot post?
I'm still struggling with "re-entry" to normal, so my mind is fuzzy and I'm not sure yet of how to tell the story. I spent 12 days visiting the missions of Rio Preta da Eva and, after a 20 hour boat ride down the Amazon, Parintins. The PIME Missionary priests and brothers were our hosts. The lovely people of Brazil were our teachers.
It is a beautiful country. It is hot. And humid. Did I mention it is hot? Every day we realized that we couldn't talk about the weather as we did at home. There was no wondering, "What will it be like today?" We just knew it would be hot. And it was. There was no relief from the heat, and that made it profoundly different from the steamy days I might've experienced on an July day in Michigan. I couldn't step into the air conditioned comfort of my home, or a restaurant or mall. Every where it was like a moist oven, and we wondered how the people there seemed to tolerate it so well.
The children were breathtaking. Photographing them was one of the most joyful experiences of my life. On our first evening in Rio Preta, one of my traveling companions (Seth) and I walked down the street to a small "corner store" and stopped to photograph some neighborhood kids. Knowing no Portugese (except for "obrigada" - "thank you" - which had taken me two days to learn)I would hold up the camera and smile, sometimes saying "foto, por favor?" The children smiled, and looked at me with genuine warmth. I would sometimes show them the pictures I took of them, and their smiles would grow wider, or they would blush through their bronze skin and look away.
I will never forget the first little girl whose smile I caught. She spoke patiently to Seth, trying to understand his Portugese, speaking kindly to him. She was about five. As soon as I can, I'll share her photo. It's going in a frame on my desk to remind me of the beauty and simplicity of the Brazilian children.
Enough for now. Despite the fact that I was up for 34 hours with only a few cat naps on the plane, I did not sleep well last night. I developed the a side effect from traveling early Thursday morning, and I'm still recovering from it. My nurse daughter, in true American fashion, overreacted and wanted to take me to the hospital. I'm seriously fine! It made me think once again of how cautious and afraid we can be in this country. The trip made me much more fearless and intrepid! But that doesn't mean I still don't need prayers! Hopefully today will bring rest and recovery, so that tomorrow I can return to work, and begin telling the story.
I am so thankful for what I have experienced. Mostly I was reminded of this: leave everything to God. Trust Him for your every need, and abandon all your plans to Him. He is all you need.