Saturday, December 12, 2009

This is the end?

All in all, Brazil has been one of the best experiences in my life so far. Just because I took this step in faith, God has honored it and has spoken and intervened. Distractions, mistakes, and sin have been with me as well as righteousness, success, and joy. I have gone through several conversions in my faith. I found out the importance, the wisdom, and the life that comes through the study of the Bible. God has shown his love in such a real way that he is no longer just a concept to me, but a real being that I need to know better. Becoming honest with my feelings about the heavenly being and his feelings for me allows him to speak to me exactly where I am, not where I pretend to be. I have realized the difference between the kingdom of man and the kingdom of heaven and each of their “benefits” and “drawbacks.” My focus has completely shifted toward becoming worthy of the kingdom of heaven, the eternal kingdom. Clarity about my skills, passions, and who I am has come like a refreshing breeze in the Amazon. Although all these things have come to pass, I know that my mission was not for Brazil, but to prepare for myself for my next step and to bless some people along the way. Though this journey is ending, another begins and it is in my hometown.


P.S. Concerning the first post statement about my death, I’ve realized that I have died here in Brazil. Died to myself, the world, and for the sake of others because of the presence of Jesus Christ in my life. Though living physically (and generally healthily at that), I am no longer a prisoner to the law, human nature, id, and even death; however, the only way to achieve this was to take up my cross alongside my saviour.


I have just spent a week in Ft. Meyers, Florida with my grandparents. My arrival here was almost as amazing as my predicament before going to Macapá. We had a wonderful time as they heard about my trip, I learned about their lives, and as we had fellowship together.


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If anyone is interested I am more than happy to share adventures that occur in my life as well as revelations and insight which the Lord gives me. It has been interesting already having to deal with American culture, speaking english once again, and spiritual issues in the States. I'm sure God is about to do some awesome things, so let me know if you're a reader and would like me to continue posting!!! Please! Comment because I will decide if I will continue based on your responses


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving / Rio Round 2

I think I have finished with James’ art and that is a relief and I’m able to relax for the last week and a half of my stay here in Brazil. It’s difficult to realize that five months is almost over, which at the beginning was almost daunting. I’m in a weird in-between stage right now. Feeling a little anxious to get home, I also don’t want to waste my last days in Brazil feeling homesick. Steve tells me that I need to relish Brazil while I’m here because, now that he is home, he misses Brazil.


I have heard the legends of the Padley Thanksgiving celebration and I have eagerly awaited for this day to come. A little sad that I can’t spend Thanksgiving with my own family, however I know that this feast is not one to be missed (sorry guys). The meal took a full 2 days to prepare for, and not for just one person. Five women labored in the kitchen working to make this meal, possibly the biggest holiday for the Padleys. The meal included boneless chicken filled with stuffing (Flans’ work of art), leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, and of course, turkey. The main course (dessert) was made up of 20 pies. The varieties: pumpkin, apple, coconut, pineapple, peanut-butter chocolate, mint chocolate, two kinds of cheesecake, lemon meringue, etc. Everyone talked and had communion with one another until late into the night. When everyone had gone to their own homes to digest some more, something happened that left the night on a sour note that I won’t describe here. Though it was a great night full of fun and joy, we have to remember that people are suffering. Maybe they are next door or maybe they are across the world being persecuted for their faith or whatever the case, we have a responsibility not to forget them even though we are celebrating.


James, Sagares, and I are in Rio de Janeiro enjoying the company of Andrea and Nedson and their house church for a few days. We were going to spend time with Edson and his family but there is a viral sickness that both his son and spouse are afflicted with. I love watching the physical changes in the landscape when you pass from the state of Minas to Rio. The mountains go from smooth transitions and rolling hills to rocky, lumpy, loaf shapes. The rain comes down in torrents. Huge volumes of water cascade down the rocks and look more like liquid silver running down because of the illuminated cloudy sky. Around every corner there is another marvelous waterfall waiting. Like last time, we are treated like royalty though we are undeserving of such hospitality. We went to the beach and I saw the biggest waves I’ve seen in my life, though that is not saying much. I learned how to body surf and catch waves, which one of the greatest feelings in the world. The Beach Boys would agree. The next day I was able to skate at the skatepark by the beach for a couple of much needed quality time with my skateboard. Jonatan taught me some soccer moves and precious Carol played card games with me. Jonatan is the most impressive twelve-year-old I know. He studies the Bible and spends time with God every day, writing down in his notebook the things that God is saying to him. He is already praying for his future wife. He is light-years ahead in his walk than I was when I was twelve, which is extremely encouraging.


Psalms 127 says “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city the watchmen stand guard in vain” but I want to take it a step further which has changed my life significantly. A life not lived for the Lord is a life lived in vain. A day not lived for the Lord is a day lived in vain. For if it is not for him, we only look to gain for our own needs. Something we try with relying on our own power will fail. David and Joshua always had to consult the Lord before a battle and ask if the enemy would be given into Israel’s hands. Whenever they did not consult the Lord they would end up fleeing and many Israelites would die. We are helpless without the Lord. We cannot even change ourselves without him. Many lyrics in rock songs sing about how “I’ll never change.” It’s not that they haven’t tried to change, but they find it impossible to, and it is. If we try to change through our own power, we just end up suppressing our problems and they will inevitably come out ... and not quietly. All of our efforts are in vain, but the Lord makes it possible though not always in the way we would like. Maybe we need healing, spiritual, mental, or physical, although we forget that Jesus is the great healer and all we have to do is ask. Solomon asked for wisdom and received it in copious amounts. Jesus healed lepers, the blind, and the lame and we think he can’t heal our addictions or our insecurities?