It has been a long day for this crew today. Physically, we are tired from playing with children all day from morning to evening. Mentally, we are exhausted from processing all that we saw and all that we encountered.
The day started off in a school near Central Baptist Church in Costa Barros where we worshipped on Sunday morning. At this school, Jenny, Darby, and Paris all spoke to the children and gave their testimonies. Afterwards, the kids swarmed the team so that they could get an autograph from them and play with the basketballs.
The next stop took some of the returners back in time. We visited a one room school house up on top of a hill that we visited three years ago when we came to Rio. It was incredible. We were able to see some of the same kids that we met 3 years ago who had grown up. Those who had never been to this school before were able to make some new friends as we all played soccer, dodgeball, and took polaroid pictures with the children.
At this school, there was singing and dancing for hours on end. At one point, they asked the team to sing a song in English for the school. We sang “Our God” and “Beautiful Name”. We were swept away with the amount of people who joined in signing with us!
The day ended with a buffet style dinner where a few of the players were able to try chicken hearts for the first time (they actually liked them) and after dinner, we met as a team to debrief and set our plans for tomorrow!
Senior and captain Darby Maggard shared her experience of giving her testimony to the children:
“Wow. Sharing my testimony the last few days in front of hundreds of children has been the most humbling of experiences. It is honestly a very intimidating task, sharing such a huge message with so many people that have never heard it before. As I’m speaking, I have no idea if what I’m saying is actually resonating with them until, at the very end, I ask them if they would like to join us in prayer. The first time you hear those kids raise their voices together in prayer, making a decision that is going to give them eternal life, is something that will bring you to tears.
“Seeing these kids react so immediately to God’s word makes it evident that it is not me speaking, but God speaking through me. He is at work in the lives of the people in Rio, and in the lives of each person on this team. I feel completely honored and blessed to be apart of this trip and get to see God changing hearts and lives forever.”