When reflecting on our time spent in Rio de Janeiro, the first thought that comes to my mind is Joy. What we experienced as a team spent in Brazil is untouchable. The lives that we changed, moreover, the lives that changed us, will never be forgotten. As I try to explain to people what we experienced, I find myself just smiling, and usually saying something along the lines of, “Wow, it was just amazing,” or “I don’t even know where to start,” or “It was seriously the most incredible week of my life.” The way the Lord worked throughout those favelas and throughout our hearts is unexplainable. The people I met in Brazil are easily some of the most thought about people in my every day life now.
I was nervous in the beginning of the week about the language barrier. I thought that this might limit us from communicating with who we wanted to, or being able to spread the word of God easier; however, that was far from what happened. God removed any type of language barrier we might have experienced. The translators helped us with such ease and we were able to communicate in such special ways. It might not have always been with words, but with actions.
The Lord was working all around us. There was never a time during those 10 days that God was not present or holding our hands through it all; and that’s what we need to remember now that we are back in the States. God is still all around us and is still working just as hard to help us show His love.
The children of the favelas we visited in Rio are the most incredible people. Though they may not have what we have, they sure acted like it. Their smiles are unbelievably contagious. One of the girls that I got really close to during the week wanted to give me something on our last day, but she did not have anything to give me. She looked at me and with the biggest smile on her face, looked down at her wrist and gave me her bracelet. She was so excited that she now had something I could wear everyday to remember her- as if I wasn’t going to remember her everyday already.
I miss these children every single day. I often find myself just looking at pictures from the trip because I miss it so much. Three of my closest friends from one of the schools walked thirty minutes to meet us at church so they could see us one more time and hear Pastor Douglas speak. When I asked them how far they walked, they just laughed and replied, “We would’ve walked further to see you guys.” Their hearts are gold and their influence on me is unexplainable.
I cannot thank Brentwood Baptist, Sharon Fairchild, Belmont Women’s Basketball and Betty Wiseman enough for helping us make this trip possible. The hard work that they did to make this trip a success was never unseen and we are very appreciative of it. The children of Rio will forever be in our hearts and will never be forgotten.