Rio 2015

Love Overflow

Another beautiful day beginning at 6:00 am. We got the opportunity to visit the first school a second time and reunite with our new friends. Once again, they welcomed us with open arms, a delicious breakfast spread, and were even more excited and ready to play and interact with the team. The entire day the students did not have to attend class because they were allowed to spend the day with us.

Teachers, students, and families from the community joined us for a day of basketball, dancing, singing and lunch. We were able to share God’s love to the people of Rio from babies all the way to grandmothers. We then traveled to a local church and were able to worship with the kids nearby. They sat on our laps, sang and raised their hands in worship with us. Betty “B-Dub” gave an invitation to follow Jesus and many of the children repeated the prayer. It was an incredible experience. We ended the day with games, dancing, and a sweet meal provided by the kids and their teachers.

I think we could all agree this trip has become more rewarding for our players hearts than expected. We came to show love and give of ourselves without expecting anything in return. But what we have received has been so much more than we can put into words.

Kylee Smith – “Today was really awesome going back to the school we were at on Wednesday and continuing those friendships we made with the students. There was some exchanging of gifts and I thought it was so awesome how they don’t have much to give but they wanted to give. I gave gifts to two people and they immediately ran home and got me a stuffed animal and a bracelet. We got to worship at church with another group of kids and it was the first time we worshiped with a band and vocalists. Just being able to hold kids while worshipping – I don’t think there is anything better than that.”

Paris Lawson – “Today was great – I was speechless at the end of the day debriefing. I had so many thoughts and emotions from revisiting the first school. The boldness of Sierra and Madi to speak to the group of men took courage and I know it was God working in them. I formed a relationship with a girl named Silva and she kept calling me her sister and she gave me a bracelet. I didn’t give her anything before that and I was literally speechless. These people are so open and happy. We see them as being poor when really, they are the rich ones – in spirit. At the church, all of the kids dancing and everyone singing and the kids repeating B-Dub’s prayer. I was overwhelmed with emotion and could not even get my thoughts together at the end of the night. It was great.”

Darby Maggard – “Today was honestly so rewarding. We got to go to the church with the kids and they just latch onto you and follow you around. They love to be loved and they need love. I thought it was so awesome just to see the little games you play with them – their faces light up with joy when you play a 5 second game with them. It’s just so amazing to see. Today I gave two pairs of shoes away. The little boy was so thrilled and gave me ten hugs because he was so happy. The gratitude that these people live with here is amazing to me. They don’t have much to give but they give it. We started the morning with them giving us a feast for breakfast. They didn’t have to do that but they wanted us to know that they were happy that we were there. It’s just really cool.”

Hannah Harmeyer – “We got to the school and the students were so happy that we got to come back and I thought that was to coolest thing because we made an impact the first time we went there. Also, it made me almost cry and brought me so much emotion when we were giving them gifts. They felt like they had to give something to us as well and some of the things they were offering were so special and important to them. The only things they had and they were so giving and so kind. It was very emotional to see how giving they were even though they didn’t have much to give. I think we showed the students we are just like them. We aren’t more special or any better. We like similar TV shows and similar music. We are similar people and I think they realized that and it helped with their connection with us and with Jesus. They paid attention more and listened when we talked about Jesus because of our similarities.”