“Not everything will go as planned in Brazil!” was our mantra by the time we left for Brazil. However, I could not have prepared for the unexpected and sad news I received when I called home. A family friend I called “Grandma” was going into hospice care. On Friday morning, I got a text asking the heartbreaking question, “Is there anything you would like us to tell her if she wakes up?” That day we were going to volunteer at the Casa de Jardim, the wonderful day-home for children without a good home life. I was torn between my two options: stay near Wi-Fi and possibly be a comfort or talk to Grandma, or go spend time with the children. I walked up to Julie (one of our trip leaders) and fell apart, another thing I had totally not planned on! However, she hinted that perhaps God had placed me in this position for a reason. Mulling over this the entire teary ride to the Casa do Jardim, I realized that meant perhaps God had put me in a certain place at a certain time for a purpose. Maybe I was present where I was supposed to be.
We had a great time! Abby and I played with a group of boys ages 13 to 16. Despite a language barrier and the distractions from home, I participated in the universal game of Uno. The boys were so spirited that they helped keep me in the moment while we taught them the famous “cup song” from Pitch Perfect. When they pulled me out of my seat to play a variation of tag, I found myself grateful for the distraction. I was even able to connect with one younger boy who kept peering in from the kitchen with a simple smile and the typical Brazilian handshake.
Each one came to give us a encouraging goodbye squeeze, and the same younger boy gave us all little cheek kisses; I promptly swooned at the cuteness. Near Wi-fi again, my sister let me know that Grandma was at peace. That put my heart at ease for her. Of course, I am still worried for my family and friends, but, at the end of the day, I feel like I was in the right place, at the right time, to make some simple connections for a purpose.