Don’t worry; I’m not going to try and preach because honestly, I wouldn’t be too good at it. However, I got to experience someone who was extremely successful at communicating the glory of our God to me even though I could only decipher bits and pieces of his sermon in Portuguese. You might be wondering how I could judge him as being a good preacher when I couldn’t “understand” most of it. Well, I have to say, this trip has made one thing clear to me; the Holy Spirit allows us to understand and communicate in the craziest, most interesting circumstances, both in and outside of the church.
Although I could not immediately understand each and every word Pastor Matheus said, I was able to put together the words I did know with the passages they read to get a general idea. Isaiah 43 was one chapter they focused on. This chapter in Isaiah can be summarized with verse 5 where Jesus is speaking with Jacob; “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” However, as I continued to read, verse 9 stuck out to me as it specifically said to “gather the nations together” and “assemble the peoples of the world,” as “it was [God] who created them.” I understand that although we are from two different “worlds,” both Americans and Brazilians are called to come together under one God. This is how the Holy Spirit works; by utilizing our inability to communicate to establish a new form of communication much richer than any language could produce.
As I have applied this information, I understand how great our God is, and how the Holy Spirit truly expands across the globe. TThis became even more evident as I was able to hang out with some people I met at the Methodist church. One of the guys, Pedro, spoke English very well so he helped translate a lot of the conversation. However, the part of this dinner that resonated most with me was my interactions with another guy named Leonardo. Leo spoke very little English, but he tried so hard to communicate with me with the English he did know and without a lot of help from Pedro for translations. I really felt the Holy Spirit in that place as we joked around and found similarities between our outlook on religion and other topics, but also the vast differences between cultures. His passion for God filled my heart, and I honestly don’t think I have ever laughed harder in my life. I felt such joy emanating from his person, and that was when I really understood the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although you have probably read a lot about the language barriers we have experienced and how happy we are when we are able to communicate, I want you to know there is something larger at work behind these interactions. Yes, we are learning a new language and figuring out how to communicate, but it is also much bigger than any of us on this earth. Pastor Matheus really helped me understand that Espirito Santo equips us with the tools needed to connect God’s people all over the world, which I was extremely fortunate to experience right after the sermon. This is just another example of the wonder and power of the Holy Spirit and the abilities of a God much greater than we could ever imagine.