After 28 hours of travel, nearly 5,000 miles, and two entire years of anticipation, our group has finally arrived in São Paulo. We have been preparing for this trip these past few years, and although we have studied diligently, I do not believe there is anything that can truly prepare you to live in a country you do not know with people you have never met. As we exited the bus to meet our host families, the Brazil of my dreams met the Brazil of my reality. I now had to put all of my preparation into practice, and I felt nothing but inadequacy. Walking up to greet my host family for the first time, I felt my heart pound with every step. How was I ever going to do this?
We greeted our host family with the common words and phrases that we knew in Portuguese, and we got in their car to go home. One of the first things my host father said is that Brazilians love American worship music, and he proceeded to play the song “God is Able” by Hillsong Worship, first in English and then in Portuguese.
As the song continued to play, I stopped and took a deep breath. I realized that this trip is about much more than overcoming my fears. This trip is about seeing more of God’s world, understanding more of His story, and loving the people He has made. It is about learning that in spite of my fears, God is able to do much more than I ever imagined.
God has brought such joy into my life just in these past few days. Anna and I have laughed countless times with our host family as we try to understand one another using Google Translate. Although we speak different languages, we have already laughed until we cried. The family’s pet bird, Sisco, has also kept us laughing. He squawks, screams, and follows our host mother around the house, and we are still just as obsessed with him as we were on day one.
Brazilian food has also become a joyous part of my life. Lucky for us, our host sister knew we loved brigadeiros (a Brazilian dessert) and made them for us to enjoy. Lucky for her, we left none untouched and proceeded to eat the entire bowl.
As I ponder all that God has done in my heart just in these past few days alone, I have learned to let go of my fears and start to be free. I cannot help but be excited for all that I believe God will do throughout the rest of this trip. God is able, and He will never fail.