Every day in Brazil has been jam-packed with activities: Portuguese classes, job shadows, company visits, cultural activities, and trying to navigate this new culture. It’s hard to keep track of what I’m doing and when, and I quickly learned to just go with the flow and be prepared for anything. Yet, one thing I can count on every day is late hours spent with my host siblings. It’s funny how just over a week ago I didn’t even know these people existed, and now they have a permanent place in my heart.
Each night is spent somewhat differently but revolves around one thing — dinner. As always, I look forward to the amazing food they introduce to us, but more than anything I love getting to experience and be a part of their family dynamic. The love they have for each other is so vibrant and clear to see, and I couldn’t be more grateful for how it extends to Tiffany and I. However, it doesn’t stop there; they pour their light into as many lives as possible.
Last night, we went over to visit my host sister’s boyfriend, Danilo. His family was so excited to have us and made a ton of food. As it turns out, every Tuesday they have a mini devotional where they pray and sing worship songs before they eat dinner. They wanted us to participate, and they wanted to thank God for our presence in Brazil. Since I go to school at Roberts, this was not something completely new to me, but it was the first time I felt warmth and even got a little emotional.
Danilo realized it was my Mom’s birthday and asked if we all could pray for her. I have never personally experienced anyone show so much interest in and love towards someone they have never met. I teared up not only because I miss my family back home, but also because of the family I’m becoming a part of here. As my roommate Tiffany led a prayer for my mom, I got chills. Listening to people I love open their hearts to others who mean so much to me, meant everything. Afterwards, they asked to facetime my Mom so they could sing happy birthday to her. Watching my two worlds connect was truly heartwarming.
Due to the way I’ve been treated by others in the past, I have trouble opening up. I have been scared to open up for fear of being judged, and I have lived thinking it is better to remain closed off in order to protect myself. My host siblings have broken down the walls I have built up without me even realizing, and the love being poured into me is changing the way I look at the world and others.