What a great day. It started out by getting rushed out of the house because I thought I was late. I ate a hurried breakfast in the car on the way and got there 15 minutes early! Once we loaded on the bus, we got to church an hour before the service began! Having been up late the night before at a soccer game, I was not in the best mood because of all the sleep I had missed out on.
After church, we were treated to Brazilian barbecue and then took a trip to Ibirapuera park. As always, I was carrying a Frisbee. Some of us tried throwing it around, but we were all so fatigued from the beach and the soccer game the day before that we couldn’t do it. We did get to go to a physics demonstration about diffraction, refraction, and lasers at the planetarium in the park. I got to light a match with a laser. Super fun!
Then we loaded up and went to the second church of the day. We were told that this would be a bit more of a charismatic service than the first, but I could not have been prepared for how incredible it would be.
I was struck by three things about the service. First, the music was so well done. It was loud, but the noise was power not pain. We all agreed the base player was one of the best we had ever heard. All but one of the songs were Portuguese versions of worship songs I’ve sung in my own church, but these had a charismatic Brazilian twist that brought me back to my gospel church background from my early childhood. Music hasn’t had me going like that in a long time!
Second, these Brazilians pray beautifully. When the pastor prays, it’s like an invitation for everyone to start praying. The room erupts, and God gets waves of worship at 500 words per second. In my own church and among my friends I never understood why people waited to pray in turn, but now I know not everyone does. It was so moving to be part of a church deep in prayer together. I felt so at home.
Third, the hospitality of these people has no rival. There were three times of greeting within the service, one of which was designed for groups to pray together, and they included us. A group gathered with a few of us and all started praying at once. At the end of the service we were called to the front and they prayed over us.
Today started out with too little sleep, too much soreness, and a bad mood, but ended with a blessed heart. Fatigue was washed with the Holy Spirit, and we were energized by the joy of these people. I have not felt as at home as I did tonight anywhere else in Brazil. God used the people of Brazil to give me a dose of home right when I needed a sleep substitute. I was refreshed and blessed by the Lord’s beautiful people.
~ Jared Sittig