After a few months in Rio I (Ben) find myself limping. I am sure a great deal of it is kind of a reverse culture shock leaving the isolation and remoteness of Corumba for a big city. There is no doubt a system shock that comes from starting over again as well.
I grew up swimming in rivers on the west coast, fed by the mountains. I remember several times after weeks of swimming in comfortable water, showing up jumping in and getting a shock. Heart racing, body feeling like a thousand needles stuck in you. Several times, it was always after a heat wave or during one. The snow up in the mountains would have started to melt fast and ice water showed up on the valley floors. I remember one time on the kings river in California, it was about 110 out and the water couldn’t have been much more than 60. I thought I would die.
That is how I have felt here lately. We suddenly uprooted moved over a 1000 miles and jumped right into ministry. Suddenly my body is convulsing, my heart is racing and I just want out of the water.
We have been involved in getting some home groups going. We have a bible study out here in our neighborhood on Tuesdays, the church came out and did a kids event. It was fun working with Moriah to build a ski ball like game and bean bag toss. We experimented last Friday with free English lessons and selling Pizza. We are busy.
One of the most exciting things was Melissa starting a girls club. She found an unmet need and began to meet it last Saturday. Her and a couple Brazilian friends look to continue this exciting ministry.
The thing for me has been feeling like why are we doing missions over the top of Brazilian churches. We are in a heavily churched area. I will be the first one to tell you that the issue is to obey God and that every area, region, neighborhood, country, city in the world needs more missions as long as there are hearts rebellious to God.
The fact is though, Melissa and I have grown more and more hungry to reach the less reached, Corumba felt like training for going further and Rio feels like a step back. Our kids need this, it is a season but for me finding passion for what we are doing has proved more than hard. Anyone who has read the blog over the years knows that if I err it is on the side of brutal honesty.
So here it is, Brazil is more than a reached nation. It is a more Christian nation than the US. Where does that leave me? Well it isn’t only a reached nation it is becoming the biggest sending nation in the world. Brazil is producing missionaries and this is where God has me with a frustrated missions heart.
How do I turn that frustration into a positive, do I decide this is pointless and go home when everything I am is a missionary? This is who God created me to be. Do I assume all the miracles God did to demonstrate the call to Rio was wrong?
As we continue to tackle tough questions. As we continue to involve ourselves in the lives of those around us. As we continue to try and socially better the lives of those around us how do I give way to this missions heart.
Pray for us as we begin to tackle taking steps foward
- We want to seek and find the different comunities that have come here (Muslim, Chinese…)
- We want t0 disciple young Brazilian Christians that our excited to be a part of Mission
- We want to lead teams from Calvary Rio to Bolivia, Egypt and who knows
- We especially want to see kids who come to know Christ in the project here grow to be one day sent where we ourselves are not yet sent
- Pray Melissa and I will be able to go to Egypt next spring and take a group to visit Renata a friend serving there
In the end I definately need prayer. I am loosing the ability to cope with the stresses and problems I face. My energy is low, I am thankful to Melissa for pulling me along. However in my spirit I choose to be excited to be in the heart of Brazil, the next great missionary sending nation of the world. I choose to be excited to be a part of what God is doing here and to participate in seeing them fulfill their destiny. I choose to rely on Him not me. I choose to know His purposes in what often feels like a step back is much more likely a great leap forward.