One week from today this chapter called Brazil will be coming to an end......and a new chapter begins. I had intended to write so many other posts during this past month but my life has been on fast forward since the beginning of November. So I will attempt to briefly touch on all the major happenings.
First of all the retreat for my students in Vila Esperança. It is difficult to find just the right words to describe my thoughts on this event which I had been dreaming about doing for over a year. I first want to thank all my fellow missionaries who took part in this experience and were a tremendous help. Cris and Izabel helped in the kitchen. Aaron lead the devotional times and David lent support and was a great role model for the young boys. This was an opportunity for these kids to spend time away from their neighborhood and enjoy fellowship, fun and hearing from God's word. Aaron's devotionals focused on trust and trusting God. He used some creative activities which included the students participation. I am quite certain these activities left a lasting impression on many of the kids. The time we had together was so special and I will never forget it as I am sure neither will the students.
We arrived back home on Saturday afternoon of November 16 and then came Monday morning and I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a bus. I was so sick, which of course is why I was unable to write an update post about the retreat. That was also the week I was supposed to move out of my apartment. Talk about bad timing.....yet thankfully I started recovering and was able to begin packing things up. I thank God because all of my furniture has sold and the apartment is empty.
Last week the parties started.....along with the gift giving. You know it's interesting because earlier this year I was struggling with thoughts about whether or not I had really made an impact here.......and last week those thoughts returned. God was so awesome as He has been sequelching those doubts in so many ways. So many people have told me how much I have meant to them and there has been so much positive feedback about the things I have done. It really shows that God is in the details and that He cares for us.
Last Friday evening my students from Life English Center along with some of the owners went to Kalabalis pizzaria to spend some time together. I really think just about everyone who lives in Cubatão was there because that place was packed and loud. Yet that did not stop some of my students from chanting in Português, "Fica Shelly, Fica Shelly!!" Which means "Stay Shelly, Stay Shelly!!" I must say I have really enjoyed teaching at the English school for these past 2 and a half years and I'm going to miss everyone there.
Saturday was my party with my students in Vila Esperança......and these guys went all out.....you should have seen all the food there.....needless to say it was a lot. The most precious time was when some of them got up to say what it meant for them to have had me as a teacher. It was beautiful and difficult at the same time as I fought not to get emotional. Truly a special time that I will never forget.
Today.....my friend Amy Roberts from Yakima, Washington arrives to walk through this final week with me. I am truly thankful for this gift from God as this journey is nearing it's end. Friends I am so grateful for your support through these last several years as it has been a priviledge serving God here in Brazil.
Now a new chapter begins....and I admit I don't know any of the details....which at times can be daunting. Yet when I remember back to the time when I sensed His calling here.......He didn't exactly lay open His full blown plan for my eyes to see either. That's because He usually doesn't do that.....He wants us to trust Him with our lives...and that is what I have to do right now....trust. I greatly covet your prayers during this time of transition and change.....especially for those days when I might become impatient or wonder when things are going to come together. Yet this I know and it is what I cling to:
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28