Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Volunteer Team Diary - Day 4


This is the day I have been most worried about. The church planter in Gravataí is André, one of my former seminary students. He works for himself, and leads a house church in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. On Friday, I called André to make sure everything was set for the team, and he informs me that he'll be starting a new job in Porto Alegre on Monday and that neither he nor his wife will be present with the team on Tuesday. But it's ok, because he already has 8 visits scheduled (it was supposed to be 35) and he'll have someone meet us under the fig tree in the neighborhood to tell us where to go. Instead of having 6 guides as planned, we'll have two, both of whom are children. This is seriously stretching my ability to be flexible!

9:30 - We arrive in Gravataí and there is a 7 year old guide there to take us to the house which will be our home base. I head to the house and talk with Adriana, the wife of the home where the church meets, who won't be going out with us because she's just had a baby. She tells me that the baby's hip was displaced by the doctor when she was born, and they haven't been able to get an appointment in the public hospital to do anything about it - maybe they'll be able to get in in about two months, when it might be too late to repair the damage. Despite this, Adriana had a tremendously positive attitude about it and was trusting God to bring the best for her family - it was inspiring to see such faith and trust in a new believer! It turns out that we have about 20 visits scheduled, and we spread out through the three streets of the neighborhood for visits. None of our visits panned out, including one lady who was so embarassed at the condition of her house that she refused to even come out and speak with us. My colleague Bill started talking with a child across the street, which led to an opportunity for one of our teams to go into the house and witness to the family, who ended up making a decision for Christ - thank God for the interesting ways that He leads!

12:30 - Lunch at the truck stop

14:00 - I stayed behind at the house to do a visit with Adriana's mother and another lady, who ended up getting up and leaving halfway through the visit to go get her kids from school. Adriana's mother gives her life to Christ, along with 18 others in 19 visits done by the team.

The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to communicate in English, Portuguese, and Brazilian sign language (which I don't know) with four deaf teenagers (Adriana and Daniel's oldest daughter is deaf, and these were her friends). I don't know how well we communicated the gospel, but it was a learning experience for us all!

20:00+ - Daniel (the head of the house) and André arrive from work and the service starts with standing room only in a VERY COLD living room. After music, testimonies, and a message, I had a chance to hand 19 names of new believers to André, who said that those slips were the best present we could ever give him!

22:00 - Dinner in a sandwich shop in Porto Alegre.

00:15 - Phone call from an irritated van owner complaining about the late hours of our team and threatening to charge us more for the use of the van because he'll have to pay overtime. The van driver, whom we have been witnessing to, later tells me that it was all a lie, as he doesn't get overtime, and not to worry about it.

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