As is typically the case, the moment the tires of the car turned onto the main road into Ubaúna, the word spread quickly that we’d arrived!. Within moments of pulling up at Áudrey and Andréia’s home, kids were already appearing. Paul noted that “everyone was staring at us;” and indeed they were. He quickly had the opportunity to put his Portuguese in practice (hint for those of you going in July: learn as much as you can of the Portuguese phrases!).
We learned that Friday nights at the church was the equivalent of Wednesday nights at many American churches and that there would be a service. That was an added bonus we hadn’t anticipated!
A rarity in my experience of living in Brasil, folks began arriving early. Thirty minutes before starting there were over 30 kids present and ready to go. And, much to my surprise, they were relatively calm and controlled! Wow! I wondered if Andréia had been putting Ritalin in their refreshments over the last couple of months. I was very impressed.
When the service began, it REALLY began. The kids have a dance “troupe” that interprets the songs being sung through motions and movement. Remember, these aren’t older kids, they are from 5-13. To see them so intently expressing what they were singing tugged at the heart. I couldn’t help but think of all the trips and all the effort that has been expended over the last four years… what I was seeing exceeded what I could have hoped for.
It happened to be Andréia’s birthday, so all the kids huddled up around her at the end of service and sang “Happy Birthday” to her (this part is a secret, so don’t tell – tomorrow afternoon they are throwing a party for her during the kid’s worship and our job is to keep her occupied while they put up all the streamers and balloons).
They also called me up and the kids presented me with a large, hand-made scroll thanking me for helping them find Jesus. Do you have any idea what it took to be strong and not ball my eyes out like a little baby? Sheesh!