Man, what an experience. What a week. Last Monday, I left Porto Alegre for Canela in the Serra Gaúcho of Rio Grande do Sul to attend the Brazilian Missionary Conference. The first day was quite exciting because of all the familiar and new faces I saw. It was really cool to meet Carlos Castilho,a missionary in Rio supported by MacArthur Park. We were roommates.
I was truly blessed by the presence and teaching from Murray Wilton, mentioned in my last post. He led the daily men’s sessions. What I learned during our sessions is the relief that comes from complete reliance on God, filling your life with the Spirit makes a difference in your desires, far better is joining in God’s work rather than constructing my own ideas of reaching others, and the freedom that comes from absolute, nothing held back, let it all out confession to another brother. Murray cares and he lets God work through his life. He was a gift for me.
John Willis, from ACU and the Highland church, took us (“the two that were listening”) across the Old Testament and a bit of the New. The day and evening trips were fun too. Gramado EXPLODED with music and Christmas lights. For some reason the ATMs in the area would not let some others and I take out money. One day we visited Parque Estadual do Caracol, home of Cascata do Caracol, a 130m (426ft) waterfall at the base of 768 steps. My thighs burned for a few days. It was a good time to catch up with my olf friend Ali and her husband Mark who are now working in Itu.
The crown jewel of the fun at the conference was banquet night. No roast this year, but a Murder Mystery Dinner. I know, my head almost exploded like an atom bomb. I asked myself, “How can fifty-something people participate in the murder mystery of Big Daddy?” Well the organizers, the Rio team members did an excellent job. Drag and all.
Thanks to the Porto ALegre team for an excellent conference.
I went from Canela to Tramandaí on the coast to meet up with Roberto and Moema. I was there one night, but I couldn’t go to Brazil in the summer and not go to the beach. “Those who know the good they ought to do and do not do it, sin.” The next day we went back to Porto Alegre. I met up with Clemens, a friend I met in São Paulo on the way from Santiago to Rio. We had a great conversation and it was good to see him again. EARLY Sunday morning, after two and a half hours of sleep, we went to the airport to catch my flight (6:10A) to Buenos Aires via São Paulo.
Kevin Blume prayed over Dottie, a speaker at the conference and currently my housemate as she is working with the Santiago team, and I as we were about to depart. He’s a special guy with a big heart and a top notch family. Dottie and I arrived in São Paulo and made our way perplexedly through the airport I do not love. The signs in the airport are truly backwards. Well she headed towards Santiago and I Buenos Aires, after an hour+ delay (this is Brazil).
Buenos Aires was fun. It was one day/night. I stayed at a nice hostel, V&S. I have a lovely meal at a parrilla a few blocks away, El Establo. Honestly they had this Caprese salad (basil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and a vinaigrette). Oh yeah. I left my chocolate and chicken from the restaurant in the refrigerator locked up in reception and had to leave prior to the front desk opening. My flight left an hour later than I was thinking, so I could have stayed longer, but that’s ok, I had the opportunity to talk Sueli, my Brazilian roommate at the hostel. Man, our room was hot. While waiting for our, yes, delayed flight, we met Mariano and his newly wedded wife on their way to Brazil for their honeymoon. It’s amazing who God leads you to talk with. Well they were great and before I knew it I was saying goodbye, Mariano hopped up, and gave me a hug and a kiss, well, you know, “kiss-the-air-next-to-my-ear kiss. Those Argentines. Gotta love them.
Now I’m back in Santiago. In the words of my friend Renzo, “buenas noches handsome men.”
Sadly, I did not mention it in my last post, my point-and-shoot camera’s screen broke in Rio so I sent it back with the group to be returned to my mother, so no photos. Check out Mark & Ali’s blog and The Blumes’ blog for some photos and other points of view.