“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize there were the big things.” Robert Brault
There are so many things to enjoy in Brazil and that includes the flowers. I remember the names of a few, not because there were so many but because my memory fails me. Take a look and remember the Creator who over millions of years put those flowers together.
Then I recall not only nature but the beautiful cities Brazilians have built, often without much modern equipment. But what sticks in my mind is the beauty of a great number of people who spend much of their lives in ministry.
When we lived in Neves Paulista, an interior town in the state of São Paulo, we were also planting churches in Rio Preto, José Bonifácio as well as ministering on coffee ranches. Then we had an invitation from the man pictured below from the town of Poloni, to begin services in his yard. His name is unknown to me but his face shows the hardship of his many years. But he is one of those beautiful people that we came to know in Brazil. His beauty and that of others came from giving a hand to people—in this case the poor families that surrounded his yard.
That sort of beauty will not fade but continues on in families and society as a whole. Here is a picture of Dr. Tércio Obara with a couple of friends. As a dentist he has taken teams to give medical help to the native Indians in Brazil, to groups in Africa and the Far East. He has been a key person in building a church in the slum area known as Eldorado. One day his wife said to me, “I don’t know whether he is a missionary or a dentist. “
Then there are those that are remembered though in their graves, for they have had a helping ministry throughout life. Few in our Brazilian church stand out more than Rev. José Emerenciano and wife Dna. Irene. The school in Monte Santo, Bahia that located in a poor, nearly desert area is named after him. It began with 40 children and now exceeds 800. What a memory legacy!
As for Dna. Irene, her ministry to people became one in which her hospitality extended to VISA teams that we led to Brazil. I remember her telling of directing a Sunday School group where a little boy would not leave her side. He came from a miserable home that I shall not describe; she gave him love and care so that he grew to be a respected person and citizen. Wow!
We met Dr. DeCoud la Rosa in Brazil and again in Paraguay where he was born. I recall him for he gave me a Guaraní New Testament. Why so important? Dr. DeCoud la Rosa was not only a professor at the Ascunion U. but a faithful Christian who translated the New Testament into Guaraní. That was so important for Guaraní is the language not just of some indigenous people but the everyday language of the Paraguayans.
Then there is pastor Josué who though teaching at a university in São Paulo planted a church in São Bernardino. Pastor Josué is important to a number of us Canadians for we were a part of teams that contributed both money and labour to help build that sanctuary.
Then there are the Brazilian volunteers who drop their work for a few weeks to give a hand in building a church or a school. What a wonderful dedicated group! They look so ordinary but the beauty is there.
There are more, many more from area churches here in Canada that have sacrificed to go to Brazil to give a hand in churches and schools. Beauty spilling out everywhere. It is not just the faith of these we have mentioned but the work of their hands that will bring rewards as we stand together by “…the river that flows by the throne of God.”