I have a unique advantage over almost all the people in our group that are going. While the others will be able to communicate with the Brazilians through gifts and actions, I will also be able to communicate with them in their own Portuguese language.
I learned Portuguese after I went to Brazil for the first time in 2005. I had such a deep desire to be able to communicate with the people that God placed in front of us. And for 9 months, I took Portuguese lessons from a native Brazilian from Sao Paulo that I met in Springfield. And the following year, in 2006, I was able to return to Rio Branco and meet with Junior's mother and listen to her and console her as she told me about Junior's death. God allowed me to learn Portuguese for a reason. I consider it a gift.
And for that reason, my heart has been burdened to do something more with my gift of language this year in Brazil. I am burdened to speak more than just the look-at-me-I-know-Portuguese words (Oi! Tchau! Boa noite! Bom dia! Obrigada!).... Instead, God has burdened me to really focus on having meaningful conversations with those we meet. I want to be able to sit down with a group of ladies and ask them deep questions about who they look to for comfort, about their thoughts on God, and explain to them the purpose of why our team is there. I want to be able to look men in the eyes and remind them that they have a responsibility to be leaders. I want to hold a child and sing them a song about how Jesus loves them.
I believe that God will use me if I simply trust in Him.
If you think of it, please pray for me... that I can continue to refresh my memory of the language that I already know, and that I will continue to learn more in these next 7 weeks. Pray that when the time comes, I will not be shy or timid, but that I would be bold in speaking Truth with those I meet. Our team will be without an official translator this year, so pray that God would give those of us who can speak Portuguese the ability to communicate effectively. And pray that if necessary, God would give us the words to deal with any mean people at the airport. :) Amen.
Try out your Portuguese here... Have fun!