Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Two Way Blessing

Last night was the highlight of our time in Brazil for me, and is the main purpose for our being here. As I shared in an earlier blog, our church (more specifically the Women's Bible Study) raised some money and donated some items to our friends who live in the slums of Brazil. Tamiris, the fifteen year old daughter whom we are close to, came to CTMDT to walk us to her house. This was a big deal as she would not take me to see her home in 2009 because she was embarrassed. I could tell that she was nervous last night, but I just tried to make her as comfortable as possible.

We brought along one of my English Students, Issabella, to help translate. Tamaris and her family live in a cement house that is about 300 sq. feet. There are five family members and they all sleep in one room. Originally, I did not think they had a bathroom in their house. I was happy to see that they did have a small bathroom though it only had a curtain separating it from the rest of the house. They obtain their water from a wealthy neighbor on the hill. Apparently this is how most of the neighborhood gets their water. Fortunately, the city will be coming into the favelas in the near future to bring water and to build a paved road. This is great news on some fronts, but presents a challenge on others. The first challenge is that the proposed road will be built in the middle of our friend's only bedroom. Secondly, having water brought to the neighborhood will cost the individual families money that they don't have.

First we gave them some USA shirts that we brought from home. They immediately put them on and posed for some photos. They proudly wore the United States symbol and will most likely wear them often. We have found that every Brazilian we have given a U.S. shirt, hat, or bag to has worn it proudly. At least there are still countries around the world that love Americans!

We presented three bags of clothes and shoes to the family. They were overwhelmed. The mom, Maria, told us that they have gone many years without clothes. She also told me that she only had one pair of pants prior to last night when we were able to give her several pairs of pants that were donated from the U.S.

They were silent as they sorted through the many pairs of brand new shoes that our good friends, the Thayers donated. We asked them to share the shoes with their friends as there were too many for one family.

After visiting for a while, we asked them what their greatest needs were as we still have some cash that was designated for their family. They said that they felt ashamed to share their needs as we had already given them so much. We sat in silence for a few minutes and then I told them that our church was very honored to bless them. They finally shared that they needed to build a new bedroom (or two) since their one bedroom was going to be demolished. Their dream was to have two bedrooms so their teenage daughters could have some privacy.

I nearly cried when Maria was speaking and sharing her heart. She told us that this was her biggest dream. Can you imagine having your biggest dream be for your daughters to have their own room?! I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that the Lord allowed us the privilege of knowing this humble family, and that through the generosity of our church back home, we were able to bless them. Today they are going to find out how much it will cost to add a bedroom to to their humble home and we are hopeful that we will be able to purchase the materials necessary to build the room prior to our departure back to the U.S. on Tuesday. Our time here has been short but very productive and our hearts are full of love and gratefulness for our Brazilian community.

Thank you so much for being a vessel of the Lord and for caring about those halfway across the world. This was definitely a two way blessing. Through your generosity we were able to bless this family with material needs, but I think that this humble family blessed us even more!

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