Why am I returning to Natal, Brazil?

A very good question that I am repeatedly being asked.
How can I answer it ?   I’m going to attempt to keep the answer short enough for you to read it, and with enough info for you to understand.  When I started searching for the answer, I discovered it isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. . .

First reason I’ve always stated is “Because I bonded into the culture and I feel more at home in Brazil than I do in the US.”  This is true.  It took three to four painful years in Brazil to learn enough of the Portuguese language and start to understand the “why are they doing this? “
        I learned there are many good reasons for most of the cultural attitudes and mores. (That last word is pronounced mór-eïs and in this phrase means  folkways of central importance accepted without question and embodying the fundamental moral views of a group.” Cultural Dictionary
This means, I began to unconsciously fit into and respect the culture and the history of the country. I didn’t always agree – in the same way I don’t agree with many things in  today’s culture in the USA.

In essence, I started choosing the cultural rules I live by, based upon the principles in God’s Kingdom.  It’s ironic at times. I look like an American, speak English fluently, but do not feel at home in the states.  In Brazil, most think I am German because of my height and build.  I don’t fit the prototype of a Brazilian (although there are many, depending upon where you are in the country.)
I speak with an accent (which is frustrating to me.) I am finally beginning to write almost correctly. With all those negatives, I still feel more at home in Brazil than I do in the states.
But, on the bottom line that is not enough reason to move back to Brazil.

Second reason to return:  I have a small apartment  in Natal (I call it Our Nest) where the breeze comes off the ocean and through the apartment. The doors and windows are open most of the time, I can live there less expensively than in the states, and the warmth of the climate helps my body have less pain.  This is a strong positive but, again, not the basic reason.

Third reason: I won’t be isolated, even though I have no car. People come by all the time.  There is always café, hot and fresh, in the thermos and we can usually scrape up some pão de quijo (a famous small cheese bread.)  And my hammock is swaying in the breeze on the miniscule balcony.
Still not the basic reason for going.

I just received my Brazilian citizenship which is an act of God!  Long story with fine details only God could put together.  But even that is not the basic reason for me going, although it is a strong confirmation.

You see, all my six children and some spouses, 18 grandchildren and more spouses, and 18 great-grandchildren are now all living on the West Coast and East Coast of the US.  I would love to be with all of them – which is not possible.  But living further away doesn’t make it easier.

So, why am I returning to Brasil?  This is the reason.
Colossians 3:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

I have learned that this peace is “gut-level” in modern vernacular, a peace that flows out from my inner self like “rivers of living water”: a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no Law.…

If I do not have this peace, then something is wrong!

Clark’s Commentaries says this about Colossians 3:15
Rule in your hearts – Let the peace of Christ judge, decide, and govern in your hearts, as the judge does in the Olympic contests. No heart is right with God where the peace of Christ does not rule; and the continual prevalence of the peace of Christ is the decisive proof that the heart is right with God. When a man loses his peace, it is an awful proof that he has lost something else; that he has given way to evil, and grieved the Spirit of God. While the living, active peace rules, all is safe.

This is why I am returning to Brazil. I DON’T HAVE PEACE IF I STAY IN THE STATES.
It would be much easier physically to not go.
HOWEVER,  I have learned regardless of how difficult it is to obey God, it is MUCH MORE PAINFUL to disobey Him.
I must trust my family, loved ones and myself to Him. And obey, thanking Him and praying.
Philippians 4:7 … And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Berean Study Bible

What about you?  Do you know that peace personally?  
If not, do you know how to FIND it?  Send me a note of what YOU think.

An Altar in My Mind…

ALTARS – in the Old Testament, people of God built altars: to celebrate a victory, to mark the place of decision, to give God glory and request His help . . .

These altars were a visible reminder of something important.  So it is with the following:

 

An ALTAR in my mind  . .

 

October, 1983

Our home is easily reached by hungry students from the YWAM base close by and several pastors who love to stop by at mealtime.  We have a big round table with a white Formica top sitting under an overhanging roof outside our kitchen door.  The floor of the large area is of stones set into cement with a few jabuticaba fruit trees. The area protected by the roof is large enough that we eat all of our meals outside, even when it’s raining.

 

Tonight it was dark by 6:30 as “unexpected guests” came knocking at our gate. It is now almost 7 pm.  Supper is lasting longer than usual as our family and several friends linger around the big white table, visiting, laughing, drinking hot café com leite and munching on fresh crisp French rolls from the bakery down the road. To my dismay, as I look at the table and the people around it, I realize that I need more food.

Picking up the coffee carafe, I go into the kitchen to make fresh hot coffee, and to find more jam and fruit to go along with the fresh bread.

 

I grab the metal coffee pot I use for making coffee, put it over a high flame on the stove, and start looking for more food I can take outside.  I begin to feel frantic.  There is nothing.

 

I open the door of the almost empty frig. There is still some milk I can heat.  The other thing staring me in the face is my favorite 2 pound white Minas cheese I  bought that morning to be a special treat for my family’s breakfast tomorrow.

No fruit.  Only the cheese.

I firmly close the door of the frig.  That cheese is for my family.  

 

The coffee is ready to pour into the carafe.  More hot milk is ready in a small ceramic pitcher.

What am I going to do?

I open the frig one more time and look at that cheese.

I stand there, talking to God.

Ok, God.  I will take the cheese out to share tonight.  I will never hold back any food when there are people here who are hungry.

But You will have to make sure I have the food to serve.

 

I bend over, pick up that cheese, close the frig door, put the cheese on a plate and take it, the coffee and the hot milk outside to the table amid jokes about me saving the best until the last. Eager hands take the things from me, placing them in the middle of the table where everyone can reach them, making sure I am seated with more hot café com leite and a piece of cheese. I relax, sipping my coffee, allowing the conversation to flow around me as I talk once again with God.  “Thank You, Father.  I did the right thing, and I’m glad…”

______________

Without realizing it, that evening I built an altar to honor God.

Soon,  I will share with you the far-reaching effects of the decision I made as I looked at that delicious piece of cheese.