Tag Archives: Rio de Janeiro

Alone – But Not Home

Rio de Janeiro - looking down hillside to CityI’m smiling as I stand barefoot, on a grass lawn: I kick off my shoes so I can feel the coolness of the grass under my feet – so different from the concrete around our home in Belo Horizonte!   We arrived in Rio de Janeiro this morning after an exhausting 8 hour bus trip during the night: cooler to travel at night.    Our bodies are tired, but mine is being refreshed.

After delicious hot café com leite (boiling hot milk poured into strong dark Brazilian coffee with natural raw sugar to sweeten it,) freshly baked and still warm crunchy individual pães (french bread) broken open and covered with dabs of melting butter and exotic fruit marmalades, different sliced cheeses, sweet pineapple slices and papaya – that was our breakfast, sprinkled with laughter and love!

I am now wandering outside with the warm sun on my back and from the vantage point of this high hill, looking over the lawn’s retainer wall  below me to see a mosaic of houses, then of tall apartment buildings and businesses and, there, in the far distance, I see the glint of the Atlantic Ocean under the canopy of a deep azure sky.

As I wander on the grass, I am conscious of the voices in the background: friends conversing intermingled with the laughter of children.  But this is my moment alone, and I cherish it and hold it like a soap bubble shimmering in my hand.  I know it won’t last long, but I’m enjoying the beauty of it while I have it.

My muddled thoughts become words to God.  Questioning the financial challenges we’re experiencing (because donors in the states didn’t keep their promises of giving to our mission outreach), on top of the other strains and stresses of language and life with all the cultural customs that we keep bumbling into.

“Lord, what can we do differently?  Where can we go for help?”

As my thoughts and question form into words, I continue looking around me, feeling the sun and the green grass, my physical body soaking in the sounds and sensations of the day that surrounds me.  This is so good!

 

My conversation with God continues.  Father, where can we go for help?
We are foreigners in a strange country.  Here in Brazil, there are no such things available when needed like food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits.  I become aware that, in the states, I had unconsciously depended upon the “safety net” these government services provided.  But now – there is no safety net. There is nowhere nor no one to whom we can turn to for help.

I suddenly stop, when the thought penetrates into my brain.
We are totally alone here. There is only God to help us.
It is between Him and us!

 

I look up at the blues of the sky overhead. I watch small clouds playfully dancing past, changing shapes fashioned by the winds.  I feel the breeze blowing through my hair and touching my skin.  I feel life around me and life in my body.  My mind is quiet and at rest.

I’m astonished at the peace I am sensing.

God, my Father.  The One I’ve talked to since I was a small child in my bedroom, with Whom I conversed when I fed the chickens and gathered the eggs, Who was my friend when I climbed a special cherry tree, its branches forming a natural chair for me to sit and read, hidden from others by its rustling leaves, Who has comforted me when I wept, and danced with me when I laughed.
He is beside me at all times. . . I can trust Him.

 

We will depend upon Him.  He is our safety net.  Government red tape fails.  People we love, fail.  But God does not fail!  His Word is true reality.

I stand there alone, surrounded by His love and thank Him. My life focus has forever shifted.
I turn towards my children as they call to me to come see something they want to share with me. The soap bubble disappears.
My mind is no longer muddled.

I personally know Who is with us.  We need no one else.

 Jesus and under his wing

 

Ps 91:1-2

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
NIV                                                             -Voni 

How do you think my focus changed?  Do you think it was a  positive change?

What about you?  What is your focus?

Are you trying to resolve everything by yourself, yet failing miserably?

Have you hit the wall, and you have no one to turn to?

Read the rest of Psalm 91 and Psalm 23.  Read them out loud, slowly and thoughtfully, listening.

Let me know what you think. . .

 

 

Simply Writing

handwriting
handwriting
Tonight, I am frustrated… not sure why..
I want to write – not only about  sorrows and learning… but about the Kingdom of God/the nation I live in.
How do I share about cross-cultural communication and the Kingdom of God as my home.
I am American, hoping to get my Brazilian citizenship, but my “home nation” is God’s Kingdom.  Those are the laws and principles that don’t change.  How can I share across cultural lines and divides?
God’s laws have proven themselves to me,  countless times.  The more I learn from history and science I am saying again and again “WHAT AN AWESOME GOD!”
globe n & s america
 
I also want to write about some of the funny things that have happened; some of the scary things; and about some of the challenging things.
How can I draw word pictures about when a parrot was on the table at our host’s home, and pecking food off of our plates?  And a toad was calling Joe’s name out of the jungle.
Or the time I sat in a roadside restaurant where we stopped to eat, and the dogs and chickens came and went at will, cleaning up whatever food fell to the floor.
 (Sometimes those who were eating simply threw something down on the floor if they didn’t want it.)  No, I didn’t check out the kitchen.
Contrast that with some of beautifully  incredible restaurants where I’ve eaten . . .
Wonderful hotels  I’ve enjoyed – contrasting to my memories of a hotel where we spent a night that had no ceiling, only the bare tile roof, and the hundreds of spider webs woven between the roof and the wooden rafters. (fortunately no spiders fell upon us during the night.)
The magnificence of Iguaçu Falls (to me even more beautiful than Niagara Falls), and the “meeting of the waters” on the Amazon.  The wonder of O Redentor – the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro.
VIEW ABOVE RIO
VIEW ABOVE RIO
The day almost 100 people were baptized in a pool at a private camp: we all drove there and – just as the baptisms were beginning – a huge tropical rainstorm started pouring buckets of water down on everyone.
All of us watching got just as wet in the drenching rain as those who were baptized… and we all laughed, sang, prayed and rejoiced together.  Those who were baptized had brought a change of clothing. All the rest of us went home – WET
The incredible sky full of stars that came close to the earth as I walked at night in a field of a farm far from Brazilia and any electricity.
The loneliness – and the joys – failures and victories – the challenges of  learning a new culture, country and language and raising our six children…                       
 
My heart yearns to share these thoughts and experiences.
Does anyone want to hear them?  would they be encouragement to some?
 
Voni
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