Friday, August 03, 2007

The Essential 3 ::: Brasil - 2005

In the summer of 2005, 12 years after the last time I led a student team out of the country, I traveled with a team of 10 students and leaders to serve and assist one of GCC's mission families. The McMs were living in Londrina, Brasil building relationships with university students. Our team came to town to help them catalyze relationships in the medium of a culture exchange between American and Brasilian high school students. The 10 days centered around average teenage life together including meals, music, movies, and bowling with the periodic deep life discussion talks thrown in there for good measure. On to the 3 essential questions.

1. Am I planning to have an impact that lasts for 500 years?
Absolutely, even without knowing it. We had invested in two local connections, two investments that could go on to make significant strides in leadership, relationship and movement. The first, J, was a high school student at the top of his class in academics and athletics, who the McM's had nurtured and catalyzed. J epitomized a local, indigenous leader: a high school student who could reach more high school students than any adult, and a Brasilian who could reach more Brasilians than any American. J was committed to impacting his peers for the Kingdom, and has continued to go on to university, still involved in investing in others. The second was F, a lovely mother and housewife who wasn't a believer at the time but was certainly a connector. F and her family had a deep reach into the community via her husband's job relationships, her friendships with other moms and the group of kids their two sons hung out with. Although F, person of peace and connector, still isn't a believer to my knowledge, she is still deeply connected to the McMs and is still impacting others for Jesus whether she knows it or not.

2. Can both host and teams trust each other because we are partners?
Absolutely. I could [and would, and did...] trust our hosts with our students. Our team was well prepared and lived up to expectations and reputations. Based on the McM's recommendation, we had students live with host families that were not connected to a church. When one of our students there got a stomach bug, I knew he was in the right place when the host mom [F from above] made him soup.

3. How will I engage the culture?
Like mentioned above, we utilized host families and had no regrets. Engagement of the culture via a culture exchange was one of our primary ministry tasks and almost all of our team got to see Brasilian culture up close. This ranged from seemingly innocuous contexts like the mall to Brasilian barbeque [oh my word] to the extreme of Brasilian culture watching - seeing a local soccer game.

Photo: Some of our team at local soccer game.
Related:2005 - Brasil.

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