The latest – how did I get the idea with Brazil?

Dear readers,
in the future I will use this blog more often again. There are several reasons. Mainly it has to do with the fact that I just want to communicate well what happened to me: I will be leaving Germany and have a testing period of emigration to Brazil. How I came to this conclusion, I want to tell you here in this post. Last year I fulfilled a long-cherished dream going to the World Cup in Brazil. I am an avid football fan for decades now,
I “adore” teams like Werder Bremen, the German and Brazilian national football team. Normally I watch almost all the games of European and World Championships and forget doing normal life around me, which I find relaxing. Of course, I follow the German Bundesliga, too. Going to Brazil for the World Cup was some of sort of non-plus-ultra. In the countries where I was traveling so far, I was always getting along with Brazilians very well, sapped of their vitality, the easy handling of life, their enthusiasm and openness to other cultures, music, dance, and, of course, football. Someday, I’ve always thought that when I meet Brazilians again, one day will go there.
When “begging” my boss for about a year to allow me to go to the world cup, I could hardly believe it that he would. He knew my passion for football. How long did I think about this but due to the unfavorable vacation plan in Baden-Württemberg, it would never be possible. However, with the Ascension and Pentecost holidays, senior prank, oral examinations, it was possible that I could be in Brazil for a total of 4.5 weeks, I missed out on only 7 school days, which I also did not get paid what is fair. I combined the trip with a 4-day stay in Rio de Janeiro, drove 3 days to the romantic place of Paraty, and then to Salvador. There I had the opportunity staying with a family for a week who only spoke Portuguese. Although I had previously enjoyed private lessons with a real Brazilian lady in Lörrach, I was not used to the other dialect, nor in the way of life, nor in their life circumstances. They put in a lot of effort, but it was my first real experience of living in a foreign language where I had no other choice than to learn it. After this week, I longed to return to speaking English, which I found on the YWAM base in the city of Salvador. From here, the street evangelisms of the World Cup were organized. Two employees (a married couple: she Indonesian, he Brazilian) invited me to work with them and simply by getting better acquainted with the Brazilian culture. These 17 days with them I enjoyed fully. As a team of about 25 people consisting of Koreans, two pastors from Zambia, the rest Brazilians, we planned to watch every World Cup game and go to all games in Salvador outside the stadium for the outreach. Outreach or street evangelism means that different churches take part and contribute different things. They all wear the same colorful t-shirt, there is a band, drummers, dancers and caiporistas. The other like us where supplying tracts, colorful bracelets with Bible scriptures on it, Bibles or holding up posters. Passers-by often stopped, danced or ran with us. So it was easy to give them something in the hand. When we enter into conversation with people, we offer prayer and / or tell them about Jesus. Brazilians are not like us German and rushing somewhere to be on time. No, the Brazilians will stop and want to know more, show interest in this mass inertia of Christians who are modern, refreshing, loud and colorful. I thought that was a very good cooperation with YWAM and the local churches. If there was no street outreach (there were “only” 6) we did some worship as a team and prayed at strategic locations within the city, visited an orphanage or evangelized on the beach. For me it was the perfect combination of vacation, do something useful and to be spiritually refreshed again. The casual nature of the local YWAMers made up for things I had experienced as negative in my two years with YWAM Perth / Australia in my past. It was mainly a good time, otherwise I would not consider working again with them.
Certainly the highlight par excellence was the visit to the stadium Fonte Nova itself and not just as a large troop of Christians to represent Jesus in front of the stadium. It was also good and right. But if you have the chance to go to a real world cup match, I wanted to use it well. I visited the first group match of Germany against Portugal, which was a victory by 4 over 0 of our team. Before the match I even met a former student and his dad, who I know from my home church.
During the 17 days of intense time I renewed and intensified my relationship with God, I heard him again, I had more joy spending more time with him and I got new ideas for the future. Although I had long since realized that I would go back to the mission field or, more generally abroad, but did not know for how long and when. An inner voice told me that I should get or pick up something in Salvador. To this day I am not sure what this is. But I felt an inner urge to come back that had not much to do that I have met an interesting man also 😉 On the last day I got a lot of ideas what I could do on the base when I came back in the summer holidays. Several rainbows I got that day and the next day to see. For me, always a sign that I’m on the right track! So I returned to Germany in July, canceled my summer vacation with friends, and flew over again for 5.5 weeks ago – only to Salvador this time. I wanted to know how the base was working as a team, deepen my Portuguese practice, visiting the orphanage and teach what or preach wherever possible here and there. Another project was the design of the garden of the base, which consisted mainly of a minimum amount of green space and coconut trees. With a few tricks you could get out of the little more than I originally thought.
Unfortunately, the story with the interesting man was very short before it even began. But I do not want to elaborate on it here. It was certainly better so that it did not work out between us. But it contributed somewhat that I was not able to enjoy so much time on the base and with other people. They often went the extra mile for me, but there were a lot misunderstanding and insufficient communication between us. During the day I was very much alone. Trips, assignments and visits were continuously moved or did not take place. A common activity – television – unfortunately, I can not endure so long. The Korean team and the two from Zambia were no longer there. Life was slower than usual. I was torn between doing my favorite things (reading, learning language) and just resting. With my lack of Portuguese I was not able to have much strength and nerves fpr new contacts or pushing myself or them. Finally, in particular the implementation of the project should be a community garden project. It does not make sense starting it on my own, since after my departure it cannot be continued. However, I had good meetings, nice trips outside the base, people looking after me and took me to Praia do Forte, for example. In my last week I had suddenly a lot to do that I was quite surprised how this work came about. We brought the garden into existence. I preached once in a church on mission, taught on sex education in two different youth groups and I was invited to meals by different people. At a mini-DTS I taught about the “Hearing the voice of God”. When I started at home again in Lörrach with the new school year, I reflected on my time in Salvador. From the distance, this experience can be better classified. In the routine of daily life you can handle things better. But deep inside I knew at that time only one thing: this is my last school year at the FES Lörrach. Many ideas went through my head: from taking a sabbatical to going back to mission, or to work abroad as a teacher.
I made a list, especially: Middle East OR Brazil. I discussed this with God. Muslims and Middle East had always been my deepest interest over the years. Also, I would rather work with less privileged people. I was torn because both are exciting, both would suit me. However, I had a very strong impression why I had to leave Egypt back then: because as a single woman among Muslims is not a good fit. At the end of my time in Cairo I worked for and with privileged foreigners. Because my love is for teens and teach them well. I can be anywhere in the world. Well as I gathered impressions, ideas, dreams and other things for weeks, the column with Brazil filled quite quickly, which remained virtually empty for the Middle East. Among others, I had a dream where a place that I did not recognize on the map of Brazil was shown to me and where much exploitation of nature had been made. However, it was not the tropical rainforest, although I desire to protect it. Also something else I knew for sure: I cannot go back to Salvador even if they would like to have me back.
Weeks later I was talking with two friends on a hike about what I was hoping to do in the near future. I was still indecisive. Vera said her friend Vanessa (who she knows from Perth) cooperates with a base in the so-called Pantanal area. I have heard this name before but did not know exactly where this place was. When I googled it at home it was exactly this place God (?) showed me in this particular dream. I emailed Vanessa, she rejoiced that I was interested in working at the base. They have exciting projects to offer that match all my interests! I also see a more clear hierarchical structures, project managers, construction projects to be much better organized than Salvador appears. Is this an open door? I still was not convinced to go as a missionary, because I do not see how the funds could come in. Still, I thought of many other things ….
In recent months I have researched and prayed a lot. But partly in despair I applied at language schools in Brazil, looked for paid jobs and also identified international schools in Eastern Europe and in Israel, I sent applications like crazy. Either they turned me down or I heard absolutely nothing. It seemed to me, no matter how hard I tried, nothing worked. I actually thought that with my experience as a teacher and my various times abroad I would easily find a paid job and at the same time can be active in mission part-time! I could be wrong and also easily overlook the fact that we are often overwhelmed as a teachers and are not paid well in a country like Brazil. I ignored my idealism. The end of January I resigned from my job at the FES Lörrach but still need to work until this July. I had nothing else after that. Feeling good is something else – doing such things is not very German. Furthermore, I asked God to show me until the end of February that I really should go to Brazil and give me three supernatural signs within three days. He gave me more than three;-) With greater peace of mind I set out to research of possible visa applications. In the end, it seems the easiest if I go as a missionary. But I was not given much hope from the embassy. There are other rumours that it’s hard to get a visa with YWAM, too. In a moment of clarity and the check-up of two or three other mission organisations I made up my mind that the offer to be sent out with YWAM Altensteig is the best after all. They promised me that I should get a visa. With relatively little funds I’ll still be employed in Germany, have health and unemployment insurance and pay very little fees. Only my pride kept me from considering whether I allow myself to get funded again. Independently of my wide range of experience, I am still in the position of where I can come alive with the gifts and talents I have. I now practice a humble yet joyful attitude towards fundraising because it’s worth it to me – I want to be a blessing to Brazil.
Categories: Cultural Observations | Leave a comment

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