It is good that I like making decisions. Many times I embrace making decisions because I have been doing quite well sticking to them as well. Especially those ones that concern the future, those ones that are longterm, those ones that might change my whole life…
Enough general talk! I mean the decision with going to Brazil. I kind of had a clue that I would be going to Brazil already a year ago. I was planning my first trip over there, visited Rio, Paraty, and Salvador. It was beautiful and tough. But things got together: I fell in love with the lifestyle, the language, even the beaches, and especially the people. I enjoyed what I did: talking to people about Christ during the World Cup. As a former YWAMer you may always think, where would God call me next? When I fell in love with a Brazilian guy, too, I couldn’t really believe it – it was almost too much to handle. And yes, of course, it is so natural to love when you are in a sunny pretty country feeling comfortable in your own skin. Suddenly, hope was coming up. Me being in my late 30s couldn’t really believe that a young Christian guy would be so direct.
When I went the second time, I have to admit it was mainly because of him, hoping we would spend lots of time together and figure out together where God wants us and if are meant to be. I had strange but clear confirmation that I was supposed to come back also for asking God if He wanted me in Salvador mainly for ministry reasons. But both couldn’t get accomplished. It was a very frustrating season and it was no ones fault really, Generally, there was a lack of communication and false expectations, misunderstanding of culture. My friend was too busy to work, hung up on past bad relationships, avoiding me most of the time. Later on, it turned out he couldn’t handle my nearness, always fearing his fleshly desires to be lived out. I simply saw it as rejection, not as a person but for a possible relationship. Out of this disappointment I found it extremely hard to focus on ministry. My Portuguese wasn’t very good, everyone on base had their own agenda. Yes, I had a few invitations here and there but there wasn’t a real schedule for me and for everything I planned I needed people. Although I made some good friends, spoke at churches here and there, started making the garden, I left desillusioned.
Why do I still want to go back to Brazil then?
You can imagine it was one the toughest decisions I made. I knew I had a call for the nations. I still liked Brazil. It might not be forever because there are two hearts beating in my chest: one for the Brazilians (as they have always been a blessing for me), another one for the Muslims/Arab world. I also love teaching, teenagers, languages, different cultures, and community development. I would also love to get married and share my life. How do I make a decision that blesses many people, satisfies my still non-Christian family, and makes me sort of happy, too?
Looking back now over the last months, it can only go step by step:
October 2014: making a list – dis/advantages for Middle East and Brazil + what is God saying – it only spoke FOR Brazil
December 2015: my boss extended my deadline in resigning from my job until the end of January. I wrote several job applications to schools in Brazil, called, emailed like crazy. I also applied to teacher jobs in Bosnia, Armenia, and Israel. Either, I was a day late or simply didn’t respond at all. Brazilian international schools only want native English speakers. Ok, I don’t want to work in an elitist environment. I wish to work for the poor, with the poor, in a non-threatening, less-achievement oriented environment, living out my gifts and interests. I have also been working as a teacher for 8 years in three different countries. So, I am kinda worn out, always driving near a burnout….
January 2015: I resigned from my job, had nothing but peace.
February 2015: checking into working at language schools in bigger cities of Brazil. I had a job offer and a place to stay in Cuiabá where there was also a YWAM base where I had loose contacts through a friend of a friend. Now it was the turn to apply for a work visa. But the language school can’t do it.
I also asked God for three supernatural signs if I am supposed to go to Brazil. I think, I even got more than three. For example: meeting random Brazilians on the street. A student wearing a football jersey of the selecao. Reading about Piranhas that are only present in the Pantanal (Cuiabá) and in the Amazon river….
March 2015: While watching my favourite TV show (Sportschau) it dawned on me that I could actually go as a missionary because I have saved up some money, could get a head start, and see what happens next. What did I save up this money for? Next day at church a few worship songs made me cry, realizing my pride that I just didn’t want to go as a missionary only. I wanted to take care of myself, I wanted to be able to be independent because I have achieved a lot already…my CV looks good, I have experience, why not getting paid for what I do? For me it totally makes sense. But here I was standing in front of God, realizing my extreme need of him, humbly realizing that being a missionary is a job, too. It is living in total dependence on the one who made me, loves me endlessly. I really don’t mind being a missionary. What I mind is asking people to help me, finance “me”…but is it really about me?
April 2015: I am traveling to Altensteig and get an employment with YWAM again. What a blessed situation: Germany allows missionaries being officially employed, meaning, they are still health insured, paying taxes, fees, etc. which means I am not risking everything. I had too many health issues the last years, two surgeries in 2.5 years so It is good I take on responsibility in this area.
I am also applying for a visa to Brazil now. First, it is hard to figure out which one I would get = volunteer’s or social worker visa. Then what papers I would need and where? YWAM Cuiabá couldn’t invite me due to missing papers, as I described in an earlier post.
May 2015: I started fundraising. Created a brochure, invited people, spoke to my closest friends. I also had a tough conversation with my mum who doesn’t understand why I am doing this: leaving a good job, working for the poor, going so far away. I understand their concerns, maybe parents, especially well-meaning, are always worried. But on top, my brother and wife got separated in March, leaving debts, taking their kids. They feel kinda punished and left alone. They celebrate their 40th anniversary of marriage where I come for a visit.
I also paid a visit to Munich to hand in my papers for the volunteer’s visa into the Brazilian consulate. I combined it with seeing my Brazilian friends who moved there at the beginning of the year. It was a perfect combination and a good time. It seemed wherever I went I could here Portuguese. A sign again?
As of Wednesday, my documents (that were a battle to get because in the end, there were so much more expensive than anticipated) were complete and good. I will have good chances to get the visa and receive it in about 3-4 weeks. As of last Friday, I am not sure anymore. The official from the consulate told me that there is one paper missing from Brazil. My new base guaranteed me a complete roll of papers that when I received them I guessed that still, they wouldn’t be complete. Now, I don’t know what is going to happen…
I also checked flight prices and went into a travel agency. It is almost outrageous how expensive it is…it becomes more expensive the longer I wait to book. Please pray things will fall into place.
And when I am still looking for signs of encouragment from the one who loves me most…strangely, I get them. And I should be specific: meeting Brazilians or something that really points to Brazil,
– the lady who was a costumor in the travel agency before my turn, also wanted to go to Brazil
– I met a cleaning lady at school after I prayed with my prayer partner. It turns out she is from Bahia, Salvador, even the same area where I lived last year. She seemed really happy talking to me in Portuguese. Even when my friend saw me talking to her, she thought, Brazil is a good fit.
– Yesterday when I was on a little trip with my parents waiting for the ferry to take us over the river, I heard and then listened to a familiar language where I understood everything. There has been a group of Brazilians at the oddest place in the world.
Is this God? I mean it is fun waiting for signs, especially when you don’t expect them anymore or if you simply want to give up on everything. Such things make you more aware that there is something bigger than my own thinking and conclusions. It makes life more intense. The last document will be there on time, and I will get my visa on time. I will be able to afford the flight, and funds will hopefully get in on time, too. God is behind me. There is no one who loves me more, not even a guy or my parents can…
Still, there is this big question hovering over me: will I ever get married? Do I want to get married? When I believe God is totally involved in my life and giving me the desire to get married and have a family, why is this such a pain? Do I run away into adventures because there is nothing else that excites me? I cannot agree with it. I do love missions and I want people to know how much they are loved. But why do I seem to always meet guys who cannot commit?
When I look into my family and into friend’s marriages I can easily tell that marriage isn’t easy but is still a good thing…
I don’t mind being single but I don’t like being tormented by desires that come up. Maybe that is even the answer?