Thoughts from Brazil

For the last week, we have been in Brazil. Images of rain forest, waterfalls and wildlife fill our minds and the Valley of Blessing does not disappoint. Situated close to the city of São Paulo it is an oasis of beauty and calm. June is the beginning of Autumn in Brazil and the nights and early mornings very cold which took us by surprise. Later the sun came out and it warmed up sufficiently for Guy to spot many beautiful butterflies in bright blues, oranges and yellows.

The home of Antioch Mission was one of the first evangelical organisations in Brazil to train and send missionaries across the world. We were here to build on an existing relationship with Silas and Marcia Tostes, who oversee the training school but also a 500 strong church. Relationships with New Frontiers go back many years but more recently their eldest son Andre spent a year in Woking before returning to Brazil. It was a joy to meet with him and his pregnant wife Jessica. They spent a year in the much poorer and arid North East of Brazil they are keen to plant a church there. It is a heavily Catholic area with some similarities to Spain and Portugal. We are keen to work together with this young couple and believe God has brought us together again. You may be seeing them more in the future and certainly hearing more about them!

Silas and Marcia extended wonderful Brazilian hospitality during our stay and we were able to minister to many different groups whilst here- the church, the trainee missionaries and the Antioch staff as well as the local mayor. We also had the privilege of visiting all the social action projects where they focus on children and families. We enjoyed an energetic dance from the children at the Art and Life school they run for poorer children in the community. We were also introduced to two families who are settling here after leaving the nearby devastated Venezuela. Many people are pouring into Brazil at this terrible time and are finding welcome and a future here.  A highlight was visiting the foster home where about 20 young people ranging from 9 months to 19 years old live together. We had a hilarious time as they questioned us about life in England. They sung us a Brazilian song and then asked us to sing to them, a first for us! We left moved by their cheerfulness aware that behind the bright smiles were terribly sad stories of abuse and neglect.

It felt quite sad to leave this morning, this family has definitely taken us to heart and the feeling is mutual. We are thrilled that God has brought us together and wait in anticipation to see how God will lead us together, confident that this will be the case. Silas and Marcia will be at Westpoint this year so make sure you look out for them and show them that the English can give as warm a welcome as the Brazilians can!

Catherine Butcher