Many of you know that we have been struggling with illness after illness lately and it is to say the least wearing on us at times. But today we had two things happen that encouraged our hearts so much that we just had to stop and thank the Lord for sending us here. We have been in language school here in Campinas for 6 months now and have really felt like our "work" that the Lord has sent us to do is only going to start when we get to Porto Alegre. We found out today that we were flat out wrong! The first was from one of our Portuguese teachers. He is a Christian but struggles with some issues that we feel Jesus has already put to rest. So, we have just tried to encourage him to seek the truth and run hard after God. Well, today he told us that if the Lord sends us back to the states today that we have to know that we have made a difference in one life. He went on to say that we have challenged him in ways that he can't even explain and have changed his heart for the better. He has been going through a hard time in life lately and believes that the Lord sent us to him to help him through this time. We had no idea that we were making any difference; we were just living our lives. We truly serve an amazing God who can take our ashes and exchange them for a crown of beauty.
The second thing that happened today was our meeting with Preston's teacher, Professora Rose. She has been a wonderful teacher full of patience, grace and love for our little 8 year old, who can be a challenge sometimes. The way the schools handle parent-teacher meeting is with a whole day of meetings and the kids are out of school. They tell you when your meeting is and you show up for you time slot and meet with the teacher. It is kind of a cool set up. So, we get there today and were blown away by the kind words that she said about Preston. She said that he has made an impact at that school and all the kids love Preston. She said when he misses class even the cleaning ladies ask about him. She said when he arrives at school he says "Bom dia, tudo bem?" to everyone he meets from the front door all the way back to his classroom. This has made a difference with people. She also said that many of the kids have grown to love Preston and during her meetings today many of the parents have asked, "Who is this Preston that I keep hearing about?" So, he has made an impression. But the final thing that she said that caused us to sit in our own little puddle of tears was this....She said he came into class one day and told her that he had something he wanted to talk to the class about, but only after she was done teaching. So, she finished and he took over the class that day. She said that he asked everyone, "Quem e Jesus pra voce?", which means Who is Jesus for you. She said he stood at the front of the classroom and went around the room asking each student for an answer. She said he encouraged everyone no matter what their answer was. He would tell them, "parabens" (congratulations) or "muito bom" (very good) and then he asked her the same questions. She said that it was on a day that she was really having a hard day and needed to hear this. She said when she walked home, she cried the whole way and continued crying even after she got home. She said she couldn't believe how God used Preston to teach her that day and all of this she was saying to us with tears in her eyes. She went on to say that we have changed her view of Americans even. She said her idea of Americans was that we were all cold, distant and unloving and now because of Preston she said she doesn't view Americans that way anymore. She also said that she thinks we are different because we have Jesus in our lives and she can see it. Once again, it is a case of us just living our lives, and letting the light of our savior shine through us and we really didn't know we were doing it.
We hope you can see that the Lord is making a way for us to communicate with the Brazilian people even though we can't have deep conversations in their heart language. He is showing us that sometimes we need to just shut up and live for Him and he will take care of the details.
So many times I have ask myself "Why am I here" and today God showed us why we are here at this time. It is to show the love of Christ, not just in words but always in our actions. Did Preston present the full blown Gospel to his class? No, not in words, but He did in his actions throughout the time he has been here and then he said a few words to plant a seed in the hearts of those children in the 2nd grade and to that teacher that needed to hear from God that day. And she heard from Him through a child. WOW, do I have a lot to learn.
So I want to say this to you, show the love of Christ in your actions. You don't have to go out of your way to do something really big. We just have to live our lives and show people that Jesus makes a difference. We are different because Christ makes us different.