On October 20th 7 individuals, Rosalie Brakke, Erin DeGraaf, Lydia Schulenberg, Elaine Jager, Simon Hordyk, Edwin Kok, and Bruce Hoeksema went to Macieo, Brazil. The team arrived late on a Friday evening and used the weekend to get settled in and acclimated to their new temporary home. The Sunday worship services were once again a highlight of the trip. Even though there is a language barrier for chatting and discussions the singing of praises to our shared Lord is easily understood in both languages.
The Escola Cristá João Calvino had requested the team to assemble a playground for the school as the previous playground had been removed for the construction project behind the church. Also the old playground was very rotten and not safe anymore. When the team arrived we encountered one hiccup in the sense that the playground company would not warranty the work done by anyone other than their construction companies. So the school proposed another project for the team we were to demolish an old dog house on the property, to repair and help finish the last part of the wall, and to paint the walls. Unlike the painting done in previous trips we were to design, draw and paint murals on the walls. Although most of the individual members of the team were not 100% comfortable with this task we worked together as a group, using the individual skills we had to accomplish the task the school had asked of us. The principal was thrilled with our designs and ideas and the hard work began of actually doing the painting. Again it was a joyous task where we could all work together bonding over our shared interests in helping others as well as many other topics. The walls were scraped clean, primed, designs marked on the walls and then finally painted. The team was able to paint all but one wall completely.
It was not work for the team there was plenty of time for bonding with our hosts and playing with the children of the school. For it is not only with the work and service of our hands that we can show Christ’s love, but also through our time engaging with the children. The children really enjoyed the team being involved with them, playing and getting to know them a little. There was also a morning when Pastor Bram DeGraaf and his family took the team to a nearby beach to spend the morning relaxing together. Later that day the school celebrated the nearing of the end of the school year, and the upcoming 500th anniversary of the reformation, by having a reformation themed parade through a part of Village Campestre II (the suburb of Maceio where the school is located).
It was a very enjoyable trip for the team and the people in Brazil appreciate these teams and visits as well.The students in the school will not forget the times when North Americans came to work and play at the school.The people in the church like the connections made with their brothers and sisters in faith.It shows a universal connection. Both Faithworks and the hosts in Brazil are looking forward to planning and having more teams in the future.