Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thoughts on a Wednesday...

Although I just posted, (not that I have a posting schedule I have to follow...but I feel the need to spread it out a bit. Don't ask me why...) I feel the need to write again after today. I had another great day with the missionaries, and feel so blessed to be here.

This morning I accompanied Roberto and Marisa to the Braga's house for their weekly team meeting. Although I didn't participate in the meeting, I heard bits and pieces of what they discussed and what/whom they prayed for. I have been so impressed with both of these couples simply in the way they have raised their families, but also in how they have committed their lives to serving the church in Natal.

The Bragas moved to Natal last summer while my LST team was here, and so I didn't spend much time with them. I knew they were going to do a great job, but in the week I have been here I have been able to see with my own eyes what kind of difference they are making. It seems like they are in Bible studies with everyone-- new Christians, older Christians, their children, non-Christians--seriously, everyone! Each day they find a way to tell me how thankful they are that I am here and that they are here for me if I need anything. Anything, they emphasize. Hospitable is not even a sufficient word for how they have received me. They are truly godly people, and I don't even have words to explain how much they mean to me.

The only picture I have of the Bragas, from last summer.
L-R: Catherine Braga, me, Marisa Signoretti, Jeff, Andressa Signoretti, Roberto Signoretti, Ragan, Marta Braga, Below L-R: Jonathan Braga, Osmildo Braga

Last summer we spent a lot of time with the Signorettis, but now that I am living with them for the time-being, I see them all day long. The first day I arrived they told me that they now had 2 daughters, and today, when Roberto and I spent the afternoon together shopping and looking at apartments, he told any person who asked what our relation was "Ela e minha filha Americana." (She is my American daughter.) The truth is, in just a week's time, I really do feel like their daughter! They have taken such great care of me, and make it clear to me every day that they really do have my best interest here in Natal at heart. They want the best apartment, the best work schedule, etc for me, and really won't settle for less! The way they shepherd the congregation blows me away. They really are like second parents to all of the young people, and they take incredible, unconditional interest in each and every member of the church. Twice a week, Marisa teaches her Portuguese literacy class to a group of women in their 70s and 80s, and they adore her because she adores them. She teaches English classes, cooking classes, individual English tutorials, etc. I know that all missionaries are uber-involved, and do a great job of ministering to their flock, but sometimes I think that that the missionaries here in Natal really must be the best on Earth. (Sorry, Mom and Dad. Don't take were the best ones in the 80s.) :)

If you're wondering what prompted me to write this post, it's that today I was literally overwhelmed with respect for the Signorettis and Bragas. The two paragraphs I wrote are short and totally insufficient, only because I don't know how long of an entry Blogger will let me post (or that you will have time to read...). Not only are they wonderful people, they are joyful people. They love to laugh, and together we laugh all day long. (And now it should come as no surprise to you as to why we get along so well!!)

Perhaps this was cheesy, but I needed an outlet to express how I have been feeling today. Overwhelmed with love and respect for them, and overwhelmed by their love and respect for me. Boa noite...

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