Thursday, January 31, 2008

To post or not to post

I went back and forth in my mind several times before I decided to sit down and write this post. Sometimes I have doubts about what I should write about on this blog. Should it only be about my work? Is it okay to include funny stories that have nothing to do with my work? Is it okay to talk about things that have nothing to do with my life in Brasil, period? Should I keep it strictly positive, or can I tell you about the negative things, too?

I finally decided to sit down and share my thoughts with you tonight because I know that so many of you care about the big picture, not just my 8 hour LST work days. You care about my life in Natal, how my life in Natal will affect my future, and how my being in Natal affects others. For this reason I share the funny stories, to show you that my being here causes people to learn that "Weel Smeetch" is actually pronounced "Will Smith." For this reason I share the conversations I have with my readers, to show you that I am forming very meaningful relationships based on God's Word, and I don't just go to the beach everyday. But, also for this reason, I share with you pictures of the beaches that I do go to, to show you how beautiful this city is in which I am blessed to live.

The longer and longer I live here, the more aware I become that I covet your prayers. And, the longer and longer I live here, the more aware I become that it is absolutely essential that I, and I ask you, too, daily pray for my safety and the safety of my friends here. It's no secret that Brasil is a dangerous place. I am fortunate enough to live in one of the safest, if not the safest, capital cities in Brasil. So safe, in fact, that it became famous for this reason and *big surprise* attracted all the same things that big, famous cities attract: money, tourists, crimes, and drugs.

There have been several situations since I have lived in Natal regarding my safety that I have chosen not to tell you about, just because everything turned out to be fine and me reporting about it would have turned out to do more harm than good. However, after this week, I decided that it was time I ask all of you who read this blog and keep me in your prayers to pray, specifically, for safety. The situation that occurred this week had nothing to do with me, but involved my apartment building. Everything turned out to be fine, and I was lucky to not even be home when it happened, but it reminded me that I can't get comfortable and forget that I still live in Brasil, and that I still need to daily petition the Lord to keep watch over me. (FYI, when I say "safety," I mean all things ranging from safety as I walk down the sidewalk to keep out of the way of erratic drivers to safety at a stoplight to not get mugged to safety in bad parts of town to keep out of the way of stray bullets. Seriously, it includes the entire range.)

A few months ago I told you that I had been finding a lot of comfort in the words of Isaiah and David in the Psalms. When I pray for safety, I have these words, comforting me and telling me that my prayers are being heard.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. -Psalm 121

Please don't worry about me. Really, I promise I'm okay, and I promise that I've actually had a calmer experience living here than most Americans who spend significant time in Brasil. God has already proven to me, several times, without my asking, that He is watching over me, keeping me from harm, and watching over my coming and going. I just want to remember to ask. :)

I don't thank all of you enough for the support and encouragement you give me. I thank you, in advance, for keeping me and this work in your prayers. Without your help it wouldn't be possible for me to be here!

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