Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Once before I've blogged specifically about my church here in Natal. I talked about all of the qualities about it that I love so much, and one of those is that it really feels like a family. There's a lot to be said for large churches: good Bible classes, lots of resources, large missions budget (I particularly appreciate that one...) but if you've ever been a part of a small church, you know there is a big difference. Sometimes a small church can be frustrating...you know everyone's business, and, worse, everyone knows YOUR business. But sometimes that's the very thing that makes a small church a close-knit family. Everyone does know your business, so you can't hide your struggles. Everyone knows your business, so you have support whether you want it or not! Last night I witnessed yet another reason why I love my church family in Natal, and yet another example of their commitment to Christ and sharing the Gospel.

Meet Caio. For those of of you who have been to Natal, you surely remember Caio. Caio is one of the most energetic human beings I have ever known. He is upbeat and has a huge heart. He has the greatest intentions in the world, and is always looking for opportunities to learn and serve. Yesterday Caio turned 22. Like most 22 year old young men, Caio had a birthday party and asked that all of his guests bring him a present: a Bible verse. Wait...what? A 22 year old man voluntarily chose that his birthday party be a Bible study? Ok...so that's what we did. We all gathered at the church building, sat in a circle, and one by one shared a Bible verse that is significant to us and that we wish to bless Caio. Caio, being the intelligent person that he is, used the opportunity to invite his family to join us. The majority of his immediate and extended family are not committed Christians, but in Brazil, a surefire way to get your nonChristian family members to participate in a Bible-based activity is to hold it on your birthday. :) We had about 25 people in the circle, ages 8 to about 50, and each person shared scripture with Caio. By the time it got around to his family members, they were searching through the Bible as well, looking for something they could share, and what they shared was beautiful. It was an incredibly powerful evening, and you could not have asked for a bigger smile from Caio. It was all he wanted.

As I sat in the circle listening to the variety of subjects that were touched upon (wisdom, love, friendship, maturity, faith) I couldn't help but wonder how unique this gathering was. How many birthday parties have you been to where the sole purpose is to share scripture with the birthday boy? How many birthday parties have you been to where you were asked to bring a verse from the Bible as your gift? Caio's party made a huge impression on me, and made me fall in love with my little church all over again. We are not perfect, and as we try to imitate Christ each day we fail, but yesterday I was reassured in a special way that at least we're heading in the right direction.

Oh, and we had cake and the most delicious party foods afterward. That never hurts!


Gregory said...

That is great! I know this had to make an impression on his family. I wish that I had his attitude. What an awesome idea. I miss my Comunidade de Cristo!

Cyndi said...

I remember going to Caio's 20th birthday. He was a new Christian then. I think that is the only birthday party I have been to that the birthday boy wanted to share a devotional thought. I was impressed. That was the first week I was in Natal my first C de C experience. I've loved that community ever sense!