Saturday, July 31, 2010

I was driving home tonight and thought to myself "I feel like blogging." I decided to go ahead and take full advantage of that feeling, given that I haven't felt this way since, oh, maybe 2008? :)

After 9 weeks of constant reader and American traffic, our LST season is finally over. I say finally only because it lasted a long time, not because I'm happy about it. In the 4 years I have participated in LST in Natal, this year we had the most top-notch, cream of the crop readers that I've seen. They were a joy to be around and to host in our building. They were reliable and highly intelligent. They were kind and welcoming to our American workers. They took full advantage of the free English conversation sessions and expressed their gratitude. They came to the parties and had a blast. They showered our American guests with beautiful, authentic Brazilian gifts. They studied the Bible.

We hosted 4 different LST teams, 18 people total, from Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, and Oklahoma. They rode dune buggies and played in the ocean. They accumulated hundreds of hours studying the gospel of Luke in English. They made friendships, many of which will last a lifetime. Each of them took a small piece of our hearts with them as they went home, and I'm sure they feel as though they left a piece of theirs with us. Each of them promised they'd be back...and given the track record of LST teams in Natal, I believe them!

I often say I have the best job in the world. If it's not the best, (one of our LST workers is an elementary school PE's possible her job is the best in the world!) it's up there. Hosting American visitors, connecting them with Brazilians, and watching them develop relationships while reading the Bible is a privilege and blessing I don't take for granted. I've learned the pattern well of an LST project, especially when the workers are newbies. They are usually nervous to get started, and come out of their first session with a giant sigh of relief. They usually express surprise at how easy it was. For about the first two days they share with me about each and every reader, each and every conversation. I eat it up. I love watching them relax into their role as soon as they realize it is to relate rather than "teach." I love hearing about the reader who barely will say "hi" to me at the door, but shares his life as soon as he sits down at the table with his new, English-speaking friend. I get goosebumps as they tell me about the reader who "finally got it," and the one who got emotional as they prayed for the first time together.

A few months ago, as we were starting our advertising for LST, I shared with you about how I bargain with God regarding the response to our advertising, as if it somehow depended on me and what we do. Once again, I am humbled not only by the sheer number of people He brought to us, (over 100) but also by the way He worked in each of their lives. As of right now we have two readers who will begin studying the Bible in Portuguese with one of our ministers, and about 30 who will continue studying the Bible in English with me in group classes. I received a beautiful email last week from one of the readers who will begin a Portuguese Bible study, in which he said "I'd like to keep studying the Bible no matter what language."

Please remember us in your prayers. We are praying prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings that God gave us through LST, and we are praying prayers of petition for the lives of our new friends. We want to be used as instruments in God's hand, however He may choose to do that.

And since no blog post is complete without a picture, here are two shots I took on two different days this past week of my city at night. Enjoy!


Lisa Anderson said...

Your site came up on a google search for missionaries in Natal. I have a friend who just returned to Natal after studying in the U.S. this past year, and he is looking for a good church. I would love to connect:

Thank you & blessings!

- Lisa Anderson

Oh ... and could you please delete this comment after you read it? I usually don't post my email address online.

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