Thank you for the comments that we have received already. I will quickly fill you all (or y'all) in on what we have done so far, and then give you some ways that you can be in prayer for us.
Today is only Monday, and yet our time here has so far been very exciting, as well as full of activity: I think it was Sunday night, only one day since we had been here and we were remarking with surprise how it seemed that we'd been here several days, judged by the number of experiences we had seen.
Friday we spent traveling, flying from Charlotte to Miami, Miami to Sao Paulo, and then taking a bus Saturday morning to Curtiba. Our travels went mostly well - all except for Sara, who was ill for most of it. Three of us have had the bug so far; pray no more catch it, or anything else.
Saturday, as mentioned, we spent the morning taking the bus to Curitiba. Audir, Bishop Jean Carlos's wife and missionary in the Villa Pantanel favela, met us at the airport with her warmest greeting, and accompanied us back to Curitiba. After arriving at "Lar Rogate" (a Christian retreat center, our accomodations here), we met with Bishop Jean Carlos, Audir, who with Rev. Singleton gave us some introductory words and an overview of what we would be doing. Saturday night we attended church with them, where we introduced ourselves to the congregation and invited any to join us. The message preached (translated to us) was from 1 Cor. 12, on unity and fellowship throughout the entire body of Christ, a fitting theme for our first day here and for a service where the Brazilians had American visitors.
Sunday morning we traveled to Morretes, a port town near the ocean. Two of our members became sick that day and so recuperated in bed while the rest of us met the local lay pastor, a remarkable man who has planted numerous vibrant churches in his work in this area. Perhaps what stood out the most was the humility of this modern day Apostle Paul about whom we had heard so much. He brought us around to his churches a churches and projects. We went straight to church with him then that evening at his home church. Bishop Jean Carlos was giving the message in his church that night. He spoke on the need for God to be our first love, our first passion, and reading from Corinth. 13, said how God desires us to have Excellence, and that is had by having passion (love) toward him, and compassion toward people. A stirring word. Afterward we supped with he and the local pastor at a nearby resturante.
Monday morning we got our hands dirty working at an orphanage in Morretes, attempting to finish putting the roof on it. This was another project of the local Morretes pastor. We went to lunch with him afterward, and then said good-bye to head back to Curitiba. When we arrived there, we visited Villa Pantanal in the favela outside Curitiba, to see where we would be working for the remainder of the week. We also saw several of the slum's resident's "houses" that we were going to try and improve. Tomorrow we plan to start working on them. We will be putting a bathroom in one and building a room on another home that had nearly rotted away. The children were excited to see us - one even remembered who we were and asked if Cruz was with us! We were all (hopefully) moved to see the cirmcumstances in which these people were afflicted. We had supper back at Lar Rogate with Audir and the Bishop, and then spent the rest of the evening preparing our materials for the rest of our work.
How may you pray? We would ask that you pray for unity in our team. Safety, as we are in not the most pleasant areas. And a general focus of heart.