Two weeks ago today I left Atlanta to head down to the Amazon to make the move to the Outback of Northeast Brazil. One problem. I left my teammate at home and I would feel it later.
Starting right off the bat I had a cancelled flight, but I was tipped off and was one of the first in line to make it to the other carrier’s flight to Miami. Unfortunately my baggage did not and I spent the next couple days trying to track it down. Fortunately LAN airlines in Leticia gave me see through white shorts and a shirt to hold me through until I could reach more clothes in Santo Antonio. So I washed some clothes in the sink and headed out on the boat trip. The new jet boat was huge and nice and I was able to go through the Old Testament roots of faith cards (50 OT stories) with a Jew from the US with his Australian girlfriend. I think he was excited that she could see the traditions he grew up on and filled in on some of the stories.
I arrived on a rainy Friday which apparently, by the comments I received, was my fault. After greeting the missionary friends there and a family night dinner I began the work of separating our belongings that were in around 30 big boxes plus some other piles. Sarah was greatly missed as I decided what is worth keeping and what is worth throwing out. Two is better than one and balance in a relationship comes from God allowing two very different weird people to work together. What a beautiful thing (if you let it be beautiful).
I worked late that night and most of Saturday. By Sunday night I had it separated and most of the boxes packed. My goal of 10-12 boxes had turned into 18 and would later be repacked down to 16. Sunday morning I was able to teach the youth Sunday class, showing our Outback video and talking about having faith in praying boldly. Sunday night I was able to challenge the church in regards to prayer, the Holy Spirit and an outward focus rather than an inward focus as I preached about the church planting done in Acts.
One guy sobbed on my shoulder Sunday morning as he thought about the trying times we had gone through together and how we would not be living there anymore. That was humbling and hard. His situation was similar to another I dealt with during the week of sexual immorality. That can cause some very complicated and difficult situations that we should all try to have the foresight to completely avoid. The consequences and pain that it causes make me want to weep uncontrollably. God has a much better beautiful plan for us.
Tuesday through the rest of the week I had a yard sale to get rid of a lot of our things. They grabbed most of the good stuff in the first hour and a half. Throughout the week I sold more things. There was really only a couple things left to sell by the end of the week, which is much better than it could have been!
Friday was fishing day! The exclamation point came before the trip; because we didn’t catch anything by line, just some bait (sardines) in the net. On Saturday we went to the pool and had a soccer tournament at night for the church. I was able to speak again and I talked to the church people out of Philippians 1 where Paul speaks to a church he had worked at as a missionary and about their relationship together. He told them he misses them and loves them and is sure that God will continue to do a good work in them.
Sunday morning I woke up (before my alarm) at 4:30 and started loading the cargo into the kombi with the help of Chip, Laurie and Lloyd. I was to the port before 5:30 and the boat arrived after 7. I was able to travel with one of the seminary students which was convenient as we could look after each other’s belongings. (My boxes were in the bottom of the boat, so I didn’t have to worry about them). I met a guy from Holland, Michigan and his wife and then several Europeans and Brazilians. Boat conversations are usually pretty interesting.
Tuesday was the nerve wracking day as we had to get those boxes to somewhere that would ship them. After going to three different places we found out that our first location had been right. After loading up the guy said it would be 3450 reais (around 1600 dollars). Then one of them talked to me about using another business that had a discount with them and it cut it down to 1850 reais! Much better and much less than I was expecting to pay. So prayer works! Or I just did something illegal. I think I am alright though.
I went to the airport after that and spent the next 12 hours waiting for my red-eye flight that left at 1 in the morning. I then had about a six hour layover before I caught my flight to Recife. So here I am waiting my girls for a couple days since their flight was rescheduled because of snow. Pray for them Friday night as they fly overnight. Pray as I look for a car the next couple of days. We didn’t think our account would have enough for a car, but due to you all’s generosity and unexpected savings and jeitinhos (ways around things) we may be able to afford one with money out of our account. Thanks and God bless!