We've been in Brasilia, Brazil for thirteen days, but it feels like a lifetime. The people here are beyond- - loving, generous, and man-oh-man can they cook! I know I've already made forever friends here. It's like there was this Brazil-shaped little part of me that was waiting to be filled in.
It's hard for me to put into words all that has happened these last two months.
We fed and hung out with the homeless. Spent time in the slums. Explored the garbage dump. Walked through Congress. Ate. Received countless hugs from strangers. Ate more. Taught a photo class. Shared stories about God. Laughed and prayed with prostitutes. Met a family of monkeys. Ate acai. Learned (um pouco) Portuguese. Barely slept. Spoke in front of several congregations. Told people they have stories worth telling/ they're loved/beautiful/forgiven/free. Also I cried a lot and drank the best coffee I've ever ever ever tasted.
The first week, we visited slums outside of the capital city of Brasilia. We partnered with a local church, who has built a child care/learning facility in the heart of one of these communities. They invited us to spend time with them, and showed us where they were breaking ground for a small library just feet from where these photos were taken. Some of the photos we took that day will be displayed in the library. One of our goals was to capture joyful moments in this neighborhood.
From there, we visited the local garbage dump, where many of the residents of the surrounding slums work. The workers make the equivalent of $80 U.S per month. It's very difficult to get into this area... God has been opening doors for us this entire trip.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Our time here has been so full, just bursting at the seams.
In two weeks I feel like the deepest parts of me have been transformed, and that I've left bits of my heart with people all over this city. With the girl in the slum who dreams of moving to America and being a photographer. With the prostitute who's a mother, and can't find a job that would allow time with her son + pay the bills. With the stray dogs lining the streets. With all the residents of this capital city and it's stark social contrasts and injustices. In the midst of all of this, the joy that the people here exude looks extra beautiful. I'm trying to learn from them.
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We leave tomorrow for the Amazon Rainforest! I'm excited, but don't feel ready to leave this place quite yet. Internet here has been a struggle, and we will have access only once a week from here on out.
Please pray for us in this next step. For safety, discernment, unity, and that we have enough bug spray ( :