Cultural Immersion

The last 24 hours have been what you might call an adventure in cultural immersion. Yesterday afternoon Clara picked me up and I went with her to a CEF club with some of the same kids who participated in the retreat last weekend. It was so rewarding to see them again and have them remember me. They were excited to learn that I will probably be back when they start their clubs back up after the summer break. I also  I got to go to another club with a younger group of kids this afternoon. This group was 4-6 years old, and they were so cute! We made cookies!!

After the club I had the opportunity to go home with Clara and spend the night at her home with her, her mother, her grandmother, and her 2 sisters. They live on a beautiful, huge farm with a big farmhouse that was built almost 400 years ago!! Clara speaks English very well, but for the most part everyone else in her household speaks only Portuguese. To be honest, I was a little overwhelmed and nervous about the whole thing, but once I got there it turned out very nicely. They were so sweet and made me feel so welcomed in their home. They served me homemade Portuguese food and tried to teach me a few Portuguese words. Clara's mother even said that she would "adopt" me as another daughter.
Me with Clara's mother. 
My favorite part of the night was just before bedtime when they invited me to participate in their family worship time. Each night they all sit together to read the Bible, sing hymns, and pray. I was able to follow along in a Portuguese Bible, and I could even sing along with the hymns. (Special thanks goes out to all those years of singing "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus.") When it came time for prayer they prayed in Portuguese and I prayed in English. As I sat there in their small living room worshiping with them I was once again in awe of how great our God is. It's so amazing that although we speak different languages and don't understand each other, God understands all of us and is faithful to answer our prayers!!

Here are a few pictures of the farm:

View from middle of the farm. 

The smaller house that Clara & her family actually live in

View as you leave the driveway

The farm and big house were built in 1634!

The original farmhouse

View from the front porch of the farmhouse

I'm heading home tomorrow, so this will probably be my last post from the islands on this trip. It has been an amazing 2 weeks, and I wish I could stay longer. I will definitely be updating with some post-trip thoughts and probably some more pictures in the next week or so. I'll also keep posting as I go through the process of getting a visa and making preparations to come back in the fall. As of right now, I'd really love to be back by October so that I can help Clara as she starts the new clubs after the end of summer. Thanks to everyone reading this, praying for me, and encouraging me! Please keep it up!

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