Since our last post, we’ve traveled to NYC, north and south Brazil and Bogota, Colombia, and we have so much to share with you!
Two projects took us to Brazil, one on the south coast and another on the north coast. Never having been to Brazil before, and not having much time to research before we found ourselves there, nearly 30 hours of travel later, many things surprised us as we first stepped off the airplane.
Firstly, south Brazil was very chilly! Perhaps we should have known since it’s so far below the equator in the middle of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but regardless, we found ourselves running out of cold weather clothes to layer on in order to stay warm! Cassie even had to borrow a second sweatshirt from the missionaries we were serving with. The next thing we were surprised by was how not-so-third world it was there! Driving two hours to the small town we would be working in, we remarked at how American it seemed on our drive with the nice, wide, paved roads with clearly marked lanes. Later, we found out that this particular state we were in, Santa Catarina, has the highest economic well being than any other Brazilian state. So, not all of Brazil is like this, which we came to find out personally when serving for our second project. But, back to our first project in Brazil!
We were serving with Reach Global, a connection made through Cassie’s parents’ church, and the American couple that runs the ministry warmly welcomed us. Our task at hand was to document the work that they do, which is largely impacted by mission trips made by teenagers each summer (or winter, if you’re speaking in Southern Hemisphere terms). Reach Global has found many opportunities to share the Gospel with Brazilians when Americans help them to open the door. Because Brazilians are very interested in American culture and dream of learning English, the teenagers from the US offer English classes and cultural exchange events (like roasting s’mores and hosting dance parties) and then share their testimonies as a way to reach out to kids in the community.
The two videos we produced for Reach Global needed a quick turnaround to be shown at Challenge Youth Conference a few weeks ago. It felt a bit like our missional year days, because right after we finished filming we went straight into production mode, producing the videos before we headed to our next project.
Below is the video we produced, and if you’re interested in seeing the 30-second trailer version, click here.
During our stay in south Brazil, we were treated to an authentic churrascaria where waiters constantly walk up to your table offering to slice all different kinds of amazing cuts of meat onto your plate from their skewers. It was soooooo delicious! Cassie especially loved the grilled pineapple, soaked in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and Jordan tried chicken hearts! The best piece of meat though, was hands down the picanha — which everyone wanted to end on. Don’t worry, we also got some veggies too, included in the all-you-can eat buffet.
Moving to north Brazil was like going to another country. It was hot, rainy, dirty, and felt much more Latino/African than the European south. One thing was the same though, the hospitality of the missionaries we were serving! Our project there was to document South American Mission’s music school ministry, Touch of the Master, for low-income kids in Recife.
We stayed on the second floor of the music school building, constantly surrounded by instruments and insanely talented musicians. Jordan even recorded the song we’re going to use in the video, live in their garage studio. One of the most impressive moments in our time there was the recital they held where the kids performed for their families.
It was really exciting to see kids enjoying music so much and understanding the connection of their musical talent as a gift from God, especially in a community where music is so engrained in their culture. Once we edit that story together, we’ll be sure to share it with you, but in the meantime, here’s some portraits of some of the students.
As you might be able to tell from the community context in the above photos, infrastructure in this part of town was lacking, to say the least, so it might not surprise you that there was only one restaurant option for us to eat at during our stay! It was called “Pizza Burguer Express” and their menu options consisted of pizza, burgers and Chinese food, but only one of which was actually available (pizza) and don’t even think about ordering something that appears on the posters hanging on the walls of the restaurant (like shrimp crepes). So, we had about 15 pizzas during our stay, especially because of the buy two get one free special they had every single night. Brazilian pizza’s a little different than American pizza, might we add. There’s no sauce because Brazilians top their pizza off with ketchup after the fact. At least they had dessert pizzas on the menu though!
After finishing our filming, we took some much needed rest days over Fourth of July weekend to head to a nearby beach called Porto de Galinhas (“Chicken Port” in Portuguese). We booked a really sweet “chalet” on the beach, where the owners greeted us with coconuts and a machete, promptly pouring us glasses of fresh coconut water. When they left, they left us the machete, and a yard full of coconuts and coconut trees. The sounds of the palms overhead and the ocean waves lulled us to sleep each night and were the first sounds we heard each morning. We watched the sunrise over the ocean and sunset through the huge coconut tree grove that neighbored our property.
We spent most of our days either lying on the beach, walking on the exposed reef at low tide or surfing. We ate lots of tapioca (not what you think it is) and açai while enjoying the cute, artsy town which had lots of galleries and vibrant nightlife.
By the end of our stay, we really came to love Brazil and hope to have the chance to return one day!
Now we are in Bogota, Colombia and have already filmed for two videos and experienced Colombia’s Independence Day! God has abundantly blessed us with an amazing apartment for the past two weeks in a really cool part of the city, complete with a nice kitchen to cook in, a fireplace to warm up around when it gets chilly at 9,000 feet, and a sweet, snuggly kitty to hatch our laps while we edit! Next week though, we’ll be off to Medellin, Colombia to film for two other projects and look forward to seeing more of this beautiful country!
Thanks for following along on our journey and for all the support you give us!