Reflecting Back on Brazil

Last night I received some photos taken during my time in Brazil and they brought back such warm memories of the people I grew to know over so brief a time. One of the best aspects of my travel is that I have friends all over the world. One of the worst is that I have friends all over the world that I never know when or if I’m going to see them again.

I loved the festive spirit, the humor, and the intense spiritual passion and hunger of the people I met there. This is a very religious country as far as Christianity goes, but most of these were paying a price to live and think outside the normal religious expectations and seek to find meaningful engagement with God and other brothers and sisters. For those that want a taste of my time there, I thought I’d include some of the pictures here. Enjoy.


Friday night through Sunday afternoon we held a retreat for some 200 people, some from great distances, to talk about living loved and loving others. It was also broadcast live on the Internet for those who couldn’t come. (I am in the red shirt with my back to the camera.)




But if you know me, you know I much more involved the interactions with people after meetings, over meals and in quiet conversations. The dialog, question and answer and sharing of insights was always rich with a hunger to know the truth rather than to simply find what was comfortable to believe.






Jalber (right) and Orlanda (left) graciously opened their hearts, home, and their churrasco (bbq) to me and others that wanted to visit when I was there. They have a delightful family and we all shared a farewell feast together the night before I left. Those are their grandchildren in the picture.


Vivian was my mouth and ears in almost all of the conversations I had. She was a delight and had a personality not unlike my daughter’s, which made it really fun to navigate the culture and to work through the language together to help communicate with the people.

Such incredible memories and joy! They all begged me to come back some day. We’ll have to see when that might happen…

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12 Comments
  1. kent December 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    looks like fun.

  2. Ben Williams December 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    You’re a funny guy Wayne- I’m glad the time was good, but “a hunger to know the truth rather than to simply find what was comfortable to believe”?

    I have to say the journey into grace, union, losing masks, and the illusion that I am in control of…anything?…has been far from comfortable. Good, but not comfortable.

  3. Wayne December 14, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Ben,

    That was my point, which is always why I admire people on this journey…

  4. kent December 14, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    looks like fun.

  5. Ben Williams December 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    You’re a funny guy Wayne- I’m glad the time was good, but “a hunger to know the truth rather than to simply find what was comfortable to believe”?

    I have to say the journey into grace, union, losing masks, and the illusion that I am in control of…anything?…has been far from comfortable. Good, but not comfortable.

  6. Wayne December 14, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Ben,

    That was my point, which is always why I admire people on this journey…

  7. Fran December 16, 2009 at 9:42 am

    The ambient light in the pictures and your description of connecting with people are incredible!

  8. Fran December 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    The ambient light in the pictures and your description of connecting with people are incredible!

  9. Blake Soule' December 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    To the point:
    First I will apologize as I am a terrible writer. I personally know some unreligious Christians in Sao Paulo Brazil that may be able to come along side the group that you met with. They are on a wonderful journey with Father for going on 50 years now. Sure they have there issues as do we all but traditional religion is not normally one of them. They could use some of your thoughts in their journey as well.

    One day should you feel that your group of people would benefit by meeting with the gang I know please let me know. If you are interested I would rather talk on the phone because I am such a bad writer. (It took me 1 1/2 hrs to make sense here.) One of the missionary couples with the Brazilian gang is coming to visit me and Shyrley in a few months. I will be praying to see if Father may be leading in this. I would love to sit down and have a beer with you and Brad one day if you come through Memphis. My cell phone is 901-848-3646.

    My history and thoughts
    I started my God journey in 1981 but became a religious Christian in 1974 at the age of 18. I was a “MISSIONARY” with the Navigators in Sao Paulo for 3 years and I even married a gal from there in 1986. I have family in Sao Paulo too. I went to Brazil after meeting a man named Jim Petersen in Yugoslavia in 1981. I went there to learn about working with truly unchurched (secularized people). You may know Jim or even have edited one of his books with Nav Press. He invited me to join him there in Brazil in order to learn more about reaching secular people in 1984. In reality I was learning about myself and a very important lesson namely that I did not need the local institution to walk with God. In the end I was not cut out to do “Full time ministry”. I like to work with my hands while listening to podcasts. 🙂 By the way I have almost listened to all the podcasts from 2005 and several over and over. I have read the Jake book and He loves me a few times all within the last 6 months. There seems to be a golden nugget in each book and podcast.

    I was a Navigator Pharisee for 15 years, but a crummy one. I was not too good at keeping the law either. I was kicked out of the Navs for not staying in line, I asked too many questions and challenged too many ideas. I personally never liked the Sunday morning meetings as I was not raised in the traditional box. I was asked back into the Navs by Jim Petersen but in Brazil I worked outside the institution with secular people in the university and never considered myself religious in any way until I started listening to you and Brad. Interesting how religion can make it’s way into one’s life as it found its way into back into mine, but that is another story. You and Brad have spoken to my heart like no nothing else God has ever used apart from Jim Petersen at a conference in Yugoslavia in 1981 and the Holy Spirit whenever I would listen to Him. You guys have confirmed almost everything I ever felt that God was speaking to me but did not have the confidence in God to believe. Without a doubt you guys bring new thought to Shyrley and me but mainly it is just confirmation of Father’s voice which has always been there but I stopped listening to.

    I am still involved with many people in Brazil and believe these secular people are not exactly who you guys speak to as almost none of them come from a non-religious background. They do suffer from other forms of secular issues though. Namely, I feel they throw the baby (spiritual things) out with the bathwater (religion). In other words; in an effort to not be religious in any form or fashion they have also thrown out some things that I think are spiritually important, even vital, to a well rounded relationship with Father.

    We also have many friends in Brazil that are involved in the traditional box too. My wife went to bible college in Sao Paulo and we have plenty of contact with great Christians in the box too. My brother-n-law is a pastor of a church that he calls “The Fundamentalist” church. The name speaks for itself!

    I hope this makes sense. Journeying with you Blake

  10. Blake Soule' December 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I use to live in San Paulo and even married a Brazil many years ago. Beautiful place and people but a city that I do not miss. There are around 25 million people there. I visit about every 4 years to see my family. Glad to know Father’s love is reaching them.

  11. Blake Soule' December 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    To the point:
    First I will apologize as I am a terrible writer. I personally know some unreligious Christians in Sao Paulo Brazil that may be able to come along side the group that you met with. They are on a wonderful journey with Father for going on 50 years now. Sure they have there issues as do we all but traditional religion is not normally one of them. They could use some of your thoughts in their journey as well.

    One day should you feel that your group of people would benefit by meeting with the gang I know please let me know. If you are interested I would rather talk on the phone because I am such a bad writer. (It took me 1 1/2 hrs to make sense here.) One of the missionary couples with the Brazilian gang is coming to visit me and Shyrley in a few months. I will be praying to see if Father may be leading in this. I would love to sit down and have a beer with you and Brad one day if you come through Memphis. My cell phone is 901-848-3646.

    My history and thoughts
    I started my God journey in 1981 but became a religious Christian in 1974 at the age of 18. I was a “MISSIONARY” with the Navigators in Sao Paulo for 3 years and I even married a gal from there in 1986. I have family in Sao Paulo too. I went to Brazil after meeting a man named Jim Petersen in Yugoslavia in 1981. I went there to learn about working with truly unchurched (secularized people). You may know Jim or even have edited one of his books with Nav Press. He invited me to join him there in Brazil in order to learn more about reaching secular people in 1984. In reality I was learning about myself and a very important lesson namely that I did not need the local institution to walk with God. In the end I was not cut out to do “Full time ministry”. I like to work with my hands while listening to podcasts. 🙂 By the way I have almost listened to all the podcasts from 2005 and several over and over. I have read the Jake book and He loves me a few times all within the last 6 months. There seems to be a golden nugget in each book and podcast.

    I was a Navigator Pharisee for 15 years, but a crummy one. I was not too good at keeping the law either. I was kicked out of the Navs for not staying in line, I asked too many questions and challenged too many ideas. I personally never liked the Sunday morning meetings as I was not raised in the traditional box. I was asked back into the Navs by Jim Petersen but in Brazil I worked outside the institution with secular people in the university and never considered myself religious in any way until I started listening to you and Brad. Interesting how religion can make it’s way into one’s life as it found its way into back into mine, but that is another story. You and Brad have spoken to my heart like no nothing else God has ever used apart from Jim Petersen at a conference in Yugoslavia in 1981 and the Holy Spirit whenever I would listen to Him. You guys have confirmed almost everything I ever felt that God was speaking to me but did not have the confidence in God to believe. Without a doubt you guys bring new thought to Shyrley and me but mainly it is just confirmation of Father’s voice which has always been there but I stopped listening to.

    I am still involved with many people in Brazil and believe these secular people are not exactly who you guys speak to as almost none of them come from a non-religious background. They do suffer from other forms of secular issues though. Namely, I feel they throw the baby (spiritual things) out with the bathwater (religion). In other words; in an effort to not be religious in any form or fashion they have also thrown out some things that I think are spiritually important, even vital, to a well rounded relationship with Father.

    We also have many friends in Brazil that are involved in the traditional box too. My wife went to bible college in Sao Paulo and we have plenty of contact with great Christians in the box too. My brother-n-law is a pastor of a church that he calls “The Fundamentalist” church. The name speaks for itself!

    I hope this makes sense. Journeying with you Blake

  12. Blake Soule' December 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I use to live in San Paulo and even married a Brazil many years ago. Beautiful place and people but a city that I do not miss. There are around 25 million people there. I visit about every 4 years to see my family. Glad to know Father’s love is reaching them.

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