International Ministries

Becoming Brazilians

July 18, 2004 Journal
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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

"So, Asa is really a Brazilian now!"What amazing words to hear, and at such an unexpected time.We were with friends enjoying a Sunday afternoon meal and good fellowship, when Asa pulled out a loose tooth and showed it proudly to the group.He had been working at this tooth for a couple of days, and after lunch it decided to let go.Little did we know that a child losing a baby tooth is celebrated as a big event here in Brazil, and soon we had not only our table of 10 but folks from other tables clapping, laughing, and passing on congratulations sprinkled with lots of good growing up advice.

Indeed, becoming Brazilians is what we have been focusing on full time in these first two weeks of our stay here.After closing out so many life connections in the US, we are now busy re-establishing new ones here.While we long to be able to contribute to our host mission agency and start now to build up Brazilian Left to right: Pastor Ronald (pronounced churches' ability to send and support their own missionaries, we also know that there is some "tuition" to be paid first.

In some way it is like becoming a child again.We are very dependent on our hosts for so many things at this stage.While staying at the missionary training center of JAMI, we use a small cottage, enjoy meals in the dining hall, rely on them to drive us to appointments, and especially rely on them for Portuguese lessons and translation.

Luke 18:16-17 -- But Jesus called the children to him and said, ³Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.²

From the lessons God taught the Hebrew people in the desert to the lessons Jesus taught his disciples, this theme of humility, of dependency on God runs throughout the Bible.Could it be that those times when we feel most secure, most in control, and most confident in our abilities are the very times when we are farthest away from being citizens of the Kingdom of God?

Yesterday it seemed God put in our path constant examples of this.Young children waiting at a stop light tried to wash the rear window of the car we were riding in just to earn a few coins, but they were too small to reach across the windshield and had to keep jumping up on the car to clean the glass with tea-colored water.A grandmother, adult daughter, and young boy were going through garbage bags on the side of the street looking for recyclable items they could collect and sell.Scripture very pointedly uses the example of the poor among us--and not the rich--to remind us of our dependency on God and to teach us humility and compassion.

We are so grateful to God for the abundance of friends we are blessed with, and for the new family God has brought us to be with here in Brazil.And God has been answering your prayers for this time of our dependency and learning.Here are just a few answers:

1. Our alien registrations at the Federal Police.We have now completed this process, which is the key to our ability to stay here to minister. Praise the Lord!

2. Our CPF cards. We must have CPF numbers in order to do anything else, like get internet access, a phone number, a cell phone, rent an apartment, buy a car (if we decide to), register Asa for school -- everything. We are told that we have all the forms and fees in order, and hope to get them soon.

3. Choosing the right apartment. After looking at 20+ different places, we think we have found the right one at the right price.The paperwork has started, and we hope to sign the rental contract--and start moving in--soon.

4. Registering Asa for school at Colegio Batista Mineira. Asa has finished the placement exams, and once we have his transcript from his US grade school we will get him registered.Second semester starts August 2, and we are all very pleased with the school.

5. Our language abilities. After only two weeks here we are able to string together simple sentences, and we are starting to understand more and more of what we hear.It is a slow process though:some have (accurately!) compared learning a new language to pouring paint through a sieve.

Thank you for your support:through prayer, through your financial gifts to International Ministries, and through your emails and letters.We are blessed to be God's, and your, hands and hearts here in Brazil.

Bruce, Ann, and Asa Borquist