Sunday, April 24, 2005

Eleven thousand, four hundred and eighty-seven

Some days I find myself pining away for Brazil. Today is one of those days.

For those of you who don't know, I have been to Brazil three times. I fell in love the first time I went, and it kept drawing me back every summer I was physically able. I went on LST projects the first two summers, then a "traditional campaign" last year. They were each very different, but very wonderful experiences. The people I went with continue to be some of my best friends.

Some people ask me what I love about Brazil... I love the people, the language, the places, the culture, the food, the weather... But really, how do you explain something you're just drawn to? Brazil was the first foreign country I went to, so at first I wondered if I would love every country I visited. But I have been to several now, and now realize that my feelings for Brazil are unique.

My dream was to move to Brazil after I graduated to do mission work for 2 years with a program through my university and home congregation. However, the powers that be decided it was too risky to send a young woman by herself to Brazil. I'd love to tell you that I accepted the decision gracefully, but I took it pretty hard and it made me bitter for a while. But as much as I hate to admit it, Campinas, Brazil is just not where God wanted me to be at this point in my life. He closed the doors to Brazil and opened wide the doors to Hitachi, Japan.

I can see the blessings now. I won't profess to having it figured out, and I'll admit I'm still holding onto some hurt about the whole situation, but I am starting to see a greater plan. However, I still have Brazil on the heart. I believe that when God instills passions like this they aren't without reason. I believe I will go back to Brazil again. I don't know what God has in store for that desire, but you can be sure I'm keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open for opportunities He provides.

The post title is the number of miles from Tokyo to Sao Paulo.

PS- This is not a put-down to Japan. Japan is a great place to live and work, and I have made wonderful friends here. I have no regrets in coming here. When it is finished, I will look back on my time here with joy and thankfulness. So don't take away an "Ann hates Japan" message from this post.


crittermer said...

Hi, Awhn!
Yes, Brazil will always have a special place in my heart, too (it even looks like it might turn into a major player in my historical researching life!), but I've known for several years now that it's had an extra-extra-special place in your heart. In the Bible study I've lead this year, several girls keep coming back again and again to the basic questions like "What does God want me to do with my life?" and "How will I know when the Holy Spirit is pointing me somewhere?" and other age-old questions like that. Those are great questions and I don't think I'll ever really have the answers, but do you know what I've started telling them? I've started telling them that I think that it's a lot easier than we make it sometimes. I think sometimes it's as simple as "What (or who) has stolen your heart?" and "What do you get excited about doing for God?" I think when we start answering those questions we realize that we all have a God-given passion for something and yes, I think that might be one of the prime examples of the Holy Spirit working.

So it's because of your constant love and excitement for Brazil and its' people that I have no qualms about saying that I believe God still has a plan to use you mightily there. I'm sure that your work in Japan is building you up and making you a stronger servant. I look forward to seeing how things work out for you, because I know it's all part of a Greater Plan=).

Keep fighting the fight, Ann. I pray for you daily.
love, mer

Anonymous said...

Hey, you don't need to put a disclaimer on everything you say. We understood from reading that you're missing Brazil today and weren't daying anything about the value of Japan in your life.


Anonymous said...

I received an email from Pedro yesterday and it definitely reminded me of the Brazil expreience. I can see how Japan might seem like a lombada right now.