Porto Alegre, Brazil

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Flights went well. We left North Carolina at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and arrived in Brazil at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. Mike and his whole crew picked us up at the airport. What a beautiful sweet family. We are staying in an empty apartment of a missionary on deputation. It is simple but very nice and gives a good view of the city and sunrises.

Porto Alegre is a typical Latino city, except there is a little more European influence. This is identified by more fair skinned people but really nothing else. The missionaries say it is a wealthier city than most but I did not notice. They have villas everywhere. These are places where people have just set up a homestead. Some are just made of wood scraps but most are made of some sort of brick. As the government builds homes for the people, they are slowly leveling these villas.

I was able to study a few hours on Thursday morning and then off to see the Word of Life camp. It was a little over an hour away. They have an incredible facility. High ropes course, zip line, cage soccer, regulation soccer, basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer in their meeting room. Their dining hall can fit 150. Mike and Roger were thinking it was a possibility for them to use this facility next year; however, when we got there they said it would not be available in Jan. or Feb. That was disappointing news but it gave them ideas for a future camp.

We started staff training early Saturday with a light breakfast and then the sessions ran from 8:30-4:00. We went through all the material we planned on covering. They seemed like they understood and appreciated the material. Three of the four understand English pretty well. Danielle (one of the girl counselors) showed the banners she had made and they look good. The theme will be the Olympics hosting the Athenians against the Spartans.

There is a good nucleus of missionaries close to each other here. They seem to get along very well together. All are working hard to get churches started as well as helping in the seminary. All are very excited about CampsAbroad helping in the philosophy of camping. I have just been told that some of the local pastors are a little leery. That is why all are so excited that everything has come together so quickly for this year. They expect with a good camp this year they will have to find a camp twice the size for next. Much has been done in a short time since they just determined for sure they were going to do a camp this past October. We praise the Lord for the 45 campers that are signed up for camp this coming week!

Pizza Hut buffet for supper hit the spot. The ones in the US need to take notes. The pizza being brought to the tables was great. I ate too much.

Amy is doing great! She is traveling well and is a great encourager to the missionary ladies and me. Sarah seems to appreciate the time with Amy the most since with four children 6 and under she really enjoys the fellowship.

Sunday morning service went well. I spoke out of Ez. 2. There was a couple visiting for the first time. They just looked up the church in the phone book. They were received well as were Amy and I. The church and seminary are both beautiful! Off to another buffet for lunch…the belt is expanding! We have 5 hours to rest this afternoon!

We hit the ground running when we arrived at the camp this past week. Since it was a rented facility, there were many things that could not be set up ahead of time. Décor, games and  props were all done by the time Mike Martin arrived with the last group of campers.

The facility had a maximum capacity of 50, so Mike was pleased and thankful that the Lord brought 45 individuals, especially since he just started planning the camp in October. Eleven churches were represented in the 36 campers and 4 counselors. Then there were 5 adults: Mike Martin, the speaker and his wife, and Amy and I. Only 6 people could translate for us. Mike did all the up-front translating for me. His voice was feeling it by mid week! Six of the campers were teens that came on scholarships. All six made professions of faith!

The weather was perfect. The first day gave us a sunny 85 degree day with a nice breeze. The week ended with a couple of rainy days in the low seventies; however, spirits were high the whole time and the campers had a great attitude! They thoroughly enjoyed the games. The speaker was well-received also. He was a Brazilian pastor from a local church and was great at mixing and mingling with the teens. He jumped on a team and played almost every game!

Music for the services was the best I have seen on a CA trip. Piano, flute, violin, guitar, mandolin and recorder were all a part of the services.

Amy and I felt very well-received by the campers. Amy had a wonderful time with the girls. She had to sleep in the dorm with them and said her bed was full of girls trying to teach her how to talk right. Amy loved them and they loved her. I am glad she was able to come on this trip!

Everyone is excited about next year. They are planning to get a facility that will hold at least twice as many!

Report by Dan Brooks

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