My team has been back from Brazil for 18 hours. All of us are already back in our normal day to day routine. One of our team members had to head back out of town this morning for his job! Imagine how hard that was after ten days of missing his wife and daughters!
It’s funny to think where we were one week prior to today. Londrina had just come alive to us a week ago. After arriving on Saturday evening we spent Sunday going to church and then exploring the city. It seemed like a ghost time, even though we knew there are over 600,000 people who call Londrina home. But Monday it all became clear. Weekends must be days of rest, because Monday brought out thousands of people, automobiles, and sounds, and the city stayed alive through the week when we left on Friday morning for Rio de Janeiro.
You’ve already read of most of our week in Londrina, so I thought I’d fill you in on the end of our week, specifically our last day and event at Capela on Thursday. Thursday night was the biggest event all week. Open to anyone at Capela interested in community groups, around 90 people came out that evening! We had decided to focus on casting vision for groups, so we leaned heavily on a talk that Andy has done before called “Why I’m a Lifer.” Throughout the event almost all of our team was involved on stage sharing stories of past and current groups. The stories were the glue for the whole event, since our Brazilian friends are so relational, and drove home each of the reasons we shared for being in group for life. Here’s a recap of the five reasons:
1. It’s the only place where I can invite unchurched people to experience Christianity in some form other than inviting them to church. One of the couples in my current small group started in our group this way.
2. It’s the only place where my spouse and I are able to serve and minister together.
3. It’s the only place where I am able to track along other people’s spiritual journeys.
4. My kids have never known a time when I wasn’t in small group, and this makes a huge impact on their lives.
5. Life change happens within the context of community groups, specifically structured relationships.
I believe these five reasons work in every culture, in every context. Brazilians are very different from me. They prefer to live very close to one another, while were I live we are typically looking for space and land to be farther away from people. They get to know each other very quickly, whereas most of us are guarded and often closed to new relationships. Despite these differences I believe groups are still extremely important in both places. Giving a group of people permission to know you, to speak truth to you, to track along your spiritual journey with you, and to be there when you grow is what it’s all about.
When we left for the night saying goodbye was not difficult for me, because I fully expect to be back in Brazil with my friends at Capela again.
Thanks for reading and being part of our journey with us! We had a great team, a great experience, and a great time at Capela!