Today we woke up very early and headed to the airport in Miami to return to Arkansas. While in Memphis, before driving back to Searcy, we had a great treat: I got to sit down and drink coffee with Greg Muse, an old friend of mine. It was so nice to have the chance to reconnect with him after 10+ years (it was Tati’s first time meeting him).
Greg was a deacon at the Arlington CoC back in 2006/2007 when I was an exchange student in Virginia. While I lived in Arlington we attended church together and became good friends.
The most amazing thing about this afternoon was to find out that Greg and I are connected through Harding. He works in the advancement office at Harding School of Theology and even gave us a private tour of the campus.
This week, while we were surveying South Florida, we stayed in my cousin’s (Márcio) house. He and his family moved to Deerfield Beach 14 years ago and we had not seen them very often ever since. In fact, this was my first time meeting their daughter Julia.
Today we had a Brazilian Thanksgiving meal with family and friends!
In the morning we had breakfast at Mauricio Yegros’ house and we got to meet his sweet wife, Kayla, and their beautiful kids, Nelson and Emily. Brothers Carlos Preciado and Luis Olavo were present as well. We had the chance to talk more about their experiences as missionaries here in the area and their insights were extremely valuable to us. Mauricio also showed us his church building (Coral Springs CoC).
In the afternoon we did some more exploring in the region and went to another Brazilian neighborhood, Sunshine Ranches.
In the evening we attended Bible class at West Broward CoC.
In the morning we had coffee with Mauricio Yegros (a Paraguayan missionary at the Coral Springs CoC here in Florida) and Chris Fry (Director of Latin Mission Teams at Great Cities Missions). They were both very excited and encouraging of our plans for South Florida. Mauricio had been here in the area for 5 years and he gave us good hints and suggestions. Something awesome about the work that Mauricio has been doing in Coral Springs is that they have been using Let’s Start Talking as a way to reach out to the Hispanics. He told us that this method works really well with the immigrants in the area.
In the evening we had a delicious dinner at a Brazilian restaurant in Boca Raton. Carlos Preciado invited Mr. and Mrs. Guzman, as well as Mr. Olivo (Outreach Minister at the High Pointe CoC in McKinney, TX) to join us. Carlos had spoken to them about us and they were excited to meet us. Carlos and Erika Guzman lived in Brazil for many years and we know several church people in common. They now live here in South Florida and were also very encouraging of us moving here.
So far the response we’ve been having from everybody has been really positive. We also like the area very much. Well, let’s keep praying… ?
Today (Monday, Nov 19) we drove around Deerfield Beach. There are at least two large Brazilian communities here and we wanted to check them out. We also talked to some residents and went to local Brazilian stores and supermarkets. People were all very friendly and seemed to be quite happy living here.
We wanted to use our Thanksgiving break to take a survey trip here in South Florida. There’s a huge Brazilian community that lives in the Miami/Boca Raton area and we hope to be able to work with them after I graduate from Harding University.
We arrived in South Florida yesterday (Saturday, Nov 17). And today (Sunday) we attended church in the morning and had a meeting in the afternoon.
We attended church with our brothers and sisters at the Broadview Church of Christ in North Lauderdale. They have a nice bilingual congregation (Hispanics and Anglos). We had Bible study with our Latino brethren and then the whole church got together for a combined bilingual worship service. It was a very nice experience. After service, they invited us to stay and eat lunch with them.
In the afternoon we met with brothers Michael Osmann and Morris Legg, elders of the Hialeah Church of Christ in Hialeah. We had a good conversation and got to tell them more about us and our mission plans for the region. They were very excited and positive about what we had to say.
This fall semester Maikon has been taking a class called Living World Religions with Dr. Monte Cox. This class is a study of world religions and aims at allowing students to understand followers of these faiths as well as providing ways on how to relate Christianity.
This weekend, our class took a field trip to Dallas (TX), where we visited seven different religious temples (Hindu, Theravada Buddhist, Muslim Mosque, Sikh, Jewish Synagogue, Bahai, and SGI Buddhist). It was a very humbling and enlightening experience. These are all people who, ignorantly, are trying their best to come to what they understand to be God. We have all been warmly welcomed into all places and we can’t help but love these people who are so desperately in need of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
At the end of each day we got together for a devotional and prayer. Several scriptures have been brought into the discussions we had, but, two of them spoke to me in a more meaningful way: Acts 17 (Paul in Athens) and Jesus’ words in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
We ended our trip this morning, by attending worship service with our brothers and sisters in Christ at the Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ.
This past Friday (Nov 2) we helped our sister Susan Berry host the weekly Chinese Bible study with Harding Students at her house. We had a great turnout and were specially happy to see that our Chinese “daughter”, Rosalind, has been going every week. ?