Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tickets to Brazil

First Published on March 31, 2015

Against all odds, we finally bought tickets to Brazil for a survey trip in April. We had tentative plans last year to go, but they never came to fruition. We weren’t sure it was a good idea that we consider moving back to Brazil, so we let the powers of the air dictate our circumstances, and the survey trip never happened. This time around the resistance to our plans was just as strong, but our resolve has also grown to the point that we were willing to push a bit harder, trusting that the hindrances were not from God. 

My mother left us over 90,000 air miles to use for travel. The first day John researched the trip, it took him several hours to find an itinerary that would go through Natal and Porto Alegre (both places we have lived in Brazil, and over 2,500 miles apart). Once he had it together and we agreed on the flight details, he went to book two of the tickets with those air miles, only to discover my brother had tapped into the account and commandeered the miles. I suppose we could contest that, but, as I stated in our last newsletter, we would rather not unnecessarily engage any more with the enemy. So, we lost that itinerary.

The next time around, we realized that we couldn’t afford to take all the kids or to go through Natal, so John booked tickets to Colorado, where we plan to leave Andy and Ben with John’s family, while we take Jonah to Porto Alegre. He went to pay using our check card. It was denied. Apparently our daily spending limit was too low, so he asked for that to be raised. It was a Friday and they said nobody could approve it until Monday. So, we lost that itinerary. 

Monday came and we stayed on the phone with the bank for what seemed like an eternity. Then they told us our spending limit had been raised and we could purchase the tickets. We did. A couple of days later we got an email saying the bank ultimately denied the charge and we were not confirmed on that flight after all. They approved the one to Colorado, so we had tickets for our whole family to get to Denver, but no tickets out of Denver to Brazil. It was at that point we realized what we were dealing with. God doesn’t play games like this with his disciples and this was too crazy to be coincidence. So, we pressed on.

Throughout all of this, we have been in touch with our friends and former team mates in Porto Alegre, Kevin and Benay Blume. They’re the ones who planted the seed for our return in the first place. Kevin had the idea to let us line up the itinerary and send him the information necessary to purchase the tickets. We did, and voilĂ  we now have tickets to Brazil! 

So, why Brazil and not Africa for a survey trip? Some of you have been praying with us about those options and know we have been discussing the possibility of both. We feel we owe you an explanation. Here are some key points that helped us make this decision:

  • We have been invited into a very specific ministry in Brazil, working on a drug and alcohol rehabilitation farm, teaching and discipling men to integrate back into society. That could develop into any number of things later on, but it is a good entry point.
  • The ones inviting us are a couple we worked with in 2002-2005 and feel confident working with again. 
  • We have lived in Porto Alegre (Andy was born there), so it would not be like completely starting over.
  • We already speak the language and many people have put money into our training for that part of the world.
  • A support team is being assembled, including some former team members who plan to stay stateside and work the mission from this end.
  • Without our asking, a few individual have already given us money to make this trip and have committed to helping us financially throughout the mission.

Now, all that being said, we understand that our ways are not God’s ways and His understanding is far above ours. If He should choose to let us spend lots of time and money to survey this possible ministry then send us elsewhere, we would gladly go. Please pray for us as we plan this trip—that God’s voice would be heard above all others. 
Our friends sent us this picture, saying the guys at the rehab farm have cleared this site and will soon begin building a house for our family to move into. That’s faith! 

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