Last night I spoke briefly at Communidade Batista em Moema.
The day after I arrived in Brazil I discussed what I would share with the pastor, who also happens to be related to me. He encouraged me to speak completely in Portuguese as much as possible. Usually it takes me a week or so to get to a place where I can think in Portuguese and find synonyms for most of the words I don't know, but I would be speaking at the church on my third day in Brazil.
Thankfully Paulo, the pastor, suggested I share in an interview style. He got to hear my testimony ahead of time in English, so he would guide me through by asking simple questions in Portuguese.
When I arrived at church I was already nervous. During the worship songs, I was definitely praying. I prayed that I would rest and have peace because of God's love for me. I prayed that I would believe what I was going to share which is that God works through weak sinful people who trust in Him and God gets the glory in the process. I prayed a lot of things that I knew to be true but that I wasn't really believing in the moment. God gave me more and more peace as I confessed my anxieties, and then it was time to get up and speak.
In the end, I really enjoyed being able to share at this church. I fumbled through thoughts that I couldn't express in Portuguese. I had to ask Paulo to translate some words into Portuguese as we went along. There was one moment in particular when I tried to say the WHM Sudan missoin statement in Portuguese when I got really flustered as I struggled through each and every word, but Paulo saved me and we moved on.
At the end of the service, several people came up to talk to me. Translatating litterally, the most common comment people had for me was "We were suffering with you." The expression in Portuguese would be translated better to mean something more like "We were sympathizing with you as you struggled to find words in Portuguese".
God worked through my struggles to find the right words. I'm happy for people to know that missionaries are real people. I sin. I am weak. I need God. I'm not a great public speaker, but as I grow in believing what is true about me as a child of God, I grow in being able to stand up in front a large group people with out fear.
After several days in Sao Paulo with my Aunt and Uncle, today I will travel to Santos to spend severals days with my grandparents.