Living water in Brazil

On the 22nd of November I arrived in Ritápolis, at the place of Wim & Daniëlle and their kids. They have been working as missionaries in Brazil for some time. I got to know them last year when I went on a mission trip to Brazil for a few weeks. Since a year they are living and working in Ritápolis. It’s a village with about 9,000 inhabitants in the state of Minas Gerais, about 5 hours north of Rio de Janeiro. It’s nicely situated, spreaded out over a hill. Wim & Daniëlle’s house is on the edge of the village and has a beautiful view over the surrounding hills. Not a bad place to be!

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the missionary family I was working and living with - on the left a couple from Holland/Haiti who where helping out as well

They are running a project here called Agua Viva, a christian community, which consists of different things. Social housing, a woodshop where teenage boys from the village learn a trade, a club for kids on Saturdays, a house church on Fridays, and some courses for people in the village. Also, there are some buildings that could be used as a drug/alcohol rehabilitation center. Problem is that before they can get started with this, a lot of paperwork has to be taken care of, and then more people and money are needed to get things going.
I could see that the work is already bearing fruit. I met some of the people, for example a couple who live in one of the houses, and the teacher who works in the woodshop. And their lives have been changed for the better, which was amazing to see!

overview of most of Aqua Viva, the project where I worked

future drug/alcohol rehab center at Aqua Viva

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kids club - making animals out of wood

In the 3.5 weeks that I stayed I did a lot of practical work: fixing roofs, cutting grass, repairing fences, painting and more. There was also a Dutch-Haitian couple who were helping out, it was nice to have them around. Especially with the guy from Haiti I worked together a lot and we got along well. Interesting to hear his stories, like how he had survived the earthquake almost two years ago.

working at Aqua Viva

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But it wasn’t just practical work, I also got some opportunities to help out in other ways. Like playing music during the kids club on Saturday, and in a few churches nearby (in one church they asked me to lead them into some worship songs, which meant I had to sing in Portuguese!). A few times I got to share something about my life and faith in God with the guys in the woodshop and in the house church.
It was really cool to be able to help out with both words and actions. And I felt very much at home with these people, which was nice, being on the road for so long. Another cool thing was that Wim is also thinking a lot about what it means to be community (of believers), and so we could share our thoughts on that subject.

singing in Portuguese.. or trying to, anyway

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house church

I had hoped to make it through this trip without getting sick, but alas, I was not that fortunate. I got the flu, or at least I think so. But it was not too bad, after a few days of rest I was ok again, ready to head to Rio de Janeiro, my last stop in Brazil.

Actually I didn’t mind that much about getting to Rio de Janeiro later than planned; for some reason I hadn’t felt much like going there. Maybe I had to get used to the idea of getting on the road again, after staying in the same place for 3,5 weeks. And even more, staying in a hostel by myself again.
It didn’t start off too well, I had a ride into town with a cab driver who couldn’t drive nor read maps, and the hostel I had booked seemed to be filled mostly with people waking up from their hangover (at 3 in the afternoon). So there I was, in the famous Copacabana, but I was not up for this ‘cidade maravilhosa’ (marvelous city), as Rio is often called. Thank God, there were some people I could meet up with: a friend of Wim & Daniëlle and another guy who I’d met in The Shelter last summer.
With them, I had a great time. I visited one of their homes in a favela, took a cable car over a complex of favelas, went up to Cristo Redentor, walked through Ipanema..

copa, copacabana..

with a friend from Rio de Janeiro

sunset in Rio de Janeiro

view over Rio de Janeiro - with Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf)

Since a week I’ve been in Colombia! Right now at the Caribbean coast. If you associate Colombia only with things like FARC, cocaine and perhaps coffee, then stay with me. Because there is much, much more to this beautiful country. Will tell you all about in my next post.

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2 Responses to “Living water in Brazil”

  1. Tim Says:

    Je komt wel op gave plekken zeg en toffe ontmoetingen die je hebt! En in portugees een kerkdienst leiden.. niet niks, chapau! 🙂
    Veel plezier in Colombia! Ik kan me nog goed een Powerslib interview herinneren, je gaat het daar wel goed krijgen 😉

  2. Li@ Says:

    Goed te lezen dat je weer lekker ‘on the road’ bent Edwin en opnieuw fijne mensen ontmoet waar je je mee verbonden voelt.
    Bedankt voor je verslag waardoor ook ik een indruk krijg van jouw belevenissen.
    Het gaat je goed! Warme groetjes van Li@ 🙂

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