SPRINT Brazil 2013

Seattle Pacific University students learning and serving alongside local leaders in Brazil.

Discover SPRINT – Sunday, November 3

Join us at Discover SPRINT for a night of stories and video from Summer, 2013 SPRINT trips! Sunday night, November 3, 7:00 PM in Demaray Hall 150 on the SPU campus.



A report from the Caranguejo Tabaiares Library

Here’s a post from the Caranguejo Tabaiares Library blog, translated by Dr. Neuhouser in the attached document.

American Students in the Library

Home soon!

Hello, friends!

After six weeks in Brazil, the team will return to the States on Thursday, August 29  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:

  • Emmanuel, Rebekah, Brian and Kevin return to Seattle on August 29 at 1:55 PM on Delta #1347
  • Mary Claire returns to Denver on August 29 at 4:48 PM on Delta #1317
  • Heather returns to Portland on August 29 at 9:36 PM on Delta #1094

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives.  It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

  • Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
  • Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
  • Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
  • And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives.  The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories.  Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time.  We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.

I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward.  If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.


Our week in Riacho!

Boa noite!

This is Brian with a quick update about our time here in Riacho de Prata, a community in the Recife area.  We have been here since Monday, and will leave tomorrow afternoon for Janga.

We have only been here for six days, but it feels that we have been here much longer.  Most of our time has been spent participating in activites of the local Mennonite church here.  Cristiano (who pastors the church) and his wife Angela and their two daughters have been our main hosts for the week.  Kevin, Emmanuel, and myself have stayed in their home, while Mary Claire and Bekah stayed with another woman in the community, and Heather yet another family.  We have all been blessed with welcoming families, lots of wonderful food, and moments of realizing why the people here say that God is Brazilian (otherwise why would he have given them such beautiful beaches?).

With the church we helped to prepare and serve soup for a soup kitchen that the church runs, helped–to some extent–to lay brick for a newer portion of the church–we sorted a whole bunch of recycling, we participated in worship services–Kevin preached this evening!–took a trip to the beach (after being rainied out on our first attempt), visited the homes of families around the community, and ultimately had the chance to see how this church is serving this community by being a part of it.  We also visited an English class and had the chance to make an American meal for Cristiano and Angela´s family (fettuccine alfredo, which is really italian, but whatever, and chocolate chip cookies).

Emmanuel (and most of the rest of us to some exent) is still gripped by the novella Amor e Vida, we all have a few too many mosquito bites to count, and most of all are feeling blessed by the community that has allowed us to join in life with them this past week.

We´re not able to upload pictures right now, but will hopefully do so soon! (There might be pictures from our friends here on facebook if that´s your thing.)  We can use prayers for continued good health and for eyes to see and ears to hear God in the midst of our time here.

Ate mais tarde!

Halfway through!


We are now halfway through our trip here in Brasil. This also means that we all received our care packages from our prayer partners! Shout out to everyone who helped put those together. We all got some good laughs and “Aw” moments. It meant a lot to us to receive those little pieces of home.

As you may already know from our last blog update we got the opportunity to stay in a community known as Assentamento Baraunas located in Pernambuco for 11 days. We left the Assentamento today and it was a very sad goodbye. In our 11 days together, our host families in the community welcomed us into their everyday lives. In Baraunas, we watched the farmers vaccinate their cows, learned how to handwash clothes, and experienced how fulfilling a simple pace of life can be. We all felt loved and cared for by everyone we encountered in the community.

So this time I (Emmanuel) got the chance to write the blog with the help of Rebekah’s fine editing skills. So here is a quick update of those you all love.

For the 11 days that we were at the Asentamento, Heather and Rebekah had the chance to stay with Lindaci and Antonio. Lindaci and Antonio married young and still are happily married to one another. Lindaci was an amazing cook. Her meals, as I would tell my team every time I got the chance to eat at their house, were bombdiggity.com. Antonio was a very funny guy and although there was a language barrier, he still found a way to make us laugh. We got the chance to climb a couple mountains, but on one of our adventurous hikes Heather accidentally touched a triga plant which gave her a rash on her arms. No worries, after washing it with rain water and some sort of moss her rash immediately went away. Heather also enjoyed time getting especially close with Lauren, an American graduate student we spent a few days with, and Enrique, the 6-year-old grandson of one of our host families.

By the end of our visit Rebekah was known as the singer of the group. Lindaci invited us to visit her church on Sunday. Lindaci and Antonio attend a Pentecostal church and there were over 300 people at the service. We unexpectedly were called up to introduce ourselves. Beforehand Lindaci had mentioned to the pastor how “beautiful” we sang together so we then were given mics and a guitar to play them a song. Praise the Lord that our group had been practicing Hosanna since we first arrived, and that Rebekah (who was our Beyonce of the group) was able to sing and play the guitar on the spot.

Brian, or as some of you may know him–BriBriValVal stayed with a couple named Maria and Marcelino. They were both sweet and amazing people. On one of the nights there they had hosted a birthday party for their granddaughter. We got the chance to have bolo (cake), brigadeiros, and plenty of Guarana. We also got the chance to sing happy birthday the Brazilian way. We were asked to sing happy birthday the American way and after singing the Brazilian birthday song our American version did not sound as exciting. Brian was able to make a connection with Marcelino through playing a peg game. The goal of the game is to end up with only one peg in the middle. After many trials and a lesson from Marcelino himself, Brian was able to always end up with one peg. Oh, Brian also got the runs after a pretty long hike, but no worries–after some pepto and a good night’s rest he was fine and ready to take on the world.

Mary Claire:
Mary Claire stayed with a couple named Cicera and Dedinho. Cicera and Dedinho always welcomed us into their home and always had a cold glass of suco (juice) ready. They first met while Dedinho was in a Forro band. Forro is a kind of dance/music style that we got the chance to learn in Carauru. I think I can say that we are all pretty good at forro dancing… Cicera and Dedinho also take care of their grandson, who we all fell in love with. His name was Filip; he was 10 years old and like a mini Tarzan who did everything we did, but better. This kid has really made an impact in all of our hearts. Mary Claire introduced Filip to Justin Bieber’s music and high-fives. Mary Claire felt so loved by her host family that she wanted to be able to give them something, so with the help of Lindaci she prepared a bolo (cake) for them. Mary Claire had a hard time with mosquito bites, nettles throughout our hikes, spiders, the idea of lizards jumping into her mouth, cows staring her down, and also touching a deadly plant that we didn’t know about until Kevin told us afterwards. Thank goodness we didn’t touch the milk inside the bean-like plant, or else we could have gone blind. But no worries, we all still have our eyesight.

Kevin stayed with Floriano and Marinetta who were siblings. I can tell Kevin is having an amazing time with us; we just might be his favorite SPRINT team that he has ever gone with… He was also given the chance to be interviewed on a Brazilian radio station. He’s been having a good time being able to eat all the condensed milk treats that he can. I’m sure his wife Marian, sorry if I spelled that wrong, would not be very happy about that. It’s also Father’s Day in Brazil this Sunday the 11th so the team has prepared a small surprise for him. We love you, Kevin!

Then there is me:
I stayed at the same house that Brian stayed at. I had the privilege of doing two hikes up steep mountains and for those who know me, I am a man who loves his hikes…. On one of the nights I almost went to sleep with a chicken in my bed. After about 15 minutes of trying to get it out Brian and I finally were able to do so. I will now forever be known as the American who almost went to sleep with a chicken in his bed. I have also found myself a novela that I just cannot miss. It’s called Amor a Vida and it is a little intense, but it is my kind of novela. I am hoping that the team will come to enjoy the novela even if we can’t really understand most of what is going on. I also got the chance to slap a few cows on the butt as the cows got ready to get vaccinated!

Welp, that’s about it. We are back in Recife chilling at the unit house and we are all doing great! Please keep us in your prayers as we embark on the second half of the trip.

Also, if you are reading the blog give us a shout out through the comment option. We wouldn’t mind being able to read what you all have to say!

Much love and appreciation,

E / The Brazilian Crew









Update from Brejo


This is Mary Claire and Bekah, here for an update on our last week, spent in the interior.

We spent last weekend in Caruaru, a major city in the interior. Our time there was spent with a sweet family who also hosts a house church. Our weekend was filled with lots of extended family in small spaces, DELICIOUS food, and the the children of the community. We played a very muddy game of Brazilian dodgeball–the rain cannot stop our fun! We also got to participate in their Sunday evening service with a bilingual rendition of Hosanna.

After a weekend of community involvment in Caruaru, we traveled to a Assentimento in Brejo. This is a quick update of our time here, but we will give a more detailed update later of our time in the Assentimento! The thirty-five families who live here obtained this land from the government, after camping outside of it for two years (to motivate the government). The six of us are staying at five different houses, and our homestay families have warmly welcomed us in. Most of them are related, so it feels like we have been adopted into one big extended family! The assentimento has been without electricity for seven years, until just last week! Right now, running water is slowly being installed in the homes. The pace of our days has been fairly slow, in a nice way. Our time has been spent entering in to the everyday normalcy of this community, rather than focusing on big projects. We are learning so much about what it means to love freely and fully. We experience this everyday from our host families as they serve us without reservation, despite our short relationship and limited communication.

We have about seven days left here, before returning to Recife. We look forward to more time deepening our relationships with the people of Assentimento Baraunas. More updates in a week! Thanks for your continued prayer and support!

Campo Tabaiares

Bom dia!

This is Heather and Brian with an update of the last few days!

It’s now Thursday evening, and we are just about to eat dinner after having spent the last four days in the community of Campo Tabaiares (the squatter settlement where Kevin lived for three years).  Through this time we have been welcomed into the community, and it certainly feels like more than four days since we last updated the blog.

Our first two days in Campo Tabaiares were spent working in the community library.  The library was started by a woman named Nice (pronounced nee-see), who spends her time working with both the children and the elderly in the community.  The library serves as a place for children to hang out, work on homework and reading skills, and for anyone else to read from their collection of thousands of books.

The children are on break from school right now, so we had lots of time with the kids over two days!  We colored, made paper crowns and snowflakes, attempted to learn Portuguese (mostly the kids laughing at us), painted faces, and sang crazy songs.  Even though these things in and of themselves seem small, it is through them that we were able to give and receive love, and connect with the kids.

Our other two days in the community were spent visiting the homes of elderly people in the community.  Each person that we visited is part of a group of elderly that Nice helps to organize, taking them on outings and helping them continue to be an active part of their community.  At each home we were able to hear the stories of those we visited, and ask questions about their lives in Campo Tabaiares.  All shared their joy at living in this community, many having lived in the area since it was originally invaded.  We witnessed intergenerational connections and the strong bond of family in this community—while visiting a bedridden woman here great-granddaughter ran up to hold her hand.

Through all of our time in Campo Tabaiares we grew to adore Nice.  Walking around the community people were constantly stopping to talk to or hug her.  It is obvious how much of a blessing she is to the people and how much love there is for her and from her.

Tomorrow morning we depart for the interior to Caruaru, until Monday when we will travel to Brejo da Madre de Deus.  A piece of our hearts has been left in Campo Tabaiares, but we are excited for the people and adventures in the days to come!

Our team asks for prayers for continued good health, for the work of Nice in her community, and that our eyes and hearts would be open to see God in those we encounter.

Thanks for reading!

The first few days…

Bom noite!

This is Bekah and Emmanuel, here for a short update! Tomorrow, the team will head into our first week of “real project” work in Carenguejo, the squatter settlement in which Kevin lived and worked. But we wanted to quickly fill you in on what we’ve been up to since arriving…

This is only the end of our third full day in Brasil, but it has felt like much longer! We spent the past few days settling into the unit house we are staying in and getting a feel for life in Recife. On our first day, we met Fabio, Cristiano, and Angela–some of our hosts who are connected to AMAI and local Mennonite churches. Tonight we got to visit our first Mennonite church, Igreja Menonita de Lagoa Encantada. It was an awesome, lively service that included a song in which we all received hugs from just about every church member. 🙂 Before the service started, we also got to walk around the community with one of the church leaders. We were warmly welcomed into a family’s home, despite showing up completely unannounced. That is very normal for Brasilian culture, we hear. The family hosted us for conversation and cake, and we even found out that Mary Claire and our host share the same birthday (TOMORROW!). The people we have met so far have blown us away with their kindness and hospitality.

In the past few days, we also bussed around Recife, bought food and crafts at markets and enjoyed a walk down the beach. We are gradually getting used to the frequent mosquito bites, HUMID weather and random downpours (that usually only last a few minutes). I think it’s safe to say we are all enjoying our time in Brasil so far and can’t wait to hit the ground running tomorrow.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support! We’ll be checking in soon with news from Carenguejo! 🙂 Now for a few pictures…


It's a rough life at the Brasilian beach...

It’s a rough life at the Brasilian beach…

(back) Angela, Mateo, Brian, Heather, Enikeli, Bekah, Mary Claire, Emmanuel (front) Deborah, Cristiano, Fabio

(back) Angela, Mateo, Brian, Heather, Enikeli, Bekah, Mary Claire, Emmanuel
(front) Deborah, Cristiano, Fabio

Olá do Brasil!

Hello from Brazil!!  After several long layovers, missed and delayed flights, we have arrived safely (though plenty tired) in Recife, Brazil!  The six of us are now at the unit house, a house maintained by our hosts that will serve as our home base over the next six weeks.  We were greeted tonight by one of our hosts, Fabio, and tomorrow will have a morning orientation to meet more of those we will be working with. That’s all for now–more updates to come in future days.


We’ll leave you with a picture of our team from our many hours long layover in Rio, joined by a new friend whose also ended up spending up much time in the terminal.DSC03536

All together!

After a long layover for several, everyone’s together and ready to board the plane to Rio de Janeiro!


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