SPRINT Brazil 2013

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

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

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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What SPRINT’s All About

Hello, friends!

With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer.  (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).

I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief.  Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.

University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years.  Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.

Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.

It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions.  To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.

Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application.  Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation.  However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.

To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home.  The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application.  You might find this sample article interesting:  In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.

Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer.  If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or owen@spu.edu.

Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor

 

On a plane!

This morning Rebekah, Emmanuel, Brian and Kevin met at SeaTac Airport to begin their adventure. They’ll meet Mary Claire and Heather in Atlanta.

Over the next six weeks this team will learn and serve alongside local church leadership in Recife and neighboring communities. They’ll keep us updated at least weekly through this blog.

If you have questions at any point please let me know. You can reach me at owen@spu.edu or 206-427-1296.

Thanks for your support of this team!

Owen Sallee
SPRINT Advisor

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