Dan and I just returned from a trip to Brazil. Our son, Caleb, married a woman (Raissa) last year who is from Brazil. They knew at some point they also wanted to have a ceremony/celebration in Brazil for Raissa’s side of the family, and chose August 19th as that date. So, Dan and I began making travel plans, knowing we wanted to be a part of that event.

We arrived in Brazil on the 15th, meeting countless relatives – so many cousins! The times we shared prior to the wedding were amazing – lots of food and time together, enjoying the beautiful weather – and scenery/wildlife – of Brazil. It is their winter right now, so they were a bit chilly in the 72° weather, but Dan and I were loving it!

On August 19th, the happy couple were married on the beach, with the sound of the ocean waves just yards away. There were eight of us from Minnesota (including the groom), so the service was done in both Portuguese and English. It was a beautiful evening, with lots of amazing food, pictures, and celebrating following the ceremony – a night none of us will ever forget!

While it was at times stressful – being in a foreign country and not speaking the language – the people of Brazil countered that by being amazingly hospitable, kind, and helpful. We were immediately embraced and had become part of this greater family. Although most of her family does not speak English, through hand gestures, translating apps, and learning bits of Portuguese, we were able to communicate with each other quite well, creating relationships, feeling like we were part of the family, and making lifelong friendships.

I think of us here in the United States. Are we irritated when someone doesn’t speak English? Are we dismissive, short, or even rude when we must deal with someone with whom it is difficult to communicate? Dan and I are grateful for how we were accepted in Brazil – not only by Raissa’s family and friends, but by the people in the markets, on the beach, in the restaurants, and on the street. It was a wonderful reminder of how we’re to love our neighbor – citizen or foreigner. Let’s not forget, we represent God as Christ’s ambassadors to the world at large!

May you enjoy all of God’s abundant blessings this week!

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Julie