Thursday, July 24, 2008

Greetings from Brazil...

Boa tarde seus loucos, (Good afternoon crazy people)

Here I am, back in Brazil, seeing the sights, enjoying the friendships, and eating as much Brazilian ice cream as I can get my hands on. As I write this I'm sitting on a bus on my way from the city of Campinas to São Jose' do Rio Preto in the central part of the state of São Paulo in south Brazil. My son, Jonathan, and I arrived in Brazil on July 8th and we'll be here for a month. It has been a great trip so far and we are looking forward to a couple more weeks of seeing old friends and visiting the places where we used to live and minister.

Last night we got together with the guys who used to be a part of our musical evangelism team, Renascença. We ate pizza, told old stories, laughed 'til our sides ached and played music until our fingers were sore. All four of them are married with children. All four are active in their local churches serving the Lord. They haven't changed a bit except for their level of maturity and a few gray hairs. They are the same delightful, funny guys that I loved 20 years ago. The years of geographical separation and time have changed nothing between us. We picked up right where we had left off. It was a great evening!

I don't claim to know anything about Heaven, because I've never been there. And I certainly don't claim to be an expert on the subject of friendship, because it has taken me a lifetime to begin to learn how to be and how to make friends. Looking back over the years I have to admit that I have spent most of my life being afraid to let people get close to me for fear that they would reject me if they came to know who I really am on the inside. I share that piece of personal trivia not to have anybody feel sorry for me but just to say this... I'm finally learning how precious it is to have real friends, good friends, the kind that know you from top to bottom and love you anyway, warts and all.

One of the many wonderful things about Heaven that I look forward to is the chance to spend quality uninterrupted time with old friends and also to make new friends. The fear, the pride, the ego, the insecurity will all be gone. The things that limit our ability to be a good friend and to make new friends will all be pulled out of us. We will have an eternity to do what Paulinho, Wanderley, Luiz, Ezequias and I did last night. But the neat part of that is that we won't have to say our sad goodbyes and part ways ever again. Instead of saying goodbye we'll just be able to hug and say to one another, "Ate' amanhã," which means, "until tomorrow." There will be no separation, no goodbyes, no sad partings. I look forward to that because I'm really getting tired of having to to say goodbye to people that I love.

I'll write again when I get a chance but it's a little iffy these days. I can't always get my hands on a computer and we've been pretty busy.

Louco for Jesus,

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