I’m just preparing to watch the beginning of the Olympics and remembering when I flew to Rio and then onto a smaller Brazilian city, Curitiba, 17 years ago almost exactly to this day! Brazil is an amazingly beautiful country; rich in culture, steeped deep in religion and superstitions. 

I went to Brazil in 1999 for 5 weeks with the Baptist Missionary society to serve in a children’s home with four other young women. For the latter half of the trip I was privileged to lead the team as we served in the children’s home, helped the family as they served the girls that lived there (aged 12-19). It was not an easy trip.  I ate rice and black beans every day for 35 days! The toilets were incredibly basic! I washed my clothes in cold water for five weeks and battled with the heat of the day and the cold at night! The girls in the home were very troubled, rebellious and would run away regularly. The work was hard. Most houses had vodka and /or red roses outside their houses to ward away evil spirits. The team was amazing – we were total strangers at the beginning and strong friends at the end although sadly, I didn’t keep in touch with any of my team mates long term. There was no Facebook then!! 

I remember meeting with God in the midst of turmoil, working with troubled young girls who had lost everything. I remember reading big chunks of scripture which have stuck with me ever since. I remember God opening my mind and my heart for the vulnerable. So many seeds were planted. It’s been interesting seeing what God has allowed to grow! God did a lot with me in Brazil. He planted seeds in my heart about adoption. I came home and told my, then boyfriend, now husband, that we would should adopt in our future! And we did! 

Last weekend, friends of ours were speaking at church about their recent work in Thailand and how God has now brought them to work in Germany. I was reminded of God’s great faithfulness to them over the years and also to us. When my husband then led the song ‘Great is your faithfulness’ at the end of service, it was even more confirmation that God is a good, good God and He is faithful! 

Watching the Olympics and thinking of beautiful Brazil, I’m totally reminded of how God has been faithful to me over many many years and I’m so thankful.