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Rio - Really?!

Yes, Rio. When you receive this, Larry and I will be on our way to Brazil and the Olympics 2016. My Internet will be unpredictable, so I have arranged Guest Posts for you while I am away. I look forward to rejoining you when I return. Please follow me on Instagram and Twitter for my personal view of this global event.

3 Reasons Why Am I Looking Forward to Brazil

I would like to bring you along with me on this journey. Since that is not possible, I want to share reasons I am looking forward to this historic occasion.

1. Brazil, The Nation
AIA Brazil is co-sponsoring AIA Olympic Church Sports Festivals in 6 major cities of Brazil. Larry and I will travel to Recife, Fortaleza, and Rio to participate with our trained volunteers and partner churches who are using Sports Ministry to reach their communities. This effort is strategic in reaching people who would not come to a church.  

2. Rio de Janeiro, The Project
These next few weeks, the eyes of the world will be on Rio and the Olympic athletes. Our Athletes in Action International ministry is sponsoring an on site project to minister to the Olympians. Road to Rio, is our Sports Chaplaincy Project, which is bringing 120 experienced staff and volunteers from 30 countries to focus on the athletes in The Olympic Village. Larry and I will contribute with training sessions and strategic meetings.

3. Priscilla, The Story
1970                                                                                                                                                 A spiritual panic attack preceded my first trip to Brazil in 1970. I was afraid that God would one day force me return there as a missionary. This paranoia was so paralyzing that I could hardly bring myself to pack. Feeling too embarrassed to cancel, I soldiered ahead, and boarded the plane.

Once in Rio, I managed to regain my equilibrium.  Soon, I fell in love with the lifestyle, the cuisine, and our hostess Priscilla and her family, the Oliveras. The hospitality of these charming, fun-loving people enhanced my foray into the Brazilian culture. Yet, I had no intention of ever returning as a missionary.  When the visit ended and I departed, I kissed late nights, Ipanema, Copacabana, black beans, rich coffee and Sugar Loaf goodbye. Ciao!  

In a span of 44 years, this missionary had done an about-face with God. I returned to Brazil for extensive ministry, and I found myself nurturing a deep longing to locate with the family from long ago, the Olivera’s. I knew it would take a miracle, since I had lost all contact with them shortly after our visit in 1970. 

2014: Enter Elísio                                                                                                                              Elísio, one of our partnering pastors, engaged in my search. Supernaturally, after four silent decades, we located Priscilla and her 91-year-old mother Alice Olivera! We exchanged contact information and arranged a visit.

Can you imagine how my heart raced as Larry and I stepped off the elevator leading to their lovely apartment? What would it be like, after 44 years, to reunite with these women? As soon as the door opened, the smiles on their faces bridged the 44 years of separation. The enormous effort to find them was worth the labor.

I prayed, "Oh God, thank You. You were right. You did want me to return to Brazil as a missionary, and You used this family as part of my story. Thank You that You were patient with me in my journey when I was so afraid. Thank You that Your ways are good, acceptable, and perfect."

2016                                                                                                                                             After 46 years, Priscilla will once again be my hostess. She has invited Larry and me to be guests in her home during Olympics 2016. Who would ever have thought? 

Yes! I am looking forward to Brazil and the Olympics. 

Question: When you turn on your TV and watch any event, will you please pray for us? In each situation, we desire to be God’s Royal Ambassadors for His Royal Purposes. Please take advantage of our AIA Ministrytoolkit for your personal encouragement and outreach.