In early March, Tim and I felt the Lord clearly telling us to head down to our home in Brazil to get it ready for our move. The funny thing is, we had not yet received word from our sending agency, ACTION, that we had enough funds to even move. So, this really didn't make sense as we are living off of small savings and the flights for the 2 of us would wipe out over half of that savings. Well, we went ahead and booked some super low cost flights for the 2nd week of March. A week before our trip, Tim's church growing up held a fundraiser that brought in the cost of those tickets plus a few hundred dollars more ( how about that?)

 Enroute to the airport, we received an email from the Director of ACTION that we were at enough funding to pick a moving date! This also meant that they we were approved to receive money from our fundraising to purchase items needed for our house. Would you just let that set in? How about that timing? Our second day in Brazil, we received word that our dear friend and mentor, Mark Anderson had passed away after battling cancer. Mark and his wife, Paige had moved to Fortaleza from the U.S about 20 years ago with their young son and daughter ( sound familiar?) to start what is now the Davis Lar. They retired and left Brazil 2 years ago and are still involved with the Davis Lar. We immediately connected with the Anderson in 2014 when we came to the Lar and we value their friendship. My heart was heavy and I couldn't pinpoint my emotions. Here we were, driving the car they left us, preparing the house they once lived in, and we were excited about this new stage of life. I couldn't help but think of the heartache Paige was feeling. The entire community around the Davis Lar grieved the loss of Mark. We met old volunteers, people down the street, and previous children that had been raised in the Davis Lar and they could not stop talking about Mark's legend and that he was the blood of the community.

 This trip brought us a lot of "firsts" for us. First time driving a car and running errands on our own. First time dealing with car trouble and having to push it in that Brazilian heat until it cranked up, ordering food at a restaurant all on our own, grocery shopping all by myself, and me being sick. By the 3rd day there, I felt like I had the flu with a splash of bronchitis. There was no air conditioning and loads of humidity. We worked relentlessly in our house until about 10:00 a night, sometimes closer to midnight. After getting my hands on some antibiotics and motrin, I kept pushing through. At night, I wanted the things that gave me comfort. I wanted to sprawl out on a couch under the frigid air conditioning, with a ceiling fan on, while I zoned out to watching animal documentaries. That was no option in the house where we were sleeping. I could either sit on a stool and watch the humidity loving critters wander inside through the windows or I could lay in the bed with the high powered oscillating fan blowing into my eyeballs. I knew I needed something that was guaranteed to strengthen me. Something told me to dive into Psalms:

 " We are sheep under His care"..."you will not abandon me"...."My God illuminates my darkness"...."Your comfort brings me joy".... "Cleanse me from my hidden thoughts"... "you reveal the path of life to me"..... Psalms 18, 19, 95.

 I felt myself clenching, with a death grip, to the Holy Spirit- to that ultimate comfort- as if I were pulling in a life saving floating device as I exhaustively treaded water in a violent sea. I wanted to pull it closer and closer to the depths of my soul. My preferred cultural comfort was exposed in this moment, and if I had access to that couch, netflix, and air conditioning- then would I have zoned out and never turned to Psalms? His word and His Spirit will go everywhere with us- our earthly comforts may not. I was able to see that it was that I turn to for rest before turning to the only one that can truly give me rest. Here I am , a month later, and I still can't get away from the book of Psalms. I believe the Lord knew my heart would need lots of strengthening and guidance in the next weeks to come as we prepare for goodbye. This trip opened our hearts to so many new people and to our new community in a way we didn't know. We came together with new friends through the mourning of Mark. I saw that the cultural comforts I preferred were not at all a necessity. And I am thankful for all we learned in those 5 short days. Our last morning there, the boys invited us for breakfast and they eagerly loved on us and showed immense hospitality.

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