Emma H., pictured above in the red shirt, is a returning team member from New Hampshire. Below she describes what it was like to return to Brazil two years after first meeting the children in VisionTrust’s programs.
This was my second time going to Brazil with VisionTrust. Words cannot express how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to go back to the country and the people that stole my heart two years ago. I’m also thankful that I learned and was changed in different ways on each visit.
The first time I went was the first time I had seen poverty to that extreme. I had never had a relationship with someone who lived in a home without a door or glass in the windows. I had never met someone who felt so unsafe in their own home every night. This changed the way I view my living situation. I came back from that trip so much more aware of the huge blessing that my physical house is.
As important as that lesson was for me, this trip taught me something different. This trip taught me so much more about what it means to be joyful in all things. I was and am so convicted by the thought that if I was in the position these kids are in, I don’t know if I could have as much pure joy as they do. Some of these kids come from homes where they sleep on the floor, don’t eat, and don’t shower, yet they have so much joy when they get to play with their friends. They could spend the whole night feeling unsafe and afraid, but when they get to the Learning Center, all of that melts away.
Taking the kids to camp is a great example of how much better they are at being joyful than I am. Brazilians run on a different timeline than I’m used to (or that I prefer to be honest) and I found myself getting tired and grumpy quickly during some of the later nights at camp. But, when the kids would come running to start the night games I knew I had to let go of my usual sleep routine and let them cheer me up. It got late and cold, but the kids showed no sign of fatigue or complaining. They are so much stronger than I am.
Coming home this time, I’m working on being joyful in all things. If I put my troubles in a pile with the troubles of the rest of the kids on this trip, I’d take mine back in a heartbeat. I’m working on being flexible when it gets past the point I’d like to be awake, and learning to put my grumpiness aside if it means someone else will be blessed by that time with them. I know it’s going to be a struggle at times, but I know that God is more than strong enough to get me through it.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13