Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brazil, finally

Well, here it is the end of July. I've been back from Brazil for about a month and a half, and I still miss it. I'm sorry to all my readers (the few of you who are left) for not writing on this for about 2 months. I've actually had a lot going on and lots to tell, but it got to the point where how much I needed to tell all added up and I didn't want to type it all out. SO hopefully I'll have a few posts over the next week or so to talk about my summer adventures.

First off, let me say a BIG thank you for all of you who supported me--financially or prayerfully or both--with Brazil.

This trip was different than all trips I have been on. I've left the country 3 times now. Since the first 2 times were to Europe, the cultural differences were less noticeable (at first, at least). Arriving in Brazil, I got a big WHAM! of cultural differences that made sure I knew I was no longer in the U.S. Things like "don't flush your toilet paper" or "don't drink the tap water." Sometimes even things like "here's a chicken heart; try it." In the end, I loved the differences in their culture and mine. Reaching that point is something I think most Americans find difficult. I could be wrong and just speaking for myself, but sometimes one gets a bit defensive of his or her own culture and doesn't want to live in someone else's. We Americans are a bit prideful (not that we don't have reason to be a lot of the time). It's taken me some time, but I finally arrived at that wonderful realization.

Brazil opened my eyes to medical missions. I didn't necessarily get to do a lot when it came to actually practicing medicine, but I did get to see how much doctors are needed there... and how much health care is lacking. People there came to see the docs for anything you could imagine. There weren't exactly any emergencies (thank goodness), but the people there are still sick. Every child came in with worms and lice. Most of the adults had them as well. Low blood pressures and high heart rates were common--mostly due to dehydration.

As far as the evangelism aspect goes, every person who saw a doctor was given the opportunity to hear about Jesus and why we were there. Over half of the ~700 people seen by the doctors claimed Jesus Christ as their Savior by the end of the week. There were several other outreach programs--with kids, with the neighborhood--so the word of God was spread all around.

I would love to make the trip there again next year and the next, but I'm pretty sure my school schedule won't allow it. I could be wrong, but in this instance, I'm about 90% positive I am right. One of the few times someone hates to be right. All in all, Brazil took a little piece of my heart, and I can't wait to go back one day to find it.

The Medical Team

A few of the children who liked the camera :)

All of the translators (oh yeah, plus me)

The translator I worked with the most, Denise, asking a patient about her complaints

Most of the MS volunteers

Some of the kids who came to see the doc :)