A few years ago, we gathered a team together that was going to Brazil on a missions trip. Our church supports missionaries there and we wanted to visit and serve in the community we have been supporting for decades. We hoped to encourage them and learn more about the challenges they faced, in order to better support them, financially and through prayer. As God seems to do often, He blessed us with life lessons far beyond our expectations.
Our flight was 18 hours and we were weary. As we deplaned and walked towards the gate, we noticed a large crowd of about 25 people with signs and waving enthusiastically. We all started looking around to see what famous athlete or celebrity might have been on the flight with us.
As we got closer, we realized something very surprising. This large group was there for us! They came to welcome us and love on us and most of them had never even met us before!
How crazy is that?
I tried to imagine a circumstance where I would take time out of my day to head over to the airport – just to welcome someone! I have definitely gone to pick up a loved one and the reunions are always special, but these people didn’t even know us yet. This welcome blew us all away. They had so much love for us and really understood the scripture in John 13:35 that reads: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Throughout our time there, we all observed how generous the people of Porte Alegre were with their kindness, generosity and love. After the first day out on outreach, we awoke to the smell of coffee and someone had lovingly wiped down our soiled shoes and placed them neatly outside our doors. At every turn we were shocked by the generous love we observed.
I realized that we had so much to learn from our Brazilian brothers and sisters. As much as we hoped to serve them while we were there, we all left transformed, transformed by what we saw there – by the people we met that we will never forget and transformed by this crazy love that we all committed to bring back with us.
Next month, the missionary couple that hosted us is coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks. We can’t wait to love on them. I realized how easy it is for us to forget that we are called to live and love generously. It might even seem foolish to some to love that big, but God desires that the world would know we are His disciples by the love we demonstrate. This world is dying for it and as we abide in Him, we will have an unending supply. Isn’t that an incredible gift?
So, after we served in Brazil for almost two weeks, we had more than twice as many people see us off at the airport! Strangers were looking at us, trying to understand the commotion. It was a wonderful time. Lord, please help me – help us to love so generously that it captures people’s attention. That they would seek to understand you more – that they would desire to know the heart of our Father more. Help us to show crazy generous love!
Director of Philanthropy & Advancement, STAR 99.1