I truly believe I would have not made it this past week if I had just depended on my own strength. This past week has probably been one of the most physically draining weeks I have had here so far. I would not trade this experience for anything though. During my time here so far, this past week has definitely become one of my favorite weeks I have had. It was amazing to see all the work that God has been doing lately.
This past Wednesday, Pastor, Carlitos, Ashlyn, Matthias, and I left for the island of Brava to evangelize in the remote villages. Brava is so beautiful. The island is covered in rolling hills and mountains covered in flowers. You can see the water surrounding the mountain from practically anywhere on the island. Farm animals roam the island freely. Not a lot of the roads are paved and are mostly cobble stone. This island has not been really touched by any industries or commercial businesses so there are not a lot of stores and advertisements. The island is purely natural with patches of villages throughout the island. We stayed in the village of Baleia with a very sweet family that showed us so much love. They were so excited to have us in their home. Carlitos was related to them. Carlitos is a guy from our church who speaks English and is from the island of Brava. It was really cool to have him with us to translate and provide so many connections for us. He seemed to be related to almost everyone on the island. Brava is like one big happy family. His family’s village could not be reached by car so we had to walk about a mile up and down the mountain just to get to and from the village. The conditions of this trip were pretty rough, but I enjoyed experiencing how the villagers live everyday life. I definitely appreciate the things I have in America and in my home in Praia a lot more now. For most of our two day trip, we walked to most of the houses we visited. The walking was intense considering the island of Brava is one big rock mountain. There were a couple times I had to beg God to give me the strength to keep walking. In two days, we visited seventeen families! Most of the families had mostly women in them so Ashlyn and I shared our testimonies and lessons with them. I did not know what to expect coming into this trip so I did not have a chance to really prepare lessons to share. I was afraid I would not know what to share with each families, but every single time, the Holy Spirit would come over me and give me exactly what I needed to share. I am the certain type of person that likes to have time to prepare the lessons I want to share and get my thoughts in order, but the lack of preparation did not affect anything this time. It was simply that the Holy Spirit gave me the words to say every time. My confidence level in sharing the gospel has drastically improved because of this awesome experience.
I am so grateful for Pastor to allow Ashlyn, Matthias, and I to go with him and Carlitos on this trip. It was amazing to see his big heart for the Lord and his huge desire to reach the people of Brava. He takes this trip every month. The trip is physically and mentally exhausting, but he does it with so much heart and enthusiasm. This trip proved to show that a lot of people are very interested in making the big decision to accept Christ. Because of this observation, Pastor is currently in the process of arranging another trip to Brava at the end of the month to emphasize on baptism and hopefully on the last day there, there will be a time for baptisms! Pastor has invited Matthias, Ashlyn, and I to come back with him then. We most likely will be going back with him! Please pray for the island of Brava. There is a huge opportunity for this whole island to be reached. Pastor is in the process of training two potential leaders that live in Brava to continue the work full time while he is away during the months. These two potential leaders have a huge influence on the people and have a lot of connections. Pastor is in the process of getting one of them to come to Praia for two weeks to be poured into and to study the Bible. Pray for these two potential leaders and their hearts. Pray that they would turn to God and seek His will.
When we left Brava, Ashlyn, Matthias, and I met with the rest of our team on the island of Fogo. During our time there, we got to explore the beautiful island. We woke up before sunrise one morning and hiked up the volcano of Fogo. The hike was intense. We even had to rock climb at times. We walked the equivalence of 352 flights of stairs. The volcano was massive. It took us about three hours just to get to the top. I know I could not have done that hike without asking God for the strength and energy I needed. When we reached the top of it, we were literally looking down on the clouds! The hike down was much easier, but tedious. We practically had to slide down the volcano’s side gliding around rocks. It was definitely an epic trip.
My ministries back in Praia have been wonderful. Projecto Pepe is going well. I have missed my kids a lot because I did not get a chance to see them this past week because I left for Brava during the week. My goal is to start visiting Projecto Pepe families in Terra Branca every Thursday. I plan to start doing that this Thursday. Basketball ministry is growing and improving more and more every Tuesday night. The man that helps coordinate the ministry with me and lives in the neighborhood that we do the ministry in has been helping me set up a time that we can be start to evangelizing and praying for families in the neighborhood on Saturday mornings. I recently joined a volleyball team here. I start practice on Wednesday night. I am doing this to release stress, improve my Portuguese, and form new relationships that could possibly open up ministry opportunities. Discipleship at Angelita’s has continued to be a blessing. Angelita and 3 of her kids will be getting baptized this Sunday! I am super excited about that. Please pray for all of these awesome ministry opportunities that God has provided for me. Pray that God would provide guidance and blessings for all of them.
My parents arrive in eleven days!!! It has been a very long time without them and I am so ecstatic to see them. I am excited about being able to show them all of the cool things that God has done during my time here so far. My little brother will also be coming! I have been struggling so much with missing him lately. I miss our car rides with singing the Beastie Boys and Kesha, our Dunkin Donut dates, his baseball games, and being able to snuggle with him and annoy him while he plays PlayStation. I can barely contain my excitement to see them all. It will definitely be a refreshment to see them and it will help keep me focused on working hard with my ministries for the remainder of my two months here in Cape Verde. Pray for safe travels for them and that they would see all of the wonderful things that God is doing here!
My weekly schedule has continued to get more hectic. I have been struggling with having energy. Pray that God would give me the energy to continue pursue my ministries with a big heart and enthusiasm. I hate wasting my time with resting instead of doing something involved with my ministries. There is plenty of work to be done and there is no time to be lacking energy.