This has been such an amazing and crazy experience on so many levels.
Have you ever seen a Brazilian swim? Well, neither have we. But that doesn't keep them from trying. These kids LOVE to swim. But let's just say the next Michael Phelps will not be wearing a Brazilian Green and Yellow speedo. But what these kids lack in swimming ability they make up for enthusiastically thinking they can swim. Brazilians can't float either. Which is ironic because most of these children live in favelas that are no more than 4 miles from the beach - yet it's likely that none of them have ever seen it. But programs like Kid's Places gives them the stability they need to complete school, and ultimately qualify to take and then pass the college entrance exam. Your support is life changing. Literally in every sense of the word. Our lifeguard contingent ranges from 8 - 48 - and thank God - they are incredibly proficient.
Wednesday was shopping day. After lunch - we laid out nearly 5,000 pieces of clothing and had the kids come in a handful at a time and let them go shopping. It was amazing. The joy, sheer joy on their faces at the abundance of choices that were before them. In the event you have a Brazilian on your Christmas shopping list next year - the brighter the fabric the better. It's been awesome to the kids running around in shirts from TCU Fort Worth Zoo, Aledo Bearcats, Panther Nation (Viva 109!) or the random Tony Romo jersey. Even saw a Chad Pennington jersey - seriously who donated the Pennington? We actually had to bribe a kid with a milkshake to get him to take it. They were so grateful, so overwhelmed and genuinely so appreciative of your love and support.
Wednesday night saw Americano tears flowing with the Brazilians. After an emotion-filled night of praise and teaching - over 40 children gave their lives to Christ. So many of these children have been literally abandoned in life, by the system and by their fathers. They have no hope. None whatsoever. And for them to find out that they in fact have a Father that cares for them and loves them unconditionally brought so many of from the point of emptiness to a life of hope. Watching our team, especially the younger ones, Isabella, Pace, Abbie, Parker, Sara, Campbell and Sam - holding these sobbing children in their arms, crying right along with them, was one of the most moving things I've ever seen. Language was no issue. Culture, politics, social standing - they meant nothing. What meant everything was that each of us were unified through the love of Christ. Words simply cannot do this night justice.
Tomorrow is the last day of camp. We'll be saying goodbye to 165 new friends. I'm certain more Americano tears will flow. Both bitter and sweet. There is just so much need. And we have so much.