We drove through the night on a bus between Natal and Fortaleza. Brady at least got some sleep, but sleep eluded me as violently as the bus driver was swerving the bus to avoid pot holes. When we got picked up, we expected to go back to CBC to spend time until our 11 p.m. flight to the US, but our host asked if we’d like to visit an interior village. That was a no-brainer.
We didn’t get to share any stories while there, but the experience was one that I’m glad Brady got to have.
An hour an a half outside the city, we drove into a town that seemed to be an afterthought. Houses were made of woven sticks with mud slapped on top. Mosquitoes bred within the crumbling walls. Nobody seemed to be working, which we found to be true. There wasn’t anywhere to work. The crops had been destroyed by the rainy season this year and so people were just passing time until next season. A village of 7,000 people did pretty much nothing all day.
We walked into a church in town and met the pastor and his wife. They opened up their home, made us lunch while we got a flat tire fixed. They killed one of their chickens and even bought us a two liter Coke, a meal which I told Brady cost them more than they could afford.
In one of the homes we stopped in, we met a 74 year old man who had ten children. His wife had left him recently, taking the five oldest. His seventeen year old daughter was visiting. She had stopped going to school in third grade and had recently married a man she barely knew from the city. It is a marriage of hope only, a hope that being in the city she can find a job. His other children living with him were all under the age of twelve. Brady got to meet his nine year old son, who couldn’t count to ten. I asked our translator what would happen to the young kids if their father dies this year. “The government will take them to an orphanage in the city, but most kids leave those and go to the favelas. The eight year old girl could be a prostitute within six months. And the boy will likely be into drugs…”
While we were only in this village a few hours, seeing it and hearing people’s stories gave both Brady and I another snap shot of what a hard to reach place looks like. Our prayer is that God will open up ways for His Story to be taken to these sorts of places, seeing churches born and lives reborn with hope.