We're back. We have Dr. Pepper, potable water, and ice once again. Most of us have spent substantial portions of the last 36 hours in our beds. I'm up now, however, and left with the unenviable task of summarizing a trip that changed 630 lives.

Some 600 people accepted Christ. Over the next 365 days, ~200 people will visit all of them at least 1 time. As for the 30 of us, in 12 days our lives were changed. Don't worry. I'm only 21. I can't even rent a car. I didn't set out to change the lives of those who read this blog or teach anyone anything about well...anything. I sought only to encourage those left behind and secure prayer for the team, and, I will admit, create some traffic for this blog. My objectives remain unchanged in my final Mission Brazil post.

I don't know what, if anything, God wanted you to learn from this trip, but I do know what he wanted to teach me. If you'll permit me I'll elaborate briefly. To begin with, let's turn to a very familiar passage from the book of Matthew chapter 28

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you
always, to the very end of the age."

The command of Christ is relatively clear if you understand what makes someone a disciple. Jesus explains discipleship this way in Luke chapter nine:

23Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

I'm still learning what this means. I think there are hints of what this looks like in Colossians 3, which I've referenced previously.

3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.b]">[b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

In his book "A Man of God", which the men of Priority are studying, Dr. Jack Graham suggests that an important part of taking up the cross is acknowledging the death this verse speaks of. As believers, he says, we are dead men-men without time, money, or rights.

Time, money and rights, we may not have, but Christ is in us all-Brazillian and American alike, and we all must follow him. Our Brazilian brethren are now tasked with teaching 600 people what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Pleaase join us in praying for them and those who accepted Christ during the trip. What an encouragement to know that the whole law, which Jesus didn't abolish but fulfilled, rests on two things. As it is written in Matthew 22

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Throughout this trip, God continued to remind me that it really does come down to loving God and loving people.


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