Last night, Michael and I had dinner with a sweet young couple. WOW...that is so weird to say cause it wasn't too long ago that WE were the YOUNG couple. (sorry...getting off subject)
Anyway, Michael met him several months ago buying a roast at the store. His name is Matheus (not to be confused with the Matheus we met by spilling a Fanta!) and he is the butcher at our local mercearia. Mike has become a connoisseur when it comes to ordering meat here. There are so many great cuts of beef in Brazil and MIKE loves to eat meat. (rambling again...sorry)
Mike and Matheus have gotten really close over the last few months. They went out one night several weeks ago and I remember Michael coming home saying the conversation was tough because he talked so fast and in slang alot. Mike seemed discouraged but yet they continued forging a friendship over the meat counter!
SO...last night they planned a dinner including his girlfriend and me. As we walked into the restaurant, it was that typical wierdness that happens when you don't know someone well but are sat in front of them for several hours with the ever present LANGUAGE difficulties. Very happy to say that we sat and talked and talked and talked for several hours. At some point, Matheus began talking about his frustrations with church. It was odd cause neither Mike or I had mentioned anything spiritual in our conversation up to that point.
He explained how one church, in particular, that his mom had attended made rules concerning tithing and gave people bad marks for not tithing. (crazy huh) It was really cool though cause we were able to go straight into how keeping our eyes on "the church" (which in his eyes was a bunch of people that made rules and acted better than everyone else) will always make us CRAZY! We talked of how many churches are made up of people that have NEVER known the Truth about Christ and don't have a relationship with HIM at all. Their lives consist of hanging out at the local club each weekend with people they know and label it a church! (I will refrain from going off on this subject right now cause this post is about Matheus)
It was really quite neat cause we were able to share how, we too, have to keep our eyes OFF of PEOPLE and ON JESUS. We talked about how God doesn't want 10% of our lives or 10% of our money but that HE want ALL our lives. (I'm not speaking hypothetically here...HE REALLY WANTS ALL OUR LIVES=100%)
Mike used several stories that we had learned in our narratives class and I just sat there with my chin on the ground as portuguese Words poured out of his mouth! (God had to have taken over his normal misconjugated verbs cause he was actually making sense) HA They both sat there and listened to EVERYTHING and shared from their hearts as well. His girlfriend was teared up through most of the conversation and it seemed she was understanding it all. We ended by encouraging him to take his doubts straight to God. We told him to talk to HIM about all these things and ask God to show himself in their lives.
Matheus explained how he was interested in what we had to say because he knew we were Christians (missionaries in fact) but he couldn't believe we hadn't invited him to "church" or that we weren't trying to "fix" his life. Mike had simply made a friend and Matheus had seen something very different in his life.
Pray for Matheus as he seeks God's face through all this. Pray for his girlfriend who seems to have a good understanding of all we talked about and even shared she had given her life to Christ 4 years ago. Pray that God shows Himself to Matheus in BIG ways.