Many of you have heard Mike share about his experience meeting the friends in the car one day. After pulling over, he met one particular man, who later, introduced him to many contacts in the school where he is now working. One day while Everton (one of these guys) was in the truck, Mike was blasting a Chris Tomlin CD. He heard the word Jesus on the music and asked if it was Christian music. He loved it and Mike promised to try and get him a CD.
Well long story short....they all work in what is called a Barraca or what we would consider in the states to be the equivalent of a lil' bar on the beach. Mike had taken me and the boys there once before to introduce us to all his new friends and we had some snacks while the kids swam in the ocean. It was/is quite lovely.
Today we drove back there again, to have lunch and take a CD to Everton. Usually the only down side of being there is that there are dozens of beggars and venders that walk up and down the beach trying to either sell something to you or just look at you and beg for money. This was something that, before coming to Brazil, we knew we would have to deal with but quite honestly it's been a struggle. You really have to use discernment to know when to give and when to not build an even bigger dependency. Some of the people have become like professional beggars and they see our white faces coming a mile away. All that to say, our hearts have gotten a bit hardened to some of the needs around us at times. After about the 8th person, you stop looking up at them and try to ignore them so you can chew your food.
Today something different happened. A blind man came by with his son and immediately I knew his need was real and authentic. He and his son were in plain view to me and the boys but Mike had his back to them. I leaned over and mentioned to Mike to give him some change and I could tell quickly that Mike was not feeling it. He was giving me the "ignore them and they will go away look"! I don't say this to make you think less of Michael because he has a heart of gold and the cons are around us daily but Mike had not seen their faces. We finished eating and got in the car to go home and that was that...or so I thought.
On the way home, one of the boys asked Michael why he had ignored the blind man. He explained how he was really frustrated and how people really need to learn to work for their money instead of begging others. I leaned in to Mike and kind of agreed with the boys that I had felt there was a need. At first, like most men, ;) Mike was annoyed but he could tell we were all pretty sincere with our confrontations to him. And this is when the incredible thing happened.
Michael turned the car around. The kids and I just sat there quiet and in a bit of shock. He went to the barraca and he walked straight up to one of the young guys he knew and asked where the blind man lived. Surprisingly, the man not only knew where the blind man lived, he really wanted to take us to him. The next thing I know, other than the fact that the bar in Brazil is now playing Chris Tomlin over their speakers, Gabriele is in the car directing Mike where to turn and we are headed up a hill we'd never been. After putting the truck into 4x4 mode and almost killing about a dozen chickens and goats we made it to the lil' home where the blind man, his wife and their seven children lived.
Mike and Gabriele got out of the car and they were gone for about half an hour. I got out of the car and smiled trying to act as if I'd been there a thousand times before. Women were looking outside their windows as Jayden chased their roosters through the streets. Eventually Mike came back with a big smile on his face. He seemed different on the way home as he told me the story about the man and his family. I think we all agree it's better to open our eyes to the needs around us cause the truth is, usually we're the ones that get blessed!