Well I am finally here- Sao Paulo, Brazil- and I could not be more excited!
Now before I get started, a couple of disclaimers:
First- this is the first time I have ever done a public daily blog. Its also the first time that I have made my website interactive. So if you are staring at a blank space right now, that is the reason why. Hopefully, e3 Brazil’s official CIO Andy Orr will be monitoring my site and letting me know if I have totally screwed this up.
Second- This is my first time visiting South America and I have to admit, though I’ve been very excited about coming here for months, there was a small bit trepidation as I have not been in the position of not knowing the native language of the country I’m in,for many,many,years.
A few things struck me upon my arrival. The first was the that as the airplane touched down on the ground in Sao Paulo after a 9 hour flight from Orlando, the passengers (mainly Brazilian) spontaneously erupted in a loud ovation and were cheering wildly. I am hopeful the reason for this was the inherent great enthusiasm of the Latin people that I have heard so much about, and not due to them knowing something about our pilot that made them just thankful that we made it at all.
But the other area that really stands out already is how hospitable this culture is- especially to foreigners. Since I have arrived, the people here have not only been gracious, but have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. And I’m not just speaking of my hosts like my good friends Lucas and Danielle Miranda who brought me down here, or Marcio and Iza Miranda, the pastor and his wife of the church I will speaking at who hosted me for an absolutely marvelous (and huge)lunch this afternoon. No, I mean perfect strangers, who when they notice my unfamiliarity with their language and culture, immediately have made it a point to do whatever they can to be helpful. Makes me question how quick I have been to the same for others in similar situations back home. Reminds me of Peter when he said to be hospitable to all people without grumbling. The folks in Brazil sure seemed to have mastered that!
e3 classes begin on Monday to a group of about 150 people. Now it has just occurred to me that some of you who are reading this may be asking ” What exactly is an e3?” Well, e3 is not a mathematical equation you forgot from high school trigonometry, nor is it a new sports drink. No, e3 is a school of ministry that was the brainchild of my pastor, my boss and my mentor Russ Austin, who for as long as I have known him has had a vision to reach the next generation and pull the greatness out of them. The school is designed to equip the students for ministry, position them to encounter the Holy Spirit and empower them to reach the world.
I have had the great honor to be a part of this school ever since we started it back in 2008, and have been amazed as God has done some amazing things in our students, many of whom have gone on to serve in a full time ministry capacity. It is now run by Aaron Austin who has taken it to new, previously unforeseen levels. When I was asked to start this one in Brazil, it was truly one of the great privileges I have ever had since I have been in the ministry.
Monday I will kick things off with a message entitled “The Foundations of a Godly Leader”. I will check in each day on this blog about the message that day as well as what God is doing at our school. I await with great anticipation as to what God is going to do in and through these precious people of Brazil.