I arrived in Belo Horizonte yesterday at about noon. We’re two hours ahead here than Eastern U.S. time (until Sunday), so the difference isn’t too bad. It is odd being ahead of time, however, when I’m used to traveling and gaining hours as I cross time zones instead of loosing them.
My initial impressions were that of change from the last time I came here five years ago. Commercialization and marketing are much more prevalent. The use of web addresses in advertising has also increased to nearly 100%. The advertisements are for just about any product you can get in the U.S., which wasn’t the case before. Were it not for the bad road system, which has greatly improved but is still found lacking, this would be just like Northern Virginia. I was also impressed with a dramatic increase in modesty. Skin was "in" the last time we were here, but doesn’t seem to be as prevalent now.
I attended a new evangelistic service last night at the church. They had about 25 in attendance. The intention is for this to become a new worship service opportunity, which would be their third worship service for the week. They have two services on Sunday that are identical to each other in content to work around schedules. They have a small groups program, an on site Bible school for ministry training, have planted 10 churches in the last 22, have a Saturday morning television program called "Open Your Bible", and have attendance knocking at the steps of 300.
I’ve pretty much decided to not try to help and instead to try to learn as much as I can.
In an effort to make up to Greg England and others, please feel free to tell me how the weather was yesterday. It snowed in D.C., but I was enjoying the balmy 85 degree weather in Belo. I even got a sunburn from having my arm resting on the window of the car. It’s noticeably different from my left arm, which is still shriveled and gray from the long No. Va. winter. Neither look healthy…