Day 5 fell on Sunday, and I was asked to preach for the morning and evening services. Fortunately, they are considered the same service, only done twice. That way I was able to preach the same sermon twice. There’s something odd about that, though. The second time through the sermon feel less like preaching and more like giving a speech. It was well received, and I got some good feedback. Of course, one of the elders translated for me, so he could have said whatever he wanted to. He preached a good sermon, at least.
I went to the Hyper Feira (pronounced Hippie Faeah) Sunday after worship to stock up on high quality souviniers. It was clear that the economic situation has improved drastically. The prices of goods is well above where it was five years ago (and the dollar is worth about half as much on top of that). The quality of goods is also better. The crowds were full of well dressed people, and the bums and street kids were no where to be found. It turns out the government is paying the families to keep the children in school and at home, so the children problem has gone way down.
Day 6 included my final meeting with the elders. This finished 14 hours of seminars on leadership development, mentoring, involvement, assimilation facilitation, and many other topics as they came up. Earlier in the week I did a similar seminar for the deacons and ministry leaders, but it was only two hours long. We set some goals for the year, and planned some topics to cover if I’m able to come again next year. All in all, it was a very successful trip.
The day ended with a trip to one of the best places on earth: Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart Supercenter! I don’t have one in Northern Virginia, but they sure have one here in Belo Horizonte. It was filled with merchandise I would find in the states and even had happy little helpers in blue and red vest (descriptive of their position, of course). Of course I took pictures to share with all of my friends.
I’ll leave for the States tomorrow evening, but won’t arrive until Wednesday morning. My trip has been fun, but I can’t wait to get back home. I’ll miss being able to get guarana in the restaurants, but I can always get it at Shoppers Food Warehouse at Seven Corners.
See you all on Wednesday (unless of course you don’t live where I do. In that case I’ll see you whenever. If you happen to be in the Miami airport Wednesday morning, wave at me as I try to get through customs with all my goodies)