3 Jacob’s Well USA board members traveled to Fortaleza, Brazil last month for two weeks to meet with the Brazil leadership, check on the progress of the projects underway in Pentecoste, get exposed to the opportunities in other communities, and gain a better perspective on what’s happening on the ground. We posted regular recaps of our travels; these can be found on our Facebook page. So, rather than provide a recount of the trip, let me (Scott) provide you a few takeaways I had coming back to the States.
Takeaway #1: Brazil is Riddled with Unfinished Business
From freeways that are almost (but not quite) complete that sit unused, to new communities with bold vision but no homes, to water and economic projects that never reach the finish line, we were shown scores of examples of good intentions but often lack of follow through. I’m sure there are many reasons for each situation, but I felt frustrated witnessing the lack of progress that results from poor planning, execution and commitment to ongoing maintenance.
Takeaway #2: Innovation Builds Hope
I had the opportunity to provide unskilled labor for the construction of the first hydroponics farming unit in Riacho da Porta, a small community in the drought area of the Pentecoste region. This new unit, when operational, should produce nearly 1000 cilantro plants each month! The proud new owner, Zazáo, will have the financial resources from selling the cilantro to provide for his family and also pay for the unit over time. I was really encouraged to see this model moving into implementation and can’t wait to see the first crops (and profits) from this effort.
Takeaway #3: Hospitality is Beautiful
We were incredibly blessed and well fed wherever we went, often by families and communities that had very little in the way of financial resources. From coffee and cakes to full-on spreads for lunch and dinner, we were treated so well by every community we visited. I was reminded to show greater hospitality to others back home.
Takeaway #4: There’s Nothing Quite Like A Roomful of New Believers
Last year Jacob’s Well contributed to help build a very simple church structure in Riacho da Porta. We had the privilege of attending church on a Saturday night in the community, and every seat was taken by dads, moms and kids. Renato told us that more than 90% of the families attended were new followers of Christ, and there was a passion in that room that is often missing in more established churches. That evening in that open-air church was worth the time and expense to travel to Brazil!
In future updates we will be sharing about the new opportunities that are opening up for Jacob’s Well in this drought-stricken area of Brazil. And if you have an interest in getting involved, contact us for more information!