It's been a little over a month (it had been, when I wrote this) now since we returned from Brazil.  After two weeks in Brazil, and 6 weeks before that on the road, it has been back to the reality of the Tucson heat!  And back to "what's next?" for the A's.  
Even though we prepared (somewhat) for our re-entry, it's still hard to put the whole experience into words.  At least into words that do it justice.
On some level, it was about these amazing children.  The love.  Full of life.  The joy in their faces and the sadness in their eyes.
And then it was about the work we could do there.  For them.  With them.  VBS.  Medical clinics.  Hugs.  Gifts.  Crafts.  Songs.
Being "assigned" to a Arieli before we even left the US, writing letters, sending pictures,  gave us a head start on our love.  She was here with 3 of her siblings, an older sister and a younger sister and brother.  They had only been at the Lar for a few months.  Nine years old and she told me her mom had "problems", and had brought them here.  After hearing so many horror stories, I am so thankful that she is at the Lar.  She is safe and loved.  And she is being taught about the One who can care and love her through anything.
When I looked at her, I saw myself at 9.  Spunky, confident, not afraid to sing out loud, and a little bossy.  The night we said goodbye, my heart broke as she cried into my shoulder.  Sweetest.  Thing.  Ever.  Oh how I would have loved to bring her home.  And I'm fairly certain I would have, if that was allowed.
But really it was all about God.  What he's doing around the world in the lives of His people.  Whatever feeble gifts and sacrifices we make are nice trinkets, really. We raise money, travel a long distance, sleep on the floor, sweat buckets, shower occasionally, work, work, work, all the while giving what we we think is our all.

When in reality, it is all just about God.  How great and marvelous are the works of His hands.  The lives He will save and redeem to bring Himself glory.  And we got to see a little tiny part of it.  The miracle was right there and we were there to see it.
 
 
One of our hopes in going to Brazil was to work with some of the older teens.  Developing skills and training the older kids so that their transition out of the children's home is a key part of the Davis Lar's program.  

While our days were full of VBS and other pre-planned activities, Joe was able to work closely with one boy, Ze Luis.  An 18 year old who lives at the boys transition home in Eusebio, Luis loves to work in the bakery there.  (The coconut bread they make there is amazing!)  He also likes woodworking.  Good thing he was paired with Joe.  They worked on several projects together along with his sister and some other girls who live at the Lar.
One of the unique features of the Davis Lar is they are one of the few homes who take sibling groups.  They keep kids together when they've got nothing else.
These two girls were hard workers!  Safety first!
Luis with a neighborhood dog.
One project we worked on was making benches for the dining hall.  Max was working the saw with Rebecca's help.  He did great on the trip.  So proud of him.  Despite the mosquito bites and the frogs, he had a great experience.
Here's a pic of the group testing out the new bench.  One of the best parts of the trip was working with not only our group of Americans, but the Brazillian kids joining right in.
 
 
This is my girl.  Biggest bun ever.  Funniest girl ever.  She's a deep thinker with a heart that is learning to serve and love and follow her God.  Click over here to read some of her thoughts on our trip to Brazil.
Tank is her friend.  Her large, lovable friend.