The intrepid and exciting adventures of Chrissy Whitehouse aged 45 exactly…
Episode 11 – the final weeks in Brazil…
I realise that it has been a while since I have posted, but this was deliberate for two reasons…. 1. These last 7 weeks in Brazil fell into a routine that is much better talked about in one post and 2. This post is a part of my processing the last 6 months in Brazil, and I have been reluctant to say goodbye to this beautiful time…..
I write this sitting in Dubai International Airport on a 33 hour layover, my choice, because what I have just finished has been life changing and the adventure that is about to begin in Cambodia will also be life changing for different reasons….. I felt that it was important to take a moment or 1,980 of them😋😋😋, to reflect on what I have just walked and get ready for what is coming….
So we left the Amazon at the beginning of July because of a Malaria outbreak that occurred about halfway through our time there…. When the river rises as it did at this time, there is a large increase in the malaria carrying mosquitos….. 4 members of our team contracted the virus and the decision was made, that the whole team would need to leave….
And so I found myself back in Fortaleza about 6 weeks earlier than I had anticipated….. I love the fact that this was no surprise to God and you’ll see why….
This photo was taken early on in my time at the Iris Fortaleza base, celebrating one of the leader’s birthday….. That is not the base dog by the way, simply a stray that lives in the park we went to!!!!….. The Iris Fortaleza base focuses its energies in three different ministries…. The red light district, working in the favela/slum and in the Sertao or interior….
I joined the red light team for the duration of my stay as for me, that’s where my heart lies…. I love the girls we get to minister to and my heart breaks for the men and women that are caught up in this lifestyle…. Prisoners with invisible chains of choices they have made or out of necessity to live…..
Because I love intercession, I also went into the favela every week to pray with the team and intercede for those who live in that community….. It is the most dangerous favela in Fortaleza…. You have to drive into there with your windows down so they can see your faces….. People are shot and killed regularly and a shooting occurred during my stay, not whilst we were there, but the team are ministering to both the drug lords and the members of the community which is why I stand and pray with them…..
This was taken during one of the weekly intercession times…. Iris has a prayer house in the middle of the favela, where we pray and where the team offers ballet, guitar, art and English lessons…. The prayer house is the watch tower for the kingdom, as it is situated right in the middle and you can see the majority of the favela from the second storey, which I think is extremely cool…..
The base also receives many visitors who want to come to see what the team does and get a little taste of what it is like to live as a missionary in community…. During the 7 weeks I was there, we had 20 visitors stay at or near the base for on average a 2 week period…. Add to that, there are around 20 missionaries living at the base full time and the house was pretty full the majority of the time of my stay with lots of comings and goings….
This is my beautiful friend Jochebed (whose mum is she in the bible???? 😊😊😊) from Kenya… one of the groups of visitors we had were a group of 5 Americans and 3 Kenyans…. They didn’t stay at the base, but were with us in the ministries for around 10 days….. I love these beautiful people…. They brought two suitcases full of supplies for the base and the ministries which was so amazing and just poured their hearts out on the men, women and children that we work with….and their worship is so powerful….. We had so much fun whilst they were visiting…. In fact all of the visitors gave so much of themselves, that you couldn’t help but be blessed and encouraged and I saw the wonderful impact that they had on the people the base team works with….
This is the base in the Sertao, and the photo above is of the area there…. Looks like our outback doesn’t it…. The base in the Sertao is a part of Iris Fortaleza and is n a little town called Salgardu, about 3 hour drive inland….it is so beautiful out there, I got the awesome opportunity to go out to the Sertao for a weekend and it was so quiet….
In Fortaleza, my room was at the front and the house that is the base is on a Main Street, which is a bit like a racetrack as the cars speed up as they come past the house….. So the quietness was really stunning….I even buried my Portuguese/English bible in the middle of the town as a prophetic declaration for unity over the town….. It is extremely dry, as there has been no rain in around 5 years…. There is water under the ground, but wells are expensive and not all the underground water is fresh….. The people are also dry and desperate for the team to minister to them….
This beautiful little girl is Hadassa, (what’s the Persian name of the woman in the bible who shares this one???? 😊😊😊)…. She was born on the 10th August, and her lovely parents run the red light ministry…. Such a beautiful bundle of joy and it is wonderful to see this part of life being walked out on the base, in community….
So let me go back to my statement that God wasn’t surprised. Y my leaving the Amazon earlier than I thought….. I can see now and hopefully you can too, that God used this time to give me such a beautiful experience of working and living in community as a missionary… and I am so sold on this that I don’t want to do missions any other way….. I have left a part of my heart behind in Brazil and feel like I have come away part Brazilian….
When I was preparing to leave Australia and go on this adventure, one of my prayers was for this journey to be life changing and it really has been…. I find myself slowing down for the people around me…. Not being as concerned anymore about things needing to be fair…. Being more patient and laid back….seeing the people that I had a chance to minister to as so valuable, more than my comfort or convenience….I’m pestering God a lot more about renewal and revival, and I’m constantly seeking to go deeper in intimacy with him as well… The biggest thing is I know with more certainty that God loves me so much…. And He loves you too!!!!! 😊😊😊😊