So almost 20 years ago, I met Suzanne when we both moved into 4-H House at U of I. She was a roommate and a dear friend (and suffered through MicroBio with my boyfriend at the time-Matt), and is a dear friend to this day, although we haven’t seen each other much due to living in different states. But last summer while we were still living in Michigan, Suzanne wrote and said she had a seminar to attend for work within an hour or two of where we were living and could we get together? Plans evolved, and we got to spend a very fun, but too quick, few hours having supper together. Part of the conversation revolved around our upcoming move to Brazil, and she mentioned that had friends at work that were originally from Brazil, and would check to see if any of them had family in the Sao Paulo area that could be a contact for us when we moved. One friend, Marymar, had a sister, Laurimar that lived—not just in Sao Paulo (city of millions), but in Campinas—the same city as our language school! After trading emails, I learned that Laurimar had moved to the U.S. for graduate school, but had a good friend still in Campinas that would be glad to help us out. So Deise (Suzanne’s friend’s sister’s friend—yes, really) emailed back and forth a bit, she said she was glad to help as she and her husband had moved to a different state in the past and understood that it was difficult. She is Brazilian but also speaks English (thank you God), offered advice on finding a place to live and schools for the kids….amazing. Our travel date changed from October to ‘maybe December’ to January…and in the craziness that was our lives during Christmas/moving out of the rental house/finishing packing/saying goodbyes/getting ready to get on that plane…I didn’t contact her to let her know exactly when we’d be arriving here. I also failed to contact our credit card companies and let them know we were moving out of country….but that is another story. Lesson learned. And once we arrived here, I failed to dig out my computer for a couple weeks to let her know we were here (we had only been using Matt’s laptop, and her email address wasn’t on it). But I finally did, and she immediately invited us over for supper. Last week, she and her husband were kind enough to drive over and pick us up and then take us back to their apartment for a delicious supper and a great evening of fellowship with a brother and sister in Christ. I sat there in awe of God for putting people in our lives so willing to help, to give us their phone numbers and tell us to call day or night if we need something, to invite us to church…wow. At one point during supper, Deise looked at me and said, “So, you DON’T know my friend Laurimar?”. By that point, it didn’t matter, we had connected. Amazing that this sister in Christ was (and is) so willing to help even when she found out our earthly connection was so very distant. But as our missionary friend told us, “The world is a small place when we all have the same Father!”.
And I learned a couple interesting lessons through this. During the first couple weeks we were here, I had a running list of “things I wish I’d brought/things I really would like to find someplace to buy”—hangers, a big wastebasket, clothesline, electrical outlet adapters, a fan, rugs, flip-flops for the kids, something to hang pictures with, etc. It took a while (and trips to probably 7 or 8 stores), but I was finally able to find most of it and decided it was good for my ‘Walmart’ mentality to have to wait and not be able to go one place and get it all the 2nd day here. Partly because I didn’t know where to go, and partly because I couldn’t drive myself there without a vehicle and I had no idea how to take the bus J I’m sure I would have felt more settled sooner having some of those things…and yet I am living—not just visiting—but living, in another country now, and ‘immediately’ is not necessarily how things get done. I know for a fact that I appreciate each of those things (I was finally able to buy) much more than if I had just gone to ‘Walmart’ and picked them up the next day. HOWEVER, after meeting Deise and her family, God showed me something else—when He provides someone to help, I need to take advantage of it! It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly I failed to let her know when we were coming, when we arrived, etc. Yes, the craziness of life, not knowing our address until the day we arrived, no cell phones for weeks, the fact that I felt a little bad asking for help from ‘a friend of a friend of a….’, trying to adjust and get the kids adjusted…. those were all factors. But I think that in the future, if God orchestrates a connection, I have learned that I’d better do my part and receive the blessing of help He is trying to give!