A letter from Farris Goodrum in Brazil
Greetings from the beautiful island city of Vitória in southeastern Brazil. Thelma returned to Brazil before Joel and I did in order to visit her family in the state of São Paulo and then to begin looking for an apartment for us to rent here in Vitória. This was an exhausting process, but she finally found a wonderful apartment in a very convenient location, just a few blocks from the beach. Joel is enrolled in a school that is within walking distance of our apartment.
Our months of “home assignment” in Decatur, Georgia, were very pleasant, and we enjoyed our travels to many churches during our time there. We were pleased with all the opportunities we were given to share about our work in Brazil, and we want to thank everyone who invited us into your churches and into your homes. Your warm hospitality was much appreciated, and it was wonderful to reconnect with many dear friends and to make new friendships during our time in the States.
This home assignment was different from others because we had the opportunity to receive a number of people from Brazil during the months that we spent at Mission Haven. Thelma’s sister Sonia, and two nephews, Vítor and André, spent three weeks with us in December, and then a friend of ours, Pedro, spent 18 days with us in March. (A mistake was made on our last printed newsletter, which told of Pedro’s visit. The caption under the picture on the front page should have read: “Joel, Farris and Thelma with Pedro at North Avenue Presbyterian Church.”)
Then, on July 4, three friends from the Presbytery of Vitória, Manuela, Artur, and Isabel, arrived in Atlanta at the beginning of a two-and-a-half-week experience, at the invitation of First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This church had sent a group of 11 young people and adults to Vitória, under the leadership of Julie Ray, in July of 2011. They wanted to extend an invitation to these Brazilian young people so that they could reconnect with friends from the 2011 experience and get to know something about the church in the States which, by supporting Thelma and me and our work in Vitória, has a partnership with the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil. Churches in the United States often send groups on mission trips to Brazil, but because of financial limitations it is less common for churches in Brazil to be able to send groups on mission trips to the States. We are pleased that one result of our partnership was this reciprocal mission experience.
Manuela, Artur and Isabel had a wonderful time with the rest of the 2011 mission team under the leadership of Rev. Nick Reed. Helping to paint a home with Habitat for Humanity was one of the highlights of their time in Tuscaloosa, but they also enjoyed many outings and pleasant activities with their Tuscaloosa friends. They had the opportunity to share about Brazil, and about the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, in Sunday school on one of the Sundays that they attended First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa.
When Manuela, Artur and Isabel returned to Vitória, Thelma and Joel and I were there to meet them at the airport, along with their families, and it was obvious that they had had a wonderful time in the States. We appreciate all that was done for them and are pleased that they had this experience with partners in mission in the States. We believe that this experience will serve to deepen the relationship between our churches as we seek to serve the church in partnership.
There was a sad happening while I was in the States. My brother David, who was 10 years older than I, suffered a brain hemorrhage back in 1999 and had had a difficult time ever since then. He died in June, and the presence of many dear friends at the funeral service was a great comfort to the family. David's wife, Marlene, invited me to play the piano at the service and to share memories about David, and I was glad to be able to participate in this way. I am the youngest of five, and David was the second oldest.
Our son Michael is in school in the Atlanta area, has a part-time job, and is sharing a house with two friends in Decatur. We miss him but hope he will be able to come to Brazil to visit a year from now.
Thelma is staying very busy with her many responsibilities as the newest pastor in the Presbytery of Vitória. I am in the process of returning to my teaching activities in music and Christian education, and we have been busy unpacking and getting our apartment in order. Joel has returned to playing guitar in the praise band at our church and is enjoying reconnecting with his Brazilian friends here. We have been touched by the warm welcome that each of us has received upon returning to Vitória, and it is so nice to know that we were missed, and that our friends here are glad to have us back!
We appreciate your interest in our ministry in Brazil, and we ask for your continued prayers, correspondence, and financial gifts. We are grateful to the churches and individuals who contribute to our sending and support, which makes our ministry possible. Thank you for all you do to further God’s mission in Brazil.
Thelma joins me in sending our greetings.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Vitória, ES 29045-970
Write to Farris Goodrum
Write to Thelma Goodrum
Individuals: Give to E200349 for Farris and Thelma Goodrum's sending and support
Congregations: Give to D506380 for Farris and Thelma Goodrum's sending and support