Tuesday, February 25
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Kim and I were appointed as mission coworkers in 2010. I was fresh out of graduate school; this began an amazing time for me and my whole family. We moved to Brazil, and I began teaching Old Testament at the Graduate Ecumenical Institute for Religious Sciences, a PC(USA) mission partner and part of the Methodist University of São Paulo.
Learning Portuguese has been an arduous process. I have often been frustrated, but I know language acquisition takes time. Just as an example, Portuguese uses the subjunctive much more than English, and there are three different subjunctive conjugations: present, imperfect, and future. Whenever I begin a sentence with “if” or “I want you to,” the verbs that follow must be in the subjunctive. Mastering this is my next linguistic challenge.
The first semester of 2013, I taught my first solo class, and it went quite well. I certainly made plenty of errors, but the students were gracious and engaged.
A challenge I face as a biblical scholar is to relate effectively with Christians across the theological spectrum. I am learning that, if I hope to influence how churches here think and act, I cannot only be the provocative scholar. I must help people think about their faith, God, and the Bible without angering or scaring them! I’m sure I will struggle with this the rest of my life, but it is a welcome challenge.
In 2012, Kimberly gave birth to Luciana, our second daughter. When Brazilians see her, they are taken aback and think she’s a doll. Literally! Their surprise reminds me how sheltered my own Michigan upbringing was and saddens me that white, blue-eyed babies are often portrayed as being somehow ideal. Such unexpected experiences help to jolt me out of my still-narrow view of the world.
—Rev. Joshua and Kimberly (Mahalia and Luciana) Vis, PC(USA) mission coworkers, São Paulo
Let us join in prayer for:
Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB): Rev. Aureo Rodrigues de Oliveira, moderator, Rev. Roberto Mauro de Souza Castro, stated clerk • United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU): Anita Wright Torres, moderator, Wertson Brazil de Souza, first secretary • Ecumenical Post-Graduate Program in Sciences of Religion (PGCR) of the Methodist University of São Paulo: Dr. Jung Mo Sung, dean, Rev. Dr. Helmut Renders, director • School of Higher Theological Studies (EST): Rev. Dr. Oneide Bobson, rector • Ecumenical Commission on Land Rights: Rev. João Dias de Araujo, president
PC(USA) Agencies Staff
Let us pray
Creator God, thank you for the privilege of serving you and your people no matter where we are. Open us to change and surprises, allowing the people we meet and the opportunities you give to set us on the path of Jesus. Amen.