Our family arrived here in June of 2002.
About a month after we arrived, and after much searching throughout the city, we bought a car.
We bought a used car called a Zafira. It was a Chevrolet and it had 7 seats (for those that don't know we came here with 4 kids and we thought we were done......or as the Brasilians say, "We thought we had closed the factory.") It also had trunk space that was about 8 inches wide. I'm not kidding.
I found this picture on the internet. Our car was a different color but it looked like this:
When we were finalizing our used car purchase from the Chevy dealer they told us they had on site insurance and asked if we wanted to just do an insurance policy then. We said sure.
That is when God brought one of my best friends into my life. His name is André and we have many things in common.
We were born within 2 months of each other. Our two oldest kids are more or less the same age. We had surprise babies years after we thought the factory was closed. We aren't from Porto Alegre (he's from Rio). We also married up.
He and I have spent time together playing soccer, going to soccer games, eating lunch together, laughing together, taking our families to the beach together, goofing on each other as well as having serious conversations about eternity.
He's always treated me, as a client, with respect and done everything he's said he was going to do. He's gone out of his way, many times, to take care of us when there was an insurance need. One call and he takes care of the whole thing.
He called me after we had had the car for one year. He was letting me know that he had started his own company and asked if I wanted to continue with him as our agent or stay with the Chevy place. I told him I preferred to stay with him. I honestly had forgotten that it was time to renew (the Chevy place had sent me nothing) and was thankful for his persistence. I was super thankful 5 days later when I was involved in a car accident. I would not have had coverage if it weren't for my friend. He's been a real blessing to our family.
I was raised that if someone treats you right, is honest and works hard for your business then you remain a loyal client even if that person might have prices that are a little bit higher than the competition. I honestly don't like it when people only see saving money as the most important thing, instead of being loyal to a friend and his business.
Okay, you get the point. He's my good friend.
Last summer he told me he bought some land to build a house. He wanted us to go and look at some lots in his neighborhood. He wanted us to buy one so that we could be neighbors. We went, and even started the process of buying a lot but the more we prayed the more it just didn't feel like God was leading us there right now.
I told André and he completely understood.
From time to time over the last 10 months he's taken me out to look at the progress of his house.
He hasn't owned a house since he moved to POA and he was super excited.
He finally moved in about a month ago and they invited our family out last week to see the finished product and to eat a meal with them.
We went and had a great time. Here they are. From left to right it's André, his daughter Caroline (over his shoulder), his wife Luiza, their boys Lucas and Mateus and André's mom.
We are so happy for these guys. You could not ask for better friends.
I ask that you pray for these guys to give their lives to Christ. About 3 years ago André told me he was ready to give his life to Christ but he wanted to wait one month for his wife to return from the beach (it's not uncommon to leave the city for the summer to stay at the beach). He wanted to wait for her to get home so that she could be a part of his baptism.
After that conversation with me he never came back to our bible studies, he never participated in house church and he never talked about it again.
I was crushed for a while. Honestly we are used to hearing many no's. It's always tough but so much more so when it's a close friend.
One of the things I tell my friends is that the decision to follow Christ is theirs. It can't be mine and they can't do it to please me. I also tell them that even if they don't want to be a Christ follower it won't affect our friendship. I will always be their friend. Because André and I have remained such good buddies God has recently reopened a door for me to really shared from my heart about how I want to be with him and his family forever in heaven. He's been receptive and he wants to talk more.
Please pray for this family that we love so much.