First I would like to start my testimony by thanking God because without Him it is impossible to live. Next I would like to thank Ademir, who arranges the translators for the Pantanal Project, for having given me the opportunity to participate in the Pantanal Project, and clearly I very much thank Dr. King and his whole team (we were like a family) and not to forget the family of Brazilian Pastor Natanael, very attentive to me.
I have been around the world, lived in Europe, gone to Africa, the Canary Isles, Tenerife, but what happened to me this week was extremely marvelous. I could feel the presence of God, could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was a mixture of sensations, all good.
For the first time in my life, I was able to enter the lives of the people we attended during the week. I could feel close to their pain, the need and the suffering the people go through. I met marvelous people during that week, humble people, kind and well-mannered even though they were extremely poor. The children were all very special, some who did not even have even a pair of flip-flops to wear and even so were always happy and smiling.
Today I am fully assured that God wanted me to participate that week in Corumbá. I had tried to participate before but, had not been called. Maybe I was not prepared, maybe God was preparing me to better serve during that week.
During that week I came to know wonderful people with good hearts. People like Roberto who came to pick me up at the bus station and was always so attentive. Dentist Taruia who always had a smile on his face. Dr. Bianca who helped me all week and Paulo my roommate. Nurse Carley who always had a smile on her face and was so attentive to the people of the neighborhood and with her, Nathaniel Sprouse, who in my opinion is a true Brazilian – he may have been born in the USA but he has a Brazilian heart. Anna, who was quiet in the first days and then we became great friends. Melissa was so sweet with the children. Will, a really nice guy. Daniel, good people and with a great voice. Angel in the pharmacy so caring with an angelic voice. June reminded me of a caring mom, Sylvia a good counselor, Kyle a special guy, so neat with the children. Larry also has the heart of a Brazilian. Dr. Eliane is an excellent person, dedicating her life to helping children. And with Dr. King I learned so much that week. He was a father to me that week.
I want to thank everyone for the notebook with messages to me.. When I got home I started to read and started to cry like a child. But I cried with happiness and satisfaction that God had given me the chance to know such wonderful people.
It was a blessed week. Even tired, I woke every day happy and joyful to serve God. Each morning we met and prayed before we worked and I have tried to practice prayer more and more.
The word that I would like to leave to the next ones to go is that for charity work, for volunteering, there is nothing in the world that pays like the smile of a child. It is a gratifying and marvelous work. Today I go back to college energized and courageous and happy, with certainty that I want to go on the next Pantanal Project trip.
One more time I want to thank you for this opportunity and want to leave it quite clear that from now on I am at your disposal. You all changed my life forever. Thank you.
Vinícius Mustafá or just VINNY. 01/07/2013
Editor's note: Vinny joined our group after hearing about GEM and our partnership with medical students. He traveled from another state in Brazil to be a part. GEM invites students from local universities to serve as translators or to work in their individual fields such as medicine, dentistry, psychology, education, etc. Some of these students are Christian and others times they become seekers as a result of their experience with a mission group.