Yesterday Pastor Francisco and I returned, safe and sound, from a whirlwind tour of the states of Piaui, Pernambuco, Bahia, and Ceará. The occasion was the annual conference of MAB, the Baptist Auxiliary Mission here in NE Brazil. Pastor Francisco is a MAB missionary, and I am on the advisory board.

This year’s conference was hosted by the churches in the São Francisco Valley. On the first night Pastor Francisco and I challenged the folks at the Juazeiro da Bahia church about the opportunities here in São Luís. It was also an unexpected treat to spend time with Pastor Domício and his wife, Adriana–friends from our seminary days (pictured above).

The cool thing about going to the São Francisco Valley is that I always run into people who knew me “way back when”–and by “way back” I mean 1989, when I first set foot in Brazil. This is the case of the couple pictured above, who were members of the youth group of the Casa Nova church in those days.

A trip to Casa Nova on Sunday brought another “blast from the past”, this one in the form of Pastor Francimar (above), who studied with Itacyara. Francimar is now the pastor of the Casa Nova church, which was the first church I ever visited in Brazil.

After the service at Casa Nova, all the MAB missionaries got together at Afonso’s, which features Grilled Goat as it’s main menu item.

The above picture shows Pastor Francisco with other MAB missionaries, board members, and people from the Casa Nova church.

With some time to kill, we drove around Casa Nova for a while. We were surprised at the number and variety of Fuscas (VW Beetles) we saw.

It was also a time for me to reminisce a little. This is the house where I stayed on my first Brazilian adventure, back in the 80’s.

We finished up our time in the São Francisco Valley with a feast at a little Italian pizza place in Petronlina. How there came to be an Italian pizza place in the middle of the Brazilian sertão is a convoluted story that involves–among other things–the mafia. (no, really, it’s true!)
In the above picture we are hanging out with some MAB missionaries, and my friend and colleague Tim Reiner.
There were other adventures–including a brush with death–that will have to wait until another time.

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