This is the view out the back of the smaller church we visited in Sao Paulo. So many people.
Sao Paulo is huge. More than 20 million people, 50 miles across. Houses upon houses.
I saw people standing outside their homes talking to their neighbors. Children played in the streets, kicking soccer balls and flying kites. People walked to the little market closest their homes to buy rice or bread or beans or cleaning supplies. There were always people about.
I liked that. I liked that as we sat in front of the church building during our morning Bible Club, people strolled up and down the street. I waved to some little boys and took their picture. One ran over to pose. We invited him to come back for the Bible Club. He ran to the store with his friends, then ran back and joined us in time for the ending of the Bible story and for the craft and missionary story time.
I liked that neighbors stood and talked at the gates in front of their homes. I liked that the children played in the streets, laughing and yelling. I liked that the missionary could go down to this tent where a woman sold pastels (fried pastries with meat or cheese inside) and talk to the same men who congregated there every day. I liked that the other missionary bought fresh bread from the same man every morning at the same little bakery and chicken every Sunday from the same rotisserie chicken guys. I liked the idea of buying food from a small market and staying around to chat with the owner for a little while.
That kind of life fosters relationships. Often, our way of life does not foster relationships. We buy groceries from Super Wal-Mart and the cashier often doesn’t even tell us the final amount we need to pay. We drive everywhere in our cars and then come home to our own homes and our own closed lives. Most of us don’t stroll through our neighborhoods and stop and talk. We’re so busy with our scheduled activities and our fast pace.
Our homes may be nicer and we may have more stuff, but I think these people in this neighborhood in Sao Paulo are richer in a lot of ways.