Just Because

Hi every-body! (said w/ a Dr. Nick voice…)

May I wish you all a happy first day of winter? It has arrived in Rio w/ a vengance. Today, it was 15 degrees! (Celsuis, which is about… 59 degrees Fair-en-height). It’s been rainy and chilly, and I saw several people today walking around in puffy winter coats, ski hats, and scarves. Of course, at the time I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts and flip-flops. But in all fairness to the guy wearing the scarf and the hat, I was chilly, and wouldn’t have minded to have at least long pants or shoes on.

And now I’m sitting at home, wearing a sweatshirt, and trying to put off the horrifying moment of when I must jump in the shower, cause it’s going to be soooooooo cold!!! So, I’m updating this, as I procrastinate and put off my cold shower. Alalau! (as they say in Quechua – the Huaylas version).

One quick thing, and them I’m off to freeze myself. Tonight in Lapa, I was talking w/ Zé, one of my favorites, and was super excited to hear some good news from him. Yesterday he played in a football (soccer, for all you North Americans) tournament, and was noticed by a local coach, who invited him to come to the club for a tryout. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and a social worker at a local project was able to find a shelter that would take him in. So, he tells me that tomorrow he’s moving in! Off the streets! So exciting to be able to walk w/ him on this difficult path.

Tonight, he was so full of life as he regaled me w/ countless details – how the social worker would help him find a better place if he didn’t like it, how he would get to take a class and learn how to be a baker, how he’d get to start school… but of course, he was most excited by far about the possibility of playing soccer. The coach who spoke to him works for a club called Flamengo (Flamengo is THE team in Rio – it’s not the best this year, but they’re getting better – and they do have a pretty sweet history – and they play in the Maracanã.)

If he does well at the tryouts on Monday, he could start practice as soon as next week! He would be playing for one of their youth teams (U-18, probably), but it’s a huge deal. He’s good, and he’s passionate, and he’s wanting to turn his life around. Talking w/ him tonight about it, he was so excited! And realistic too… we talked about how it was hard to make all these changes at once, but little by little, step by step, w/ God’s help, he can turn his life around.

So be praying for him. I told him that I would, and that my friends would as well. He’s a good kid, but it’s a hard transition to go from the almost total freedom of street life to rules, responsibilities, and the like of a home, school, a soccer team, etc. But I have hope.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted – also on tomorrow as we take a small group of guys to see the new Batman movie… not that I really like Batman that much, but he’s a superhero, so he has to be cool. =) And, since it’s been a while since I’ve posted a picture of anything, here’s a little fun one of me. I mean a fun one of little me… this is little ben, coming back from mexico when he was not quite one and a half… you can now begin to make that “awwwwww” noise… =)

(cause it was too big and was making things look funny, just click on the “Some of Ben’s pictures” link and look for mexico. I promise you’ll like it.)

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