Emily Taylor arrived back in England in March after six months in Brazil and here she tells us some more about her time there….
Emily, we are so excited that you are back from Brazil, where you have been living for six months. For those who don’t know, please can you tell us how you ended up there in the first place?
When I was eighteen years old I spent six months in Sao Paulo as part of a gap year programme called Action Teams. On return to the UK I sensed God say to me that I would be back there one day. In October 2018, during a time of worship in a service at The Point, I had a very clear impression that it was time to go back to Brazil. Ten months later, off I went!
What sacrifices, if any, did you make to get there? Where have you seen God provide in ways you thought impossible?
I had lived in a flat in Haywards Heath for seven years but gave this up and sold many of my possessions in order to go to Brazil. It was amazing how God provided – I especially remember the day I made a provisional booking for my flight during my lunch break at work one day. It was a small step of faith but that afternoon £500 was pledged towards my trip!
Tell us a bit about what you were involved in during your time there?
I volunteered in a few different settings, one of which was a respite centre for children whose parents are drug addicts. I helped with the choir, taught keyboard and English as well. I also had the opportunity to go to Rio de Janeiro to attend a Kingdom School that Sam Leighton and his team were running. I was one of the 90 students and we went out to the streets during carnival to share the love of Jesus. It was fantastic – Sam and his team are so much fun! They helped us to draw near to Jesus, and to realise that as we get to know Him in a deeper way, we will be better positioned to listen to Him and share His thoughts with those around us who do not yet know Him.
What have been the challenges about being away from the UK? I know you have missed Cadbury’s Chocolate, anything else?
I really missed my church family and friends. It is so important to be known isn’t it? I used WhatsApp a lot to keep myself in community with those who love me. I remember listening to Will’s first sermon in the series on ‘Identity Theology’ when I was in Brazil. He said, “we are only the relationships we have with each other – THAT’S IT. We are devoted to the fellowship, openness, vulnerability, and commitment.” I feel so grateful to be part of this kind of community.
What are the three things you will never forget about your time in Brazil?
Brazilian fruit is so fresh and the juiciest I have ever tasted! I also will remember the high value that Brazilians place on freely giving of your time and attention to another person. Lastly, the vibrant music and dancing!
How has life changed for you since you returned from Brazil?
I came back just before lockdown began so it’s been a challenge settling back into life here and missing friends that I hadn’t seen for six months and still can’t see! God has really provided for me with accommodation, a temporary car and a job at The Bevern Trust where I am a Support Worker in a Care Home for adults with disabilities.
What is one thing God is teaching you at the moment?
He is teaching me how to embrace opportunities to serve people with my whole heart. He is showing me that when these opportunities are costly to me and I say yes, it is at these times that my obedience is very precious in His eyes. Someone once said to me that obedience is God’s love language. I think that’s a beautiful thought.