Natal de Luz 2014 – Christmas of Light 2014
Fortaleza – Ceará – Brazil
Photo Credit: Prefeitura de Fortaleza
The Christmas Season is here! The kid in me loves the Christmas lights and music. I love, too, the Christmas movies in which all things are possible. People look out for others. They are forgiving, generous, and compassionate. Miracles abound.
During our Brazil years, the miracle that stands out from all the other miracles occurred the year my then-husband returned to Guyana. Shortly thereafter, still reeling from being abandoned, I received an eviction notice from our landlord. Discovering we were three months in arrears with our rent sent me spinning.
I was a broken woman.
To communicate in Portuguese was still a struggle. Angélica,* a work colleague and friend, agreed to accompany me to talk with my landlord, a senior civil servant. I had not seen him since we had signed the rental contract four years earlier.
He looked at us with disdain. “So you’ve come with a lawyer.”
“She’s just a friend,” I managed in Portuguese. “To help me talk with Senhor.”
Angélica saved us from eviction. My landlord agreed to draw up a new rental contract in my name. I had a month to raise the overdue rent.
More sleepless nights followed. As a full-time import/export assistant with a small family-owned firm, I did not earn enough to pay all of our living expenses. I needed help; my pride stood in the way.
“Ask and it will be given to you,” Jesus said.
For days I pondered those words. Prayer was not enough. I had to ask for help.
Asking my boss for time-off, I went to see Paulo,* a foreign-exchange dealer with whom my husband had once worked. He offered clients a higher exchange rate than the bank.
I found Paulo alone at his desk in a tiny space in the stockroom above a store in downtown Fortaleza. Sitting down in one of the two chairs facing him, I told him of my predicament and asked for his help.
“I’d like to help you, but business is slow this time of year.”
Surrounded by a hodgepodge of cartons, we chatted about failed marriages and family life. On the arrival of a tall, robust Brazilian man in his early thirties, I got up to leave.
“Don’t go on my account,” the man said, sitting down in the other chair.
“Rosalie is from Guyana,” Paulo said.
He shook my hand. “I’m Pastor Francisco.”
Paulo told him about my predicament. What humiliation!
The pastor smiled at me. “The Lord sent me here today to help you.”
After Paulo cashed his US dollar check, Pastor Francisco* handed me the amount I needed. “Pay me back whenever you’re able.”
Later, I called Angélica to give her the good news.
“The Lord be praised!” she said.
Miracles happen. Pastor Francisco rescued me from a dire situation. It’s a bond of good will that time and distance can’t break.
Spread goodwill. Be the miracle in someone’s life today.
* Fictitious name