As the 2024 academic year begins, I find myself reflecting on a defining moment from last year that has greatly shaped my journey. The 25th Congrenaje in Brazil.
Last year, admits my dual life of journalism and theological studies. I was blessed with an opportunity to attend the 25th Congrenaje in Brazil, from the 16th – 20th of July, an experience that would become a turning point in my life.
The theme of the Congrenaje, “What is your essence?”, challenged me and so many others to explore the depths of my faith and purpose. The invitation from our bishop, extended to myself and two others from our wider church family, was a call to step out of my comfort zone. With fear and excitement, I embarked on my fist-ever flight, leaving behind the familiarity of South Africa for the vibrant unknown of Brazil.
The Congrenaje was a spiritual tapestry, woven with worship service that filled the air with a divine melody that needed no translation. The practice of writing down our prayers and releasing them into the flames of a campfire was a powerful act of faith and surrender. But it was the people of Brazil, with their unshakeable joy and resilience, who truly opened my eyes to the essence of our shared Lutheran faith. They celebrated every moment by finding happiness in the simplest of moments and their stories echoed a common theme: the church was their haven when the world pushed them aside.
Now, as I delve deeper into my theological studies, I am filled with anticipation for the path God has set before me. The Congrenaje was more than an event; it was a spiritual awakening, reaffirming my commitment to the ministry and the calling I have been blessed to have received.
I am forever grateful for this experience and for the continuous support of our congregation. As I continue this path, I carry with me the vibrant spirit of Brazil and the lessons of faith, community, and joy that I learned there. Together, we are all apart of the broader tapestry of the church, each of us contributing to its strength and warmth.