18 March 2009

Trina forwards me this article from the 24/7 Prayer movement.

Coda: Three Weeks Later

11 March 2009

It’s amazing how little time I find I have when I’m back into the stream of ordinary life. My time in Brazil vanishes from the front of my mind, almost as if a switch has been cut over. Back comes the framework of my New Zealand universe. It’s an emotionally painful process in its way; some things just can’t be processed in the same frame of reference, and I need time to unpack – literally, in many ways. There’s still stuff on my futon.

But Brazil is still there underneath, reminding me that there is a brighter world outside, even if it is dangerous. It sits and burns like a hot coffee spilled on my skin. As always, I don’t know what to do with such knowledge. It leaves me feeling empty, disconnected, adrift in a frame of First World values that seem pointless and decoupled from reality.

I’ve made the visits and calls. The three packs of cupuaçu chocolates from Belem are gone, as are two of the Garota assortments. I still have some calendars to pass on.

I’ve updated my final batch of photographs from my memory card, from the last weekend in Vespasiano – the ‘Waking the Warriors’ Charismatic prayer seminar which is increasingly becoming Paul’s mission. They’re in my Flickr photostream as always.

I will probably be waking up my original weblog again – natecull.org/wordpress/ – when I figure out what next I have to say. It will probably be along the lines of my current study area – the intersection of Christianity with New Age spirituality (they are a lot closer than you might think).

For now, here’s the website of a book I’m reading which seems relevant: God Stories .

For everyone who’s been reading, thank you for following me on my journey.



22 February 2009

Sunday, 22 Feb, NZDT.

I’ve been back in New Zealand for four days, recovering from jetlag.

What comes now?

The problem with travel is that you have a wonderful time and then it all goes away and you’re left with nothing but memories, and even they fade.

My head is still halfway over the Pacific and I have to somehow sort out how to live in two worlds.

That’s the hardest part.

New flight

19 February 2009

In Auckland (yay the free internet at the Samsung booth in International, boo the total lack of anything in Domestic) and flight has been bumped to QF2759 arriving chc probably 10-ish.

flight delayed

18 February 2009

LA 801 from Santiago has a bust whatsit and we’re delayed over 2 hours. Posting from an iPod. Not sure how long delay or when I’ll get to chch. Will update when I can.


17 February 2009

Vespasiano was a lot of fun.

Wake the Warriors ran Friday night, two sessions Saturday, and three on Sunday. Lots of interesting stuff happening: mostly people falling over and then having what seemed to be meaningful experiences. A couple of physical healings. What was more exciting was seeing the kids doing it breaking into groups and doing it themselves by the second day.

It was a great time and a nice little city with all of about two main streets but somehow things seemed a bit more functional than in Friburgo.

Day bus back to Rio (with a stopover for lunch at a wonderfully picturesque little restaurant with pretty good food) and now we’re in a Formule 1. Tomorrow I fly out to Santiago, Auckland then Christchurch.


15 February 2009

We’ve arrived in Vespasiano, a small town of around 100,000 people on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais state.

The bus trip to Rio took around three hours, then the one to Belo only six hours (midnight to 6am, on a rather nice sleeper bus with reclinable seats and the only downside being an unflushable loo).

Meanwhile, one of the other Friburgo workers whose bus going down the other side of our mountain to Macáe got spectacularly delayed by a landslide, fallen power lines, a 4 metre crater, and Macáe itself is flooded under a metre of water. We’re still waiting for word.

We were a little uncertain of our reception at first since the pastor who said he’d pick us up at 6am didn’t come until around 7:30, and then the first hotel he tried to book us into was all full up and in the middle of a remodelling spree. But he got us into a cute little bed-and-breakfast (sans breakfast) sort of thing – private house out front, houses converted into hotel units out back. Apart from moments of intense embarrassment when the hotel family couldn’t believe I didn’t speak Portuguese (after all, who doesn’t), it’s great.

The Wake the Warriors seminar has been going great. Its in the church, not a camp ground, but they’ve decorated it with tents and camoflague crepe paper all around. They’re really getting into it. For those who might remember (a small group, I’m sure), its very much like the old Rise Up Boot Camps in early 1990s New Zealand. People falling all around, bodies all over the floor, etc. We’re not sure exactly what’s happening, but a lot of people are spending floor time and seem to be being touched.

We found a lan house (cybercafe) to read the Web from, and there’s a good comida á kilo / churrascaria (barbeque) restaurant. It should be fun to see how the conference continues.

Final Friburgo Videos

13 February 2009

Quarter to five. Three hours left here in Friburgo.

I’m uploading a bunch of quick videos from the house and dropin centre today to Flickr. This may take a while, so I won’t link them individually. They’ll be in the photostream as always.

Just about packed. Ten hours on buses await.


13 February 2009

Last morning in Friburgo. Time to pack my suitcase.



12 February 2009


Feeling pretty much myself again. This afternoon Paul, John (the American missionary – his family’s website is here), me and Patrick (one of the guys) went ten-pin bowling. As you do.

This is up on top of one of the local hills, which you get to via cable car, called the Teleférico.

It’s a little freakier than the one in Christchurch since you have open seats, with a pull-down restraining bar in front, and then a whole lot of nothing. Particularly in the first section where there’s a huge drop-off as it swings up over the town and into the bush.

Fortunately it’s a lot easier to take going down.

The entertainment complex at the top has indoor bowling, laser tag, and a dinosaur slide which is possibly the coolest thing built by human hands in all of Brazil. All of which, though open, was completely shut down and devoid of customer activity until we came up, at 2:30pm on a Wednesday. I think I spotted two other cars with people on the way up; the second section of the cable (it’s in two halves with the complex in the middle) was completely shut down and the operators had to radio to each other to turn it on when we came past. We were the only lane open in the bowling alley too.

It’s a pretty good facility (apart from probably voiding the life insurance of anyone who goes up it) but you have to wonder why it doesn’t get a lot of custom, and how despite that it remains open. But then a lot of shopping malls seem to be like that too: half empty, yet somehow not quite dead.

It does make me realise though what a nice place Nova Friburgo could be, if things worked.

We had the 7pm church meeting tonight and as it was the last one before we leave tomorrow, everyone prayed for me and Paul. It’s all coming to an end so suddenly that I can’t quite cope with it. I do wish I knew more Portuguese; the most I can make out are a few keywords every few sentences.

We leave for Rio then Belo Horizonte tomorrow at 8pm. Surviving the youth camp could be interesting. I really have no idea what to expect in the way of accommodation or facilities, and there’s a weekend to get through.

I never did do the interviews I was hoping to do with the other workers. I guess that’s how things work out sometimes. Everything’s so chaotic and there are so many multiple schedules going on that it’s just very hard to predict what’s going to be possible, even in a month.

Lots of photos in my Flickr photostream, in case you’ve missed them.