Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Opening Your Heart (In Memory of Drew Schwier)

Part of being a missionary is opening your heart to many different people you would have never met if you weren't a missionary. It is opening your heart to a whole country and culture and people that you work with and for. It is also opening your heart to other people who come to serve alongside you. Each and every intern (defining "intern" as someone who comes to Brazil for 3-6 months or longer) who has served in Brazil has touched our lives.
Our support team (as all us Americans are here to support the ministry being run by Brazilians) has laughed and cried with many (normally around 2-4 per year) interns from all over, and opened our hearts and lives to people of all different ages with all different stories. And boy, do we have stories to tell! There have been good times and bad times, unforgettable experiences and moments shared that will never go away. But the one sure thing is that once you open your heart to someone, you are never the same.
Drew Schwier came to Brazil in Spring 2012. He taught gym class at the International school, and helped out with many other ministries. Since I took the bus everywhere during this time, I would swing by and pick up Drew to join me for Living Stones, or whatever else was going on. In the above picture, I said "Hey Drew, wanna go to Recife with some of my friends today?" He didn't know anyone, and barely knew me, but he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Sure!" And we all had a great time. That was Drew. So was the fact that he always wore something neon, and liked to cut out the sides of all of his shirts that weren't jerseys.  
The Soares family took us on a trip to the beach and we decided to rent a surf board (and a woman to teach us how to use it). Drew, of course, did really well. 
For three months, he loved on the International school kids and the Living Stones kids and opened his heart to everyone he met. And we all loved him back. 
(Easter celebration with the kids from the International school serving at Living Stones Cajueiro)
(Living Stones Cajueiro kids at a pool party. And Drew's famous cut out shirt.)

Last week Drew was shot and killed during a robbery at his house in Indianapolis. We mourn for his family and loved ones, and for the vibrant life he lived for 26 years (26 is never enough). And while we are so far away and not able to attend the memorial, we are there in spirit.I got to see Drew a few times after 2012 in Brazil, and it was always good--because once you are part of the team, you are always a part of the team. But I wish I could say thank you again, and reminisce over the "Good old days." 
So to Drew's family, I say THANK YOU. Thank you for enabling Drew to come serve in Brazil. Thank you for sharing him with us. We weep with you. 
To all our past interns: we still think about and remember you. Thank you for your fresh ideas and energy and love and willingness. Thank you for making hard choices. Thank you for opening your heart. Thank you for being a part of us. 

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