Our Brother from Another Mother
“A few months ago in October 2017 I received the strange news that a young man named Marcello from Brazil would be a new housemate of mine in the Community House for a few months. I really didn’t know what to expect from this news especially when I found out that part of his motivation for coming to America was to improve his English. If you’re not already aware, I only speak English. I’ve learned some very basic Spanish, Japanese, and the tiniest amount of Portuguese over the years, but I definitely don’t know enough of either to have a conversation with a toddler let alone an adult. My mom teaches English as a second language to college students but… I don’t. I’ve had very few experiences trying to communicate with someone through a language barrier and here I was about to have someone who barely spoke or understood English living under the same roof with me. Luckily, the prospect of new experiences is as exciting as it is terrifying to me. What’s even better is that Marcello turned out to be an amazing human being.
Don’t get me wrong, we still had plenty of trouble trying to communicate with each other. He was very new to speaking English and I had the distinctly awkward pleasure of meeting him alone inside the house as I returned home from work and he had apparently just gotten there from the airport less than an hour before I got home. He seemed somehow full of energy even after such a long travel day, but I could tell he was exhausted. Communication was pretty tough right off the bat. He needed to go to some kind of store to do something for some reason. He needed to buy a cell phone. He had tons of questions about what he needed and I could hardly think of how to answer most of his questions. On top of that, I barely understood what he was even trying to ask me most of the time and I’m positive he didn’t understand many of the answers I gave him. The only thing I could think to do was bring him to Seeds and hope that one of my few friends who lived in Brazil for years and speak fluent Brazilian Portuguese would be there. It was a very awkward and interesting way for us to spend our first few hours of knowing each other, but it turned out to be the beginning of a really great friendship.
Marcello was very dedicated to improving his English and I had the pleasure of bringing him to work where he jumped alongside volunteers and gladly helped serve people. We went to parties and prayer nights where he’d be surrounded by people who only spoke English. I personally can’t imagine what it’s like to fly to another hemisphere and be completely surrounded by people who don’t speak my language and I can only somewhat speak theirs. Marcello did just that and somehow flourished in it! His friendly, inquisitive, funny, and very animated personality made him a crowd favorite everywhere we went. I remember him telling me the day that we met that he was kind of shy but, much like myself, you would hardly be able to tell most of the time. He always eagerly engaged with everyone who approached him and was a really good sport when we would joke around with him even though he didn’t understand a lot of the jokes and sarcasm that came his direction.
Being at home was always really interesting with Marcello. He brought life and energy into the Community House the likes of which hadn’t really been there for a long time. He was always either singing or chatting with his friends and family in Brazil. In contrast with Wade and me being very quiet and Art being so busy he was hardly ever home, Marcello was pretty loud which he attributed to his Brazilian heritage. “Is because I am Brazilian. Brazilians are very loud!” he would say. Contrary to what one might believe, Wade and I both loved his loudness. Something about hearing him singing in the kitchen while cooking or hanging out in the living room laughing and video chatting with his family in Portuguese made the house feel more lively and peaceful at the same time. There was one moment during his first few weeks here that he came into my room and asked to borrow my computer, in Portuguese. It took a good 5 seconds of us blankly staring at each other for him to realize that he didn’t ask in English and that I had to guess what he just said. Funnily enough, I thought I’d heard something similar to the word computer and just filled in the blanks and started handing him my laptop while he busted out laughing at the realization. His presence in the house was always felt and cherished. Like Wade said to me a few days ago, “This house is way too quiet without Marcello.”
It was hard to imagine what life would be like with Marcello before I met him. Now that I’ve spent a few short months working, playing, and becoming friends with him it’s even harder to imagine what it would be like to never have met him. We bonded like brothers and especially since our last names are only two letters apart (Moreira vs. Fareira), we basically are brothers. I feel blessed to have been able to spend so much time with such an awesome person on a crazy adventure. The way he had to trust God and all of us people he barely knew to guide him through this experience was very inspiring. He unwittingly strengthened my faith and was a living example of the power and value of community. Helping him understand things, get from place to place, go shopping, and learn about life in our culture was as much of a blessing to us as it was to him. He was blown away by the kindness and love of the people in our community and we’re all glad we get to be a part of his life now. If you were unable to meet “Marshmello” the Brazilian champion while he was here, hopefully you’ll get the chance when he returns. He’s back in Brazil now but he’s dreaming of coming back to the US and studying architecture. I thank God for him and I’m confident we’ll be able to laugh and serve side by side with Marcello again!” – Giorgio Fareira
“Marcello the Marvelous
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9
This isn’t just some write up on someone who is a star volunteer for the purpose of shining light on the GKC for hosting and producing such wonderful patrons as it tends to do from time to time, but is a story about a young man, a young man from another world who’s journey isn’t just into manhood, but also of discovering his purpose on this earth and the light thereof. This is a piece about my friend Marcello. For those of you who don’t know, and a rehash for those of you who do. Marcello came to The United States from Guaruja, San Paulo, Brazil at only 18 years of age and fresh out of high school.
Now the connection with Alabama and The Grace Klein Community comes through an interesting channel by a young lady named Jessica Moreira, whom was a volunteer for the GKC once upon a time with ties to The Wallowing in Wonder Waltmans (that’s my working title for the family, no one can use it or I’ll sue.) Now Jessica is from Brazil as well, and is also good friends with Marcello’s older sister, hence the connection to him. It had always been Marcello’s dream to visit and see the USA and to practice and fine tune his English, Jessica having known this saw an opportunity to suggest staying at the community house through the GKC. She helped to mediate the set up between The Waltman’s and Marcello’s parents, and in no time Marcello was here.
So besides staying in the community house, and picking up better English in his speech, Marcello became an awesome asset to GKC through his volunteer work, and this coming from someone who never worked prior to this engagement! He’s done everything from riding in the trucks with Giorgio for pickups and deliveries of food and goods, to helping load the refrigerators and freezers at the office, and then helping with the monthly food drives Grace Klein hosts, all while simultaneously still trying to understand what people were saying to him. He is a diligent and hard working person with spunk and tenacity about him that I admire quite much, and his level of faith for the reason he does anything is a great testament to what Jesus wrought into his life. Working side by side with Marcello has been awesome, you always can count on him to help you and have your back for whatever the task (as long as he’s not sleeping or being coaxed into eating any vegetables). One of his other stellar qualities is the fact that he’s not judgmental, he has a great aptitude for listening and relating and a great attitude in learning from and understanding the people around him. He’s very intelligent and deceptively quick witted. He cares for people very much, and that’s why he fits into the Grace Klein family so perfectly.
Now the most aesthetic piece to this picture is how a young man like this from another world, who is a tad bit timid, can go to another land where he doesn’t speak the language and is far from his family and friends and place himself in a shared home with total strangers, and yet does all this with a smile as vibrant as The Northern Lights! Would you or anyone you know hold up this way, this well? Could you? That’s a very heavy change in life, especially for someone so young, but by grace he is defined, he is shaped, he is molded. A person’s mettle isn’t always measured by what they’re willing to do, but in the content of what they’ve done, and Marcello’s character, his influence on the volunteers and the friends he’s made at church and the people he’s helped, is beyond my comprehension of charity and the simple point of just being willful to do something. It’s because of God’s will, and even though it was hard, and difficult, and perhaps seemingly unnerving, Marcello did it with a smile. The author Amy Chua once stated, “Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.” Amen.
I think Marcello really picked up a lot of good habits while he was here for those three months too, not only did he improve his English in communicating and interpreting quite well, but in diligence and a good solid work ethic that he’ll carry and use throughout his life. He was culturally enriched and so were we by his presence. Marcello has since returned to his home country and is praying about his next move in life and the direction God will lead him. One of these possible moves is furthering his education back here in Alabama where he would be moving back to pursue a college degree. I’m sure I speak for everyone here at the GKC when I say that that particular move would be very much favored among our ranks. Whatever he chooses though I’m certain will be what’s best for him and his journey, and you really can’t ask for more than that.
Now in closing, for my friend Marcello. I wanted to say, I think you are one of the strongest and most courageous people I’ve had the distinct honor in knowing. Conversations with you are very fascinating, and getting to volunteer by your side has taught me more about presence and self-sacrifice and given me more room to stand for something, something so much more beautiful. I can be whoever I want to be, or whatever I dream to be, and I don’t have to feel judged or ostracized for who I am, and I’m really speaking more generally here because this is what anyone can feel being around you. You’re wit and charm and bright personality is very becoming, and God has fostered in you this splendid heart that I believe will reshape the fabric of whatever environment and body of people you integrate it in to. Your dreams are your own and you dared the impossible, the mysterious beyond, nothing but mountains and moving oceans between you and the rest of the world, but they might as well been foothills and small puddles for you to skip across. Great job “Marshmallow”! You truly are and always will be,
Até nos encontrarmos novamente meu amigo, que Deus sempre o guarde.”
– Mitchell Roulaine”
Read Marcello’s personal testimony of his time in the United States and how the Lord used the lives of many to impact his heart in such a deep way, reflecting the Father, each in their own unique way.
* No grammar or word edits were made to Marcelo’s testimony as we are proud to show you how much progress Marcello made in 3 months. The day he arrived, He spoke only a few words in English. Below is what he wrote at the end of his 3 month journey…
“Just a Brazilian boy living his dreams in United States.
First of all I didn’t imagine that my trip to the US would be like the way it played out. Before embarking I had made plans and I didn’t imagined what it would be like to be alone in another country being only 18 years old and being the first time without being surrounded by my family. I confess that I was very worried because I didn’t know what could happen, but God prepared every detail of this trip! When I arrived I was welcomed with open arms by the Waltman’s and the guys of the community house, who took care of me as if I was family and I want to thank you all immensely for this; for everything you have done for me during my stay here.
I met so many good people who helped me in my adaptation here, and helped me be included in conversations, friendships, and many events. I just want to say thank you for having patience with me as I’m learning the language. it is difficult not being confident speaking another language. I always wanted to express myself, but at times I could not find the right words, or knew how best to start a conversation with people. Sometimes was even scary to engage. This explains my first week here, as time went by my attention began to improve , I learned how to express myself better and explain what I was feeling. I was able to discover another vulnerable side of myself, open to meeting new people, to help without been asked, and trust God more. To miss and give more value to the people around me.
The Burkes – I would like to thank you this family for having me on my first Thanksgiving, in Brazil we didn’t celebrate this holiday so I didn’t really know the meaning of this day. I have to confess that I didn’t really like the traditional food, but I loved the time I spent with this family, their children are very amazing. They gave me a huge, but very warm coat that helped Me prepare for the cold.
Billie and Bob – This couple was wonderful to me, every Saturday Bob sent me a message saying “Church tomorrow?” They would pick me up every Sunday morning to go to church. The first time I met them, they introduced me to everyone in the church. “This is Marcello, He’s from Brazil. He will stay here for 3 months.” They would take me to lunch after the services and they wouldn’t let me pay, they were getting me very badly lol, I want to thank them for all these moments, I’m very grateful to you for helping me!
Gayle – You’re a lovely person, always ask me how I am, always talk to me. Thank you for this affection.
Miss Birdie – She’s sweet, if I could have an American grandmother she’d be my choice.
Mitchell, Lori, Mike, Jessy, Ashleigh, Cornelius and everybody that I could share moments, it was a pleasure to meet you.
Helen Brock – She is a person who passes tranquility, is always smiling. I had good times at Highlands church services with movies, popcorn and soda (I loved this part). We talked a lot and I think she understood almost everything I said. It was nice to meet her.
Jonah – The first time I spoke to him, I was scared and very confused. He spoke so enthusiastically and so fast that I didn’t understand anything he told me. He helped me to include myself with the other young people of the church, he tried to understand me at the most when I spoke, I taught him “Obrigado”, I had a good time with you. I realize that you have a great heart and that you care about people. I just want to thank you for letting me be your friend.
Michael – You are such an amazing friend! I always say that we are enemies when we play but there is no way for that to happen. I don’t understand any of your jokes, and you always invent American traditions for me to do. I want to thank you for all the moments that you shared with me.
Jeni – For me it was like a sister here, she understands me better than anyone, I’ve had great times with her. Jeni is a person who gives herself from the heart to help someone, she can change someone with small gestures and it is impossible not love her. With all certainty you are one of the people who helped me the most here and that I will miss the most. I hope God blesses you twice for all you’ve done for me, I just want to say thank you.
Guys of Community House (Arthur, Giorgio and Wade)- These guys endured my curious questions, they explained everything I asked, they took me everywhere I asked, they didn’t understand a word when I screamed talking to my family in Portuguese. I learned that friends are family, we live together, we have fun together, every day that I wake up these were the faces that I saw. We are so different, different ages, different tastes, different personalities. Because I was the youngest among them, I felt full of brothers, with people who care about me. I loved all our moments even when they made snowballs and played on me or when we watched a movie I didn’t understand anything. The time we went to the movies full of food in our coats, when we woke up and we were doing nothing at home. I want to thank you so much for taking care of me this time, for having given me great times in my life, as when Wade woke me up at 6 in the morning because it was snowing and they knew my enthusiasm because I had never seen snow. Whenever I asked Giorgio something, he didn’t know to answer me, it seems that he is more lost than I am in life. Arthur made fun of everything I said but only he could do it, he liked to play with me because I was foreign (his words). He had the patience to explain things to me, and I know I’m curious. On my first day here he took me to lunch because I locked the door to my room and no one had the key. We went to the Taco Bell and he didn’t warn me that I had to buy a drink, my mouth caught fire and he laughed too much. I really will miss you guys in my days! Thank you for taking part in my journey.
Waltman’s – All that I lived here was thanks to God, my parents and of course that for you, who opened your house, inserted me with your family, friends … I had a great Christmas morning with you, it was a incredible American experience, as well as all the moments I spent with you. I did not think that I would be so loved when I met you on my second day here in the march against suicide, it was so difficult for me to communicate that day, luckily Natalie was there and I can understand her better. Jason is a funny guy, always in a good mood. Jenny is an amazing woman, she does not stop for a second, always smiling at everyone. Amelia Grace and Denver are so young but already have the thought focused on helping people (you are teaching them very well for life). Natalie is always willing to help, I feel very close to her because just as I am a foreigner, she knows how difficult it is to adapt. I want to thank you for all the moments, all the affection I have received from you and may God continue to bless you in this incredible work that Grace Klein Community does!
Thanks to Jessica for introducing me to Grace Klein Community, if it wasn’t for that I would never have met you!
To conclude I want to say that I’m going to take a little bit of each of you in my heart, you helped me to realize a dream. May God bless each one here, I will never forget you, you are part of my story now. I love you all very much and I will miss everyone when I go back to Brazil, but I do not see this as an end point but as a semicolon, and that we will start a new chapter. I thank God immensely for giving me the opportunity to meet you and learn new things and to live that experience here.” – Marcello Moreira