Activated - - NEWS - By Rosane Pereira Rosane Pereira is an English teacher and writer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a mem­ber of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional.

It was win­ter­time and I had just ar­rived in the state of Goa, the for­mer Por­tuguese colony on the south­west coast of In­dia. I was a long way from my home coun­try of Brazil, but right away I made friends with a young mixed-faith cou­ple—he was Catholic and she was Hindu—whose mar­riage had been re­jected by both their fam­i­lies. They had opened a small restau­rant right on one of the beaches pop­u­lar with back­pack tourists, where they let us sleep at night.

The beach was right at my doorstep, and it was par­adise. At night, the wet sand re­flected the star-filled sky like a mir­ror, as if it was some­how both above and be­low. In Goa, I could see part of the same south­ern sky as in Brazil, and the same Orion con­stel­la­tion that is known as “The Three Marys.” When I felt lonely, the south­ern stars made me feel com­forted and closer to home.

In the last week be­fore the hol­i­days, I went to the lo­cal post of­fice, and when the clerk saw I had re­ceived a let­ter from Brazil, he switched from English to Por­tuguese and called ev­ery­one. “There is a girl from Brazil here, a brasileira.” Then they took me in­side through the staff door to show me around and wish me a Merry Christ­mas.

I lis­tened to the older em­ploy­ees rem­i­nisce about learn­ing Por­tuguese. A cou­ple of them had even vis­ited Por­tu­gal back in the day. My let­ter seemed to be quite an ex­cit­ing event, and some of the other cus­tomers in the queue joined in the con­ver­sa­tion as well.

These per­fect strangers stopped ev­ery­thing just to en­joy the won­der of meet­ing some­one from a far­away land, who spoke the same lan­guage and had a shared cul­ture! At the time, I was too be­wil­dered to thank them, but I could never for­get how they filled that Christ­mas with hu­man warmth and the sen­sa­tion of be­ing home again!

This brought to mind how Je­sus came from a far­away land, and speak­ing in our own lan­guage, told us of the won­ders of His love and the prom­ise of a place by His side for­ever.

And He cer­tainly showed us the way home!

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