For nearly a week, Leigh-Ann, the kids and I have been visiting in the country of Brazil. It has been an amazing experience that has provided us opportunities to explore and experiment with new sights, tastes, and sounds.

We have taken city tours, experienced incredible views and visited the Ocean. We have attempted to communicate with people who speak a different language. We have also visited some of the most extreme poverty imaginable.

There is one universal expression I’ve noticed everywhere, no matter where we have traveled. No matter people’s age, race, language or net worth.

A smile!

On Tuesday, we visited several impoverished neighborhoods. Places where homes were not much more than a few makeshift boards held together providing a roof over a dirt floor. Places where filth and stench were overwhelming. However, anytime we looked a child in the eyes and gave them attention, they would respond with a smile…especially if we offered them a piece of candy :).

The next day we went to the Ocean and got a little sunburn (I know you will have no pity for us while it’s freezing in KC :). The waves were quite large and we went out to ride them in. Wave after wave came crashing in and we would look for the biggest and best and then just as the wave crested, we would jump into it and ride it in. Again…and again…and again.

While in the waves the only people I heard speaking English were family members. Everyone else was speaking a different language. However, every single person was smiling. And not just a little…loud laughs and shouts along with huge smiles.

I am reminded again that at our core, as humans, we want to be happy. I have also observed that happiness is not dependent on money, or housing or specific geography. Happiness is an emotion that comes from the inside.

As Christians, we know that we will not always be smiling, however, we can always have a perspective of happiness and security because our eternal needs and desires are met in Jesus.

This Sunday, New Life is honored to have Gabor Gresz bring the sermon. Gabor moved to Kansas City from Budapest, Hungary to work with CRU about a year ago. If you have ever heard him speak, you already know the words he shares will be from the Lord. Ultimately, you will be challenged to grow deeper in your faith and as a result, you will experience the presence of the Lord and will likely even smile more.