It’s been too long, really, i owe my fellow MUR peeps an apology because i should’ve written a blog about them way back when, but, you save the best for last right? Anywho, over the year, I have been participating in Belo Horizonte’s chapter of Ministério Universidades Renovadas (MUR). For any of you Christians/Catholics out there, it’s similar to FOCUS or INTERVARISTY, or CRU in the States, but it’s international and Catholic.
So, here is my story of much aMUR throughout the year.
Before i even came to Brasil, i didn’t even consider participating in a ministry or a youth group of some sort. I participated so much at the ministry at UW Madison, i felt it was time to be free, i looked at my year abroad as a time to let go. But, luckily, one of my friends during World Youth Day, reminded me, Monica, your time abroad will be much better with some goode ‘ole fashion Christian community. Needless to say, I changed my mind and decided to find some fellow verdadeiros irmãos cristãos in Brasil.
When i got to BH at UFMG, i searched everywhere for signs of ministry. First, I found ABU, which is actually INTERVARSITY, an evangelical ministry. I participated in the first two weeks, but i still wanted to find a Catholic ministry. Graças a Deus, um menino brasileiro, Guilherme, spotted my WYD backpack while i was waiting in line for Bandeijão and asked me if i enjoyed the Jornada. I was like yessssssssss, hi im Monica, DO YOU KNOW ANY CATHOLICS????
I’m not sure if he noted the desperation in my voice, but we exchanged contact information, ate dinner at Bandejão, and the following day he was already texting me to meet up and go to one of the prayer groups. Quite frankly, i was just dumbfounded by this act of kindness because i felt really lonely at the time and hadn’t experienced genuine hospitality assim. It has really opened my eyes to the importance of alcolher pessoas because everyone deserves a genuine welcome and hello; it makes all the difference.
The following day, I met up with Guilherme to go to a prayer group and was somewhat in culture shock because Catholicism in Brasil is much more charismático than in the States, but it was ok. For instance they have choreography with many songs, which, i mean, we American Catholics don’t even dance much less clap…Anywhoozles, everyone was introducing themselves to me, hugging me, and just genuinely welcoming me into their family of aMUR.
After that prayer group, i decided to check out GOU LUZ DO MUNDO (which is one of the many prayer groups), and i’ll never forget the first time i walked into GOU LUZ DO MUNDO. By this time i had already met some people, but forgot faces. So, when I sat down at this GOU, one of the peeps, Lucas, recognized me and excitedly patted my knee, like he was genuinely excited to see me. I mean, people, the aMUR of this group is out of control. Since then, i was hooked. I joined this very núcleo of GOU LUZ DO MUNDO (Quarta-feira, ICEX, 18:15), ou seja, i was part of the leadership team that planned the weekly sessions. I chose GOU LUZ DO MUNDO because it was smaller. This núcleo rocked my socks because it was a chance for me to instantly make friends and they were, truly, a real support group.
Apart from this núcleo, I went to the regional conference in November and and two retreats because, well, their aMUR is contagious. A fun little anecdote about the Southeastern Regional Conference, ERUR, is that the music ministry from UFMG’s MUR sang at this conference and dedicated a song to me. I highly recommend listening to the song, “Passa fogo” by DDD, because it’s priceless: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S0Ta939wvs].
You see, this song is near and dear to my heart because randomly brasileiros played this song on a bus during the Jornada while we were all waiting for transportation to get a move on. I was just amused by the choreography and instantaneous song session. So, because of my obsession with this song, the music ministry decided to play it at the conference in my honor. Naturally, because i’m a foreigner, everyone was all like, americana, go on stage!!! Dance!!! And, you know, the dancing thing is already a little odd for me, being american and all, but i lead the choreography anyway to this song in front of hundreds of brasileiros, which was quite a priceless moment. I mean, uai.
And that’s just one of many lovely experiences i’ve had being apart of MUR. Before you know it, nine or ten months have gone by and here i am, still blown away by the aMUR on this campus. I helped out at the last retreat, and it was so much fun and freeing because I actually knew people and truly felt apart of MUR. Finally, i, too, got the chance to spread the aMUR with new people as well.
Honestly, it’s gonna be really hard to part ways with these beautiful people. They’re such an inspiration because they don’t even have a campus priest like we do at Madison, and their ministry is so big, so active, and all student run! They have all been so welcoming and just so loving. I can’t imagine my experience without MUR because, well, they put the MUR in amor, and this year without aMUR would’ve been bem triste.