13 One of the people who invited Ruth to extend her stay was the Bishop of the South Western Diocese, in Santa Maria, who hired her a year later to run her choice of community develop- ment projects. “I picked the one that was more challenging because I love a challenge,” Ruth explained. Indeed, the project was a chal- lenge. It encompassed an organic garden and a community bakery, offering employment opportunities. The facility also was home to a school and nursery, as well as literacy classes for adults. In her spare-time, Ruth worked on a suicide preven- tion hotline, gave English lessons, and sang in the local church choir. “Saulo had to remind me that I still had a husband at home,” Ruth laughed. In 2000, the family relocated to Olinda in the Diocese of Recife. Two years later Ruth, Saulo, and their young son Thomas relocated again to the Amazon, to a community called Belém. They stayed there for the next 15 years. It was during this time that Ruth learned some of her most important lessons: to slow down and to let go. “I’ve always been that person who thinks ‘Oh! I’ve got to do this; I’m the missionary, I’m being paid, I’ve got to do everything!’ But I’ve learned that isn’t so good. I think one of the major lessons I learned was to hold back and listen more, and to just be with people rather than doing everything.” She was candid about the struggles they faced in their ministry: how Saulo was one priest responsible for five-to-six parishes, about the poverty facing the communities in the Amazon, and about the sheer distance between communities. In 2005, Saulo became the first Bishop of the newly organized Diocese of the Amazon, and these problems be- came more poignant. The distance between parishes could be thousands of miles, demanding a week of travel on the river. Diocesan clergy were stretched thin. Communities struggled with development, literacy, and medical support. But Ruth and Saulo also saw change occur under their watch. Over time a few more clergy arrived. A course that Ruth began in 2013, facilitating discussions on topical issues such as racism, chauvinism, and leaderships skills, expanded into Río, and continues on to this day. Ruth just as honest about the challenges she personally faced, particularly as her mother grew ill with Parkinson’s over time and she herself was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005. “It strengthened my faith, I think. I mean, yes. At times it was wavering. When things were really difficult, I often wondered and used to say to God ‘Do you want me to stay and carry on here?’” In the face of these challenges, she found strength in family, both family in the UK and in Brazil. “We know that you love your mother and that you want to be with her, but we would be so sad if you left!” the people would cry. Her family’s support of her work in Brazil and the kinship created with the congregations there gave Ruth the resolve to continue. Ruth de Barros in Pratinha favela, Belém, Diocese of Amazon, Brazil. Photo: Leah Gordon / USPG CRS Past President Bishop Philip Poole preaching at the church of Christ the King in the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro in 2011