Thursday, July 23, 2009

Im Leavin' on a Jet-Plane..

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
What a good last couple of days! The lessons were on the washing of the disciples feet for the little ones and Pre-Teens, and they took it surprisingly seriously! It was raining again so we played dodgeball and then i started packing after lunch.
We only had a couple of girls at the begining of Teen time, but then more showed up. We gave them all Lakewood basketball shirts and they loved them. A few of our regulars were'nt there, so we held off on the feet washing for the next day. we gave them a chance to ask us any questions they had and tell us what they want to learn more about in the future and we had some decent feedback.
We didnt have time for basketball since we spent so much time talking, so we sent them to soccer and Laura, Elo, and i took Barbara and Josefa (two of the girls who were involved in the misunderstanding/Communication breakdown i mentioned a few days ago) aside and had them talk it out. It took them a while to start talking and longer to get them to look each other in the eyes for more than a split second, but by the time we were done, they asked for forgiveness and forgave each other, hugged, and walked off to the soccer feild. Woohoo! Please pray that they can continue to regain their friendship over time.
Soccer was a lot of fun and since it was my last chance, i had no choice but to play! My team won a few times thanks to Miacon the baller! From there it was home, shower, dinner, Church. Brian taught from Matthew 5 about Salt, Light, and a City on a Hill after James and Renan welcomed him with a fantastic skit featuring him. It was great!
After the service, people started crying again, but this time it was like everyone, even some of the boys! One of the girls crying was Josefa, (Joyce's sister) and i knew she was close to making the decision for Christ and i felt a strong prompting to go and talk to her. I took her aside with Elo and asked her, "If i dont come back to Brasil, or if you're not around when i do, will i ever see you again?" We talked for a few minutes about why she hadnt yet become a christian and she said she believes in Jesus and His death and resurrection, but she just hadnt done anything about it. She hadnt asked for forgiveness. I asked if she wanted to right then and she said yes, so we grabbed a hands and she repeated after me the words to a "sinner's prayer" and she's now our sister in Christ! Gloria a Deus!!
After that i waded through hugs to the door and said goodnight. I finished most of my packing and we hung out for a while, enjoying our last night with a huge smoothie!
Today, as of now, we've had our last little kid and Pre-teen gatherings. They were both celebrations of the time we've been blessed with together this summer so we played some balloon games and charrades. It's raining again, so no basketball. One of the girls said the sky is crying because i am leaving, and i had to agree!
For Teen time today, we're doing the washing of the feet, so be praying that we're lead by the Spirit! And also pray for Nate, Rob, and I as we are leaving this beautiful place!
Well, its been good keeping in touch with you guys through the gift of modern technology, but now i must bid you farewell. Thanks to all of you who faithfuly tuned in and put up with the "books" that I've written. I cant wait to see you all and tell you in person of all that God has done, is doing, and is going to do her in NE Brasil!!

Signing off,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!

Welp my Brasilian summer is winding down and i am hating every second of it. But im trying to focus on the days i have left and live in every moment im in with every person. Today started out again like a normal day, except Carlyn beat me out of bed for the first time this summer! We had our fabulous banana smoothies and then carried the extra bananas over for snack for the little guys. The tears started early today with several of the girls sharing their home problems with me and God gave me some words of encouragment for them. Im not gonna go into detail, but nobody should have to deal with the things that many of the people in this community deal with on a regular basis. We talked for a while until it was time for the little guys to leave and then we laid down on the floor until pre-teens came in. Our lesson today was on the disciples and how God changed and used them, and how they were young, just like these kids.
For basketball, one half of the court they could shoot around and do whatever, but on the other half, for an hour straight, we had a "whoever can stop the Americans gets a piece of candy" competicion! We only dropped the ball a couple times cuz we did a lot of messing around. Sorry coach...
Carlyn and i did some hammock hanging out between lunch and teen time which was of course fantastic! We finished up the Q and A stuff by telling them how we all have enjoyed our time here and what we have learned from them. They seemed greatful. We had basketball and vollyball going on during sports time and then went and played on the soccer feild.
From there it was shower and off to Bible Study which was lead by none other than our very own Robert Lauter. He spoke on forgiveness which is very applicable in this community and was exactly what i know a few of these kids needed to hear. Afterwards one of the teen girls started crying again because we're leaving on Sunday, and then one of the pre-teens joined her, and as i looked around at their tears and the other kids dancing to one of the worship songs, i couldnt help but shed a few myself.
While we were all hanging out after the service, one of the guys, Benjamin, fell and hurt his arm pretty bad. (yes, just like he did last time we were here. strange, huh?) Its either broken or dislocated. Bill took him to the hospital and we'll know how he's doing later. Please pray that everything turns out ok and he heals up quickly.
Today was great, and i wish these next couple days would never end. It feels like theres a ton on stuff that i am going to be leaving unfinished, but i have to trust God to use the people He has down here to do His work once i leave.....that is...if i leave.......

Until next time,

Monday, July 20, 2009

What a Week!!

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
Well, well, well, i havent talked to you guys in a while. How've you been? This week was intense to say the least! Our schedule has been non-stop since the boys got here. We've started splitting up the teen and pre-teen guys and girls during the lesson time and its gone really well! The girls have opened up SO much more, and the guys are asking some great questions! We had a lot of good sharing time on Wednesday which lead to us finding out about a fued of sorts between two groups of girls. Its all a result of communication and misunderstanding really, we havent had a chance to talk to all the girls together about it, so please pray that their hearts are sensetive and forgiving.
We hit the beach market on Thursday (yes, Logan, i got your flip-flops...yes, both pairs.) and ate at the pizzaria which was fantastic as i remembered! That turned in to an incredibly late night (pulled up to the house at 1 a.m.) that lead in to our busy busy Pre-teen retreat weekend!
The theme for the retreat was the Armour of God and each one of the american teens taught a lesson. The kids were great (for the most part) and we had an absolute blast! We spend almost 58 straight hours with the kids, and when we werent with them, Carlyn and i were hanging with Jamile and Leninha (two teen helpers) and teaching Leninha a total of 12 english words/phrases (the most entertaining one was probly "disaster of epic proportions", she had a little trouble with that one. lol) We spent all 3 days playing games like basketball, the Amazing Race, chocolate hunt, and had a party the last night called the Noite do Vixi (sp?) where everybody dressed up crazy (and i mean crazy!) and danced around and had a parade down the street! it was great!
Sunday, all the kids left from Grupo CEO campus to church at around 7 p.m. They preformed the Electric Slide (to the tune of Beautiful One) and Marvelous Light. Matheus, Luana, Dim Dim, and Amanda (pastor Eudes daughter) all gave their testimonies and as a result, Matheus mom relized the impact and importance Grupo CEO and the church has on the lives of her kids. She told us afterwards that she was going to start supporting the project more and wanted to be more involved! Praise God! I also had the opportunity to speak at church that night about Hypocrisy, which hit a little too close to home for a couple of the people there. (some of you may know who im talking about, if not, dont worry about it)
Some of the girls have already started crying because we're leaving on Thursday. I dont know how im gonna say goodbye to all these guys...
It took a while to get out of bed this morning. We got back in to our smoothie routine though and the normal daily scheule. Thiago saw how tired we all were and said we had a Pre-teen hangover! The question for this week is "how is your shadow changing?" and Rob talked about Saul/Paul and the change God made in his life. All the kids said that they have changed since the begining of the summer, which was encouraging. We did Mass Stance with them today, it was great, coach, you should have seen it!
It was great to see the teens again today! We spent a long time asking and answering questions the "bug day" way, and it got a little intense at some points cuz some questions posed the boys against the girls. Carlyn, Josefa, and I played against Joyce, Jamile, and Alane in a game of "soccer" on the porch of the dorm and let me tell you, it was no joke! ok, well we did joke around a lot, but it was intense too! dont worry, i have some videos!
After that and soccer, we came home, had dinner and i am currently trying to fill you in on everything you've missed this passed we, and, even though i am unsuccessful, im gonna leave it at that. Good night you beautiful people!

Until next time,

Monday, July 13, 2009


Hello to all, live from Brasil!!
The last two days have been great! Sunday was pretty slow, as usual. Church at IBC in the morning, relaxing and journaling (and cleaning the refrigerator..dont worry about it.), then Grupo CEO church at night. Carlyn and Laura and I all spoke at the Grupo CEO church and it went really well. Our topics tied together really well: Laura with "taking up your cross" and following Christ, me with overcoming temptation, and Carlyn with your body being a temple for Christ. I used one of coach Kruse's illustrations and had NeNe sit at the front the whole time with candy in his hand that he could hold, smell, and touch, but couldnt eat, (you know, how coach kruse brought all those doghnuts for us that one time..yum) Pretty tempting if you ask me, but he didnt eat it until i told him he could! way to be NeNe!
After the service we were outside messing around with Leinhia and Josefa and Joyce and Alane when Bill called the three americans inside the Grupo CEO building. Roberto was in there (one of the teens who we knew wasnt a chirstian and who didnt write a testimony the day we did that). Bill said that Roberto decided he wanted to accept Christ, and wanted us there with him because it was what we talked about that night that made him want to give his life to the Lord. Praise God and Gloria A Deus!! God gave us the words He wanted us to speak on that specific night, to those specific people, and, because we were sensative to the Holy Spirit, His kingdom is growing more and more! Woohoo!
Laura lead Roberto in a sinner's prayer (through Bill) and right there he became a child of God and our Brother in Christ, and yours too! Isnt it cool that, even though most of you reading this will never come to Brasil and meet these kids, you will see them and know them all someday in heaven!?! how awesome!
After celebrating Roberto's salvation with a few smiles and hugs, all the Americans went home. We ate dinner and then did some dishes and Sulafied the kitchen. The three of us stayed up for a little while talking and then finally got some sleep. God blessed us with another great day and a fantastic opportunity to see some of the fruits of our labor!

Today was exciting! We got up, got our smoothies and our bread, and enjoyed a little morning discussion. Then we headed over to the GCB (Grupo CEO Building), and we were actually on time! The kids didnt show up right away, so Carlyn and i took the liberty of laying out on the floor until 8 when the kids were supposed to come. Lucas was the first to arrive and he came right in and jumped on top of me, joining us on the floor. Once more kids showed up, we rolled out the balls as usual, and then had our lesson. The question for this week is "Are you afraid of your shadow's future?". We talked about Jonah and how he was afraid of what God had planned for him. This one girl, Victoria, is really smart and very mature for her age. (she's Luana and Yohhana's sister). She always knows the stories we talk about and is really tuned in while we're teaching. And she's super cute! As Carlyn and i would say "she gets it!" (that really doesnt hold a lot of importance, i just wanted to brag about her!)
We killed time until the pre-teen session was supposed to start and talked with the kids outside the GCB. Thiago (pre-teen thiago) keeps saying that, because there are so many kids that always run up to me and hug me, they are all my kids. He says i have 14 of them, but he denies that he's one of them. lol hes a so cute too!
Just before it was time to start, the cars pulled up. the rest of our team has arrived! i have my best guys a hug and they got introduced to all the kids. They danced with us for a while and did the electric slide. Then afterwards we had the lesson and went to play some basketball!
We tried to play a real game, but not so much. Then it was knockout for the rest of the time. After they left, we hung around for a while and then ate some lunch. (there are a lot of people to feed in this house!) Carlyn and Sula and I did dishes (for what seemed like forever, but we made it fun.) and then we had a debreifing until Teen time.
We played Signs to start (ask Rob about his sign of choice), and then when it was time to start the lesson , they got quiet as church mice again. Its getting frustrating! They practiced their skit afterwards, but didnt take it seriously. Then we went over to the court and played 3-on-3 king of the court style. They had a lot of fun with it. Rob, Nate, and i jumped on the court at one point and played a few rounds. We bombed once, but all-in-all, we defended the U.S. pretty well.
Then it was time for soccer, and we did play this time. Rob messed up his toe pretty bad though! = ( It was a fun time overall though and went without further injury. After getting schooled again, we went home and ate dinner (in shifts cuz of all the people!), and had a quiet rest of the night. I am so happy to have the rest of our team here and i am very excited for the new things that God will do through us!
This week, we will start splitting up the boys and the girls during the teaching time so that we can really hammer down all the purity stuff thats so important to cover in this culture! Thanks for bein such faithful readers! i miss you guys!
Until next time,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mas Agua?!?

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
Phew, what a day. Started off earlier than most saturdays at 6 a.m. Bill volunteered us to help Pastor Egnardo's church pour their concrete ceiling today. He told us we would be leaving at 7 so of course, the 3 americans were ready to leave right then, but this is Brasil time. When do you guys think we left? any takers? try around 815. the 8 of us (Bill, Patrick, Douglas, Renan, James, Laura, Carlyn, and i) walked down to the "bus stop" and caught a ride to the church. We were lucky enough to grab a seat to, as opposed to the group of drunks who got on at the next stop and had to stand and hold on to the rail on the ceiling of the car. (remember that rail for later, k?)
We got there and jumped right in hauling wheel-barrels of rocks and sand to the cement mixer. Then once it was all ready, we haulded it from the mixer to the building, bucket by bucket until our break at noon. Then after we ate lunch we did more hauling, bucket by bucket, until 4. At one point the concrete mixer actualy broke, but right around the same time, this drunk guy that everyone in the community knows showed up and he didnt want to do anything but mix concrete, so me let him! It was rather enteraining. There was also another guy there who had the energy of a five-year old after eating a giant pixie stick! it was pretty funny. All day we went back and forth and they kept calling out "mas agua?" "que mas agua!?" "oi, que mas agua!?!" We made sure they had plenty of water for the mix to say the least..
We finally finished the whole roof and made our way to the back to the bus stop. We didnt get a seat this time cuz it was already pretty full, or so we thought. We pulled up to one stop and a group of prolly 8 or 9 girls was waiting to get on our bus which already had like 15 people on it!
There was no room for the all the girls to hang on to the rail, so the whole time they were screaming and running in to people. It was an unpleasent experience to say the least.
After what seemed like forever, our stop was in sight, but just as the bus turned to make the stop, everybody shifted to the right and the bar that Bill, Laura, a bunch of othe people, and i were hanging on to gave out and disconnected from the ceiling! And this, of course, resulted in a chorus of squeals from the group of girls. But it was luckily our stop, so we all jumped off and headed home.
Erika didnt want us in the house with our concrete-cakes clothes (alliteration!) so we showered in the dorm. Laura, Carlyn and i worked on the lessons we are going to give tomorrow at the Grupo CEO church and then ate some dinner. Then at 7 we went to a funeral for the grandmother one of the teen girls in the area. Today was supposed to be her 15 year celebration, but her grandmother passed way at 6 this morning from a heart attack. Please keep this family in your prayers.
We got home around 9 and i helped Erika with the dishes, and now here i am talking to you beautiful people! I am so ecxited for this week and all of the new things that will be happening with Rob and Nate arriving! Thanks for your continued support and prayers! Tchau!

Until next time,

Friday, July 10, 2009


Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!

Today was absolutely incredible! I dont even know where to start!
We had the little kids at 8 as usual and the lesson today was Laura, Carlyn, and me sharing our testimonies. It was a little over the first group's head.
With the pre-teens, we could go more in depth. They payed attention well and then we gave them a chance to write their own tesimonies in their notebooks. That gave us a chance to find out who was and who wasnt a Christian. Soon we had several kids coming up to our translators and wanting to talk with us about Jesus. I got the chance to lead a little girl named Paulina in asking Christ to be her Savior! And 4 others made the same decision! Woohoo!!
We also spent a long time talking to a girl named Luana (who is a sweetheart and a great example of Christ's love!) about forgiveness for something thats happened in her past and prayed for some problems that shes been having at home. Please pray for the hearts of every single one of these kids who made the decision for Christ today! (Jaisa, Geisiana, Wesley,Elizane, and Paulina)
We were in awe of what God had done for the rest of the afternoon. We took food to a couple local houses and were blessed by Arenice's (a lady that works at Grupo CEO and is a mother 7 of the kids we have in our daily meetings) testimony. She showed us her house and told us that, although it was incredibly small and not at all what we would conider even close to suitable, it was such a blessing when the community helped her make it a home.
We were still praising God through lunch for what He had done and i kept thanking Him for choosing me to work through! Then it was Teen time. We werent sure how it would go or how seriously they would take writing their testimonies, but we were pleasently surprised! At the end of Carlyn's testimony, she talked about how she didnt want to leave Brasil not knowing whether or not she would see some of them again (in heaven) if she never came back, which spoke for both me and laura as well. Then i drew the illustration on the board with God at the top, hell at the bottom, and different people they know in the middle and they had to rank the best person they know, the worst person they know, and themselves (they ended up somewhere in between). I got them all to verbaly agree that they have fallen short of God because of sin, and that the only way to close that gap is through a relationship with Christ.
They broke up and most of them started writing their testimonies, but i noticed that Joyce hadnt started writing. I got Amanda (one of the twins) to translate for me and i asked her why she wasnt writing. She said she didnt want to so i asked if she had a testimony and if she had accepted Christ yet and she said she hadnt. Then we talked about what she believes about Jesus and God and she knew that she was a sinner and needed forgiveness, but she didnt know how to get it. I explained to her that the only way to have a relationship with God, is through believing in the sacrifice that Christ made and asking Him to change her and forgive her for her sins. She said that she wanted that and right then and there we prayed and she became a child of God! I was so excited, and still am! Gloria A Deus!!
Now is when the teaching times are going to transition from evangelism, to more of a discipleship. Please pray for our continued guidance!
Well both the teens and pre-teens spent so much time on their testimonies that there wasnt any time left for basketball, so the teens went straight from teaching to soccer. I managed to stay off the feild this time and sat with Carlyn and Joyce having interesting conversations with leaves....dont worry about it..
Later, at 6 there was a pre-teen meeting. Pastor Eudes wife lead it and did a really great job! then they played some crazy games until it was time for the teens. A good number of them showed up and the young guy from IBC lead a devotion from Matthew. We had some good hang-out time afterwards and Carlyn and i actually kept our Bibles in our possesion for most of the time despite Joyce's futile attempts! We are so blessed with the relationships we have been able to build down here!
We came home and snacked on some bread and had a secret treat that i must keep confidential, and now i am writing to you all about this fabulous, fabulous day! God is so powerful, yet gentle enough to speak to the hearts of each one of these kids! Again, GLORIA A DEUS!!!!!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Playing Dentist with the Teens

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!

Well, we didnt see Tequila last night, (he was out "Tequilaing") but we did eat some awesome pastels! (i recomend the chicken with cheese myself). Today i slept in a little on accident and didnt get up until about 20 after 6 and did my devos and some journaling. Then Carlyn and i ventured to the kitchen and had some bread with jam. So good! Erika joined us for breakfast for the first time in a while which means shes feeling better. We had to make our smoothie ourselves this morning though cuz Bill was being a slacker. (Erika said shes thinking about firing him.)

We got to the Grupo CEO building semi-on time this morning and again rolled out the balls for the little guys. this one kid Lucas has got quite an arm! Its amazing how much fun those little ones can have with just the plastic balls. They could play with them for the whole hour and a half if we let them!

Our lesson today was on being a good example. For the pre-teens we read from II Timothy 2 and then threw them a curve ball with another verse. We read Mark 12:31, but tweaked it a little to see if they would catch it. We said that we should treat others as less important than ourselves and that we need to look out for number 1 first. We almost had them convinced too! they didnt know whether to listen to what we were saying, or to go with what they knew from the Bible. They corrected us and then we did read the verse correctly. The point was that they need to be an example from the bible, not only what they hear people say, cuz some people can misinterperet and lead them astray.

After that we had basketball and i also sat with some kids going over some english words in a book they had. I swear, it is not possible for these guys to say "her", "panther", or "shirt"!

When they left, we ate lunch and then killed time until 2 when it was time for the teens. A lot of them didnt show up until like 230, so we got started. We did todays lesson on being and example and yesterdays on accountability cuz we didnt meet with them. Now, all of these kids have great personalities, but once you pull out a Bible, it gets dead quiet. None of them gave us any kind of feedback unless we made them, and if they did it was very general. Then when it was time for basketball, they all of the sudden came to life again. We're getting a little frustrated. Tomorrow we're giving our testimonies and having them write theirs out. Its a chance for us to see where their hearts are at and talk with the ones who havent yet given their lives to Christ. Please pray that we are sensetive to the Holy Spirit!

We tried to play an actual basketball game for the last 30 minutes of time, but whatever was going on was definately far from what you could call the sport of basketball! (we got our work cut out for us, Nate and Robert!) It was like pulling teeth to get them to pray at the end, but finally Patrick volunteered.

The teens left and we had an hour to get ready for Children's Worship Hour. Sula and Alane managed to get Carlyn and me up front to help lead the motions. It was again a blast! We got home around 730 and ate dinner and then Bill announced that we were going to the beach market. So we all piled in the car and headed out. Finding a parking spot was an adventure, but Bill performed an impressive parallel parking job!
We walked up and down the aisles looking at all the different crafts and whatnot. I bought a Ceara jersey and Carlyn got a Fortaleza one. We're automatically rivals now! (but we're on the same team when it comes to keeping our Bibles away from Joyce!)
We got back around 11 and i finally got to bed a little before 12. It was a full day, but im still lovin it!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
Well, as im sure you've noticed, its been a couple days since my last blog entry. Thats cuz our scheduel has been pretty full! We've kept with the routine of little kids, pre-teens, lunch, teens, soccer/plaground, then some kind of event in the evening. Its been really tiring, but we've been spending a lot of time with the kids!
The question for this week is "what surrounds your shadow?" (yeah, brian. pretty much "who are you with?"). We've been teaching about the importance of who you spend your time with and how it affects your walk with Christ. Then tuesday was the fruits of the spirit and today Carlyn and i taught on why you should have an Accountability Partner and what kind of qualities they should have. It went well and we had some good illustrations! (carlyn shares my love for those kind of things!) After that, we finally got to have basketball, (we couldnt the past coulple days cuz of the rain...."that's a lot of water") They had fun getting out there again. Our actual basketball teaching wont start until monday when rob and nate get here... on Monday!
Then after lunch until about 4 we all crashed. It was a much needed 4 hour nap! (we usually take the afternoon off on wednesdays) I know this isnt much of an update, but at least you know we're still going down here!
Some random things that have happened are: Taught some of the kids to say "no soup for you!", James got his phone stolen (we're cracking down on security now), i taught the devotional on monday night about love, we played soccer again and of course, balled it up! (not), taught the teens how to play Signs and they actually liked it! Erika has been recovering well! (she thinks shes gonna go to Children's Worship Hour tomorrow night... yeah, shes not) and all the while we've managed to sneak in our once-daily smoothies!
Tonight theres some kind of service at the Grupo CEO building. Im not sure exactly what it is, but i know its the first one, so please pray that it all goes smoothly! Then after the service, we're all gonna head over and pay a visit to Tequila! im sure i'll have some great stories for you tomorrow.
Please keep praying for the hearts of the people, both here and in VQ. Friday we will be asking kids to write our their testimonys and that will give us a chance to minister to the ones that dont really have one yet. Thank you to all you faithful readers! i'll try and keep you more updated these next few days. talk at you all tomorrow!

Until next time,
P.S. Moments after posting this the first time, i was again thrown into the pool against my will... just thought you'd all enjoy that little tid bit.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday!!

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
Yesterday was probably the best birthday i have ever had! (sorry mom, love you!) It started out great with the tastiest banana smoothie yet! I got up a little earlier cuz Bill told me the night before there was an early thing happening at IBC (the tent church) in the morning, so i got ready (i wore my hair down cuz the all girls have been wanting to see it down) and waited to leave. We were supposed to leave at 7, but, that time came and went, i didnt really think much of it though cuz, after all, we are on Brasil time. Finally, around 730 Bill came in our room and said that he fell asleep and lost track of time and it was time to go, so we piled in the car and headed out. When we pulled out of the gate, i noticed that the Grupo CEO building was wide open, which usually doesnt happen on Sunday mornings, so i thought that was weird. Then, after Bill shut the gate behind us, instead of turning right onto the street, he went straight, right into the Grupo CEO building! (dont worry, the floor is cement and the doors are garage sized)
When we pulled in all of the pre-teens started clapping and singing happy birthday! What a surprise! Everything was decorated, my name was on the wall, and there was a beautiful chocolate cake! I couldnt believe it, they had been in there since 6 that morning getting everything ready. I didnt even know what to say!
I got a hug from each one of them and they lead me over and showed me all the cards they had made me. Bill lit the candles on the cake and we sang again and i made a wish (cant tell it though...) Then they showed me the card that all of them had signed and they all gathered around watching to see if i saw their name on it. That was enough for me, i couldnt quite keep my watery eyes from overflowing. Lucky for you all, Carlyn's handy-cam caught this all on tape.
They served the cake and i opened everyone's cards, which again brought on the tears. The kids were saying, dont cry! why is she crying? I had amanda tell them that i was crying cuz i was so happy! Then i told them thank you and that that was the greatest thing that ever been done for me on my birthday and that i wouldnt want to spend it anywhere else in the world!
After taking a ton of pictures and getting even more hugs, it was time for us to leave for church for real this time. We pulled out with kids waving goodbye and chasing the car until we got up to speed.
The church service was good. i dont know exactly what the sermon was on, but the worship time was great! We mingled for a little while after service, and then went to my new favorite Brasilian restaurant! its called Cafe do Sertao and it was fabulous! you go in there and theres a ton of food out like a buffet kind of, and you put whatever you want on your plate and then you go to the counter where theres this scale, and they charge you by the pound! It was some good food!
The afternoon after that was pretty slow. i got a nap and read all of your lovely posts on facebook (you guys are great!). I got a short nap in, then our new translators (twins, jessica and amanda) got here. We talked for a while and then it was time for church.
When i got over there, i hadnt seen any of the teens yet, and Joice (the tough one who i took down 5 times) actualy gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and told me happy birthday! i was impressed. The others all wished me "happy aniversary" (thats what they call it down here) and i got a very healthy dose of hugs once again! (believe me, Brian, im getting my 8 touches in, and im pretty sure i have them all before 9 every moring!)
The church service was mainly to appreciate all of the work Pastor Edgnardo (a man from a nearby church who came to Grupo CEO every week to speak and lead worship) has done in this community. It was sort of a farewell party, because he will not need to come anymore because of the new pastor. Worship was really good, there were over 120 people there, all shouting out praises! After service, we had cake for the second time that day (im really suffering over here on the mission field!) and hung out with the teens and pre-teens.
For some reason, Joice finds it incredibly entertaining to steal my Bible most of the time, but last night, Carlyn was blessed with most of that attention. I did, however assist her when it was needed. We also made the mistake of introducing to her the "Should've had a V8" knock on the head. That shoul keep her entertained for the next at least 10 times we see her!
After our fun, it was time to go inside and eat dinner. We got done eating at about 10 and as we were washing our dishes bill announced that he was going to the pharmacy. Carlyn and i gave each other the "are you thinking what im thinking" look and quickly finished washing and drying and dashed out the door, almost forgeting to grab our flip flops. We shouted after Bill, asking if he wanted some company, and he invited us to tag along.
While at the pharmacy, we happened to stroll by the ice ceam freezer, and none of us could pass up a dulce de leite ice cream bar! We stood outside, indulging in our treats, and then it was back to the house or "the farm" as Bill so affectionately calls it!
I took a shower and crawled into bed, incredible content. Its not everyone who gets to spend their birthday in the place they're the happiest, where they feel most purposeful! I am so blessed! Thank you all for your prayers and birthday wishes! I love you guys!

Until next time,

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gloria A Deus!!!!!

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
VQ was absolutely amazing! Again, i cant possibly tell you everything that happend through a blog, but im so excited to share that 2 teenage boys and 3 adults came to know the Lord this weekend! I am so blessed to be a part of it all. I even got to lead Thiago (one of the boys whose brother accepted Christ last night) in a sinner'sprayer. It was an experience i could never possibly forget. As i was walking down the five mile trail back to our host house, the song "God of This City" came to mind and it couldnt be more fitting! "Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city!" In just the two times i have been there, i have seen God move peoples hearts in humbling, powerful, dynamic ways, and He clearly isnt finished yet! I dont know why God chose me to be in these places and serve him in these ways, in these specific moments, but i couldnt be happier that He has!
Thank you for all of the prayers that have gone up for these people and for me. Please continue to pray specificaly for: Ingrid (the forgiveness girl) who i will be talking more with tomorrow, Erika (as she is still recovering), the hearts of the kids we're continuing to minister to, and myself as i will be giving a 15 minute devo on Monday for two church combined teen meeting about love. Well, happy Independence day to you all, and i will talk at you tomorrow!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So Much to Write, So Little Time!

Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!

Another great day in Maracanau! Im super behind in my journaling though, and, seeing as we're gonna have a big weekend at VQ, i need to get some sleep. So if you wanna stay updated on how today went, you can check out Carlyn's blog. . (yeah, i know, im slacking) i do have one thing i want to share with you though. Ingrid, the girl who had the problem with forgiveness, came up to Elo today and said that she has been thinking and she is going to forgive the girl! Praise God! Also, she said that she's having some problems at home and wants to talk to me again on Sunday. Please pray that i am sensetive to the Holy Spirit and can get across to her what God wants her to learn about Him!
I wont be able to blog for the next couple days, so hope you guys have a great friday and saturday and i'll talk to you on Sunday! Love you guys and thanks for being such faithful readers!

P.S. Erika's surgery went great and shes now home resting in bed. Please keep on praying for her healing and her spirit!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Hello to all, Live from Brasil!!
Today was long again, but good! It started of like normal. The little kids were less shy today and participated really well. The lesson was about the wind and the waves and how Jesus was in control the storm. Then we had them draw pictures of things they're afraid of and they had fun with that. They left for the playground and the pre-teens arrived. We played Ai! for a while and then did the songs and dancing. The lesson was the same but instead of drawing pictures, we had them write in their journals about the things they're afraid and give it to God. They really like writing in those things.
After snack we went and played knockout again and i sat with Ne Ne and Fatima reading the Bible in Portuguese and playing a little keep away with the ball. When they left, we again had a little down time before and after lunch until the teens came.
We actually had a lot of them today. We broke them into groups and had them give five examples of God being in control, whether in the Bible or in their own lives. It took them a while to start participating, but eventualy most of them gave an example. Again, we gave them the example of Creation, but none of them new the story! So we went through it and had a person doing a gesture for each day so they would remember it. i was surprised they actually did it, but they did and i think they had a little fun with it too. We talked about forgiveness too and they all said they agreed with their mouths, but i got the idea that all of their hearts werent quite in the same place. So i asked them to be honest and raise their hand if they didnt really believe what we were saying. At first, no one did, but then this girl Ingrid started saying something.
It turns out that theres this one girl who she got in a fight with once (not shouting match, fist fight) and she said she couldnt ever forgive her for what happened between them. So we went back and forth between Elo (our translator) and she said that she didnt want to forgive cuz then she would be admitting that the other girl was right and others would make fun of her if she apologized. I tried to make her understand that that isnt what forgiveness is and if that's her reasoning, then she is being selfish. the three of us sat down alone went back and forth again for about half an hour while the others played basketball. I showed her Ephesians 4:32 which says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." She said the girl didnt deserve forgiveness and i brought up the fact that she didnt deserve God's forgiveness, but God forgave her. She kept making excuses for why she couldnt forgive the girl and finaly i said that with all those excuses, she was saying that that verse didnt belong in the Bible and i grabbed the page and ripped it right out of my Bible. She was pretty surprised at that and eventually, after a few more minutes of talking, she decided that she did want to forgive the girl and that she was going to pray for God to give her a forgiving heart. We prayed there and asked the Lord to give her the compassion and kindess in her heart that she needs to let go of her hostility towards the girl. Then i asked her if i could put the verse back in and if it really belonged in the Bible and she laughed and said that it does. Please pray that she follows through with the forgiveness and is freed from that hold that her condemnation has on her.
I was so happy that we got to have that talk and finally have one of those "Aha!" moments. The Holy Spirit was definately visibly working today! Praise the Lord!
After our talk we went and played basketball for a while and then, when it was time to pray at the end, we actually had volutneers!! Then, we ventured over to the soccer field knowing we were about to be creamed But Carlyn and i got lucky, we were on the same team as James and Michael! We played kind of king of the field style and our team was on for like a solid 20 minutes, and i even scored a couple goals! It was a lot of fun.
We went from the field back to the house and got cleaned off, then ate dinner. Bill is still at the hospital with Erika so Sula is in charge tonight. Scarey thought! Welp, i got a ton of journaling to do once again, so ttfn!

Until next time,