Sunday, April 25, 2010

OOhhhh we're half way there...!

Hey there! First of i would like to say yes, i did just go Bon Jovi on you guys! lol but i thought it was fitting considering that today is the 3 month mark of this journey! thats right, its already half over! crazy right?
This week was a good one! Billiam left on tuesday which was sad, (we all miss you Billiam!) but it just got better from there! Wednesday was a national Brasilian holiday so we didnt have school! instead we went to the beach with a group of more than 20 teens! we swam in the ocean, raced on the dunes, played volleyball and soccer, and several of us got pretty burnt in the process! It was a lot of fun!
Thursday at Childrens worship there were a few new songs so the kids had fun with that. one of them is the portuguese version of "Im in the Lord's Army"! Dont you all remember that one from sunday school? haha. the funny thing is, the motions to the song are exactly the same, only thing different is the lyrics.
The most exciting day this week would have to be Friday! "Why is that?" do you ask? Well first off, since we didnt have school on Wednesday, the optional bible study at school was moved to Friday. So i asked one of the girls in my class who i hang out with a lot, Brenda, to come with me. (she has told me she believes in God, but i dont think shes a born again christian) She was heasitant to come at first and said no cuz she didnt have a bible or anything but i told her that was ok, so she ended up coming. The study is lead by two senior girls that are true believers. They asked me to open up in pray in english and said "We're not gonna understand anything, but God understands it all," which is so true! Their devotion was on Psalms 1 and how when God changes your life, its important that you surround yourself with friends who will help you grow. Brenda was engaged the whole time and even responded to some of the questions that were asked. After the lesson i asked if she liked it and she said she did and she wanted to go again next week! Please pray that God moves in her heart so shes open to what He has to tell her at the study on Wednesday! So then, after school was over, we went home and i had a little time to go over my devotional for the teen meeting, and i also squeezed a nap in before it was time to go to Playground. I spent the whole time pushing the little kids on the swings and talking with this boy named Fernando. hes pretty cute! Then after that we went straight to Worship for the Pre-teens and got to dance to the new songs with them and hang out. From there i went and grabbed my bible and notes and got ready for the teen meeting. The teens devotionals this week were again well thought out and from the heart! We're keepin it going next week with Itelo, Claronice (sp?), and Barbara and Roberlanhe (again, sp?) who are going to do theres together. My devotional this week was about the relationship between us and God being like a friendship. I talked about how we were His enemies, but through the reconciliation of Christ's sacrafice, we are made His friends! (John 15:14-16 and Rom. 5:10-11 were two of my references if you wanna check 'em out.) but at the end i said that if anyone there had not yet recieved that reconciliation, but wanted to become God's friend, they could do that tonight. I asked Erika to pray and she said if anyone wanted to make that decision, that they could talk to Pastor Eudes or her or Manhia or me after the service. So we moved on and started planning different ways to raise money for the retreat this summer (each teen has to pay their own way. 50 bucks!) We broke it into teams actually, boys v.s. girls! We're going to be doing stuff like selling snacks and having raffels, and in the end we'll see who raises the most money! hah! When we finally finished the meeting and got ready to pray, Pastor Eudes shared with everyone that one of the new guys who has been coming, Fabrissio, had talked with him, and he had made the decision to follow Christ and make Him his Savior!! Praise the LORD!!! God had specifically placed Fabrissio on my heart all week as i was planning my lesson, and the Holy Spirit really worked through all the Scripture that was shared that night, and by His Power we now have a new member in the Family of Christ! Hallelujah!
Thank you so much for keeping everyone on your hearts and in your prayers! This first 3 months have flown by, despite some moments of slowness, and i have a feeling these last 3 are really gonna go quickly! Thanks so much for your support! I give all of the glory of what has happened here to my God and Father! He is the Hope, the Truth, and the Reason for all that i do! Thank you, God, for using me for your glory! i love You!
Until Next Time,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Erikaaa!!

hey there! well, in case you havent noticed from the title, today is Erika's birthday! (im pretty sure its her 29th, right erika?) Manhia organized a surprise party for her with a group of teens and pre-teens. She arrived fashionably late, haha, but we had a good time and it was cool to have a chance to show our appreciation for how much she does in this community. love you Erika! = )
Now back to the begining of this week. We've started having girls soccer on mondays so i played with Ingrid, Joyce, Lais, and Maninha. My team one, despite me, and we had fun playing. Tuesday was a regular Tuesday with school, playground, and the study which went well even though there werent that many people there, but Wednesday Billiam, Patrick, and I shook things up. Patrick had an eye appointment at 11:30, so naturally we had to skip the whole day of school and run errands with Billiam, errands that included eating icecream at Mcdonald's. =D Then after the appointment we went to Erika's parent's house for lunch and hung around a little while before taking Douglas and Amanda to their dentist appointments, then went to the mall for dinner at the food court. We didnt make it back in time for the service, but it was a good day of "family time" seeing as Billiam is leaving tomorrow for the rig.
Thurdsay was another, more relaxing day out for Billiam, Patrick, and me. Dont worry, we didnt skip school again, but afterwards we went straight to the beach (which was a longer drive than i thought it was) and road 4-wheelers on the dunes! it was soo cool! well, exept for the part that i almost drove into a river and got my 4-wheeler stuck, then Patricks died and we spent 15 min. in the middle of nowhere trying to get it to work. haha. For dinner we at the best, biggest, and most shrimp i've ever had in my life! we sat at a table right near the ocean just talking about everything from school to work to Grupo CEO to God's awesome blessings that flow through our lives! Thanks for the day out Billiam! = )
Friday we, of course, had our teen meeting and i gave my devotional. (at the begining of the day i didnt think i was ready for it, but the Holy Spirit really gave me the words to say. and you know what i ended up talking about? the Holy Spirit. God is so good.) Benjamin, Douglas, and Joyce all gave their devotionals as well. Douglas even had all his verses memorized! I really love listening to the Word through as it comes out of their mouths cuz it shows what God is doing in their hearts and lives. Next week is Patrick, Fabrissio (sp?) and Alane. Pray 'em up!
Saturday was another Vestibular Simulado test which was no fun at all, but afterwards Patrick, Douglas, and i walked to the mall (walk a long way in the hot sun to the mall might i add..) and got some ice cream. But when we had money left over, we decided we should go buy a 2 litre of coke and use our ice-cream cups to drink it! so we sat in the middle of the mall drinking coke out of plastic ice-cream cups. it was a memorable experience! haha.
Sunday was a good day of rest for us and Billiam gave a really good sermon on the different relationships God has with us: Father-children, Master-disciples, Friend-friends, Shepherd-sheep, Vine-branches. Everyone was engaged the whole time which is always encouraging!
This week is just another 7 days full of opportunities! People at school are starting to ask questions about God and the Bible, people at Grupo CEO are starting see how they can apply Gods Word to their very own lives, daily! and even though things are soo much easier than they were when i got here, i still need my Jesus to be my Rock every single day! Im starting to undertand the importance of truly "seeking Him in the morning" and how much God can do with me if i can really "cast aside my fear". Im so blessed to know Him!
thanks for reading this and i hope you'll be blessed through it! Thank you for your prayers!
Until Next Time,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bye, Bye, Bimester!

Helooo... well, i am happy to say that Bimester Tests are over! they were harder than the first round of tests cuz they had more material, but, yet again, God gave me strength and helped me through it! thanks for all your prayers! I also went to the Bible study at school on wednesday again and so did a few guys from my class. The girls that teach it seem to really be in tune with God so hopefully people will keep on coming and get more curious about the Truth!
Oh, and just like the week was filled with tests, 8:00-11:00 on saturday was also spent doin the brasilian version of the PSAT. It was a trip, let me tell you! but it doesnt count for an actual score, we just get points for participation, and i for sure participated! Then, after the test, the whole family went to the mall for lunch and then patrick and i walked around for a while and hung out while everyone else did their thing. After that we went home and i took a lovely nap and relaxed until it was time to go to my first Brazilian Christian concert! It was raining off and on and there were a TON of people jumpin all around and knocking into each other, therefore it was awesome!! the main guy, Trazendo Arca, didnt even show up at the concert until midnight, but there were opening acts before that. there was a group of people there from Grupo CEO so it was cool to hang out with them outside of church.
Speaking of the teens and church, lets rewind to friday night. I gave another devotional on "dont sacrifice what you want most (to be like God and to please Him) for what you want in the moment (satisfaction from sin)". it went well, but the really great part about it was listening to the devotions that Ingrid, Jamile, and Evair gave. They werent just: heres a verse, heres what i think it means. They had thought it out and were explaining how to apply it to their lives and all of them backed it up with more than one Scripture reference! It was a blessing for sure. = ) thanks to all you guys for praying for them to have the courage and sensetivity to speak! Next week its gonna be Joyce, Benjamin, and Douglas so please pray them up too!
Things to pray for: the people at Grupo CEO and at school to continue to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit. I can see God their knocking, they just need to open the door! Bill is gonna be goin back to work in a couple weeks, so pray that everything here is in order for him to leave and that he has a nice time with his family before being gone for so long. The Brasil Team that is coming down this summer, that we can really get moving and planning and God prepares us all to speak His Words though us!
My Visa, i have to go ask the "people in charge" to get it renewed for another 90 days, so pray that everything goes smoothly and God goes before us with His providence.
Now, things to praise God for!: i got a 6 in Sociologia, a 6.4 in História, and a 7 in Matemática (the easier one of the two classes i have) as far as the Bimester tests go, and thats all by the Grace of God, seriously! Aslo, we've been haveing more attendence at the teen meetings which just shows how He works in people's hearts! Im picking up the language more and more which is totally His doing as well. And finally, i just wanna praise Him for showing me every single day how much He loves me and how i KNOW He is with me every single moment of the day!! Thank You Jesus!! Oh, and by the way, He loves you too! ; D
I really miss you all!! thanks so much for the prayers and for not forgeting about me or the work our God is doing down here. Love you guys!
Until Next Time,

Monday, April 5, 2010

He's Alive!

Hello, hello! this past week was a really good one! we only went to school until Wednesday and had a much appreciated 4-day weekend! on Thursday, i went with bill and erika to breakfast at McDonalds while we got the car ready for the trip to VQ and did some grocery shopping. (by the way, their Bacon, egg, and cheese McMuffins kick the pants off of ours! just sayin..) Then around 2 in the afternoon a huge group of pre-teens, teens, and a couple women from the community traveled about 3 hours to VQ (the community in the interior of brasil). It was a really good time of service and getting to just hang out with everyone. We spent a lot of the ride there singing worship songs which was really cool. the pre-teens performed their skit and it went really well. Pastor Eudes also lead the easter service and we had a worship time which somehow consisted of me leading one of the songs with Joyce and Jamile.. with a microphone! all of you who know me well should be impressed! lol During the ride there and back i had a few good conversations with some of the girls which was hopefully as much of a blessing to them as it was to me. = ) Oh, and while we were there, i got to drive Bills truck on the paths that were too rough for the bus and it was sweet!!
So then friday rolls around, we had a relaxing morning and playground time in the afternoon as usual followed by childrens worship hour. Then we had the teen meeting. Im pretty sure i told you guys last week that I was the one who was leading the study and that i was told i was giving it in portuguese... well thoughout the week i prepared what i was gonna teach, but i didnt prepare it in portuguese. I figured i could do that another time, when i have learned more. So i get to the Grupo CEO building before the study starts and Bill is there, and any of you who know Bill can prolly guess what ended up happening. I gave the study in portuguese. Yep, Bill encouraged me to take a step of faith and reminded me what an awesome testimony it would be for the teens, so, even though i really didnt want to, i did it. It was choppy and i dont know how much the teens understood, but i know that i spoke God's Truth, and the Holy Spirit will use that. And guess what! Im gonna do it again this friday! woohoo! lol
But the really encouraging part about the study was that 3 of the 4 teens who had volutneered to give a short devotional actually did and it was really cool! For three years ive come down here to teach these guys and it was so cool to be on the recieving end of their devotional. Next week Jamile, Ingrid, and Evai (idk how to spell that one. lol) are supposed to give their devotionals, so pray for them throughout the week that God will show them just what He wants them to say!
Saturday was a day that we pretty much relaxed and so was sunday for most of the day. I got my first Brazilian Ovo de Pascoa! (big chocolate egg filled with more chocolate!) The Easter service went really well and both the teens and pre-teens preformed their skits. We also had communion and both Bill and Pastor Eudes talked about the sacrifice that Jesus made for every person alive. As far as i know, no one that was there actually made a decision to surrender their life to Christ, but a seed has definitely been planted in their hearts, and His Word will not return void!
This comming week is gonna be tough because of Bimester Testing and getting back intor the routine of school after a long weekend. Pray for strength and understanding for me and Patrick, Douglas, and Amanda as they take their tests too. I titled this one "He's Alive" not just cuz its easter and thats what we're all celebrating, but because i can see Him moving in the hearts and lives of so many people here! He's so active and waiting for people to let Him take over! Keep praying for the eyes of the people here to be opened so they can see how much love and purpose God has in store for them! Thank you so much for reading and for remember me and the Brazilians! God Bless!
Until Next Time,