Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas & Dinner

Thanks to wonderful people who send financial gifts to help Action Missionaries bless others. ACTION has a Christmas fund that is designated to give ACTION missionaries the opportunity to organize an Evangelistic Christmas Meal every year (upon the missionaries request for the fund via a project). This year we decided to take advantage of this great opportunity to bless the many familes of the Terceiro Espaco (childen at risk) Ministry.
Here is a picture of some of the decorations...

We had over 70 people present at the Christmas Dinner that took place on the 22nd of December at the YWAM base.

Since this was the first time we were organizing an event of such proportions, we didn't know if we should expect more people than we counted, or if no one would show up at all! But in faith we planned, bought the food and decorations and with the help of some of the staff, my parents and a couple of people from my parents church who graciously helped us cook the meal (which consisted of a delicious strogonoff, white rice, two yummy salds and dessert)the event turned out to be a success!

Praise God there was enough food for everyone!

Of course the food was not the most important. Before the meal we had a short presentation for the parents about what the Terceiro Espaco is and showed a short video clip that I put together showing some of the events of the year. Mario also talked about some of the future plans that we have for the Terceiro Espaco, like the day care center that we want to start building, as well as investing more in the community in general. Mario had the wonderful idea of starting a center in the town (Palmares) where parents can denounce violence, drug problems, abuse and from there we can take that to the autorities.

This next year Mario is finishing his degree in social work, so he wants to start working in the community as a social worker. We pray that the Lord will open doors for us in this way...

(My parents also sang a duet)

After Mario, I also thanked the parents for this trust in us and opened a time for questions, but instead of questions one mother got up and with tears in her eyes started thanking us for what we are doing with her kids, then another got up, and still another...
It was so encouraging! It was not an easy year for the Project, I was basically running it alone this past semester and I wondered if I was making any difference at all! So those words were a breath of life to me and an encouragment from the Lord to keep the project going!

Not only were we able to bless the community with a nice hot meal, an evangelistic word about the real meaning of Christmas and what it means to have Jesus be born in our hearts, but we also received several boxes of non-perishable food from a church, which we separated into 10 gift bags and at the end of the event Roney (the one in the picture below) drew numbers from a hat and 10 different families went home with a heavy bag of goods on their heads!

These are just 3 of the families who received the food gift bags!
Praise God for the Wonderful things He has done!!!

Of course we also had our own family Christmas. This year Mario and I spent Christmas with my parents and some extended family. An aunt and uncle and the whole family (3 married sons and their families) all came to spend the holidays with us from another state (Matto Grosso) . It was the first time I spent Christmas with extentended family (since in Ecuador were we lived for 20 years no one could afford to come visit us). It was a new experiece for me and it turned out to be quite nice!

The only family member that couldn't be with us was my oldest brother Johnny and his wife Krista, who live in California. But he had a fun time talking to him on skype. Everyone got a chance to say "Hello!"

Look at that dinner! YUM!!

On the 26th all the relatives also came over to our home for afternoon coffe (turned out to be afternoon popcorn)...

The kids from the base had fun playing with their new friends for one afternoon. You can see who is related to me because they are all blond (it's the German blood)! :)

This is my second cousin (my cousin Jimmy's daughter). Isn't she the cutest!!?

This is my mom's Christmas tree that she made from a bunch of combined branches! You don't need a lot of money when you have creativity, see?! :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home!

In my last post I talked about the situation that the base is going through because of debt that was not taken care of in the past but that now is own main concern as new leaders of the base. We are still praying about this and raising the money to pay the land. It will continue to be our main priority as a base... One of our personal worries was about our own home. As many of you know the house which we have been living in, is not our own house, but belongs to friends who are serving the Lord in Angola. They have graciously allowed us to live in their home for the past year and a half- rent free! But we have always known that sooner or later they would be comming back and that we would have to find another place to live. They decided to come back in July or August of next year (2010). God has made it very clear to us that He wants us to continue to invest in Brazil, so we began praying that the Lord would provide a home on the base for us.... A few months ago the house in the picture below was being used by the drug rehabilitation center for a second phase to the program, but after more than a year the leaders of the rehab center told us that they didn´t want to continue the second phase of the project on the base for several reasons. So they left and the house was empty for several weeks. Mario and I felt that maybe this could be the answer about a house that we were hoping for, so we meet with the base council and opened our hearts to them. To our great joy, the decision was unanimouse. They were giving us the house! (As long as we continue with YWAM it will be ours). Praise God for His goodness!
Here you can see the green house where we are living today in comparison to our new home. It is the very last one in the row. The house was built by a lady who decided to stay as staff after completing her DTS in 2002, but before she finished the house she changed plans and left the unfinished house to the base. After that, the rehab center made some changes to it here and there, but it still needs most of the finishing details. It is a one room house, so we decided to build an extra room for guests and for our kids that we hope to have in the future! We are also extending the small kitchen out and making the curent kitchen into a dinning room. We have had the help of 3 guys from the rehab center who have worked with contruction. The one making cement in this picture is named Coquinho. They have all been an increadible help!
Materials have been comming in consistently and has helped the work come along quickly, but the main man on the job has been Claudio...he has been an angel to us in this work. It´s hard to find a good construction worker here in Brazil, but Claudio has surprised us all with his professional work. He told us that is a way to say thank you for helping his recover from his drinking problem. Praise God!
While the men work on the contruction, I have also been working on my new garden!
In this picture you can see two trees that I have planted in the concrete circles in the you can see our house is right next to the bases´ windmill and water tank... The plants in the picture below were from that donation of plants that we received from the government plant nursery a couple weeks ago! When I mentioned to the lady who was making the donation that I was making my own garden she gave me these plants specifically to plant in my garden! Isn´t that awesome?!
The guy in this picture is named Silvio, he is 22 years old and has been learning construction so that he can get a job in that area when he finishes his time at the rehab. center. Pray that the Lord will keep him strong!
In this picture you can see the guest room that we building... This other picture shows our new kitchen. Here in Brazil everything has to be made out of cement and steel because of termites, but also because wood is the most expenive building material. Next to the kitchen we also decided to include a small laundry room...
(There´s Mario and Coquinho in the window). That box thing is a space for the refrigerator. and here is a view from the outside 
view from the front of the house

view of the kitchen (side of the house)

view of the kitchen with the window put in

Inside the kitchen / laundry room

And an inside view of the guest room a little further along...(or maybe our future kids room!)

...and just a pretty picture of a bird watching the contruction too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

YWAM base

In this blog posting I wanted to clarify with pictures the situation that we are facing with the base of YWAM, Goiania's property. The man who sold the property to the founding leader (Carlinhos) over ten years ago is named "Dilson". Since the beginning of the negotiations there have been some problems, on both sides. Soon after Dilson sold the base to us, he regreted it and has since been doing everything in his power to try to get it back, even though more than half of it has already been paid. For years all the base was able to pay was the interrest on the land, which Dilson had set at 3% a month (some years back this interrest was reajusted by a judge to .03%, which is more reasonable), but there was also a lack of priority on the part of the base to pay this debt... Since my husband Mario came into leadership in 2007 we have made it the utmost priority to pay the base, every month we have made sacrifices to be able to save as much money as possible in order to finally take care of this debt; which is not ours personally, but we feel God put us in leadership of this base, "For Such A Time As This" . The land all around us this belongs to Dilson, he owns most of the land around these parts. Amazingly his father is a pastor, but he wants nothing to do with Jesus Christ! Which makes him a very hard man to even talk to, much less negotiate with! The day after Mario and I arrived from South Africa, Dilson showed up to talk to Mario. Dilson is going to make lots in all his land to sell and apparently when he pulled all the records out he had found an error in the limits of our land that I think he himself didn't know about before... and that is where the problem we are in now began.... Let me try to explain: This picture shows all of our land (the 21.5 acres) from the road to where I have drawn the red line. That red line is about where our fence has always been, and as you can see from the 5 blue squares, that is about where several couples from the base have built their homes over the past 5-8 years. The classroom and other buildings are also half-way on this stretch. Dilson brought this paper (which I scaned here for you) to show that we have invaded part of his land! (the part that makes the long triangle). Mario spent all week after the people who could tell him if Dilson's claim was true (the base even had to spend over $500 dollars to pay a professional to measure the land), after all that we realized Dilson is right!
So now we are in a big dilema, because Dilson found a way in which he could take back some of our land, he is saying that we either give him back half of the land (about 12 hectars) or he is going to buldoze over all our houses (those were his words). So we either come up with all the money before the end of the year to pay in full to a judge who can give us the papers for the land even without Dilson's consent. The other option is to give him the land he wants back, unless by some miracle we can negotiate with him a smaller portion, because at this point he doesn't want any money, just the land.
This part in red is the land that is still Dilson's. You can see where we are at the bottom center. The square on the bottom left is our land (the one he wants back).
I hope by all these pictures and drawings what we are dealing with is more clear.
What we are facing as leaders is not easy, especially since everything that happened in the past did not involve us, but our greatest desire is to see this debt gone, to the glory of the Lord!
You may look at this and wonder why we don't just give back the land, but in these years we have dreamed many things for this land, in it we have our cattle, which is for us to get milk and meat for the base, we also use it for crops to maintain us, and we have a dream to build a day care center for the local community, and extend a second phase for our rehabilitation center here. If Dilson gets the land, in a few years we will have no more room to grow or have any of these privaleges, because we will be surrounded by people on all sides!
Please pray for us!