Thursday, December 29, 2016

This December was very eventful. I've been teaching art classes at our women rehab center. It's been great to get to know these women and hear their stories. They tell me they look forward to my classes because they can relax and forget about why they are there for a while. It's been therapeutic for me too! Here the women are learning some water color techniques and we also did a "self-portrait doll".  I had each one talk a bit about the doll (themselves) and what was going on in their lives right now. It was very good. 
The finished dolls 

For Christmas Mario's family came to be with us. The cousins had a great time together and we had a delicious Christmas dinner in our "garage"/porch

 A few days before Christmas the kids (and our neighbor Bia) had fun making "cold porcelain ornaments" and decorating them for our tree. In our region of Brazil people rarely decorate their homes for Christmas and it's actually very hard to find real pine trees to buy, luckily, there are several green houses that sell trees and plants and every year the kids and I go buy a pine tree for Christmas (after Christmas we just plant the tree somewhere).

We also went to "Opa" and "Oma's" house to help her bake and decorate cookies. One of the women who volunteer at the women's rehab had never made cookies before and enjoyed helping as well. 

This was Evelyn's first Christmas! On January 20th she will be turning 1!

My parents took the kids to see Santa at the mall. Everyone took a letter they wrote and gave it to him
 while they were distracted, my parents gave santa a small present to give to each kid. They had a blast!
 My mother-in-law had her DTS graduation in Sao Paulo, so now she is officially a YWAMer!  Mario drove there to honor her and then brought her back. She spent her two month outreach in Colombia and brought the boys each a soccer uniform and cleats.
and then there were all the other gifts...more than usual this year!

 There were even more gifts the next day at Opa and Oma's house!

 Evelyn got a special one this year for her first Christmas, a rag doll made by mommy!

On Christmas day we went to church for a special musical celebration. Our boys also sang. It was so cute!

We were so grateful to have our family with us...during this last Christmas here in Brazil. Next year we will be celebration in South Africa where we will be moving to indefinitely in June.
 Here is a picture we took on the 26th going out for a treat to celebrate getting our passports!

God bless you!
 Merry Christmas and Happy 2017!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy December!

Ok, so it’s December, almost exactly a year since my last post (shame on me, I know!). I wish I was more of a media person who could just whip up a post in no time and make it super interesting and fun for you to read. But, none-the-less I know for many of you friends and supporters of our ministry, it is important that I keep you up to date on the happenings on the mission field and the many things God is doing here in us and through us. The problem is not that I have nothing to write about, the problem is there is always so much going on, it’s hard to know what to keep out!
So here we go. This will be my attempt to reactivate this blog, if you’re reading this and you find this exciting news, give me a shout out of encouragement! Please!

First, to my defense, let me just say I am now 7 months pregnant of our third child. This one is a girl! We can’t wait to meet here in less than 2 months!
November 20th was a huge day for me as I graduated from a 3 month intensive Bible study course which YWAM offers, and now is happening in our base thanks to volunteers from Mario's Bible school which he did in Curitiba. Three people came to plant the school here in Goiania and I had the privilege of being part of the first group of students. It is a condensed version of the 10 month school Mario did, but that makes it actually more intense because besides studying 12 books we also had to read the entire Bible during the 3 months! At one point I thought I was not going to make it, being pregnant and having to sit and study most of the day, I began having a severe pain in my lower back, which I thought was sciatic nerve, but turned out to be a problem with my hip joint. The walk from our house to the classroom seemed at times impossible, but I made it and with time and a couple sessions of physical therapy, the pain subsided and I was able to finish! It was a victory in many ways for me and so important for my spiritual renovation! There is no better way to reignite the spiritual flame in our hearts and time in the word!
I am so thankful for my husband who had to work extra hard to keep up with our kids while still managing everything on the base.
                                                                 camping with "papai"

 Mario had his own graduation in September this year. Throughout his 15 years of YWAM he did enough schools to get his AA in Christian ministries. After studying in Brazil, South Africa and Kenya he finally graduated in Townsville, Australia!

                  Here he is standing next to the founder of YWAM, Louren Cunningham!
This event was not just for graduation, but for a conference. One of the international focuses YWAM is having is to use all methods available to "end Bible poverty" in the world! Like I said, there is nothing that transforms more than than God's WORD!
We feel we are somehow doing our part by having the Bible course here in our base, which now will happen at least once a year! But we are still praying for we can maximize our efforts both as a family and as a mission.
Mario also held one of the workshops available during the conference where he spoke about our work with drug-addiction recovery and our after-school program for children at risk. The workshop was a success and many people saw the value and great need for this ministry and hope to begin their own efforts in this work in their countries (sorry, no pictures of the workshop available).

So since I mentioned our work here in Goiania, here are some pictures of our ongoing ministry here:
 Terceiro Espaco (children at risk ministry), which now has a new name: "Espaco Pequeninos" (roughly translates to "little people's place). This year we had some volunteers come and teach Judo every week. Besides donating their time for free, they also donated the mats and uniforms for the kids!

  PROAME, drug rehab center, recovering from 20-40 men throughout the year ages 18-64. With two 15 years olds right now.

Bible Study time...
With many conversions and re-dedications we also have baptisms every semester. The young man doing the baptism, Roney, was a former drug addict many years ago. Today he and his family (with two kids) serve with us as missionaries. Roney was actually one of the tutors for the Bible school I did and helped tutor me in the word. That's the kind of transforming God we serve! Detail, his 5 year old daughter is Lucas' best friend!
DTS (Discipleship Training School). This semeser the students are doing their outreach in Chile and Uruguai. Two of the students recovered from drugs with us and are completing the school!
 Every semester we have a camp where the entire base stops for a weekend of competitions and events  ending in a service and sharing communion.
                                                                   Womens breakfast

We also have weekly staff meetings every Tuesday morning, council meetings on Wednesday, Night service with the entire base on Thursgay, and prayer meeting on Fridays.
Besides that I am responsible for the guest house and Mario also preaches in conferences and churches many times a semester.

As far as family goes, our boys are going to school. Lucas just had a special end of year presentation, where he had to dress up as a super-hero (unfortunately, Christmas is not very big here in Brazil, especially our region, the only place you see a Christmas tree and a few decorations is at the mall...and at our home!:).

Daniel (Danny) also started to go to day care in October. I thought it would be hard on him since he is so attached to me, but he surprised us with a very quick adaptation. I guess they are just ready before us!
It’s hard to see him gone most of the day, but he is loving it and has already made some buddies there and it sure is a nice break for me so I can get some other things done (like this blog) and prepare for our little Evelyn.
Life on a farm is surely part of their schooling!
Huge flying insect (beetle?) with a beautiful shinny green shell...
                                                         Watching ants carry leaves...
                                                                Giant caterpillar...
                                                                Exploring the forest....

Hopefully that gives you a little feeling of what our ministry involves on a day to day basis. We are always busy and on the go, although sometimes things can get overwhelming and we are often tired, we are so grateful to be able to be a part of all this and be used to expand the kingdom of God and see lives transformed as we are also transformed!