2.27.2010

Fading bruises…

This week Jayden had a hard time. It actually started Thursday and Friday of last week. Both days he was hit in the face by twin brothers.

When I picked up Jayden from school on Wednesday his lip was busted and his top front baby tooth looked like it was halfway knocked out. Jayden immediately took my hand and said, come on Dad you have to put a stop to it! So in my best Portuguese (which is still horrible) I walked through the Iron Gate at the school and asked the principle if I could speak with a teacher in English regarding Jayden. I then proceeded to start calling the other boys’ names and explaining the situation in some very broken Portuguese. No teacher was available and this was probably a blessing! (if you know what I mean!?!)

The word about Jayden soon got out among our peers, friends and family members. People began praying! As people started praying our hearts began to soften about the situation. By the grace of God we were able to remove ourselves from the present chaos and think of the future of the two twin brothers involved, their parents, and the entire faculty at Jayden’s school. Rebecca said, “You know the bruises will soon heal, but many of those people are probably going to die and go to hell.” God really used this statement to open my eyes! I started thinking about the potential eternal impacts of my actions. I began thinking back of when Jayden took my hand and said, “…come on Dad, you have to do something about this.” I wonder if this is what Jesus was praying in the garden the night before the cross or when they were mocking him and beating him before his crucifixion. What about when he could barely stand and he was packing OUR cross up the hill to Calvary? What if Jesus said, “…come on Dad, you have to do something about this?”

Well Jesus’ Father did do something about it! He loved us so much that He let his only Son endure all of those terrible hardships–even to the point of death. He did it so that you and I, the two twin brothers, their parents and the entire faculty at Jayden’s school may have a chance to be saved from hell and enjoy an abundant life with Jesus and himself forever. Aren’t you grateful the Father didn’t do anything to stop it? Aren’t you grateful He allowed it to happen? I can only hope that God allowed this to happen to Jayden so that at least one of the persons involved may see Jesus in Jayden this year and I hope they may see Jesus in our actions throughout this situation. We are here to share His love and peace through situations just like this. We cannot get distracted with the bruises and current circumstances of life that will soon fade away. Instead, we must focus on eternal things, especially the lives of people headed towards an eternity in hell!

Please pray that they will see Jesus in us and pray that this may be the beginning of a great relationship—hopefully an eternal one!

2.26.2010

Super Jayden

Many of you have heard about Jayden's very difficult week in school. He was struggling with two kids that were bullying as we say in the U.S or intimidating him as we say in Brasil. One day this week during an incident, Jayden was actually held down and kicked in the face, bloodying his lip and nearly knocking a tooth out. We decided to keep him home from school for a day to help him get settled again.

The night before he went back to school, we sat down as a family to eat dinner and Michael decided not to pray but just wait. We all set there for a few minutes and then Jayden began to pray for the two boys at school that he had been having so much trouble with. He prayed that God would forgive them and that they would accept Christ into their hearts.

We are so proud of him and how he is handling everything.

2.23.2010

Language Learning at its Best!!

I have to share this video with you!!! Our friends, Matt and Kelly are in Corsica, France learning language right now and she posted this video of her daughter today on her blog. I just laughed and laughed. Sadie is one of the CUTEST little girls I've ever seen in my life. Everything about Sadie is just picture perfect and her mom does a great job capturing moments of her precious life on camera. This particular video is a great description of language learning frustration and I just get tickled watching her trying to get her daddy to understand what she is saying. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW WE FEEL!!!

ain't gonna buy a "senior citizen" pill box!



Awhile back, my bedtime routine involved drinking a glass of milk, brushing my teeth, (and when I was really motivated) washing my face. Now...before bed, every night, I get to take this plethora of pills that would make any pill popper swoon. The blue ones are my absolute favorites. They sometimes take 2 or 3 attempts to get down because they are so HUGE. UGH!

All kidding aside...please pray that these days will pass quickly and my illness will go into remission. I was feeling perfectly fine and now the side effects of these pills are giving me a pretty good run for my money.

2.22.2010

weak stomachs please look away!

This photo is just to give you some idea of what the boys' socks look like AFTER I've scrubbed, soaked, AND bleached them. Can you imagine what they look like before all my hard work?!? This is all thanks to the judo class gym mats. They have promised me that all the kids are required to take off their shoes but keep their socks on. They are just dumbfounded at how they get so dirty each day!


Funny thing is...I remember REALLY freaking out when the boys would step outside into the grass with "just socks on" back in Kentucky. IT was a huge "pet peeve" of mine. I guess God is really sanding off all my sharp edges one sock at a time!

2.19.2010

um mês

We have now officially lived in Ribeirao Preto for one month. On the 19th of January, we were arriving to a brand new...well, EVERYTHING! I wasn't sure if any of this would ever feel comfortable to me but I was so wrong. We can easily get around the city now and somehow are able to order bread at the bakery like a pro.

Today, as we were driving to school, a motorcycle pulled over into our lane and was headed directly at us for a moment as he passed a car in the opposite lane. I laughed as I realized how Mike and I didn't even flinch at this occurrence. There wasn't even a pause in our conversation as our car nearly missed the speeding motorist. WOW...I'm feeling more and more brazilian every day!

Several of you have asked how long we will be in language school so I wanted to address that. We will live here in Ribeirao Preto for a year and then move to Maceio. RP is a very safe and clean city that is much larger than Maceio. We haven't felt threatened at any time or place. I pray that continues to hold true! Maceio is where we will start our ministry. It is on the northeast coast of Brazil and about a 2 day drive from where we are now. Language learning is our main job right now because if we fail to learn the language we will never succeed at reaching people. It's a HARD task but we see the necessity of it. Keep praying that we'll avoid the culture shock symptoms and dig deeper and deeper into the culture and language.

2.16.2010

the zoo


These are our new friends that took us to the zoo. Matheus or Matt (the guy in yellow) is the one we met the day Jackson spilled his Fanta at the food court. Mike and he have been getting together once a week and we've been able to meet his wife, sister, and brother-in-law. His sister speaks English as well and we have such a great time with them!!!

We had agua de coco today for the first time! YUMMY!!!


These lil' guys were just visiting the park too! They weren't encaged or anything but they were all over the place!!! You don't want to walk through a spider web in BRAZIL!! :)





check out the HUGE bamboo!!!







click on the video to see Rafiki from Lion King! video

2.14.2010

just some photos

Here are some pictures of everyday life. I'll work on getting more.

The cake I made for my guys for Valentine's! Looks better than it tasted!!!
Maybe my 2nd attempt will go better.


the way we hang our laundry


a pic of canal street

sunrise over the city


Ribeirao Preto at dusk

2.09.2010

Wilma

With all the adjustments of EVERYTHING (cooking, laundry, language learning, homework and cultural overhaul) we were advised to get some help around the house. At first I had big issues with this because I'm not the type of person that usually admits she needs help.

Hesitantly we found someone and she started last Tuesday. Wilma comes once a week. She shows me how to cook a Brazilian dish and cleans the house from top to bottom. She only speaks Portuguese and our communication so far is limited but we've learned how to get along pretty well with hand gestures, smiling, and the phrase "nao entendo!" Even though I still sweep and clean before she gets here we feel it's worth every penny. Mike laughs and says soon I'll be able to relax and let her clean our house when it's actually dirty!
Yeah Right!!!!
The amazing Wilma and the dinner
she prepared in a matter of minutes



2.08.2010

synopsis of my day

  • had my first fight with ants in my kitchen. I WON!!!
  • went to school and learned how to say (in portuguese of course) "I put the fork on the plate"
Eu coloquei o garfo no prato
  • picked up kids from school at noon
  • went to the federal police to be fingerprinted
  • while sitting in the office at the federal police, was asked to get up so that others doing passports could have our seats...apparently there are assigned seats depending on who you are and why you're there. (we were instructed to sit on the adjoining wall that said ESTRANGEIROS) I tried not to get my feelings hurt! ;) I found out later this word means foreigners...which I guess is better than strangers.
  • went to the store to get something for dinner and heard a Taylor Swift song. (noone can speak or understand English yet EVERYONE listens to American songs.) It's kinda funny...maybe I should just sing songs to people so I can relate with them. hmmm...maybe not.
  • washed fruits and veggies with a lil' chlorine to get the critters off and took some photos for ya'll to see

2.06.2010

smiling big today with hands lifted high!!!

For the past few years, my prayer has been that God would be glorified through my life, my actions, my ministry and my family. I have prayed and prayed that all HE accomplishes in and through us SHINES the LIGHT of CHRIST to people who do not know the Saving power of HIS love.

I say all this to share a new happening in our lives. I was made aware of my diagnosis of Crohn's disease this week. I spent several days trying to swallow the information and understand what it all meant. (even had a pity party for a few hours) But as in all things I've prayed for, I realize that God is going to use this diagnosis to BRING HIMSELF GLORY. I don't know how yet but I do know that HE has his hand on my life and isn't caught by surprise.

Can Rebecca move to Brazil with her family and learn language? Sure...it may take awhile to be proficient in the language and culture but I can do it! So could you! My prayer was for GOD to be glorified in my life through ways only HE could DISPLAY! How can God be glorified in me doing something I'm capable of. Sometimes we have to be taken to the place where we know there is absolutely no way we can survive on our own. Where it's just so hard that once again we're pleading with HIM to come and make HIMSELF be seen and glorified.

Oh God, USE me! Use me...but use me so that YOU will be glorified to the fullest. Use my life so that when someone sees the results of fruit they know it WAS ONLY YOU!!! Only you and absolutely nothing I could do.
Pray for God to bring healing to my body if that is HIS plan but more importantly pray for those that are dying without even knowing of his healing power!
I know that some that read these words week after week even doubt the ONE of whom I'm talking. You've written and told me so. You respect the work we're doing but that is the extent of your interest. I plead with you to taste and see that HE IS GOOD!!! His mercies are new every morning! OF THIS...the whole world needs to hear!

2.03.2010

homework

This is where we spend the evenings after the kids are in bed.
I can't wait til some of this language learning actually comes out of my MOUTH!!!


A rain storm came in this afternoon and dropped the temperature by about 8 degrees. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!! Here is a picture of the road just down from us. I didn't get a great shot but the cars were literally floating through the water.

2.02.2010

The School Report

We walked into the school office and asked to pick up the boys a couple hours early. We were told by our leadership down here in Brazil that the first week as they were adjusting to the long days, it would be fine to get them a little early. We chose 3:15. I was really unsure of what to expect when we saw them. The first to arrive up to the main gate area was JohnMark. He was still all grins and carrying a sandwich. He explained to me that this was just his afternoon snack and that he really wished I would feed them as well as they were being fed at the school. UH....okay!!!?!

Jackson turned the corner next. He was trotting up to us with his backpack and a BIG smile. We knew immediately that his day had been some sort of success. He shared the names of his newest friends and told me that THIS WAS THE MOST RELAXED SCHOOL HE'D EVER SEEN!! He then went on to describe how he didn't have to march around like a soldier or be quiet in the line because there were no lines. He shared how he was able to even walk around with JohnMark on the school grounds after he finished his work. He WAS ECSTATIC! I'm thinking the whole time, "what do you mean there are no lines!" He then demonstrated what he meant and just kept talking and talking. WHEW!! 2 down 1 to go!

About 5 minutes later Jayden walked towards us with a very sweet little girl! It was the girl who we had met on the day we took a tour through the school. She is from California and just moved back here as well. She and Jayden bounce over towards Michael and I with really big smiles on their faces. She then urges Jayden to tell us something. "What in the world" is about all I can think! Jayden starts in on how he really wants Isabel to come over to our house and that he has been invited to her house. (by Isabel of course) Then Isabel takes over. She explains to me that she is Jayden's translator and that she and he have decided he has no need to learn Portuguese. OH MY!!! Needless to say, Jayden had a good first day of school. I'm not sure how well he's doing on cultural and language learning but he's definitely outwitted the system. He's also got a mothering type figure at school now that seems to be taking very good care of him!

2.01.2010

escola

This morning the boys started school here in Brazil. I'm so proud of all 3 of them. They were so brave to walk into the school with big courageous smiles like they did!!

JohnMark kept teasing me this morning that I should probably get a sharpie and put his name on his forehead because I was labeling all their stuff with a vengeance. I don't think he realizes that if I could....I WOULD!!! I would put PROPERTY OF JESUS CHRIST (in care of Mike and Rebecca) with a big black SHARPIE marker on each of them. Thank goodness God has already done that for me and Satan sees JUST THAT when he looks at each of them.

Jayden was a bit dumbfounded with everything and seemed overwhelmed as we arrived. They actually had clowns at the front of the school on stilts so it was very welcoming but the language felt like the tower of babel for him unfortunately. He watched Mike and I every second we were there. UGH!!! JohnMark, on the other hand, had a group walking around with him and seemed to already have a bunch of friends before we even left. Several of them spoke English very well. I'm not really sure about Jackson's situation. I'll have to let you know when I talk to him this afternoon. He did seem to have several boys in his class.

We did find out that there is a new teacher from the US that is a former MK. This news made us very happy!!!