Christmas 2010

My mom and dad arrived here in Brazil on the morning of the 22nd and we loved all 194 hours with them. They were able to bring the boys Legos and Nerf guns and all their favorite candy from the states.We had a fabulous time with them! It was all bittersweet though since they felt they needed to buy a two-way ticket. ;) Yesterday afternoon, when we took them to the airport, we all decided we're getting pretty sick of goodbyes.

After my dad nodded (secretly) behind my mom's back that it was time to go. We started walking to security. Mom had already begun crying and given out enough hugs to last her for at least one more year but as we gave one last hug, dad lost it too. We watched them head through security and once on the other side, we peaked through the door and waved one more goodbye. We started to leave but when I looked down at Jayden, I realized his face was really red and had tears behind his great big fake smile. (Understand this is how my BIG BOYS act now in order not to cry) But, as he made eye contact with me, he just melted into the wall and couldn't be tough any longer. To which, I finally began sobbing and holding him. UGH!
I decided to pick him up and walk him to the car as he cried so we wouldn't be stared at. (usually that happens without the tears because we're gringos but with all of us sobbing right there in front of everyone, I figured the car would be a better place to lose it.) I think Mike offered to carry Jayden for me, but I didn't stop long enough to discuss it. We were gone.

In the car, after a few moments of hugging and encouraging, I looked Jayden in the face and promised him he would have eternity with his grandparents. (I think I was trying to remind myself of this fact too.) We also talked about how big God is and how certain that we are in the middle of HIS will for our lives. After my big pep talk, he asked what we were having for dinner so one can assume he's gonna survive this most recent bout of drama in his life.
The two big guys held it together pretty well but were quiet most of the night. I suppose they're dealing with it all in their own way. I guess we all are.

On Christmas day, we didn't have snow or the usual atmosphere, but there was a lot of love in our house and a lot of food on the table, and even a plastic soldier battle on the floor.

We were able to skype Mike's family in Kentucky and my brother's family in Georgia. We missed a lot of loved ones this year but we're so blessed with technology because we were able to catch up with everyone. After a quick thunder storm (which happens everyday right now) God gave us a quick reminder of HIS love.

We have to begin tying up all our loose ends here in Ribeirao Preto for our big move to Sao Luis this month. We have to buy a refrigerator, stove, bunk beds and a bed frame for Mike and I. All of you that sent money for us for Christmas and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, will be helping us to buy these essentials. I started to list your names but I realized a couple of you would kill me so I'm just going to make a blanket thank you here. All of you have blessed our socks off! I'm not kidding, as my mom shared with me what had come in, I was in shock. I also want to thank all of you that helped send school supplies for the boys, books for me and Michael, and for all that sent Christmas presents for the boys, WE THANK YOU!!

Also I'd like to ask for prayer. I'm skeptical to mention it but I am keenly aware of the power of prayer. Not sure if it's problems resurfacing, stress with another move, or just nothing at all...but some of my stomach pain is returning. Please pray that God would deal with it and get me back to normal as quick as possible.

So here we are, a year later, ready to finally head to Sao Luis. We are excited, nervous, and overwhelmed again. We have come to realize that our time here is not only about what God does with our work there in Sao Luis, but that it's also the journey that we're all on that draws us closer to HIM and I wouldn't ever want to skip one step we've had to take through this journey HE is taking us on! That being said, pray that BIG THINGS are about to happen with people that have never heard the name of Jesus and don't forget to celebrate HIS life all through the year. We aren't called to remember and celebrate Him only during Christmas...but instead, every single day of our life.



Just a few more day til Christmas and I'm starting to get REALLY excited. Earlier this morning it was in the 90's but a storm has blown up and the temps are sitting perfectly in the 70's now!! We're listening to Christmas music continuously in our house. I've bought a few presents but nothing is wrapped yet. Things around here never move at a fast pace so I'm guessing that Christmas, too, will be pretty calm and stress-free.

I recently went back through my blog reading how far God has brought us. I saw the pictures from our old house and all the Christmas decorations that we had and for just a second, I felt sad. But it was just a second and then I kept reading about everything that God did to get us here and all I could do was smile. Every need we have had has been provided for, ABOVE AND BEYOND what we could have asked for. We have never had a day when we were hungry and couldn't eat. We've not had one night where we didn't have a bed to sleep in or a roof over our heads and to be more specific, I've never turned on my ceiling fan without it working great!! ;)
Where does all that money come from to keep missionaries on the field? Click here to find out!

My parents are arriving here on Wednesday in order to spend the holidays with us and I have to admit I feel like a little girl about it all!! We'll pick them up in Sao Paulo, which is about 4 hours away. I plan on squeezing my mom in the backseat all the way home. We were concerned about finding someone to take care of the boys while we were gone and how all 6 pieces of luggage would fit in our small little Civic, but as always, God has provided. He has provided 2 really sweet Brazilian families to watch our boys during our 8 hour trip there and back and a van for us to all fit into.

He has also provided many of you for us and your great big serving hearts. We received two packages this week filled with snacks, videos, Honey Nut Cheerios, Legos and lots of our very favorite things. So we want to send a BIG thanks to Chris and Cheryl Nichols, and the Birchell's Connect GROUP!!! You all are so special to us and we can't possibly thank you enough. I'd also like to say thanks to all of you that prayed for us during our tests this past week. Mike and I have finished "formal" language school and passed our tests at the level we needed to be able to leave. It's strange to say that because it feels like we just arrived. We've lived here now for eleven months and I remember getting off that plane like it was yesterday. I'm not saying that we don't miss our family and friends back home CAUSE WE DO!! A lot, especially this time of year, but there's a such a peace right now in our home.

Last night we had a Christmas party with our church family in Portinari. It was surreal because although I know I made mistakes in my conversation, when we were leaving, I felt like I had listened and understood and talked in another language the whole night, and truth is, I DID! God is so good. He has provided so many people here to help us learn this language. But you know what? Not only have we learned from them, I really feel that many of them have learned from us. That's the best part, feeling like through all our inadequacies, He can still use us.


What does YOUR laundry room look like?

Today is Kelsie's birthday. She is living life as a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and bold witness for the Truth of the Gospel in what most of us would consider impossible living conditions!! She are her family demonstrate that with GOD, all things ARE possible.

I encourage you to read their family's blog and PRAY earnestly for all the work they're doing!! Biggest need right now seems to be running water in their house!