We arrived here in Fortaleza exactly a week ago. Everything has been such a blur that I literally just had to go back to a calendar and figure out which day we got here.
We were greeted at the airport by two sweet smiling faces. Robert and Phyllis have lived here in this city about 25 years. They will be working with us this next year during our time here. They have much experience and hearts of gold so we look forward to hanging out with them and gleaning from their wisdom.
As we walked out of the airport, the heat and humidity hit us like a wall. We stayed at a hotel on the beach the first 3 nights which was a really big blessing. It was right on the ocean, had a pool, buffet breakfast and AIR CONDITIONING in the room!!! Unfortunately we were so swamped with everything, I was only able to take the boys down to the beach for a few hours on Thursday. When life settles down, we'll have to find a quiet spot on the beach to relax. We moved everything into our new apartment on Saturday. Even our crate we packed back in the spring of 2009 made it. Saturday felt like Christmas as we opened boxes we hadn't seen in so long.
Mike has been working his tail off trying to get so much accomplished and I know when he finally stops, HE'S gonna crash hard. Running on very little sleep, he and JohnMark flew a couple of hours away to Sao Luis Monday night. Our truck is there and they are driving it back here for us to use. It's a big 4x4 truck that we'll need to get out to our people group. The roads here in the northeast aren't quite the caliber of Sao Paulo roads so the 665 mile trip will be an adventure. The roads they are using to get back are quite primitive. They had made it about half way as of last night and were staying with a couple that lives there in Parnaiba. I talked with them last night and other than being sleep deprived it appears they have many stories to tell. As a matter of fact, while I'm typing this, they should be fishing for piranhas with some folks.
Jackson, Jayden and I have decided we are ready for them to get back. We are wanting to see a bit more of the city than walking allows. We have covered several blocks surrounding our house but it's a big city with LOTS of people and dangerous intersections. Just to get to the supermarket, we have to cross one of the busiest roads by going half-way and then stopping on a 2 foot piece of concrete as we wait for the other lanes coming from the opposite direction to clear. Picture me and an 8 year-old and a 10 year-old balancing on this strip and me trying to make sure they don't fall back into traffic speeding by a few inches from our backsides all the while trying to keep them from stepping out too hastily into the other side of traffic. It's a bit like the old video game FROGGER! Pray this country girl doesn't get herself or her kids squashed.
We are also encountering some less than friendly people out there amongst the sidewalks. Yesterday, one in particular, decided to get right up into Jackson's face and scare him to death. Not sure if he was drugged out or suffering from some demonic issues. Either way, I reminded Jackson for the umpteenth time that God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self control. We're definitely standing on that scripture right now.
Back here in the house lies many adventures as well. My ever growing pile of laundry that has accumulated through the move and all is still sitting pretty in the floor waiting on my washing machine to begin to function correctly. I don't know what happened to it during the move but I hate getting behind on it all...especially without a dryer. Washing it by hand would be like my most dreaded scenario but it might it come to that.
The shower in my bathroom had heat yesterday for about 6 minutes before it went out so that's another thing for Mike's to-do list when he gets back. Ice cold showers are actually kind of refreshing right now. We don't have ceiling fans yet but the one small portable one we do have is getting a work out. We carry it with us from room to room in order to move the air around. I think either we're getting more accustomed to the climate or the fan is helping because we've stopped soaking all our shirts with sweat over the last 24 hours.
Despite the bugs that are biting us or the ones that have made their way into our digestive tracks, we're surviving. Yesterday, as you can tell from this sorta negative post, was hard. But the sun is up (which is seems to do much earlier now) and I'm about to go have some coffee. God is still God and He has a purpose for us in being here. We will choose to walk in that and I will do my best to make the next post on here one that is more positive. Until then, I'll just be transparent with you and tell you life's a bit harder here. But, as we know, that's when we grow. So here we go as a family of five again, stretching and growing and learning what it means to walk with our Savior.
Keep us covered in prayer and we'll keep ya informed on what's going on. I'll try and get some pictures posted on here soon!