an open door

We spent the day with Valdilene and Maria Zilinha. We were able to story with them and enjoy a couple of hours in their home. We also met Valdilene's mother and father. They were so welcoming and we feel that through this family we will be able to have many contacts to the rest of their community. Her husband takes a bike each day into a nearby town and works as a youth counselor. They have 3 other children as well and we ask that you join us in praying for all of them and the opportunity to continue taking the Gospel into their Quilombo.

Below are several photos of the homes that the Quilombola people live in. The floors are typically dirt as well but they keep their homes very clean.

The HUGE beehives that are on almost every tree.

The bridge that thankfully withstood our BIG TRUCK

The fruit hanging off this tree is called Jaca or, in English, Jack Fruit. They are in season right now and you see them everywhere in the interior. We are not big fans of the taste but supposedly this is the largest fruit to grow on trees in the world.

We ARE huge fans of bananas and coconut water so when offered these treats
we never pass them up. I think I'll be making banana bread for awhile.



new friends and pumpkin pie

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with the Nichols' Family, the Konings, the Gills and David Henson. We were once again reminded of God's sufficiency as he gave us great people to fill in the void left while being away from family in the states. The food was as American as it gets with pumpkin pies, sweet potato casserole, dressing, corn pudding and all the typical Thanksgiving treats!!! The boys swam with friends and wrote on their table all that they were thankful for. Each family shared some of our holiday family traditions. It was a spectacular day and we have made some amazing new friends. Here are some photos from the day. I seem to have one of everyone except myself and Julie, the wonderful hostess. Oh well...maybe next time!

The Nichols' Family (our hosts) made a pinata from scratch and the kids all took a whack. The boys have decided this is a great new tradition.

Jesse getting ready for her turn

the Konings sharing what they are most thankful for

David and Mike

The Gills

Pumpkin pie

pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing


life among the Maranhense

I'm embarrassed at how long it has been since I've blogged! I'm going to try and catch everyone up with what all that has been going on in our lives since we arrived in São Luís. Homeschooling along with learning how to live in a new city has kept me swamped. I went through a rough patch with my health as well but I'm doing so much better now. I thank you for your prayers as my energy has returned and I'm feeling like my old self again.

I drink one of these almost every day now. It took awhile to love them but I'm there now. I'm REALLY there...maybe even kinda addicted but hey they are so good for my belly.

São Luís (Saint Louis) is an island in the São Marcos bay and it's as wonderful as it sounds. We have amazing breezes to keep us cool and there are days you'd never know we're living at the equator. We are in the dry season now so the rain isn't making life too difficult. This means our clothes can dry very quickly which always make me enormously HAPPY! (It's the small things, right!) The dry season will end around January when mold and mildew become our adversaries.

I recently put several photos of the historic part of
São Luís on facebook. I'll share some of them again on here. This area is only a few miles from our home and is absolutely beautiful. All the original buildings are still there from when the city was settled back in 1615 by the French. The old buildings make for some great photo ops.

The area we live in looks quite different from the rest of the city. Every time we get further and further from our home we are astonished at the poverty all around us. We've seen poverty but just not to the extent we're seeing it here. In the short walk (less than a block) from our apartment to the beach, we will usually come upon 3-4 homeless people.

an example of the homeless living on the sidewalks next to our apartment

One area is truly remarkable where a type of shanty town has built up over the actual water. It's amazing to see the tiny wooden shacks balancing on stilts. I'll get a picture of this soon for you to see.

Beside us, the rocky beach is home to several folks that hang their hammocks next to the stone wall that lies between the sand and the road. Here, almost everyday we see signs of the many idols linked to the practice of umbanda and candomble. We see beautiful red roses (the BIG DARK red ones that cost a fortune in the states) thrown out into the ocean and trampled by the waves on the sand. They do this as an offering to the goddess of the sea. The other day we came upon a small black statue of a little boy with candles all around him. I still need to research the significance of this particular idol and what it symbolizes.

Needless to say, we are seeing up close and personal many hindrances to the Gospel. The scariest part is how most people will combine these practices with Catholicism or even any version of Christianity they've heard of. They want to make sure they cover all their bases, so to speak. We know that Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life and yet having them understand that Christ cannot be put on the shelf with these idols is quite difficult.

Mike is traveling today to work with some young believers that are working with Q's. His desire is to train them on how to share with the illiterate through the "storying" method. In these instances, we have to deliver the Word of God to people through short Bible stories, one at a time. What a challenge and yet great responsibility! Pray we overcome all the obstacles in our way and tell the stories from the Bible accurately in another language. At this point, Mike is memorizing the stories in Portuguese. He's doing great but pray that God would continue giving us the words that we need. Our language always seems to be the biggest hurdle in life here.

my kitchen

Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving with 2 other American families that live here along with a new friend (David) that is working with an international company doing a project. We will also be with other missionaries from The Netherlands. They are getting to enjoy Turkey Day for the 2nd time. We look forward to all the "fixins" and the belly ache that we know will follow. Our bodies have adjusted to a diet of fresh fruits, beans, rice, and all things NOT-PROCESSED. On days like Thanksgiving we are reminded how heavy our American diets were! I kinda can't wait!! he

On Saturday we will go into the interior and meet some new Q's and if I remember my camera I will post some photos on here.

Last bit of news...we are going to Kentucky for Christmas. We leave in 3 weeks and we are counting down the minutes...literally!!! We should have a little furry creature, we have not seen in 2 years, waiting on us at the airport! I get teary-eyed just thinking about it!!!

Thanks for reading this overly long post and continuing to pray for us even when we're bad at communicating our needs to you! I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.