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.
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.
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.