Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sliding, Scaling Trees, and Subway

Yesterday, right after language school was over we packed the van and headed for a fun time at a nearby park. Just a fun day with a few pictures. It was very hot so we didn't stay for very long. On our way out of the park a security guard was 'scolding' us for having our kids out in the extreme heat! Oops! We all had a great time, and no one got too much sun!

The girls thought the wide slide was great. We could all slide down at one time!

There was a tree nearby that Jeremy climbed up, then we all, one at a time, climbed up to take a picture with daddy in the tree.

I had made some chicken salad for us to eat for lunch, but it ended up not being enough for everyone. On the way to the park, there was a Subway. This was a first for us since being here. Jeremy said it smelled just like America in there! Yum!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Trading Out My Lemons for Peace

Well, my beloved lemon tree is no more! We have had an angry neighbor and we didn't know it until a few weeks ago. He came to Jeremy and told him we had to fix our roof or 'else'! Our porch roof runs off right into his yard, and so does the rain during the rainy season. There was a gutter on our roof, but it was pretty poorly made. We thought it was a pretty reasonable argument, and we want to be kind neighbors so now the problem should be fixed.

We hired a carpenter and his crew for a reasonable price. We decided that since we had to do it anyway to go ahead and extend our roof to cover the back part of the porch to keep rain out of our laundry area. The first month we moved here it rained every afternoon, and every afternoon we would be cleaning the water out of the laundry room and frantically covering our washer controls to keep it from getting ruined. Hopefully, the problem is solved now. I just had to give up my lemon tree!

They built up our wall two rows higher with bricks and plastered it.
You can see in this picture the stump of the lemon tree. The men dug it out and concreted over it for us. You can also tell how much farther they extended our roof on the back porch. They built another brick column at the end.
Almost finished.

The finished roof with the new gutter installed.
So long free lemons!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dry Beans and Burned Rice

This is Renato and his family. After Renato met with Jeremy last Tuesday he wanted our families to get together. I love having guests! I just wish I was a little faster at cleaning and cooking! We have had guests several times since we've been here, but this time was a bit scary! I have never had to cook BRAZILIAN food for BRAZILIANS before!

Before when we had Juarez and Isabel over, she did the cooking. Other times we've only had people over for dessert.
I decided after much thought to make a Lasagna {which is not Brazilian, but I think most people here like it, it is pretty common}. But with the way things seem to be here, I also had to make the beans and rice. I make this several times a week for my family, but I always wonder, "Does it REALLY taste like Brazilian beans and rice???"

I was peeling my garlic and praying the whole time that my beans would have sufficient water in the pressure cooker, and that my rice would not burn on the bottom.

In the end all went well. No burned rice, the beans had sufficient water, and everyone SAID it tasted Brazilian. Who knows what they REALLY thought!

We had a really good visit. Jeremy was able again to talk much about salvation to this couple. Claudia, Renato's wife, has a very Catholic background and is steeped much in the religion. We are praying for her salvation. She listened pretty intently to what Jeremy had to say, but in the end she was ready to go home.

The kids had fun playing together. The boy, Nikolas, was very sweet. They played with the toys, colored for a while, and just ran played!

My sweet blue-eyed baby!
Bethany, Allie, and Nikolas {the girls are learning to "pose"}.
Smiling for Claudia's camera.

Sunday Lemon Fun!

Sundays are always such fun days! The girls always get so excited about going to Sunday school on Sunday mornings. It starts at 9:00 am so we are always home from church with lunch eaten by 12:30. There is always one problem though...naptime! Mommy and daddy are always ready for the "Sunday afternoon nap" right after lunch, but the kids aren't! If I did go ahead and put them down for naps that early they would be up by 2:30 which is WAY too early! So, this past Sunday mommy decided to "wake herself up" and have some fun with the kiddos!

We have the pleasure of owning a lemon tree! Since we've been here it has always had lots of lemons on it. I haven't really taken advantage of this before, but today we decided to pick some lemons and make some fun things with them.

Mommy climbed a ladder and dropped lemons for the kids to run after!
The bucket filled up pretty quickly and the girls carried it into the house.
Judah LOVES our lemon tree! He thinks he has an endless supply of balls to play with!
Our lemons are best when they are green!
Our lemon juice looks more like orange juice than lemon. It almost tastes like a cross between a lemon and an orange as well. We squeezed all of our lemons and made some lemon bars...
Whoa! That's quite a bite, Bethany!
...and some fresh squeezed lemonade!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Purple Cows

We had an afternoon "tea" with a couple of young teenage girls and Jessica Duarte from the church here on Wednesday afternoon. We served Purple Cows! Allie, Bethany, and I had great fun making them. We mixed together grape coke and sweetened condensed milk, put them into cups and then into the freezer. A nice {very} sweet treat on these recent {very} warm days! As you can tell...the girls loved them! Who wouldn't!

Can I Be Saved Right Now?

On Tuesday God gave Jeremy the wonderful opportunity to lead a man to Christ! I thought I would post the email update that he sent out earlier this evening to our friends and supporting churches.

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you all for your continued prayers for our family! God has definitely heard them and has been at work in our lives here in Brazil. Esther has continued to improve and is merging back into language school. She had class three days this week and so far is doing fine with the extra load. She will continue school for three days each week until she has the strength to handle going every day again. Please pray that God would give her continued strength and healing!

God has also been at work in hearts here and even used Jeremy's broken Portuguese to help lead a man to Christ! What a blessing it was to see our first Brazilian come to Christ!! In our last update we told about a man named Juarez with whom Jeremy has made friends. Juarez is a civil police officer and also owns a meat store several blocks from our house. About a month ago Jeremy was invited to go to the work place of this police officer and be introduced to many of his co-workers. One of the other officers, named Renato, took down our phone number and said he was interested in talking more to us about why our family had moved to Brazil. Well, about a month passed by, and Renato called to invite Jeremy and Jedediah (the son of the Duarte's with who we work) over for lunch. On Tuesday of this week Jeremy left out with Jedediah, a bi-lingual Bible, and much prayer for this man to be saved. During lunch, the Lord opened the door for Jeremy to open his Bible and read and explain several verses to Renato. Here is the rest of the story from Jeremy:

"Renato is a former lawyer from Rio de Janeiro, and I was asking him several questions about his past experiences. He was telling me of the extreme corruptness of Brazilian judges and politics. I told Renato that I knew the best lawyer that has ever lived and then took him to 1 John 2:1 and explained how Jesus is our Advocate. He proceeded to tell me that he wasn't that bad of a person and that he was a Catholic. He said that he only "practiced" his Catholicism a little bit. The Portuguese word that he used for "practice" just so happened to be the exact same word used in Romans 4:5 which I had just finished memorizing in Portuguese. I explained in my broken Portuguese that no matter how much he "practiced" his Catholicism it would do him no good, for no sin can enter into heaven. God only imputes righteousness to those who believe, NOT to those who "practice." After a couple other verses to explain this further he interrupted and said, "Can I be saved right now?" Before I could answer, the other police officer at the table interrupted and managed to change the subject. Meanwhile I was praying that God would give me the right verse with which to reclaim the conversation. After a couple minutes I held up my hand and asked if I could read another verse. There was dead silence, and I was able to read again. After about five more minutes of explaining the Gospel Renato interrupted again and said he would like to be saved right now! After making sure he understood that not a prayer, but only his faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross would save him, he bowed his head and Jedediah led him in a sinner's prayer. Right in front of us all, out loud, Renato confessed to God that he was a miserable sinner in need of God's mercy and put his trust in Jesus as his Savior. In a few short minutes the Holy Spirit convinced Renato of his sinful condition before God and of his need of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to be imputed to his account! Truly blessed is the man to whom God imputes righteousness without works! I came to Renato's house calling him "sir" and left calling him "brother." Please pray for Renato that he will grow and be strengthened in the Word of God."

Please pray for us tomorrow as Renato, along with his wife and son, comes to our home for lunch. We are praying that God would save his wife tomorrow! Would you pray that God would remove any distractions and that the Holy Spirit would convict her heart of sinfulness and the need of Jesus to be her Savior!? This family lives about a 35 minute drive from our home in a part of the city that has no good Gospel preaching church. Would you also pray that God would use Renato and his wife to reach others with the Gospel in this part of our city? We have been encouraged this week to see some fruit even though the majority of our time has been spent learning the language and trying to adapt to our new culture!

Renato, Jeremy, and Jedidiah at Renato's house for lunch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Time = Fun!

So, I now have a kindergartener! Allie LOVES school. She always has. When she was 3 1/2 years old she immensely enjoyed any pitiful effort on my part to teach her the alphabet or numbers or.....anything!

We were running like crazy on deputation then, and I wanted so badly to have a good system to help her learn. That's when we decided to order her the ABEKA K-4 video program. She did lots of K-4 riding down the road in our minivan!

We were ecstatic when we learned that missionaries to foreign countries could actually BUY the videos and reuse them for other family members (and I think you can let other missionaries use them as well). I think it took about a year and a half for her to finish with our traveling, changes of schedule, and moving to Brazil, but a little over a month ago she completed the K-4, on to K-5!

I am so glad that we decided to take this route of schooling at this point in our lives. Since my health has been so up and down in the recent months this is a way Allie can have steady schooling even if I'm not feeling very well. I know she is getting a quality education! In the future we may do different things, but for now it works perfectly for us!

Since I have been feeling really good in the past few weeks we have added more to our "curriculum". For a long time I have felt that our morning time has been much wasted. We get up, eat breakfast, and the kids just kind of wander around for an hour, and then we start our day.

Jeremy goes to language school at 7:00, and like clock-work, that's when the girls get up! I get them dressed, then breakfast. During breakfast we have Bible time. They are learning the books of the Bible, a chapter/passage, a song in English, and a song in Portuguese. We then have a short Bible story.

We made Bible 'lapbooks' (I got the original idea from another missionary's blog.) Allie and Bethany love their lapbooks! They cut, color, and paste pictures in their books and put different papers in the pockets of the things that we are learning. Such fun!

If we have time (now that I go to language school three days a week at 8:30) we also do "Portuguese" books. I got them each their own notebook, and I am teaching them Portuguese words each day. We started with colors. They cut out pictures of things that are the day's color and paste them on the right page in their notebooks.

While Allie does her school, Bethany does not want to be left out! She likes to do school too. I just make sure she has plenty of crayons and a pair of scissors, and she usually lasts long enough to get lunch rolling. She sits at the table right next to where I work, so I'm usually back and forth with her.

We're having a blast learning and playing!

Allie with her Portuguese book.
Bethany with hers the first day...still in pajamas!
Second day...we learned purple (roxo).
Allie with her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bere.
Bethany hard at work cutting and coloring!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday Morning Sweeties!

A Purple Day

"Mommy, will you please take my picture because I'm purple today!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mission Accomplished...Sort of!

If you have been keeping up with my blog you know that the kids in Sunday School had been learning Galatians 5:22. You can watch previous videos of Allie and Bethany learning the verse here and here. It had some hard words in it, but the girls got it. It has been a couple of weeks since they said it for Sunday School, and Bethany was getting some of the words mixed up the other night when I was getting her to say it for the video.

Allie was very sophisticated with her rendition!
Bethany kept getting a little confused...or distracted. She was being so crazy I couldn't decide which video to put up, so I just decided to put a few of them on here for those who would like to watch her.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Judah's First Birthday Party

Bright and early Friday morning we began the party preparations. Lawanda and Jessica came over to help! Lawanda has lots of cake decorating experience and so kindly offered to decorate a cake for Judah's birthday! Jess helped with frosting making, cleaning and decorations!
We didn't have a cake tray long enough to hold the entire cake, so we decided just to use my kitchen table. They sell a shiny paper at the papelaria down the street and it worked perfectly for the green countryside. Below you can see the beginnings of the setup. Lawanda has a train engine cake pan that she used for her son Jed's first birthday party. It worked beautifully! The girls were SO excited!
A whole crowd of people helped blow up balloons!
Bethany tried so hard to help too!
The cake table with the balloons over it for decorations just after the cake was finished!
We handed out some train coloring papers to all the kids to color while we were waiting for everyone to arrive. All the kids (young and old) LOVE to color! It's so nice!
Allie coloring.
Bethany and Natalia
Thiana helping Judah (Judah really likes her!)
Rodrigo and Rogerio
Lucas holding baby Joshua.
Some of the parents (and grandparents).
More of the guests arriving.
Athays and Francielly
Bean bag and bucket game.
Camilly's turn.
Isabelly's turn.
My turn...I think I officially lost!
Jeremy did the best...of course.
Judah likes his cake!
Hmmm...why are they singing so loudly???
Our whole family!
The finished cake! Dyed coconut for grass and ice cream cone pine trees compliments of Lawanda.

Athays and Joao Pedro
Karina, Rogerio, and Rodrigo.
Judah wasn't too excited about getting his hands dirty, so I gave him a fork and he started diggin' in!

We had a great party! It was so much fun. I just love doing things like this. I'm so thankful for the strength that I've had recently to do more things like this. I just pray that it continues.

I am also so thankful for my sweet one year old! He is such a little joy to be around. I just love him!