Monday, February 28, 2011

Missionary Monday

When I started Missionary Mondays I didn't promise I'd do them every Monday, right? I had every intention of doing one yesterday, and basically had this completed when my husband wanted to make a phone call (meaning I had to disconnect my internet), and when I got back on I lost all I had written. I just decided to go to bed and be a day late.

Today, I will let you come along with us on one of our first experiences here in Brazil. Friday night we decided to take a fun family date out to a pizza restaurant. We have been told that a restaurant named Serra was probably one of the best places to eat pizza in town. So we loaded up our van and headed to the mall where the restaurant is.

Here are the munchkins all loaded up and ready to hit the road!
Yep, we're ready too.
We arrived at the mall quite a bit before the restaurant opened. They don't start serving until 7:30pm. So, we did a little shopping. One day I'll show you more of the mall. I had originally meant to do this today, but didn't get the pictures of the mall that I wanted. Something about having a few kids in tow hinders that.

Here is Serra. It really is kind of a fancy restaurant.
Many pizza restaurants here will serve Rodizio style, where they bring different types of pizza to your table until you turn a card over that says you are done. It's kind of like a buffet, but they just bring it to you instead of going up to a buffet to serve yourself. We've also been told that you can request for them to make a certain type of pizza.

So, what did we think of brazilian pizza? Well, it was very good, but it was definitely missing a main ingredient--tomato sauce. Next time we go out for pizza I am thinking of bringing some with with me and just dipping it. Then, I think it would definitely be delicious!
We find it interesting that Brazilians like to put ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise on their pizza. What do you think? Maybe we should have tried it. It may have made up for the missing tomato sauce.
Allie thought it was delicious.
Bethany ate more than Allie.
Judah just stuck with the crust. I guess it was too much cheese for him.
Now, remember when I said something earlier in this post about a card that you turn over to tell them when you're done. Well, at this restaurant they had a card that you turn over if you're ready for dessert pizza. When we turned over that card, this is what they brought to us. Brigadeiro pizza. If I would have known this existed I think I would have opted out of the meal and just went on to dessert. It was by far the best dessert pizza I've ever had. DEElicious!
Bethany was a little bit excited about the chocolate pizza.
YOU! Give me more chocolate pizza!
Allie loved hers too!
Leaving the restaurant we had to get a picture of Allie and Bethany with the Serra girl to help us remember our memorable occasion.
With the exception of a couple of homemade pizzas this was the first time we have had pizza since we came to Brazil. Yes, almost one year without pizza. This is quite startling. Oh, how I miss Little Ceasar's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and even Dominoes... if you ever come to visit me maybe you could try bringing one of those restaurants with you.

I just thought you should be forewarned. Next week in Brazil is Carnival (kind of a Mardi Gras for the whole country--not just New Orleans ). During the week of Carnival many churches in Brazil go to a week of Family camp. We will be going to camp on Friday evening and only coming home to sleep at nights until Wednesday. Therefore, please don't be looking for a Missionary Monday post. I don't think I'll have time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Missionary Monday

For today's Missionary Monday I thought I'd show you our most frequented store in Brazil--the bread store. We usually end up going there several times a week to get bread, breakfast, coffee, coke, or something... It's about a one minute walk from our door to theirs.
We have made several friends here. This picture was taken back at Christmas. One girl that works here is about thirteen years old, and every time she is working when we go she gives the kids a piece of candy. They love her!
They sell a variety of sweets--
Pudim and other deliciousness...
A very popular snack in Brazil is called a salgado {literally means salty}. There are all different types. Someday I'll do a post on different types of Brazilian foods. These salgados can be bought fried or baked and filled with beef, chicken, pork, hotdog, etc. Many people enjoy eating these for breakfast.
There is a tiny place to pick up a few grocery items.
A drink cooler and another view of the grocery items.
This was yesterday {Sunday} morning when I took these pictures. Since our time changed we were supposed to be able to sleep in an extra hour that morning, but we gave up on that idea a few years ago. For some reason the kids don't seem to get the message. So we were up bright and early and Jeremy decided to take the kids to the bread store for a special treat for breakfast. Here they all are ready for church.
I think this is probably the most popular item at the bread store--the Pão Frances {or French Bread}. It is quite a bit different than the French bread we are used to in the States. More often than I care to admit, the kids eat this for breakfast. Especially on those days when I am running a little late for language school.
This is the favorite section of the store. We can trade in a 1 liter glass coke bottle for a little less than a dollar. They sure do taste better in a glass bottle for some reason... Sorry the picture is so 'brilliant'. It must be the pure deliciousness exuberating forth.
Another picture of some different types of bread they sell. These sometimes vary from day to day. Sometimes they sell regular packaged loaf bread like they sell in the States. They usually sell some kind of sweet bread. Sometimes they have small cakes {similar to a pound cake}. You just never know what you might find in this section.
I hope you enjoyed our little tour of the bread store. When I first moved here I never was embarrassed about taking pictures of whatever, whenever, but now that I'm learning the language more and getting to know people, sometimes it's a little embarrassing to take pictures of food in a bread store with five brazilians looking at you like you're a strange American tourist. But that's okay, I'm willing to go through a little bit of embarrassment for the sake of a blog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jeremy's First Portuguese Sermon

Saturday night Jeremy preached for the first time in Portuguese. He did excellent! Hope you can take a minute to listen. It is about a two minute clip taken from the middle of the sermon.

Sorry that it is a little difficult to understand. The building echos quite a bit, and we run fans because of the heat.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes

As I have been getting a few minutes here and there I have been doing some "behind the scenes" tweaking of the blog. I've been organizing posts into different labels--which I had never even given thought to before. So just for your information {because I know some of you return just to watch some of the videos of the kids...} I have put all of the blogs with videos under one label called Videos. I think I got them all, but if you see one missing just let me know so that I can remedy the situation!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


One by one He took them from me
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth's highways, grieving,
In my rags of poverty,
Till I heard His voice inviting
"Lift your empty hands to me!"

So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches
Till my hands could hold no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God could not pour His riches
Into hands already full.
-M.S. Nicholson

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sing-Along With Judah

Have I mentioned lately how much Judah likes to sing?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Missionary Monday

We started language school about 3 weeks after we arrived in Brazil. We decided to start early in the mornings—7:00 am. I think that goes back to the college days of old…We’ve since “backslidden” and enjoy a little bit more sleep. We now start at 8:00 am, and everyone is a little more alert during class.

Our teacher, Mara, is excellent. She has been teaching foreigners for many years. She has taught missionaries that have already spent their lives in Brazil and retired back to the States. We really enjoy getting her insight on culture as well as language.

Mara and Jeremy during class last Tuesday.
Jeremy has class Monday through Friday, and I go Tuesday through Friday. We cross our little dirt road and have class in a Sunday School classroom at the church. Mara very generously comes to where we live (instead of us going to her house or somewhere in between) and teaches us. It helps so much with the kids and the ability to keep them on a good schedule.

Jeremy goes to school from 8:00 to 9:30. When we get to class Mara has some exercises written out from problems that she has noticed we are having in particular areas or things that need improving on. We have both finished the first book we were studying. Jeremy finished a few months ago, and since I was sick and out of school so much I just finished two weeks ago and have felt a nice, huge relief--of course, when I finished the book she proceeded to remind me {very kindly, of course} of the title of the book "Português para Principiantes" in other words "Portuguese for Beginners"--she really didn't have to remind me of this. If you were to just listen to me you would know that there is much, MUCH improvement to be made.

While Jeremy is at school I get ready, get the kids fed, dressed, and started on school/play. When Jeremy comes back across the street I give him quick instructions and scurry out the door for my turn in class. He, in turn, presides over Allie's schooling, and reads and plays with Bethany and Judah.

We have a daily schedule that works quite well. After school is over, I watch the kids and make lunch while Jeremy studies, corresponds, or works on finances...whichever is most pressing. We all eat lunch together, and right after lunch I study for about two hours while he watches the kids again (such a good husband!). He puts them down for their naps and studies for the rest of the day...usually on into the evenings. I clean up from lunch and straighten the house, (which usually takes me all of nap time) get started on supper, craft/play with the kiddos...and so on into the evenings. It's really a very simple schedule, but because of language school it's difficult to get anything else done if we are going to really learn!

Jeremy has had school for a little less than nine months, and I have for a little less than seven months. As I type this I am listening to Jeremy practice his preaching in Portuguese. He has just finished writing his first sermon in Portuguese. He is scheduled to preach at family camp for the first time in a little less than two weeks. If he will let me I will post at least part of the message on here if we can get it recorded well.

I just read a missionary story to the kids at our Monday night prayer meeting last week and am starting to be able to do more things like this...the best part about it is they actually understood me and followed the story! It's really amazing how much exercise it takes to actually talk for that long nonstop in another language. After a while your mouth feels a little bit like mush...

It's been a long road and it's far from over. Day by day I feel like the fog is lifting. Jeremy is "light years" ahead of me, and he is doing so well. He converses like an old pro...almost.

If you need something to pray about for us you can pray that we really get the language down. It will be impossible for us to be really effective as missionaries if there is always a communication barrier. I have prayed and prayed for supernatural understanding and speaking, but I don't think that it is possible without just good ole', plain, hard work.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Learning Our Colors

We've been working on the names of colors in Portuguese for a few days, and things are progressing well. Allie has them learned, and Bethany is sort of hit and miss. Allie shocked me when I started teaching them to her...she had most of the basic ones down within five minutes. I just thought I'd show you a little video of the progress we're making.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John in a Sailboat

It seems like each week there is a new favorite song . This week the kids have been singing "Peter, Andrew, James, and John in a Sailboat". Just thought you'd like to hear what I've been listening to all week! They are singing some of the words wrong so if some parts don't make sense please excuse them!

What Can I Give HIm?

Allie learned this poem in school around Christmas time, and I wanted to get her to say it then, but time slipped away from me. So, here it is a couple of months late.

Frilly Girls

Mommy's Three Little Helpers

Judah has just recently discovered the fun of helping mommy cook. Now I have to bring three chairs up to the counter at cooking time.
Such fun!

Judah--The Knot-Head

Judah received his first knot on his head yesterday. I think the shirt explains it all (it says "daddy's speedster"). And I'm so glad I had a popsicle to put on it to "ice" it down. Although, obviously, it didn't stay on his forehead long.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thoughts On Prayer

In light of Valentine's Day and thinking on marriage and relationships, I thought I would share something that I have copied into my devotional notebook. I have made this a guide when praying for my husband. As a wife I have the responsibility to uphold my husband daily in prayer. A wife who stands behind her husband in prayer can make a big difference in his spiritual well being.

Pure in life
Joyful in heart
Mighty in Spirit
Strong in conviction
Honest in motive
Prevailing in prayer
Powerful in preaching
Effective in witnessing
Abundant in wisdom
Selfless in service
Patient in trouble
Victorious in battle
-by David Yearick

By the way, just as an wouldn't hurt to pray this through for your missionaries as well. A new life, new home, new country, new culture, and new language in itself poses many difficulties that are hard to overcome. Then you put Satan's desire to destroy the servant of God in the mix, and it is obvious that prayer is needed.

How often has it been that missionaries return from the field defeated by sickness, sin, or discouragement? I just wonder how things may have turned out differently if we would have upheld that one in prayer like we should have.

Just because...I thought I'd include a recent picture of us.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Missionary Monday

Well, I tried to write about language school today, but the words were not coming. I also didn't get a picture of our language school teacher like I had hoped, so maybe next week we'll talk about language school.

My back up plan for today was to show you a little more of the neighborhood in which we live. Below is a picture (from the internet of course :) of the main square of our bairro (last week I wrote "bairro", and then I realized later that it's a Portuguese word and not an English word--if you didn't figure out what it is-it actually means "neighborhood" or "district"). This is within a 10 minute walk from our house. You can see the main road that goes through the town. Our house is several blocks from here.

Every Sunday morning there is a feira (open-air market) at the praça (square) where different vendors come and sell their goods. They sell mainly fruits and vegetables, but there are also several other items that can be bought as well. This picture of our bairro from Google looks much prettier than our town actually is. In fact, it looks so nice, I did a double take to see if it really was our town!
You can come along with us on part of a ride to our house. Below is the road right before you get to the main road of our neighborhood.
These signs are everywhere. They love to put speed bumps in the roads. The bad part is when they DON'T mark them and you're not paying close attention. It could be fatal to your vehicle. :)
This is the same road a little further down. We are in the rainy season here, and it rains just about everyday-- sometimes all day. Consequently, this road gets VERY bad. They have repaired it several times, but they don't do a good job and it just keeps getting washed out by the rain. They finally repaired it again just last week as it was almost impassable.
Everyone has to drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid the potholes. It can get a little crazy when there are lots of cars around.
Below we are turning onto the main street into Pedra 90. It was funny when I was taking these pictures on the way home. I didn't even really notice the white car in front of me, and that it was in every picture. When we arrived at home Jeremy got out to open our gate, and that car pulled up beside us. He was upset that I kept taking pictures of his car and wanted to know why.

Jeremy had to explain to the man that his wife was just a crazy tourist that likes to take lots of pictures of everything. He then asked how long we have been here. That was rather embarrassing because it had been over eight months (I took these pictures a couple of months ago and am just now getting around to posting them:)This is the main street to the left is the praça and to the right is a supermarket that we stop in sometimes. One of our friends works as a guard here several times during the week.
More of the main street.
Another supermarket that we frequent. This one is a little closer to our house than the other one. Jeremy often walks here with one of the kids to buy vegetables or bread.
You see cars everywhere that have their trunks open with big sound systems advertising for some store or church. They are rather loud. Because of noise and the heat we always run fans in the kids room during nap times. Otherwise, I think they would not get much of a nap.
And there you have a little bit more of our town. It's amazing to look back and think of everything we thought when we first arrived. How little we knew and understood. How crazy we thought it was that cars would go around blaring their sound systems up and down our little dirt road. How horrible we thought all of the speed bumps were. But now we have just gotten accustomed to it all, and it just seems more like home everyday.

I feel like these posts seem very technical and mundane. What do you think? I have lots of ideas for future posts, but was just wondering if anyone has something that they are specifically interested in. Feel free to let me know. Until then, I'm just going to do what I've been doing.

AND...the second Missionary Monday actually has made it out...on time...even though I have a new piano that I want to play around on all day...and more dishes to wash before bed. ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Morning Surprise!

Saturday morning about 9:00 Jeremy sent the kids and I into the back room to read books. Someone was bringing a surprise to our house for us. What could it be??? As we read books we didn't hear a thing that was going on inside the house. Which is quite unusual since our house is so tiny and echos quite well. :)

We waited patiently reading and playing, and then Jeremy said we could come out. And what, to our surprise, was awaiting us? This wonderful, beautiful digital piano!
I was so excited! I still get butterflies in my tummy when I think about it. I knew we were going to get one..eventually, but I had no idea it would be now. I thought the soonest would be two or three months from now.

So, you can only guess what my day was like yesterday. I sat at the piano every free moment I had. I have missed it so much! My kids are loving it too. I can't wait to start teaching them how to play. The girls want to learn so badly!

Since yesterday was consumed with playing the piano at every opportunity, you can only guess what today will consist of... dishes! :) Just don't tell anyone that I didn't wash any will be our little secret. :)

Of course, I am convinced that the best by far would be to have a traditional piano, but it seemed a little unreasonable here in our part of Brazil. Just for your information here are some of our reasons for this:

1.There is no central heating and air and the piano would need tuning several times a year. From what we have heard it is very expensive to get a piano tuned here. I think that it is important for my children to learn to play and sing from a tuned piano.

2. Our house is tiny...very tiny. :) It also doesn't have carpet, the walls are concrete and the floors are tile. Noise bounces and echos. It can get VERY loud in our tiny little house. It is nice to be able to turn the volume down on the piano or put headphones on...especially when little ones are practicing. :)

3. Our neighbors all live very close to us--we can hear them talking at times since we share a wall. And we want to stay on friendly terms with them. :)

4. I 'think' in the future I would like to do some music arranging for choirs and such, and think that a digital piano can be a great aid in this.

I am so thankful for my wonderful husband who has sacrificed much to give this to our family! I also thank the LORD who provides our every need! I am so blessed!

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; AND WITH MY SONG will I praise him.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Some sweet little kids wanted to sing a song for you in Portuguese to wish you happy weekend!

Just in case you didn't understand what they were saying...

In Portuguese:
Com meu martelo eu vou pregar.
Com minha espada eu vou lutar.
Eu tenho muito que trabalhar.
Há muitas almas a ganhar.

In English:
With my hammer I will preach.
With my sword I will fight.
I have much work to do.
There are many souls to win.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thoughts on Missionary Wives

I know this isn't Monday, but since I was on the subject...I thought I'd share this article that I found on someone else's blog. It is by a lady that was a missionary in Venezuela before she and her family were expelled by Hugo Chavez. The title of the article is "Thoughts for Missionary Wives" by Rita Vernoy. I cannot count how many times I have said these very things, and when I read this article I thought this lady worded it just right. Instead of writing out my thoughts I decided to just show you hers. I thought it was well written and will give you a peek in some things that I'd like to write about in my Missionary Monday posts. Hope you enjoy!

{Just as a disclaimer, I don't know anything about the lady that wrote this article. I just enjoyed reading it.--And if the lady whose blog I borrowed this from ever reads this...thank you for letting me borrow it. :)}

I am often asked what a typical day is like living on the mission field. It is a very hard question to answer. You must understand that every circumstance is different. The missionary's schedule will be dictated by the culture in which he works, the level of his language skills, the ministry role in which he has been placed, and even the missionary's personality. Our days in the jungle were completely different than our days in Paraguay. Both were full of ministry, but ministering to our flock was different in each country. For instance, we do not do any medical work in Paraguay, nor do we need to do translation work. Right now we are still discovering where we might serve best and where our particular skills are most needed.

A common misconception some people hold is in regard to what the role of the missionary wife should be. Wives on the mission field do indeed serve in various capacities, but their ministries will be different, depending on several factors including, but not limited to:

* How many chldren are in the home?

* Are there small children in the home?

* Do the children need to be homeschooled?

* What are the living conditions? Does she need to carry water, cook with firewood, or wash the laundry by hand? These tasks all require extra time.

* What help does her husband require of her?

A wife's ministry will be ever changing as the dynamics of her home change. My job is to be the wife my husband needs, finish rearing our children yet at home (including homeschooling them), and if my husband needs me to serve in a ministry capacity, I do that as well.

In my case, I am a woman married to a missionary. Being a missionary is not my real job! I do not get paid to be a missionary, nor do I punch a time clock. I am a stay-at-home wife and mother, and I happen to live on the mission field. As a child of God, I do feel required to take part in Christian service as is every other Christian wherever they may live. I have the privilege of enjoying my life as the wife of a missionary, and I also feel fulfilled in my role as wife and mother. Serving my Lord on the mission field is just the icing on the cake!

I would like to be able to instruct younger missionary wives as to the role which they play on the field. Every woman is different and married to a different man. Every ministry will ask different things of different people, but the missionary wife must never feel guilty for putting her time and energy first into her family. Some families are able to find adequate education for their children on the field, and I am not assuming to know what may be best for another family. Even if your children are enrolled in a school, your job as a wife and mother will still require much time. Some women even need to have outside interests, and ministry may fulfill this need, but in balance. This time away from the home duties may allow her to come back refreshed.

The work of a homemaker seems to always be more time-consuming in third-world countries. We do not have the option of packaged foods or fast foods. We do not have central air and heat to keep the dust out of our homes. We sometimes lack time-saving appliances commonly found in the American home. Our electricity and water go out often, which requires more work. Buying groceries and other supplies takes much more time as we do not have the convenience of one-stop shopping. Even paying bills takes a long time. We cannot do it online or even mail in a check; we have to go stand in several lines to pay each one. Of course, that is after standing in line at the bank to change our money in order to pay the bills - all the while watching our backs to make sure we will not be robbed as we leave the bank.

How many times have I seen women on the mission field break under the pressure they feel to perform more than they are capable of! This often leads to depression and even leaving the mission field. Perhaps, if the missionary wife would relax a bit and give herself the opportunity to be "just another woman," this would not happen so often. Remember, dear wife, you are under extra stress just dealing with life in a new culture and language. To the younger wives, I would remind you that your children will grow up, and you will have more time available for ministry then. Never forget your people are observing you, and the best testimony is for you to show them a Christian woman who is at peace and content.