Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's My Turn

I went to the doctor last Monday, and my last and largest ulcer (which was also the first to appear) has finally completely closed up.  It took a LONG time.  The appointment on Monday made 129 days since I had first gone to my doctor for the ulcer.   My next appointment isn't for two whole months!  What am I going to do with all that extra time!?!

We took pictures of the progress all along the way.  They are rather gruesome, but I thought I would let you see them if you REALLY want to.  Be forewarned though, I didn't look at my leg until it had healed up quite a bit.  The doctor had me keep it wrapped up when I was at home for fear of infection, and I couldn't handle looking at it in the doctor's office when it was about to be cleaned...oh, the pain!

Here's the link for all of you brave souls! 

The Lord has answered many prayers in our lives concerning this.  When the doctor looked at my leg last Monday he said almost under his breath, "Who would have ever thought that it would close without a skin graft?"

I am so thankful for this very specific and positive answer to prayer.

Also, another answer to a prayer concerning my health is the status of my colitis.  I say this cautiously as ulcerative colitis is know to flare up without warning, BUT I am better now than I have been in over 2 years!  I still am not in complete remission, but I am well on my way.  Please continue to pray that I won't have anymore set backs.

I am hoping that I am seeing the light at the end of a tunnel (hopefully it's not a train! ).  The Lord has blessed so much in our lives here, and although I wouldn't trade what I have learned from it all, I also wouldn't mind if everything were smooth sailing for a while so that I can concentrate better on learning Portuguese.

When I first came to Brazil I determined that my theme verse was going to be Psalm 100:2a "Serve the LORD with gladness..."  I had no doubt there would be struggles here waiting for us.  I knew that life would be totally different and not as easy, but I was determined to face the struggles with joy and gladness and to be thankful for what I might need to learn through all that was sent my way.

I was prepared in my mind for some of the things that we have had to face--language struggles, cultural struggles, being nervous about the safety of my children, the prospect of being robbed at any time, and many other things, but I think health struggles were probably not on that list.

To be honest...not every moment during this past year and four months have been spent in gladness for all of our struggles.  At times, I've been discouraged and frustrated, but I think this past problem with the ulcers has changed me much more than anything.

When we realized that the ulcer on my leg was more than just a "little sore" and more were appearing, I realized then that God was going to use this in my life to change me.

I was reminded recently of Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  I am so thankful that I can rest assured of God's hand in my life.  When we don't understand what is going on or why, we can look to God and know that his hand is guiding us and loving us the whole way.  We can be sure that He means it for our good and His glory!  He desires for us to be more like Him.

Have you ever read the book "Hinds Feet On High Places" by Hannah Hurnard?  It's definitely worth the read!

For years I had kept this poem in my Bible.  It's such a good reminder.

My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily.
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver's hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
~Author unknown~

Well, I usually don't write like this on my blog, and this has become rather lengthy.  But the Lord has done many things in my life over the past year to draw me closer to Him, and I figured since "it's my turn" to tell you what has been going on in my life recently, I thought I'd just elaborate on it a little.

I know the things that I've struggled with here are nothing in comparison to what others of you have faced and are facing, but I just wanted to tell you a little bit about how God has used these circumstances in my life.  I still have so much to learn, and each day I see so many more areas in which I need to grow. I am so thankful that God cares for me and desires to use me in spite of my weaknesses! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All About Jeremy

I thought one by one I'd catch everyone up on our lives here in Brazil.  Since I went so long without blogging I know some of you are on the edge of your seats wanting to know what all we have been doing.  Right?

I figured the best place to start was with Jeremy, since he's the best looking. 

Before the Schrocks arrived in Brazil, Jeremy worked several days getting their house as ready as possible for them, and then for the first few weeks he took them shopping to buy all of the things that they needed to get their home set up.

He also has had several opportunities to translate for Daniel Bishop (an intern from Ambassador Baptist College that has been spending the summer with the Duartes) and Omar.  Jeremy has done amazingly well with this.  But I'm not surprised.  Everything he does turns out well. 

Daniel {preaching} and Jeremy {translating}

He also was asked to teach a class at the church kids camp about an hour away. The camp is run by Peter Doolittle.  Jeremy taught the junior boy's class.  If you want to see more pictures of the camp, Omar and Tracy posted some on their blog.

We spent three days there, and had a great time getting to know several people and helping out where ever we were needed.

We left most of our books back in America, but the ones that we did bring didn't have a 'place'.  This was about to drive both Jeremy and I crazy, so Jeremy "made" some free time to build a pretty bookshelf to house our books. 
See what I mean by not bringing many books.  What you see is what we have.  But that's okay - we're supposed to be studying Portuguese, not reading English books all the time, right?

Didn't Jeremy do such a nice job.  He's such a sweetheart. 
When Omar and Tracy came to Brazil we took a few weeks off of language school to help them get settled.  Then, when it was time to start school again, our language school teacher was sick for a couple of weeks.  I think the break from intense school was good for both of us.  Now we are back in language school full swing, and much of our day is consumed with study.  

Because Jeremy's Portuguese is improving so well, he has had several opportunities to witness to people when we have been out and about.  Our pretty, little white kids attract much attention while we are out, and several times recently they have caused good opportunities for sharing the gospel.

Jeremy was also given a nice compliment on Monday when we were at my doctor for a checkup on the ulcer on my leg.  We were sitting in the waiting area, and sitting in front of us was a wealthy couple that worked with exporting meat from Brazil to other countries.

After talking with them for a few minutes they asked where we were from.  They, of course, figured out pretty quickly that I was an American, but they were surprised that Jeremy was an American too.  This was a compliment because they couldn't tell where he was from right away from his accent and speech.  I'm so proud of him! 

Stay tuned for more family updates...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Favorite Person

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.  Yes, I know...it's hard to believe that it's been 8 years!  I know it's so cliché and everyone says it, but where has the time gone?  It goes so quickly! 

This has been the best 8 years of my life, and I've enjoyed every minute that I've spent with my wonderful husband.  It just gets sweeter as the years go by.  He's the best.  Really. 

We celebrated simply this year.  He took me out to a fancy Churrascaria (Brazilian BBQ restaurant), and we spent a quiet time there enjoying each other's company sans children (thank you Omar and Tracy ).

We intentionally had our picture taken on this bench at this restaurant because last year for our anniversary we came here as well.  I just wanted to compare the pictures.

July, 2011

July, 2010
Someone has gained a little bit of weight...ahem... ☺  (It also looks like that alligator is about to eat me in that second picture.  Ha!) I think I've probably gained about twenty pounds since that picture was taken last year!

I'm actually very happy about this and have some good news about my ulcers that maybe I'll post about in the next day or two.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
♥ Happy Anniversary to my favorite person in all the world! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chocolate Rolls

I don't pretend to be a wonderful cook.  I wish I were, and I try my best, but in the end I think I'm just average!  BUT, every once in a while I find a good recipe which makes everyone else 'think' I'm a good cook.

Well, around our house we love cinnamon rolls.  My favorite recipe is from the Money Saving Mom website.  I usually end up making them about once a week.

Well, I've had it in my had it in my head for quite some time to make some "Chocolate Rolls" with the same recipe, and they turned out delicious!

I made the bread dough the same way (I don't have a bread machine, so I just kneaded them by hand and rolled them out), then when I rolled the dough out I put a chocolate concoction on it instead of the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.

Here's the recipe for the chocolate concoction that I made up.
1 cup chocolate
3 T. butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 t. cinnamon

Melt and mix together and spread on dough.  Roll it up and cut it into rolls just like normal.

We tried them once with the icing on top and once without.  The icing made them veeery sweet, so if you have quite the sweet tooth you would prefer them this way.  They were also very good without the icing.  You really can't go wrong with chocolate, right!?!

Let me know if you try this and what you think.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dispensable Workers?

Oh, I can't look!  I just want to cover my eyes!

Almost every time we go out I see this--men on ladders, up against power lines, with a couple of little cones sitting at the bottom of their ladder, with hundreds of cars driving by at full speed within feet of their ladders.

Wouldn't you like to work for the city of Cuiabá?  Yikes!  Not me!  Pretty scary!

Our Independence Day

I promise I'm trying to get back into blogging.  We had gotten ourselves out of our regular routine for quite a few months for several reason, but now I 'think' things are getting back to normal around here (whatever that is! )  So, please don't abandon me.  I really don't mean to let a month pass between posts...really!

Anyway, we had a great Independence Day, and I thought you'd like to see some pictures.  We usually go out to Peter and Zirlene Doolittle's house for a celebration with all of the missionaries in the Cuiabá area. This year we ate at the camp that they are in charge of, which is on the same property as their house.

Everyone pulled their resources and creativity, and decorated a beautiful table.

Uncle Peter (so-called by my children) manned the grill along with some help from Pastor Raehl.

Bethany sat in the kitchen with the ladies hoping for a slice or two of cheese to snack on before the meal.

All of the ladies stood around in the kitchen preparing the food.

The men sat around the fire trying to keep warm (it was freezing!)...and obviously they were enjoying some story that Jeremy was telling.

Time to eat!  Pastor and Mrs. Raehl waiting to pray and eat.

Most of the kids knew the Star Spangled Banner, so we gathered them all together to sing for us after we ate.

Omar and Tracy, Johnathan and Mahalia were there...

The kids all enjoyed some sparklers.

Allie kept hers as far away as possible.

Bethany was intrigued by hers.

Such fun!

After the sparklers were gone, we all enjoyed fireworks.

It was such fun to spend the evening with friends and just relax (although it's kind of hard to 'relax' when you're shivering ).  We are so thankful for our home country of America and grateful for those who sacrificed to give us the religious freedom that we have there so we can come here and share the gospel to Brazilians that have never heard.

Hopefully soon I'll have another update on our lives...stay tuned...I'm trying.