Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saudades do Brasil

It’s 6:30am. I can’t sleep. I’ve been awake since 4:30 and there is probably no going back now. About 40 teens here right now on a short-term mission trip. It’s been a lot less noisy than I feared – and a lot busier. And we have kept them busy right from the start – so I’ve been pretty occupied also. Mostly sorting gifts for Brazilians and prepping for English Camp. It starts in about 2 hours. All I think about is English Camp, but I’m trying to make sure I have time to pack, too.

I don’t really know what to think. Things change so drastically so fast. Last week we didn’t know what we were doing next. Now we know we have to go back to the US. We'll be going back next week thanks to an awesome flight deal from my cousin. I’m heartbroken, nervous, a little excited (about seeing loved ones), and trying hard to remain a hopeful. We’re going back a little more visa savvy this time. We know that it might still be a while before we get this work visa. We know there are still mounds of red tape. We aren’t even sure that this work visa will go through. We’ll be living out our contingency plan (see the post on July 06, 2008), meeting up with family, visiting our supporters, and trying to recruit some new English teachers for the school.

We do still believe that God wants us to serve Brazilians. We feel like we fit in here more and more. We feel like we have a place here and that they need us. We’ll be back. It might be one month. It might be one year, but we’ll be back.
So, see you soon.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Update #4

Etc. (The Beach)

A couple of weeks ago was a holiday called São João (St. John the Baptist day). Saint John festivals are a big deal around here; they’re a country-style harvest party where dishes made with corn are served. The best part is school is out for two days. Perfect time for a road trip to the beach, right? We thought so. Tele let us (Roberto, David, Alyssa, Emily, Jeff and I) visit his parent’s beach house for a few days.

When we arrived the electricity was out. We were fine with our food situation; the neighbors let us keep food in their fridge and stoves in Brazil are all propane. We bought candles and made a fire on the beach at night. We might have had more fun because there was no electricity. Jeff and I slept out on the beach beneath the stars each night and I got up to watch the sunrise each morning. One of the highlights of the trip for me was watching monkeys in the wild! We saw them at the neighbor’s house two doors down. It was pretty cool, until they came to watch me…

The last day of our trip, while everyone else was at the beach, I stayed back to take a shower. I was almost finished when I heard some mysterious scratching. I looked up to see a monkey looking back at me. I screamed grabbed my towel and belongings, and ran to the next room, where there were two more monkeys in the rafters watching me. I finally found a room that was monkey free, so I locked the door (monkeys can totally open unlocked doors) and changed quickly. It was on my list of things to do before I die. See monkeys in the wild. Check.

Back to the USA

Our last documents we sent to the lawyer were rejected because they were not "legalized" by the Brazilian consulate. This news gave us our answer about wither we needed to go back to the USA or just wait and see if we can get our visa soon and take a less expensive trip to Argentina and get the Visa.

I really like the reaction from my good friend Jon when I told him the news. He said "it seems like you probably should have everything legalized, notarized, blood sealed and consecrated to several different gods in order to make sure everything is setup ok". We have in no way given up on staying in Brazil and we will be coming back here as soon as we get this visa. But, it is nice to have an answer from God about where we should be right now. Even though this answer is frustrating we are looking forward to see how God uses us back in the USA for a while.

We don't have tickets yet but we should be coming back early August.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Update #3


July is a busy, busy month for the ministry. There are a lot of outreaches that happen through out the year, but July is the biggest month because of the short-term mission groups that come from the states. The first of the three groups have already arrived two woodworkers and Jeff’s dad. The second trip arrived on the fourth, a medical team, and the third group (40 some teens and adults) will arrive on July 15th. Jeff’s dad comes every summer to coordinate the groups. We have really been enjoying having him around. If you want more info on what’s going on in ministry you can always check out the ministry blog,

New drug ring or medical mission trip?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Update #2


Jeff and I are gypsies. Ok, maybe we’re not real gypsies, but we are really starting to feel like we can’t stay in one place for more than a year or so. Here six months. There a year. Here six months again. Living with my parents, his parents, my brother, at the ministry building, in a tree, on the moon. Where are we going next? What are we doing next? What are we even doing for dinner tonight?

We still don’t know. We still don’t have a permanent/semi-permanent visa to stay in Brazil. We’re trying every avenue we can. We are still working with the same lawyer. He still says it will happen soon. He says that the judge has all info he needs now, hopefully. We’re also trying to pull some strings with some political connections Tele has. In Brazil sometimes it is all about “who you know” to get things done. We’re also going to give the case number for our visa to a friend who’s in law school. He’s studying international law, labor law, and immigration law and he thinks he might be able to help work things out. It’s all still taking time. If things pan out soon we’ll go to the Brazilian Consulate in Argentina to pick the visa up, because we found out for sure that we have to be out of the country to get the work visa.

If things don’t pan out before August 10 (the date our tourist visa runs out for the year) we’ll be headed back to the States. I applied to go to school at IUPUI as a contingency plan if all of our visa arrangements fail and Jeff has some possible job prospects back in Indiana, too. Whatever happens we know that God is with us and that he has a plan for us. No matter how mysterious and nomadic our life seems to be, we continue to trust him with our future.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Update #1

Jeff does a great job as the communications link to Brazil, but when it comes to my contribution to the blog sometimes I get caught up in daily life and procrastinate for weeks on end. Jeff asked me to write a post about three weeks ago and I’m just now doing it. Oops. We have been finished with all school business since Tuesday. Now, since I have even more free time on my hands and I am out of excuses, I’m writing several posts to try to get on his good side again.

In the next few posts will hopefully catch you up to speed with school, life, ministry, etc.


There were two end of the semester programs to prepare for and present the last two weeks of school. Since I mainly work with the preschoolers the last two weeks were filled with repeating the same songs and dance moves, over and over again. The first program’s theme was focused on Pernambuco (the state where we live here). The international school kids presented special projects, sang songs, and performed skits. I learned my first full song in Portuguese as a result of helping the preschoolers with their presentation!

The preschoolers singing for the first program

The second program was a fund raiser event called “Nations’ Celebration.” The children performed dances from around the world and then sampled international food with their parents. We even held an “art auction,” selling the paintings the children made in their art classes this semester. The event raised around R$1,800 for a children’s hospital in Recife. I contributed by helping guide the preschoolers in their South African dance and by making chocolate chip cookies for the American food booth.

Joyce, one of our preschoolers, and her mom dressed up
for the Nations' Celebration

We completely wrapped up the semester with parent-teacher conferences last Friday and a teachers’ meeting on Monday. At the teachers’ meeting Emily Taylor and I presented a new English program that we formed to create a bridge between Portuguese subjects (ex. Math, Science, History) and the English language. We’re really excited about starting the program next semester!

Emily & I being awesome at the beach