Friday, April 23, 2010

Hello Normal

I’ve lost my sense of wonderment of this place. I no longer marvel at the open air market, now it’s just where I buy my vegetables. I don’t sigh in contentment looking at the walls of my apartment because I see spider webs in the corners that need to be knocked down. When a child repeats her first full phrase in English I am not astonished by her ability to communicate. I don’t see the adventure any more, no more conquest, only tasks to be done and things to check off my list. I am in a safe place and I am in a dangerous place.

Welcome to the land of ordinary.
We’ve been married for six years now. When we first got together discovering more about each other was full of emotional highs and lows. I remember crying on our honeymoon and telling Jeff it was because, “I was just so happy.” Ha! I was terrified! Everything was new. It was exciting and scary all at once.
We are still learning about each other every day, but now our marriage feels like a warm snuggly bed, safe and comfortable.

The first time we came here was the same. I was torn between the adventure and the nightmare. I felt so lonely and nervous some days, excited and courageous the next. But just like my love for my husband didn’t remain puppy love neither did my relationship with Brazil. It grew up and grew ordinary.
This is a safe place to be. I am no longer motivated by my emotions. I can buy my groceries without fear that I am committing some grave cultural faux pas. I objectively evaluate my students instead of thinking they are all brilliant for learning to repeat basic phrases. I am no longer a visitor, I am at home.
This is a dangerous place to be. I don’t look for new ways to serve God. It is easier to just maintain what I am doing now rather than seek out new things to do for God. I have a circle of friends that I know well enough. Why make new ones? Why get closer to people? Why work harder? I go to work. Come home, housework, study, lesson plan. Turn off. I close out the outside world because I know there is so much more that God wants me to see and do.

I’m tired and I don’t want to!
I want to stay in the ordinary and do just enough.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Preaching

It was Easter Sunday and guess who was standing at the pulpit preaching at the small church in Lagoa de Itaenga. Yep, it was I, Jeff Turner.
I really don't consider myself a preacher at all nor do I jump at the chance to preach. I am normally completely content being the Director of communications and Technology even though I feel like I have been doing much more technology stuff than communication stuff. Lets just say that I am getting pretty sick of reformatting computers because people keep putting viruses on them. Anyway, it seems that when Pastor Ricardo asks me to do something I have a difficult time saying no. This was my first true time to preach. All the other times I usually shared an expanded version of my testimony and how God lead me to Brazil. I actually was suppose to preach the week after Easter but I thought I was scheduled for Easter, so my sermon was all about the Easter holiday and the origins of it. But luckily the pastor that was going to guest preach for Easter could not do it until the week after Easter, leaving me free to preach on Easter day. I think it went well, I started preaching in Portuguese and did about 10% of the sermon in Portuguese but once I had a difficult sentence and switched back to English it was hard to try to go back to Portuguese. Ricardo said that next time we will work on the sermon enough in advance that he will couch me to preach in Portuguese. So, we shall see.

From Lagoa De Itaenga

This is a picture from the Sunday afternoon English class in Lagoa de Itaenga.
I still help Ricardo out with the beginners class, but Ricardo does most of the work and I just help with pronouncing the words correctly.

For Easter the International School put on some really cool plays for the kids. They were like mini plays, because there were stations that the kids went around to and listened to the actors talk about themselves. There was Judas, Peter, Harod, Mary, and a few others.