Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Printed Christmas letter in Digital form

Most of you are able to keep up with us on Facebook, Skype, email, or our blog, but if your Amish or “unsubscribed” to our status updates: we had a baby! It’s kind of a big deal--you know--our first kid. Melody Anabel Cart Turner was born on May 18th, 2011.  We’re quite certain 90% of all conversations in the past 6 months have contained at least one of the following words: baby, sleep, awwwwweee, or poop.  The first 4 months were crazy difficult (we thank God for all the help we had imported: Lindsay’s mom, Jeff’s sister, Jeff’s parents), but we feel so blessed to have her in our lives. It’s exciting to learn all about how to be Godly parents!
Melody was born here in Brazil which means she has all the rights of a Brazilian citizen. Before she was born we called her our “little visa baby” (aka, anchor baby). Since she is a Brazilian she has the right to grow up in Brazil, meaning we get to apply for a permanent visa.  We filled out all the paperwork and are waiting for the federal police to do a home visit (to make sure that we're telling the truth).  Her birth was very timely, since we were just denied a renewal for our work visas. Many of you remember how much prayer has gone into our visa situation. It has been difficult to get visas over the years and we thank God that we may finally be at the end of dealing with all that.
Since it looks like we've got the visa under wraps, we have prayerfully decided that it’s time to move out of our apartment. It has been a great place to live, but with no windows to the outside sometimes we feel like we live in a cave.  We are near closing on a house in a neighborhood next to the International School.  It’s small by US standards, but just perfect for us. We hope to close on the house here in the next few weeks!
Our day to day hasn’t changed much. Jeff still teaches at the International School and does communication for churches back in the US.  He's also a great dad. Melody loves spending time with him.  She lights up whenever he comes in the room! Lindsay will return to teaching part-time when the new school year starts in January.  We both still teach English classes and help with other ministries at our church in Lagoa de Itaenga.
2011 wasn’t all high points for us though, Jeff lost his last two living grandparents and we have had some struggles learning what it means to be new parents in a different culture. Overall we feel blessed, but stretched, taught, and disciplined, too! Isn’t that just how life should be? We hope that God has blessed, stretched, taught, and disciplined you in 2011, too! And we pray that he will do the same next year!
Merry Christmas, everybody!
Jeff, Lindsay, and Melody

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Permanent Visa time

It has been a long time coming and it is nice to look back and see that God has always had everything under control.
We found out 8 days ago that our work visa (which was in process to be renewed) was denied. It took them 10 months to review it and decide that they were going to deny the renewal. 4 months ago Melody was born in Brazil and automatically became a Brazilian citizen. So when we got the official telegram in the mail saying we had 15 days to do something about our work visa, we got on the ball and got all our paperwork together to get our permanent visa. Basically there is a law in Brazil that says a baby born in Brazil has the right to grow up in Brazil. Since she can't just hang out in Brazil by herself, her parents are granted permanent visas.

The paperwork was a bit confusing at first, but after a quick visit to the Federal Police office we figured everything out. Two trips to Recife later and it looks like everything is turned in. Now, to wait again. Hopefully this time it will be less than 10 months!

From Melody Anabel Cart Turner

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big News!



You want to hear the big news?!

Yeah, do ya??


We’re pr…

-oud to announce an exciting event!

Cheap trick, I know, but I really am SUPER excited about some upcoming events!

First, October 1st will be a Huge-Blow-Out-Awesome-Fundraiser for our pastor Ricardo and his family.  Here’s some background (to let you know what a great guy our pastor is and what’s up with the situation):

  • Ricardo and Jeff have known each other since Jeff was 9 years old and interned with him for three months in 2003. Ricardo is like a brother to Jeff and we probably wouldn't still be in Brazil if it wasn't for their support and encouragement.
  • Ricardo has been to the U.S. three times before this, but never with his wife and two kids.
  • In August, Ricardo, Kattia, and the kids were denied tourist visas to visit the U.S., and were told that they don’t make enough money or have enough financial investments in Brazil (like a house) to be approved for visas.
  • Ricardo is a church planting pastor who relies on financial support from the U.S. and Brazilian churches. The trip planned was to help raise more support for his family.
Since they won’t be able to make the trip this year, we would like to encourage them by gathering support so that next year when they apply for visas they will be approved. This SUPER EXCITING event will also be the ONLY Indianapolis open house for the director of our ministry, Tele Moraes, while he’s visiting the U.S. in October. 

 Christ Our Shepherd Church of the Brethren
 857 N State Rd 135 Greenwood, IN  46142 (phone # 882-0902)
October 1 at 7PM 

There will be:

  • Yummy, yummy chili
  • Bake sale items
  • Raffles
  • Exclusive videos and interviews of Ricardo’s family & others!
  • A silent auction and other fun things for the whole family!

  If you are incline to cook great chili or would like to offer other items for the silent auction call Jan Miller at 514-3899 to let her know what you would like to contribute!

The second SUPER EXCITING event will be November 17th-December 4th! Lindsay and Melody will be returning to the U.S. for a visit with family and friends. Let us know ASAP if you want to get together with the ladies for a visit!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

14 week Baby and Ministry Life

Lindsay has had this "brilliant" idea recently inspired by a friend of hers and a missionary friend. Basically, our friend has always ran a Colts blog as a hobby, even when he was living overseas. Now, for those of you that know me you already know there is no way I could start a sports blog. She just thought it might be good idea for me to do a movie blog because I always get so, err, what is a good word here, "passionate" about movies. I either LOVE the movie or it was the WORST movie in the whole world. At least that is what Lindsay says I sound like sometimes. So, all that just to say, I am not sure I want to do that. I can barely do a post a month with our blog. I guess time will tell if I do end up doing something like that.

Melody is growing fast and keeps surprising us with cool new things she can do, or new sounds. We have been trying to capture a lot of the new things. So, if you are into watching super cute babies and such you can follow me on youtube.  There will be other ministry videos showing up also of course, but right now it is pretty much getting full of just Melody videos.

Lindsay is taking the semester off from the International School, but she is taking four classes online from Liberty University. That means she will need extra prayer for the time to be able to do all her homework. Melody has not been taking as many naps now which makes it harder for her to do the work. I (Jeff) am back to teaching computers for 1st grade through 9th grade. The cool new thing I am doing this semester is teaching Minecraft  with my four Design classes. It has been a fun experience. I had been playing a lot of a sandbox style game called Terraria and had heard about some teachers doing classes using Minecraft.

Basically Minecraft is a 3d version of Terraria with less monsters. For those of you who are completely lost, they are both sandbox style games, meaning you can gather materials from all over and build almost whatever you want. It is all about exploring, building and crafting. The short video shows a tiny bit of what you can do. I found some amazing resources for teaching minecraft so I have been using that. So far we have just introduced the world and how to move around.

I guess I will leave the big news for last. For those of you who did not even know our plans this will mean nothing but here it goes...
We will not be coming to the US this December.
Ricardo and his family (our pastor and missionary with WRI, who was hoping to come to the US for fundraising) were denied visas and ticket prices are super high right now.  Lindsay and I have decided that it would be a better use of money to stay in Brazil for now and try to go with Ricardo and family next year. My parents even bought a minivan thinking that we could use it to travel around with Ricardo. They are in California right now and needed to buy a vehicle anyway, but it was just an extra bit to add to the disappointment. I guess it will be there for next year, Lord willing. 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

We're enjoying life with our almost 2 month old

So we're enjoying life with our almost 2 month old. Here's some adorable pictures...

4th of  July

Melody was born on this guy (Caleb)'s birthday!

That's not all though...
There are  lots of Americans coming and going. Next week promises to be a busy one - starting tomorrow! The churches in the town where our church is (Lagoa de Itaenga) are doing a prayer walk around the city tomorrow all morning and afternoon. Three churches are getting together with ours to walk around the town and cover it in prayer! Super exciting! Please join with us in praying for our community.
Then Monday and Tuesday we will have a mini VBS with a group of Americans and next week we will be lanching our new Sunday School program for kids (starting before the service instead of during).

Please keep us in prayer. This is my (Lindsay's) first time really getting back to helping with the ministry since the baby was born!

Also if any of you ladies want to hear the birth story (it's a little long, rambling, and a bit "graphic") then click here

Saturday, July 02, 2011

What's going on now.

Well,  Jeff is off at the monthly Community Church pastor’s breakfast and I’m home with a sleeping Mel-Bel.  Time to write a blog post! 

It’s only the second of July and we’ve already seen one short-term missions team come and go.  Three more to go!   Our roles are pretty low-key this year.  By pretty low key, I mean we get to pick and choose what we want to participate in and help with.  Emily has lead organizing and planning on our end for the various outreaches, a VBS, the English Camp, and the Youth Conference.  We have some great groups coming down and they have done a lot of planning in advance on the US side.  

Jeff has an intern, Robyn Smuck, to follow the groups around to document their time here and update the ministry blog. It’s been great! Jeff still has a few projects, but now he won’t be away from home for long hours every day when the groups are here.  

I am so blessed to have Jeff around so much to help with the baby.  He has been awesome: helping cook, cleaning, and doing the “night shift” with the baby so that I can sleep! 

Ok, well I am going to try to get a little nap in, but I’ll leave you readers with a picture of Jeff's most recent project. 

Next time I'll post more Melody pictures.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Life with a baby.

So, lots of parenting going on this month. Melody's doing great, a bit colicky, but healthy.  Us? Well, yeah, we're trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. A lot of holding and rocking... and watching the baby in the crib to see if she's breathing, you know, typical new parent stuff.

Ok! Time for more pictures!
Escaping the swaddle and screaming, like she does.

Me & Mel

Jeff & Mel

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Melody Anabel Cart Turner

Melody was born on May 18th at 7:50pm. She weighed 2.72 kilos (6 lbs) and was 48.5cm (19 inches) long. She has already gained back her birth weight and then some. She is doing well and so are we. We have been blessed to have Julie (Jeff's sister) and Jan (Lindsay's mom) here to help with the baby and food. At the end of June Steve and Ann will be here for the short-term mission trips and Ann will mainly help with Melody. We feel so loved and blessed by everybody that has given gifts and helped us at this time.
Now more pictures!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

What happened to April?

Wow. Another month slipped by without an update. School. Church. Ministry. And of course we're still waiting for Melody Anabel to make her appearance. 

If you missed our recent prego Lindsay pictures on Facebook or the nursery here are a couple for ya:

 (yes that is an Ewok swaddled in the crib - doesn't he look cute)

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Pros and Cons of having a baby in Brazil

The Pros
Cost: The average cost of having a baby without insurance in a hospital in the US is $9,000 (normal & natural) to $25,000 (complications or caesarian). Our cost here without insurance? - US$4500 (same price even if there are complications) in a great hospital with a great doctor. 

Control over medical documents: In Brazil the patient has total control over their own medical documents and information. I retain all copies of blood tests, vaccinations, etc. and I have to give permission for a doctor to make copies to put in their records.  It’s nice not having to deal with a complicated process to transfer 

Line perks: I get to head to the front of every line or get in the special preferential line (a line for pregos, the elderly, disabled, or parents with babies in arms) at the grocery store, movies, clinics, hospitals (seriously everywhere). Wait time for anything is usually cut in half! 

Kids are more obedient at school:  Most people seem to think that pregnant women are the most fragile creatures on earth! Without prompting the kids at school are constantly telling each other to be good because the baby is sleeping and they don’t want to scare her (ha!).

Friends help: I have really felt God’s love from some of our friends down here.  Friends at school have stepped up to take over my classes so that I can back down from teaching early.  Other friends have recommended doctors, made phone calls for us, and helped us figure out the medical system here. And some good friends from church and school are throwing a Chá de Fralda (literally a “diaper tea”) for baby and me tomorrow! 

Visa: A shiny new PERMINANT visa will come along with our shiny new baby!

The Cons
Different medical system: It’s difficult getting used to a different way of doing medicine. Do you get to pee in cup at your doctor’s office? Not me. I have to go to a special clinic to have blood drawn and urine samples, etc. and another separate clinic to have ultrasounds done. Usually there is a long wait to get into the ultrasound clinic (no preferential line if everyone is pregnant). Then it’s usually a 3 to 10 day wait to find the results of the tests. Then back to the doctor for the reading of the results.  Where does all this take place? Usually an hour from home in Recife. 

Old-fashioned ideas about pregnancy: Again, most people seem to think that pregnant women are the most fragile creatures on earth! I can’t pick up a pencil without being scolded.  Suddenly I am incapable of driving, walking anywhere, or carrying anything!  I was told by another person not to wear belts because it could give my baby a cleft lip.  Although I do appreciate how nice people are about opening doors for me.

Different idea about caesarian births:  People usually have two questions when they see that you are pregnant here. First, what’s the baby’s name? Second, are you having a normal birth or caesarian birth?  80% of women in Brazil have a caesarian birth in private hospitals. And 30-50% of women in public hospitals have a caesarian. These are 90% elective procedures.  It’s been tough to convenience people that I really am going to have a natural birth, Lord willing.  Many hospitals here have to adapt their caesarian operating room for normal birthing room!  Luckily, my doctor is very much on my side with the normal birth plan, but if something does go wrong everything is well equipped to perform a caesarian! 

Far from home: We are pretty far from many of our friends and family, so many people won’t get to meet little Melody Anabel until long after she is born. But technology and transportation provides some advantages! Some friends and family there are throwing me an over-Skype baby shower!  We will also be blessed to have Julie (Jeff’s sister) here to help out in May, along with my mom. Then Jeff’s mom will be visiting shortly after! God is so good. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Now I have seen it all

Our church has been having issues with the guitar that is used for worship recently. So, they borrowed a guitar but it needed a 9 volt battery for the sound to go through the sound system. So again they found someone who had a rechargeable 9 volt battery. Well, the problem was the battery was not charged and it was 5 minutes before worship time. They did not have the charger either. Now our church is in a small town, so there is no Wal-Mart or really any store open on a Sunday. In my mind that means tough luck we won't be using the guitar, but this is Brazil we are in. Next thing I know the guitarist is asking me to pop the hood of Pastor Ricardo's car and he has the 9 volt in hand with a electrical wire sticking out of the positive side of the battery. That's right he used the car battery to jump start/recharge the 9 volt battery. The battery actually worked after that. He got through 3 out of the 4 songs before it lost its charge again.

I am continually amazed at what they can repair here and how MacGyverish people can become.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Lazy Days

Okay, confession time. 

We have a lot of vacation time here in Brazil.

Between the many celebrated holidays and vacation time we have a lot of downtime here in Brazil.  During the school year there are a number of celebrated holidays off (e.g., Saint John’s Festival and Carnival).  We also have the months of July and January (from Christmas to February 1st) off of school. I’ve never really calculated it, but it seems that we probably have at least 10 days more time off than the average school teacher in the US.  

And I’m not going to lie we usually don’t do a lot during breaks.  Sure sometimes there are church events and banquets, but they aren’t the norm.  

There are times before a vacation where we feel like we have some project, church outreach, or school obligation going on all time.  For some people (extroverts I suppose) this is exciting and invigorating, but for us (we’re somewhat introverts) it’s exhausting and tense. 

After spending most of the day at school sometimes we feel too exhausted to go out with friends and minister to people.  It seems like during our vacation time God gives us the energy and time to do more of that.  And more often than not we get to reconnect with family and friends from the US during vacations.  Last January my folks came for a visit and this year Jeff’s family is visiting.  During July (and sometimes January) there are short-term mission groups visiting. 

I think the biggest benefit of the breaks, for us and others in ministry here, is a time to reconnect to God and refocus our ministry goals.  We return from the break energized.  We do a lot of preparation and refocusing on what God’s plan is for our ministry.

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. -Exodus 33:14