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

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