Saturday, September 29, 2007

Quick proogress report -

This will be a quick note as I am running out of time before we have to be up again in the morning to prepare for tomorrows church service. Ali and I are in Belo Horizonte right now, where tomorrow we will be attending the 40ith year celebration of the church here. We are staying with a missionary couple here who has been serving in Brazil for the past 28 years. Getting to know F.H. and Becky Gates has been a wonderfull experience for us.

Thank you for your prayers for the Bible study we led Thursday night (mentioned in previous post), it went amazingly well. I did not expect to do this, but I ended up leading the whole thing in Portugese! That seems like a strange thing to do on accident, I know, but... it happens. I guess. We had planned for Ali to translate for me as I spoke in English, but prior to the study I was saying a few things to the group in Portugese, and so as we commenced, I made the transition in Portugese, and just kept on rolling! It was a very odd experience as I was shocked at my own ability! Granted the listeners had to be a little creative as they patched together some of my broken phrases, but they were gracious and willing. So thank you so much for praying that we would be helped along as we begin our ministry here! I certainly have felt His blessing through the success of my language training.

Thank you and please continue to remember us in your prayers, it is truely a crutial support factor in establishing our ministry here. Good night and God bless.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

our one week anniversary in Itu!

Exactly a week ago we were on a plane departing from Columbus to start a new life here in Brazil. What a week it's been! I (Mark) have been working a lot on my Portugese. I understand quite a bit, when speaking to someone one on one, I generally understand about 60 or 70 percent. When Brazilians talk to Brazilians, it gets pretty tough to keep up.

I had the opportunity to use my Portugese this last Sunday in our church service by reading the scripture for the congregation. This was tough to do! Reading is harder for me than talking as letters in Portuguese make significantly different sounds than they do in English. It was a good streaching opportunity for me for our first week, and great motivation to jumpstart my learning process.

In addition to learning Portugese, I am going to have to work on my soccer skills too! It has not taken long to learn that a guy in Brazil who does not speak Portugese and is a beginner at soccer is going to have a rough go trying to feel like a man. :)

Today Ali and I will be leading a Bible study in Antenor's (Ali's father and the minister of the church here) stead as he will be out of town working with a evangelistic campaign in Rio. We will be speaking to a diverse group in their spiritual background. Two members are Catholic, a few have spiritist roots and others have various Christian affiliattions. The group has been progressing through the book of John. We will be teaching on the first 14 verses in John 14. Of central focus will be his promise to prepare a place and to return for us, and his statement that, "I am th way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Please pray for us as we share His word in this, and many subsequent gatherings.

Thank you for your prayers for us in this work! It is daunting at times to get settled in here, but we are reaffirmed as we see the Lord's handy work helping us throughout the process.

a request from Ali:

please pray for my friend's mother. Amy, one of my closest friends since sophmore year at ACU (long live the Kojies), just contacted me a couple of days ago sharing the terrible news that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Amy's husband, Mike, just moved from Dallas to San Diego and will be stationed in Iraq in the beginning of January. Amy stayed behind in Dallas to finish law school.
Needless to say, she is hurting right now.
For all of our prayer warriors, please lift her up - and her family - in your prayers.

We love you! And miss you dearly. =)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

...and we made it to Itu!

we landed at 8:30 in the Sao Paulo airport! with the total of 10 hours of sleep over the previous 3 nights, we were dead when we arrived on Brazilian soil! we went straight to bed after we arrived, and naped for 4 hours!
the church planned a welcoming party for us last night, and it was so much fun! we feel so encouraged and supported by the people here!

today we spent several hours trying to unpack our bags and get a little more settled in. unfortunately in the process, Mark twisted his back wrong, and has been in bed-rest for the past few hours. Please pray for his healing, so he can start his portuguese lessons and going to the gym with all the guys!

we miss you, Ohio.
we miss you, Texas (and have for 3 years now)

looking up,

ali and mark

Sunday, September 16, 2007

All Wrapped Up

One more sleep...

It is 12:30AM now on the day of our departure for Brazil. What a strange and quickly passing segment of time this is! We have sold both our cars, packed our bags (pretty much), and we just completed our final gathering with friends (pictured) before our departure. So now all that's left is to get on the plane.

This last week has given Ali and I tremendous insight into what a loving community we are surrounded by. I think that moving to a far off land for an indefinite amount of time is a little like living through your own funeral, you get to hear everyone pay their final respects to you. I highly recommend it!

Ali and I have been so blessed over these last couple of years in Ohio. Living close to my family is something that I have loved and will greatly miss (to the left Ali is pictured with my oldest brother, Danny). Leading the youth group has enriched our lives beyond what I can say. And through times of peace, and through times of anguish, we have seen the Lord faithfully, and at times miraculously provide for our needs. What a great God we serve!

So now comes the move. May the Lord bless and keep you as we go. We will update you soon from our new home in Itu, Brazil.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

one down, one to go

this is a bitter sweet posting...
today we sold our Jeep! my dream car!
but, it's also a blessing to have it off our hands.
i was telling mark the other day, i feel like we are playing a hot-potato game with our cars -- trying to pass them along asap.

thankfully we got full price for Azul (jeep's pet name)

we still have our honda, so if you are interested let us know. =)

bags to pack,

PS- this photo is from a fun night with our youth group. We packed 10 people in that Jeep! We'll miss you guys!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

T minus 13 days. yikes.

i've been itching to write down all the places we have been since July, so i can justify myself for NOT being packed for an international move yet.
here it goes:
Texas, 3 different cities;
Brazil, 3 different cities;
Washington state, for my dear Sara;
Washington DC, for our dear Bruno;
Michigan, to and from Canada;
Canada, for a family reunion;
Indiana, Rafa Salerno;
Illinois, for the Harings, consulate, and the Farm Progress Show;
back thru Indiana, for Fares and Maria...
and finally we survived the car ride back to Columbus, OH.

ok. that helped some.
but now i have to get on the ball.
Mark's main responsibilities is to sell both cars, and that should keep him busy for a while. i will spend the next day reorganizing pictures that have gathered in shoe boxes over our last 6 years together. (christmas of 2005 i organized my mother's pics that had gathered in shoe boxes for 20 years... and promised myself i would never let it go that long. so better take advantage of having no rugrats right now =)

here i go. wish me luck. =)

an overwhelmed Ali