Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


it has been an incredible month!

our huge adventure this month was the trip down SOUTH we took with the interns. amanda and carol needed to renew their tourist visa, so we headed towards URUGUAY,
 and made a heck of road trip out of our 7 days! 

first we stopped in Curitiba, a city i spent 6 of my growing up years in. Arguably the most beatiful city in brazil, once considered the ecological capital of the country with record parks per capita! we did a rush tour of my top 4 spots, then headed to Porto Alegre (POA) 
moments in curitiba


here are some reasons why:

MATT & WALESKA - an incredible missionary couple that is developing home churches in POA. the nights were full of inspiring conversations about the future of the church and our role in brazil.... conversations such as these give me a renewed gusto for the ministry of the Kingdom!
matt and waleska on the right - sharing a great meal w/ us!

THE CHACARA - matt works with a rehab program called The Chacara, very similar to Sitio Shalom. our group went to visit the place, and we fell in love with the ppl and their love for God and longing for the Holy Spirit. Mark stayed at the program for a couple of days, interviewed the directors, spent time with the guys, and came back with a bigger and better vision for the work at Sitio Shalom!

(translation: i don't smoke! i don't drink! i died to the world. i was born for God. I live for Jesus.) 

THE BLUMES - there are some ppl that it takes a whole 2 minutes to know that you absolutely love them and could be entertained by them forever. that's the blumes in our life! before this trip to POA, our face-to-face interactions with them had been 5 minutes in a parking lot as we left the missionary conference in january. and yet, they seem like old friends (well, kevin IS old, but just an old fart, not old friend) .... we arrived in POA just in time to welcome their 6th child into the craziness! yep, 6.
it's the one family that just being around them makes us want to have 6 kids.
we shared our stories, and laughed, and cooked, and played games, and ate and ate.
the oldest (brownwyn, 17) and the youngest (giovanni, 4 days) 
carys during home church
kevin demonstrating his eating skills (as you can see, benay has learned to ignore him)
don't let Ansley's angelic face fool you!
this trip has guided and changed some of our visions for our minsitry and church leadership here in Itu. Thru God we keep having new experiences and new conversations and meeting new people who show us a new love. and we are being molded at every new turn.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

365 days ago...

365 days ago we were at the airport, with 24,535 pieces of luggage (including mark's incredible ability to enter a plane with 5 carry-ons), saying good-bye to everything that been familiar and close and a part of our lives for the previous 3 years in Buckeye-land.

we were sad, torn, scared, ecstatic, anxious, dreamy, thrilled.........................................................................................and every month has exceeded our expectations, and God has become closer, more powerful, and more beautiful.

thank you for walking the journey with us.

* to kim, scott, laura, cole, dan & sue: you were there hugging us, crying with us and rejoicing with us! we thank you for being such a special part of our lives! =)

looking forward to many more years,


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

just one piece of news

wow! it's crazy how after 10 days without blogging we get lost in the amount of stories we want to share with you.

we've been to Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Montevideo (URUGUAY), Indaiatuba and Campinas since our last post. and each of these stops carries some amazing events and ppl! yes, we will take the time soon to post pictures and tell you about our favorite moments....

... but for now we come asking you a special request: mark was able to go visit Sitio Shalom this afternoon. We had not been there in almost 2 weeks! (due to trips). soon after arriving he learned that Odair is no longer at the program. so sad. for those of you who have not heard of Odair before now, we made friends with him on the streets of Itu, and helped him into Sitio Shalom hoping for recovery (pic of Odair and family in previous post).

please pray that God rescues him from the trap.

with much love, and knowing that God is up to something...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Entering into Rehab

This is going to be quick as I am heading out the door, but I would love to have your prayers these next two days!

As you know I am working with a drug rehabilitation program near Itu. It is a new program and not very well organized yet. Right now I am in Porto Alegre where another similar program with much more experience is in service. The next two days I will stay at this second program, two days, one night, to learn as much as I can and to take that knowledge back to Sitio Shalom. Pray that I will have open eyes and that the Lord will show me the things He would have us put into practice back at the Sitio. Thank you!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

12 - 3 - 1

i feel like alot of my conversations this past week have been about friendships. here's what's been in my heart...

first of all, Mark and i are so grateful for all the people that are a part of our life here in Brazil. we have friends that are 4 years old (her name is Mel, she is Jeff and Myuwa's daughter), we have friends at 6 (Joab, he is Joncilei and Karia's son. very shy kid who is just now starting to even look at me - so i flirt with him at every chance =); we have friends that are 14 & 15, kids that are not only part of the youth group, but part of our personal lifes (like Izaias). We also have friends that are our own age, young professionals trying to figure out what the heck they want from life, and we are anxious to walk thru this journey with them and help them dream big (like Fabiana and Bruno).

We are surrounded by wiser (not older, but wiser, right?) friends who are such a great counselors and pour love and truth into our lives (like the elders of the church).

we are blessed.

and within this multitude, there is closer group forming around us. it's the friends we have that are running the race at the same speed and in the same direction. there is a connection at a deeper level - the spirit level. Like Jesus and his 12. From a plethera, Jesus had 12 closer mates.

i don't know if i can point to 12 exactly, but it's close. these friends are more like partners.

we've had the imense blessing of hosting this group in our home several times in the past month. not all of us even live in Itu. there are 3 that live in other cities, but they travel to be together quite often. and when we are together, i am recharged.

last weekend was like this. we eat, we laugh, we watch The Office, we talk, we talk, we go deeper and we talk more, then we eat some brownies, worship together, serve together. and it's a beautiful thing.

Jesus also had the closer 3 within the 12. and it's true, even within this amazing group of closer friends, there are the few that we would adopt if we could (yeah, they are our age, but we are the only married couple =).

and within those few, there is my one: mark. every chance i get to talk to a girl friend about marriage, i encourage them to do what i did: marry the best person you have ever met. i just don't think it's fair that they don't realize i got the best personCheck Spelling. the gift of having my best-of-best-friend with me every step of the way, to experience and venture thru life with is wowing.

and please know that so many of you have become a part of who we are today.

our story is full of friends and family that have loved us and walked the journey with us.

and the Lord operates thru you to transform me.

may He keep bringing friends into your lives and mine.