Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mangos, Dragon Fruit & Salmon Pizza

One of the best parts of visiting or living in a new place is trying the local foods.  Some of our favorites in Brazil so far include...

Lots and lots of yummy, juicy mangos which get all over our faces, hands and shirts if we are not careful. 

Brigadeiros- chocolate candies, native to Brazil.  So good and easy to make that our lives will never be the same again after eating them.

We have enjoyed ordering pizza a few times.  There are some of the traditional toppings (no pepperoni though) and many more unique pizza toppings: heart of palm, peas, boiled eggs...and then some we haven't tried: corn and salmon to name a couple.

Many wonderful, fresh tropical fruits...

like persimmons  (which I baked in a quick bread after they became overly ripe)

Dragon fruit...which is really pretty, but fairly tasteless on its own...

...but goes great with some other fruits to make a fabulous fruit salad..

Some new manioc, which fries up kind of like a potato...

But will make you "muito forte" (very strong) according to the fruit market man.  He convinced me to buy it and to try it although I had NO idea what it was to start with.

Needless to say, we have yet to go hungry and look forward to trying even more yummy foods...though not so much the salmon pizza.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Doze Doce (12 sweets) and Feb's News

- We have settled in and begun classes at language school in Brazil.
- Caleb and Nathan are attending a local Portuguese school...and loving it!
- Your prayers continue to be answered as God has brought us friends, a new church and opportunities to share His love.

Graça e paz nossos amigos!

 We pray this finds you personally experiencing the power and presence of God in your daily lives.  We have seen God move wonderfully over the last few months and much has happened since our last newsletter.  On December 30, we arrived in Brazil to begin our language learning. Both Brazil and Mozambique were Portuguese colonies at one point.  Speaking Portuguese will enable us to work with our colleagues and better minister to people once we arrive in Mozambique. 

Our language school is in the city of Campinas, Brazil.  Campinas is a “suburb” of São Paulo with over 1 million people living in it.  We have had to adjust to city life.  Since we do not have a car, we are thankful that we are in walking distance of everything- grocery stores, parks, restaurants, our schools.  Still, more than once, we have all wished for a backyard and some immediate outdoor space in which the boys can romp.  

During our time in Brazil, our primary job is to learn as much Portuguese as possible.  David and Wendi attend language school in the morning, Monday through Friday.  While we are in school, the boys are attending a local private school which is entirely in Portuguese.  They have adjusted splendidly and are truly enjoying their time there.  Their classes are very small (less than 10 children each) and their teachers very loving.  When asked if they understand their teacher and friends, Caleb and Nathan have both said, “No, but we can still play together.”

We have had some funny language moments so far.  One day during the first week of Caleb’s school, Caleb came home telling us he needed to bring twelve lollipops to class the next day.  He didn’t know why, but his teacher had made him draw a picture of 6 kids and 12 lollipops.  Wanting Caleb to be prepared, we bought him a small box of candies and took them to school the next morning.  Before class we explained in our broken Portuguese that Caleb had brought his “doze doce” (twelve sweets).  The teacher smiled big and laughed out loud.  She then proceeded to tell us that the 12 lollipops was simply a math story for the children.  We all got a good laugh out of it and Caleb’s class got candy, so they were very happy.  This is only one funny language moment and surely will not be the last!

While our primary job in Brazil is to learn Portuguese, it is not God’s primary purpose for us or our time here.  They primary purpose of our lives is (and always should be) to bring Him glory by making disciples in His name.  To this end, we have prayed for God to begin relationships in which we can share His love and walk with others along their faith journey.  While this intimidating enough to pray for in your own language, it has been extremely challenging to pray for in a place where you sound like a two year old when you speak.  God has been gracious enough to introduce us to several people who speak English (along with many other languages.)   Please join us in praying that these relationships deepen and that we are able to share with them the transforming truth that Jesus is the Savior of all.  

One of the relationships with which God has opened doors is a couple whom practice a religion that has taken God’s Word and added/subtracted to it to fit their purposes.   A missionary friend of ours, studying in the same language school, has met with this couple for several months and recently asked David to come and meet with them as well.   While we were discussing their beliefs, we realized the importance once more of have God’s words in a translation that is clear, accurate and speaks to the hearts of those reading.  

We are honored to be a part of God’s work to make this happen in Mozambique.  We are thankful that God has made this possible by using each of you as prayer and financial partners in this journey.   While this past month has been challenging and joy filled, we have often thought about you and have been thus encouraged.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being used by God to bring His word to the nations!

         Com Carinho,
                       David, Wendi, Caleb and Nathan Richards

Join us in praising God for:
Safe travels and a very nice apartment

Quick adjustment for the boys at school

New friends

Being able to order pizza (it is harder than you might think!)

Technology and the ability to communicate with those far away

Join us in praying for:
Language acquisition and retention

Healthy bodies and restful sleep.  (3/4 of us are fighting a slight cough/virus.)

New friendships to deepen and the courage to share the gospel boldly.

Us to rest & trust in the sovereignty of God.

Blank pages of Bibles all around the world to be filled.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Mini-Oasis

In the midst of this vast urban city, there is a quiet, tranquil park called Bosque.  As you walk under towering palm trees, along paved paths cut through dense tropical vegetation, the city fades away and for a moment you can imagine that you are in the Brazilian rainforest.

This past weekend, we were able to visit this oasis (which happens to be a free city park) and see some of the animals that call it home.

Not only did we get to see some beautifully colored parrots, a couple of lions, leopards and a hippo, but we also spotted some creatures that run free through the park. 

As we were walking along, Caleb shouted, "Look! There are monkeys in the trees!"  Sure enough, two small monkeys had ventured down to take a look at the crazy Americans.

As we were watching the monkeys, David spotted another of the free roaming animals, which he fondly deemed a "weasel-type thing."  (We have been told what its actual name is, but I promptly forgot.)  Seeing the two animals next to each other inspired us to break into singing, "All around the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel."  We truly enjoyed seeing these unique animals in their natural habitat.   

Another amazing aspect of our visit, was "the tree."  While we were walking through the park, we wondered for a bit off of the main path and came across what might be one of the biggest trees we have ever seen.

This tree was about 8ft across and hundreds of feet tall.  We have no idea how old the tree is, but thought that it easily could have been around during the lifetime of Christ.

Kind of a crazy, awesome thought that it has survived throughout much of history.

 Overall, we truly enjoyed our time together at this mini-oasis!

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