Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Newsletter and Prayer Updates

Highlights:
            - We have seen much improvement in our language skills.
            - We still have a lot to learn!
             - This month has contained moments of joy and grief, all touched by the loving hand of God.



Dearest Friends, 


 It is difficult to believe that we have almost completed half of our time in Brazil.  The past three months have been full to overflowing with the grace of God and His infinite goodness.  The past three months in Brazil, we have experienced Him through:
  • His joy as you rallied around us praying us through illness, injury and sadness.
  • His compassion as we experienced the death of David’s great-Uncle Eston and continue to pray for his great-Aunt Lottie (What a great example as they had been married for over 60 years!)
  •  His faithfulness as we continue to see abundant provision and preparation for Mozambique.
  • His teaching as our brains try to retain, understand and communicate more and more in Portuguese. (We definitely have seen His sense of humor in this as well!)
  • His grace as we daily seek to love well in His name and for His glory.
  • His love as we invest in and are blessed by friendships and a faithful body of believers here.
Most of our days continue to be full of Portuguese classes and studying.  Part of our class each day is to describe what we did the day before.  It never fails that one of us will say “Eu estudei.”  (I studied.)  We have seen a great improvement in our language skills over the past three months. We have gone from understanding nothing and only being able to say “Oi” to being able to hold simple conversations and understand much of what is spoken to us.  Still, each day, in some way or another, we are reminded that we have MUCH to learn to be able to serve and live in Mozambique. Thank God that our time is not yet done!

During our free time, we have enjoyed spending some time as a family exploring the city and surrounding areas.   We visited asmall town, Jaoquim Egidio, nearby and journeyed down a small walking path, enjoying the green space and beauty of God’s creation.   

In contrast, we also recently visited SaoPaulo, “uma cidade grande.”  In Sao Paulo, we visited several museums including the Museum of Futebol (Soccer) and Butantan, a snake reserve and research center.  

At this point it is our plan to stay in Brazil studying Portuguese until the end of July.  At the end of May/early June, we will re-evaluate to ensure that our language skills are good enough to be able to effectively be used by God in Mozambique.  Please be praying for wisdom and clarity as we seek God’s perfect timing in this.  Once we return to the States, we will be there for about one month working on visas and visiting around before heading to Mozambique.  

Thank you again for all the ways you have loved us so well during our time in Brazil.  Your encouragement, prayers, financial support, emails and letters are a priceless gift to our family.  We pray often for you and would love to know how to pray for you specifically.  May God be gracious to you and bless you, making His face to shine upon you, so that His name will be known in all the nations! (Ps 67)

For His glory,
David, Wendi, Caleb and Nathan


Join us in praising God for:
 
Daily improvement in our Portuguese.

Deepening friendships.

Glimpses of home through letters, packages, emails and texts.

The ability to hear and study God's word in our own heart language.  (While our sermons on Sundays are in Portuguese, we try to listen to at least one during the week in our heart language.)

Technology and the ability to communicate with those far away.

Join us in praying for:
Language acquisition and retention- We have much to learn and are starting to get to some very complicated (grammar) topics.

The boys to be able to communicate and get along well with the children at school.

Courage to share the gospel boldly and wisdom to know God's timing.

Us to rest & trust in the sovereignty of God.

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

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Short List About a Big Place

A snapshot of SP from the Memorial to Latin America


"I couldn't sleep.  I was up so late, till my brain just couldn't take it anymore," said the excited Nathan as he greeted me last Friday morning.  The day had come that he had been waiting for...a day trip to São Paulo.  





Awesome "walk-on" map of South America




For those of you (like us) who don't know much about São Paulo, here is the short list of things you should know:





Caleb checking out the map


 1.  It is big. Really.big.  GINORMOUS as Nathan described it.  It is not only the largest city in Brazil, but the largest city in the entire southern hemisphere.  Big.really.big. (By the way, trying to explain the meaning of ginormous to a non-english speaker can be a very interesting language learning moment.)


Nathan being "eaten" by a wood carved alligator





2.  It is full of people.  Really.full.  CROWDED as I would describe it.  2nd most populous city in the Americas, top 10 in the world.  Lots.of.people.   




The Futebol Museum is built under the stands of this stadium.




3.  It is full of cars.  Cars.Buses.Motorcycles.  I thought Campinas (the city we live in) has a lot of traffic. It is nothing compared to São Paulo.  Streets.full.everywhere.




 
 
Just some of the snakes at Butantan

 4. It is FUN.  We set off to  São Paulo with a group from our language school and had a great day!  We visited the Memorial to Latin America, the Futebol (Soccer) Museum, Butantan (a snake/ anti-venom research  facility) and the Portuguese Language Museum.  It was a great day to learn a little more about Brazil and the wonderful people who call it home.  






At the end of the day, we returned home exhausted and all ended up going to bed early.  

Before bed I asked Nathan what he enjoyed most.  He said "Tudo!" (Everything!)  Glad to know that his sleepless night was worth it....and glad to know that we all slept much better after our busy day seeing São Paulo.









Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Just Want More...

One day this week when we went to pick the boys up from school, Caleb's teacher mentioned to me that he had gotten knocked down by a few of the other boys in the class. She didn't know exactly what had happened, but she assured me that Caleb had not done anything wrong and that she would talk to the other boys.  (At least I think that was the gist of what she said seeing how the entire conversation was in Portuguese.)

While this incident was really not a huge deal, it has weighed heavily on this momma's heart for more reasons than one.  Talking to David about it later, tears sprang to my eyes as I explained to him why...

"I just want more for him."

Later as I was praying, this phrase echoed through my thoughts as I wondered how often God thinks this about me.  As a parent, we want good for our children.  We want them to know the saving grace of Jesus, to enjoy school, to have great friends, to learn well and so much more.  Even more so, God as our loving Father and Creator wants what is best for us.  Yet often He is left saying,

"My child, I just want more for you."

When we choose anxiety over peace...

"My child, I just want more for you."

When we choose indifference over love...

 "My child, I just want more for you."

When we choose to find fulfillment in things of the world over His presence...

"My child, I just want more for you."

When we arrange/manipulate situations instead of waiting patiently for Him to move...

"My child, I just want more for you."

When we settle for anything less than Him,

 "My child, I just want more for you."

That this truth would fill our hearts and our imaginations, transforming our lives!  May we not be as C.S. Lewis describes, children happily playing in a mud puddle while being offered a grand trip to the seaside. Friends, God truly wants so much for us than we are settling for daily.  May I live, may we live, in such a way that God no longer whispers, 

"My child, I want more for you."

May we refuse to settle for anything less and may our hearts forever cry,

"My Father, I want more of YOU."

  

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Day Out





There is something about getting a day out of the city...a day when the open spaces and vibrant greens of lush trees whisper to the soul. 


A day where God seems to lean in close, saying, "Taste and see. I am good. Look and listen. This is good and this good is for you."




There is something about leaving the glaring noise and the rush of the city behind that calms the heart.

A day in which car horns and shouts are replaced by the sound of rushing water and a gentle breeze.




 A day out when friends leave busy schedules behind for a bit, taking time to share laughs, make memories and bring the joy of sweet fellowship to life.

 

 There is something about seeing God's amazing creations up close- even if that includes giant spiders all over the place.

A day when chickens, monkeys, cows, horses  and really, really big spiders bring forth exclamations of "Look! See all that God has done."




This past Saturday, we got to experience a little of all of these as we took a bus 20 minutes out of the city to a nearby town called Joaquim Egidio. 

We walked a trail through the forest, enjoyed each others' company and ate lunch while watching monkeys eat theirs. 

 



Overall, it was a day enjoyed by all and used by God to bring peace to our somewhat frazzled souls.  It was a day out of the city, but deeply within the good grace of our awesome Creator and Lord. 

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