Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sad surprize..

Unfortunately, I just found out that I am leaving today. We had plans today to go to Audrey's house, and tomorrow me and the Bailey girls were all going to go out to get our nails done before I left, but apparently the ticket meant TOMORROW when it said 1:30 in the morning. And that is only about twelve hours away. So now I have to pack to leave and say very quick goodbyes to everyone here. Please pray for a safe flight! I will write again from Thailand to tell of all I learned on this amazing trip.

'Big' Church

Instead of talking to the children's ministry, I talked to the entire church this Sunday. My Dad had helped me make a slide show of our church in Thailand. I told the story of our church and talked about the ministry back home, and then Kent asked me to pray for their Brazilian church in Thai. After that, he had someone else pray for our Thai church in Portuguese. Several people told me afterwards that they were very encouraged by our church's story. Praise the Lord that He can use even me to bring that encouragement!
After church a lot of us went out to eat pizza together. I had already eaten, so I had a piece of their famous chocolate pizza. Because I leave on Wednesday, this was my last good bye to several people. Isabella, Pedro, Priscilla, the other Pedro, Allani, and many others, I may never see again; or not for a long time. I talked to Allan for awhile, and the encouragement he gave me I will never forget.
Today we went into the city to buy supplies for Grace's party, and then we spent the rest of the day working on the Bailey's Bazaar; or garage sale.
I am very tired, and I have a long day planned tomorrow! But with so little time left, I hope to make the most of every minute of it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I had a huge lunch at Angel's house today. On Sundays, her whole family comes together to eat; her parents, grandparents, her three sisters, and their husbands. Grace and I joined them for a delicious meal, and then we came back to the Bailey's to watch a movie and prepare for the slide show. I am going to talk about Thailand at their church today, so I am very excited.

Here are some fun things I have learned about Brazilians:

-Brazilians love to brush their teeth. In fact, Every one of Grace's friends has a toothbrush at her house for when they stay here. When we go out to eat together, they almost always go to the bathroom afterwards to brush. Sometimes there is even dental floss in public bathrooms that you can pull out and use for free.

- During the World Cup, the entire city shuts down. Everyone gets off of work for the games. Children are out of school, but on some days when they still have to go, they watch the games together at school.

-You have to be 18 to drive here, but it is an extremely long and hard process. There is a two day driving course that you must complete and very hard tests.

- The legal drinking age here is 18, but this law is not followed very stringently. On a girl's 15th birthday party, (which is the biggest and most important birthday, signifying entering into adulthood) they usually have something alcoholic to drink, and this is generally accepted.

- Everyone greets here with a hug and a kiss. Even if you just met the person, you use this greeting. It is not usually a real kiss, though, typically people just kiss 'into the air'.

- Brazilians eat rice and beans with pretty much every meal, with the usual exception of breakfast. One guy I was talking to said he wanted to come to Thailand, but changed his mind when he heard that we don't eat beans with our rice there. For breakfast, people mostly eat cake.

- People are classified according to their wealth here. Rich people do not associate with poor people.

- Most Brazilians live with their family until they get married, and sometimes even then. In college the students do not live in dorms, they stay with their families.

- The two main soccer teams in this area are Gallo and Cruzerro. (I cheer for Gallo!) Cruzerro has been winning lately, so you can hear people shouting CRUZERRO all the time. After a game, the fans of the winning team will hold down their horns as they drive on the street in their triumph.

- Thumbs up means everything here; thank you, yes, good job, ok?, hey, etc. You do not even have to speak the language, as long as you have one thumb you can say pretty much anything.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Yesterday Angel, Grace and I hopped on a bus to go meet Allan and his group for lunch. During lunch we discussed plans for a skit and activities to do at the orphanage while we wrapped gifts. Allan wants to start a mercy ministry, and his plan is to begin this by building a partnership between his church and a certain Christian orphanage. They have not met yet to talk about the partnership, but for now, we wanted to go to bring some Christmas to the kids.
After playing a game to get to know
all of the kid's names, we performed a fun Christmas skit for them. I was the angel that brought the good news to the Shepherds. Since the narration was in Portuguese, Priscilla, who played Caesar, signaled me when to come and when to leave. The kids enjoyed the skit, especially the donkey. Allan talked for a minute about the gift of Jesus, and then got each one of the kids to give one of the gifts we had brought to someone else.
After that we all played until it was time to go.

The things the children would say were heart wrenching - 'Are you going to take me home with you?' 'You guys should come back soon.' 'Everyone is leaving, why can't I go too?' and much more. We gathered to pray for the kids afterwards.
My prayers for these kids and all who are in their situation continue. I hope that God lays it on all of your hearts to also be praying for children without homes or families. And who knows what else God might lead you to do?!!

Anna's ceremony

Yesterday Diana, Gizelli, Grace and I ate out to talk about the children's ministry. It was a good meeting, though mostly in Portuguese, and afterwards I was able to hear the incredible story of Diana's adoption.
That evening, we went to Anna's graduation ceremony. Audrey, Grace and I were dropped off at her
school, and I was excited to finally meet Anna. We did not get to talk long though, the students sat up at the front of the auditorium for an interesting ceremony. The school she goes to is Catholic because it has better academics than most of the other schools in the city. At first they gave a series of speeches about the teachers, the students, the families, etc. with songs in between that had to do with each speech.
There was a large statue that looked somewhat like a waterfall up front that apparently had water in it.
The religion class had picked out a perfume to represent their school, and they poured this perfume in the water. Then three girls stood up to 'bless' the water, one Catholic, one Presbyterian, and one Jewish. It was very sad, the Catholic and Presbyterian girls both gave speeches about how all religions are good, and it's not important which one you choose as long as you have one. The Jewish girl seemed embarrassed to be up there, and only said 'I agree with them.' After they blessed the water, the teachers went around and sprayed the students and the crowd with this water. Then everyone stood up to say the Lord's Prayer, and we went home. Anna's parents wanted us to go to another ceremony (her cousin's college graduation) but they let us skip out.
At Anna's house, we had a fun time talking, singing and playing guitar together. There is a video of a silly song Anna made up that you can watch on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=196224463917&subj=579758273

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicken Heart

Last night Mr. Kent took me, Grace, Tiffany, Matt, and Pedro (who is Matt's friend and Anna's brother.) to go eat out for helping organize their garage sale. At this restaurant, the strangest but probably the most fun place I have eaten at here, you start off by getting whatever you want at the buffet table. Once you sit down, waiters start dashing to and fro with meats of all different sorts for you to try. The meats are brought on swords- yes, swords- and if you say yes, they slice off a piece for you. There is a little cup holder type thing you keep by your plate. One side of it is green with an open mouth that says sim, or yes. If it is on this side, they will keep bringing you meats. If you flip it to the red nao (no) side with a closed mouth, then they will leave you alone.
I tried the chicken heart. It was not as bad as I expected, in fact, I may have liked the flavor if I didn't know what it was; however, it was very tough.
Today Grace and I will go to meet with Diana and Gizelle about the children's ministry. After we meet, we may go do something together. Tonight, I will meet Grace's friend Anna for the first time. I have not been able to meet her yet because of her tests and studying. Please pray for her as she tests, that she will remember that God has a plan for her, even if she doesn't pass everything she wants to pass. We are meeting her tonight when she gets her diploma. She says it will be boring but it will be a cultural experience nonetheless!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ouro Preto!!!

The Baileys, Tiffany, Audrey, Angel, Gisele and I toured the city of Ouro Preto. Found in the book Ten Thousand Places To See Before You Die, it is an old, beautiful, and unique place that I won't forget. The huge, never ending hills gave us sore muscles we will not forget soon either. The churches were beautiful, and the scenery breathtaking. Ouro Preto is a mining town, so they sold a multitude of different precious stones and rocks.
The Imperial Topaz sold there is mined only in Brazil - you cannot find it in any other place in the world. There were a lot of pretty carvings and such made from soap-stone, a softer, pretty stone that is easy to carve from.The chocolate was probably some of the best I've had- chocolate balls, hot chocolate, chocolate fondue that you cover strawberries with...

We ate at a restaurant made from an old debtor's prison. We took pictures in the gallows, but they are on Angel's camera. They had a lot of carvings of girls staring wistfully off in the distance- apparently they are supposed to be waiting for their lovers, or waiting to have a lover; I'm not sure which one it was.
The second day, we went down in one of the old mines that they let people visit. They stopped actually mining it because they could only find 4-8 ounces of gold for every ton of dirt that they sifted
. To get down into the mine, we rode on a rackety, old, seatbeltless cart that somehow managed to wind its way slowly down the deathly-steep hill. There was a lake in one of the caverns that our guide said people actually go diving in.


Before church on Sunday, Matt, Tiffany and I made sandwiches and snacks for the leadership meeting while Grace met with her group about the children's ministry. After the meeting, church started, and I tried to follow along with the beautiful Portuguese worship. Thankfully, the Portuguese letters are the same as English letters, so I could attempt to read along and pick out a few words that I understood. We listened to part of the sermon, and then we went upstairs to talk to the kids. Grace translated for me, and they had so many questions and were very excited to hear about Thailand, which is so different than Brazil. I brought a bunch of Thai snacks for them to try, and some of the kids liked them a lot, while others could barely take one bite. The Sunday school class all prayed for Thailand. I was very encouraged when afterwards, one of the moms told me that her kid had loved the presentation and were very excited to talk about Thailand and all she had learned.
Audrey said that her little sister went home and told her brother (who hadn't gone) that he had missed a very special day, and she had told him all everything about it as well. So Thailand is being prayed for by little kids in Brazil! How cool is that?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last night I went to church here, and I told the children's Sunday school class about Thailand. But I will have to write about it later- I am about to leave to go on a two day trip to another city with the Bailey family, Angle, Audrey, and maybe some more girls! I will write again soon with lots of pictures!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It is Sunday morning, the Bailey family, Tiffany, and I just finished listening to a sermon on humility. Earlier, we went to the Hippie fair, which was very fun until it started to rain very hard, and we had to leave.
Yesterday morning, Grace and I went to the mall to look around.
That night we went to Margaret's dance, she danced beautifully and it was a lot of fun.

We had planned to spend time with her friend, Audrey, but Audrey called to tell us that she had not passed a test she had taken and so she wanted to stay home.

There is so much pressure put on the people here when they take tests to get into college or to get better jobs. People seemed to be valued based solely on their academics, talents, and skills. To make it worse, the tests they take are extremely difficult and require months of studying the required material. If you do not pass, you may not be able to make it into college. And if you do pass but can't afford that particular college, you still can't go. And if you test on a major you decide you don't want to take, you may be stuck with that major.
For the last test she took, Audrey signed up late, and she found out later that the major that she was put with was only for the Indian-Brazilians. Somehow, she passed the test. She was excited because it is illegal for missionaries to preach to the Indian Brazilians, so she thought that God was giving her this opportunity so that she could reach these Indians. Once she was in, the Indians were angry that she had passed and very cold towards here. (The Indians have a lot of prejudice towards the other Brazilians because of the way they were mistreated in the past) Eventually, Audrey found out that she was not going to be able to stay in that major because those in it were supposed to go home to their own tribes after a few months to do self-studies, and of course, Audrey doesn't have a tribe. So at that time she was already struggling with what God's plan for her really was, and why things were not working out the way she thought they would. NOW, since she did not pass yet another test, it has been even harder for her. Grace and Angel talked on the phone about how to encourage Audrey, and Angel decided to hold a Bible study that afternoon. So yesterday, Angel, Grace, Audrey, and I went to Angel's house.
Angel had the Portuguese translated book Lies Women Believe. The section she chose to study was about circumstances, and how we believe that if we were in different circumstances, then we would be happier, or more successful, etc. We discussed the truth- that circumstances do not make us who we are, but reveal who we are so that God can perfect us and make us more like him. Audrey seemed very encouraged by the study and she sees how she is letting the circumstances affect her. Even seeing the truth, she admitted that it is hard to remember it when things get rough. Please pray for Audrey, pray that she will continue to follow God's will for her, even when she cannot see where she is going, or when the path seems to be broken. She is also struggling with feeling like she is not smart enough or good enough since she did not pass the test, so pray that God will show her His love for her, even when she doesn't feel loved or accepted by the people around her. Also pray that God will help her to have love and not anger, especially towards one boy who was very mean and discouraging to her when she failed.

On a lighter note- Audrey is a very fun and cheerful girl, she is just seeking what God wants to do with her life right now. For the Bible study, Audrey managed to bring a whole bucket of
grapes from her father's vineyard which she claims she carried in her purse. We ate so many grapes we felt sick, and yet they seemed never ending. Here are some pictures of us after the Bible study.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Angel and açai

Angel, Margaret, Grace, and I went walking and running in the city. Angel is a lot of fun, she is full of energy and always has something to say. When we were tired, and it started to rain harder, we met up with Tiffany to eat açai, a flavorful slushy-icecream made from the berry-fruit, açai. You can eat it with banana chunks, oatmeal, or, like mine, strawberry sauce. Angel told me about the test she is going to take on Sunday for her new job. (she is a PE teacher) They have a system here where you take huge, very difficult tests to get into the college you want, and then another big test if you want to work for the government instead of private schools. (apparently, the government jobs are better here)

I asked Angel to share her testimony with me - she grew up in a spiritist family, who believe that your soul is 'perfected' in a second reincarnated life. The spiritists are very common in Brazil. Angel built a relationship with the Campus Outreach staff in her college when she was a freshmen, and she went to
many CO events and parties while continuing to go to secular, drinking parties. Searching for a meaning in life, she finally went on a retreat which was about what it meant to have God first in your life. It was there, as she was listening to a Brazilian praise song, that she asked Jesus to be her savior, and now she is helping others build their relationships with God by leading a Bible study for several of the high schoolers here.

After the açai snack, we went to Angel's apartment, where I met her mother, sister, and brother in law. Angel and I played guitar, and then we all did karaoke! It was so much fun.

I really do love this country, and I hope that I will have more opportunities to come here.


I've been able to see a lot of the city today and yesterday. Thursday, we were supposed to meet with Grace's friend, Audrey, but she had to cancel because she had to help her mom out. Today we will spend time with her other friend, Angel, at seven o'clock; we plan to go on a walk to talk. Yesterday, Grace and Mrs. Bailey took me to see the market, it was very interesting. They have a multitude of animals of every shape and size, I even saw a few peacocks for sale! Unfortunately, they do not like it when you take pictures in there, I suppose because some sales like that are probably illegal. I have really enjoyed a drink called Guarana, which is kind of like ginger ale, but much better.
I have loved having our mornings free, it has given me lots of time
to spend with God, without the pressure for time I feel sometimes in my school life. I have also been able to talk to Grace a lot, and have been encouraged by her stories and advise. Since she is a missionary kid, and a year ahead of me in school, she has gone through a lot of what I am going through in my life right now, and so I have really enjoyed talking to her about it.
This morning, I got to see the flower fair, which is as beautiful as it sounds. There were so many colorful flowers, and a lot of fun jewelry, dresses, and decorations as well. There is a lot of graffiti here, some of it is just words, but some of it is very interesting. Apparently, if there is a law against it, it is not really enforced. I hope to get a better picture later, but this is all I have of it for now.
I met a girl on staff here after we went to the flower fair. She wants to get with Grace and I, so we planned for that. I am very excited to spend time with her and today with Angel!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The campus ministry meeting was great. Although my Portuguese is coming along well, thankfully, Grace translated the sermon for me. ;) I finally met a lot of Brazilians! I talked to two girls there, Claudia and Priscila, and a guy named Alan (accept pronounced differently - I never say it right!) who had a lot of questions about the difference between Thai and Brazilian culture. It is so exciting to finally be talking to Brazilians! Their culture is very different, especially from the more reserved Thai culture. It was interesting to watch Alan (he was the one who talked today) share the gospel with one of
the girls. He talked about Evolution verses
Creationism, and at the end the girl pointed out that if people are sinful, it would
seem as if we wouldn't be able to have a relationship with a perfect God. And so he was able to explain the gospel to her, and how Jesus makes that possible.
I am so tired right now, but I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for me! The Brazilian people are so friendly and fun, I have loved every minute spent here so far!

Singing in the Rain

Grace showed me around the city after lunch today. I love it here, it is gorgeous and very hilly and green. As we were walking home, it started pouring down rain, so we enjoyed a very slushy and wet walk. At her apartment, we have been preparing for the Sunday school lesson and resting. Here are the Portuguese words I have learned so far:
Oi - Hello
Tchau - Good bye
Tudo bom?/ Beleza? - what's up?
Bom dia - good morning
Bom dia flor do dia - good morning flower of the morning :)
Boa noite - good evening
Desculpa - sorry!
Por favor - please
Obrigado - thank you
Não falo Portuguese - I can't speak Portuguese!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm HERE!!!

Late last night I walked into the Brazilian airport where Grace and her Dad were waiting for me! We took the 45 minute flight to their city, Belo Horizonte, or Beautiful Horizon. As soon as I walked into their apartment I took a much-needed shower, washing off the memories of a long and tiresome flight. Then, I was able to sleep on a REAL bed in a REAL bedroom, with no one cuddling on either side of me and without waking up every five minutes to try and re situate myself in a small, inconvenient airplane seat. I have spent this morning resting and getting over jet lag. I was able to call my family on skype and have been hanging out with the Bailey family.
Tonight I will go with Grace to a campus ministry meeting, where they have someone teach and then everyone splits up in discussion groups to talk about a certain question given to them. I'm excited to meet and get to know the people here in Brazil!
Please pray that I will be open to however God wants to use me here! I am so excited that this trip has finally begun, and I can't wait to see what God has to teach me along the way!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...

I am in one of the LARGEST airports in the world. Just twelve hours ago, my family took me to the Khon Kaen airport to see me off. My ears are still ringing with the endless advice that my sweet mother provided. :) ... Don't talk to strangers or cute guys, etc. It wasn't until I walked though the check in and found myself alone at my gate that it really hit me that I wouldn't see any of them for sixteen days! I will miss them!
My flight to Bankok was anything but comfortable. The man behind me had apparently gotten up on the wrong side of the bed; he shoved my seat upright when I attempted to lean back and rest. Thankfully I only had to suffer such stiffness on my shortest trip.
P'Daa met me at the Bangkok airport with my passport which contained my Brazilian visa. She helped me find my gate, and I joined a long and assorted line of foreigners to approve my foreign-passport as I exited Thailand.
More comfortable and enjoyable, the plane to Dubai (Emirates Air) had a touchscreen TV and excellent service. As the plane landed, the person beside me pointed out one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Now I am resting at the huge, prosperous Dubai airport. I have a six hour wait before my next flight. Thanks to Marc Lewis's earphones, I am able to skype my parents. The book John Mark wrote, Legions Legacy, has given me something fun to do while I wait for the plane.
Well, I am halfway there! The next flight will take me to Sao Paulo, Brazil!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas tree and one more day!

Today is my last full day in Thailand before the trip, so I hugged all my friends a final goodbye. Our church is excited about the Australian CCP's arrival for their two-month visit in Thailand. I was able to meet them before saying goodbye to one and all.
Since I am going to be gone for the next sixteen days, we decided to go ahead and get ready for Christmas today! At church, we took our family Christmas picture.
Tonight, My family and I set up our Christmas tree! It is beautiful, even if my Dad and I may have only produced some erratic bunches of lights, and even if our ornaments are a confusing mix of pretty angels and home-made snowmen. We cannot get real Christmas trees here in Thailand, so this is the same old plastic tree we've had for as long as I can remember. I love that tree.
I finished packing today, all that is left to do is my last day of school tomorrow and to finish a slide show that my Dad and I are making for their church, with the help of Mr. Brian's pictures.
I still have a sore throat, but I have been feeling a lot better. Thank you for your prayers!
Tomorrow is the day; the journey begins.

Friday, November 27, 2009

moving along... and Thanksgiving!

Well, P'Daa was able to get the visa without any problems! Thank you for your prayers! All that's left right now is to finish my schoolwork and pack. We had an awesome team Thanksgiving yesterday. Somehow we managed to move our over-stuffed bodies enough to play a game of softball after a delicious meal the moms worked so hard to prepare.
Right now,the biggest thing you can pray for is my health; I have had a sore throat and a slight cough the past few days, and that could amount to a miserable plane ride.
We have our Collide youth ministry tonight, the last one I will go to before leaving for Brazil!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


My dad and I went to Bangkok last Friday to get my Brazilian Visa! Applying for the visa went smoothly, thanks to Dad's careful preparation and the information on their website. Unfortunately, we also had to stop by the embassy, where I signed a paper allowing them to inject a Yellow Fever virus into my vein. But with that all done,we were able to spend the rest of the day together in Bangkok. With the exception of the shot and the wholly uncomfortable overnight bus rides there and back, it was an enjoyable and productive trip. P'Daa, A thai friend in the Bangkok church,will be picking the visa up today and she will bring it to me next Monday at the airport.
Please pray that she has no problems picking up the visa or arriving at the airport on time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brazil Ticket

Praise the Lord! My ticket to Brazil rests peacefully on my Dad's desk, waiting patiently for the departure on Monday night. God has provided the money needed for my ticket. Thank you all so much for your support and prayers!!! God has continually shown me that the most important thing I need to do is to trust in Him always, even in a process that seemed hard or far-fetched for me. I hope to learn so much during this trip, and to be able to help and encourage the Brazil team to the best of my abilities.
Unfortunately, John Mark is not going to be able to go this time. A friend of mine was encouraging me in that, with his four years left here in Thailand, he will surely be able to have other opportunities for an experience like this.
Please pray that God will give me a clear mind to finish my schoolwork and prepare well for the trip, and that I will be able to spend good time with my family and friends before I leave.