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:

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.