Monthly Archives: August 2014

Live and Learn

We have heard that the first 1-2 years of living overseas can be a shock to your system: adjusting to new foods, new water, new bugs. Some have told us that the first year overseas was the hardest year on their health. One day, we will have our own story to share. But right now, we’re living it.

It had to get pretty bad to go facebook with my status. I know many of you want to know how we are…really. It’s just hard to think that my needs are worthy of people’s time when there’s headlines of children beheaded and believers being tortured. Plus, everyone’s got their own aches and pains, right? 

Last Sunday, after weeks of being sick off and on, we knew we couldn’t go on like this. I spent most of last weekend either laying down or running to the bathroom. Sunday night the pain and sick kept getting more intense. We weren’t sure if we would need to rush to the hospital in the night, so we packed some bags. Then, we remembered our gas tank was near empty. And gas stations in town wouldn’t be open in the middle of a Sunday night. And Andy couldn’t see out of his left eye at night (after a soccer injury a few weeks before). And then the whole issue of what to do with our 3 sleeping boys in a foreign country.

We really just needed Jesus to show up.
Facebook status. Prayer update. Didn’t matter anymore who thought what. We needed prayer.

I can’t think of what happened next without tears. Monday morning…
I woke up! The sickness held off in the night, the pain was lessened. And my email was filled with encouragement and prayers and concern and care and help. We knew we had been covered in prayer. We have seen the Lord at work in the midst of all the unknowns. He has brought peace and relief and hope! No doubt we made it through because of so many of you praying for us!

We still don’t know what happened. We’re still seeking wisdom for what to do.
Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease 4 years ago, I have been gluten-free and have had virtually no problems with my stomach. However, the doc thinks there are foods here that are upsetting my system like gluten would. I’ve taken possible irritants out of my diet, hoping to figure this out, including coffee. [Living in Brasil right where it is grown, sad day!] On top of that, I was treated for parasites and amoeba. The medicine made me really sick. And, we’re still waiting on test results to see if the treatment was enough.
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[Our boys continue to amaze me. Doctor visits mean they either stay in the waiting room OR at home with a movie-sitter. Can’t believe they’re at that age yet, but a giant bowl of popcorn and a movie lets us run into town for a dr. visit. And boy am I thankful for my trusty portuguese translator:) ]

Looking back, we can see better. Wouldashouldacoulda. Probably woulda not chosen the sushi buffet for our anniversary, shoulda not drank the water (we have a filter at home, but wasn’t as careful outside our home), coulda been more careful washing our lettuce (and not eating so many guavas straight from the tree), woulda asked the guy on the street selling meat kabobs to cook mine more, probably shoulda not eaten meat from a guy on the street…
Live and learn.

On a typical day…I get up, hang laundry to dry, walk and pray around the soccer field, make breakfast, homeschool 3 boys, make lunch, wash dishes, catch my breath, study portuguese, staff meetings some afternoons,”passear” (walk and chat with people), make dinner, wash dishes, sweep up the bugs, some evenings we have meetings or family time. Also I’m the school “nurse”, which means people come by for gauze or medicine that have been donated to our school. But these last weeks, some days I could barely teach and make lunch. NO ability to study portuguese, do dishes, clean up…so SuperBabe stepped in. But, he’s got his own load of preparing, teaching, grading, mentoring and all else that comes with living on a Bible School campus.

We try to live life as fully as we can.
But, these days I have felt the full extent of my weakness and helplessness.
When I realize how truly dependent I am upon the Lord, is when I start to I learn…

– Sometimes, when our family is in transition [babies, illness, jobs, moving], things seem to get much harder before they get easier. Looking back, I can see the Lord used times when we felt stretched way beyond what was comfortable and desirable to make our “new normal” not seem so bad. We were able to see with new eyes when the hardship was lifted. That each day is truly a gift! It kinda feels like that may be happening now.

– We came here to serve. I thought that included me learning the language quickly so I could start sharing more and being involved more. I didn’t come to be sick in bed! 🙂 We pray He will give the strength to do what He has called us to do. BUT, the Lord is not surprised by all this. So, we need to wait patiently on Him for what our next step should be.

– There is so much more to my day than how I feel. If I focus on that, I miss so much. I have 3 boys who are as curious and adventurous as ever! I have had some of the most precious moments with them–savoring these ages, their personalities. In all of this, we have not stopped laughing, exploring, enjoying, living and learning. If anything, this has brought all of us even closer. Which is just like our God to work all things together for good.

– Our boys recently had an assignment where they had to write about the Feeding 5,000 Story [John 6.1-14] from the viewpoint of the boy. They asked me how I thought it was for the boy to give up his lunch. You know, it was the first I had ever thought about the boys’ perspective. His momma had packed him lunch. Maybe that was his only food for the entire day. Maybe she knew he needed to eat or would have blood sugar issues. But, here he was in a crowd. I doubt he was the only one with any food, but he was willing to share what he had. He came forward with his lunch. I wonder if he hesitated, not sure if there would be any leftover for him. But, he gave what he had. In doing so, he witnessed Jesus turning 5 loaves and 2 fish into lunch for the masses! I believe the Lord can create something from nothing…like an entire universe! I believe He doesn’t need me to accomplish His purposes and build His kingdom.
The hero in the story wasn’t the boy.
But, we can learn from the boy. To step forward and offer what we have.
Because our God is able to do infinitely more than we could ever ask or imagine.
To HIM be the glory now.
And forever!

Love in Focus (July)

Oh hey. It’s August, isn’t it??
I guess that means I was TWO months behind. I guess that is what happens when you have been teaching addition, multiplication AND division all at the same time for the last 2 weeks.
I guess you get a second post in one day, because we can’t leave out July…it was our month break, and it was lovely!

10452833_10201120453612814_1665382905203689776_oWe had a dear family visit us for a week. We met this couple at NTM Orientation in Florida a year ago, when we were both headed to Brazil. They teach at an MK school right on the Amazon. We had such a fun time catching up with them–swapping missionary life-stories, laughing and crying about the adjustments we’re making. Plus, our kids had a blast with theirs!
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Getting ready for Jubu’s sweet SIX, I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. He said a Lego Star Wars set (knowing those are $100+ down here), I said “what else?” He said a ring pop (since they don’t have those here), I asked “oh dear, what else?”
Well…what a surprise when our friends showed up (having NO idea about that conversation) with a Star Wars Lego set and ring pop for his birthday! How amazing is that?!!
The Lord has been so faithful to supply all of our needs (and even a lego set and ring pop 🙂
He continues to strengthen, encourage, comfort and provide. His mercies keep us going.
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There were lots of tears when our friends left. The entire time they were here, our kids played nonstop from morning to night–no problems. [I mean, these two played in these boxes for hours.] I guess none of us realized how much they’ve missed having kids their age who also speak english! What a timely gift it was for them.
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Thankfully, we had an upcoming trip to grandparents to look forward to (and distract).
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AND thankfully, they have the two best friends in the world…each other. Brothers!
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I love watching the friendship between these 3 grow. Definitely something we have to work on, but something that is so worth it! I just can’t say how special it is to turn around and see this.
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Fun for the entire fam at grandparents–exploring, fishing, dog-hugging, adventuring, reading, hydrating with coconut water by the kiddie pool, trip to the zoo, dates!! and nightly games of chicken foot.
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This handsome had a birthday! Been quite a few years since he was “home” for his birthday, so one cake just wasn’t enough. Plus, he is pretty much our everyday hero.2014-07-14 13.06.022014-07-17 15.11.072014-07-17 15.21.332014-07-17 16.41.55

That, folks, was our break. Our school recently switched to a module system, which means André teaches three modules (two classes per module) each semester. It shortened our breaks, so this winter (your summer) we had a month off. It went all too fast. Just enough time to finish up grading last semester before preparing all the syllabi for this semester.
But, it’s a good thing we like what we do. And work with a staff who does things like have a cookout the weekend before class started…just because.
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Love in Focus (June)

Just like that another semester is in full swing! André is teaching a new semester-full of classes, and this will be my 3rd week homeschooling a 1st, 4th AND 5th grader!

So, before all this gets lost in the shuffle, here’s a bit of our summer…winter…whatever…
break! 🙂
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We had a little homeschool kindergarten graduation (formatura).
As one friend put it, “there’s nothing better than graduating in your socks.”2014-06-06 15.22.28

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This was our first “end of the semester” here. We quickly learned that means classes finish up. AND there’s a party everyday.
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Feijoada! This was a first for me and it was love at first bite. (Who knew pig snout could make black beans so tasty?:)
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Our kids got to play some basketball for the first time in a long while. It was a little different–shooting the ball through the hula hoop a guy is holding–and pretty funny to watch.
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Another first: chickens running around campus in the morning=galinhada for lunch!
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2014-06-16 12.30.36Our Jiggy turned double-digits in June! Funny. Curious. Smart. Tender. Adventurous. Kind. Passionate…so much more…but never dull. We celebrated the life of this TEN YEAR OLD, and all the liveliness he adds to ours! 2014-06-12 13.22.41For his birthday, he wanted lemon pound cake, Brasil to win their World Cup game, to play Checkers with me, and go fishing…of course 🙂2014-06-19 16.15.452014-06-12 13.25.10 2014-06-12 15.33.10 2014-06-12 16.52.23World Cup games were definitely a highlight of our June/July. Watching them with students made for a very lively (loud:), fun and memorable afternoon. 2014-06-12 16.57.32Our boys were born in US, have dual citizenship (US/Brasil), now live in Brasil–there may have been a bit of an identity crisis knowing who to cheer for. 2014-06-16 19.11.552014-06-01 20.30.272014-06-04 14.36.022014-06-23 17.05.58
I love how some things have just become normal–living on a dirt road, evening walks around campus to visit with people, church service at night, everything in portuguese, stumbling upon an empty catwalk, living so much of the day outside (even though this is “winter”). 2014-06-23 11.21.49Our boys opened up a restaurant for our neighboring cows, called “Radio Flyer Buffet.” Word spread quickly and there has been quite a demand, much to our boys’ delight.2014-06-23 11.52.21

Last but not least.
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This was my first time sitting in on an entire Prof André class, and I loved every minute! Here he is teaching through Ephesians. 1 1/2 hours at a time. All in Portuguese! I mostly post pics of my side of life here (homeschooling, learning portuguese, mothering, an occasional catwalk:)

But that’s not what brought us here. And it certainly isn’t what keeps us here!! It’s this. This guy getting to teach and prepare students for ministry to the nations. I have never seen him so alive, loving what he does, and doing it so well! But still, this isn’t about us. It always was and always is about our Conquering King and that coming Day when we stand before Him, and every scorpion or parasite or lonely night will be worth it.
To God be the glory, great things HE is doing!