Monthly Archives: October 2015

An Extreme Weekend | 2015

Last weekend Instituto Bíblico Peniel hosted a youth missions camp for the purpose of exposing young adults to the need for tribal missionaries. We planned and prepped and prayed for this weekend for a long time–Andy was in charge of it all, but we couldn’t have pulled it off without the amazing creativity and labor of our students. They rise to the occasion and blow us away every time. We wanted to share some of the fun we had with you 🙂

With Rio 2016 approaching, the students put together a pseudo-Olympic games–>complete with a mascot, torch-lighting and a medal ceremony. Seriously, look at these student-made torches from bamboo they cut down in the jungle, pop cans and kerosene!! Love it.
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Don’t have starting blocks for the sprinting events? A second person’s feet will do.
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This year, the theme was não sou fã {not a fan}. {I know, it’s been done in America–that’s one of the beauties of being in Brazil 🙂 } As believers we’re not called to just sit from a distance, but to play an active role. The sessions were geared toward focusing on our relationship with Jesus, the church and missions. SO…Not a fan of Jesus, but a follower. Not a fan of the church, but a part. Not a fan of missions, but a participant.
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DSC_0976No Peniel camp is complete without an endurance trail {picture a tough-mudder experience with tribal indian encounters}. This year, one of our teammates put together a zipline over the river. Our kids are already looking forward to the next camp. I just love to see their little faces in the crowd.
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Of course, the REAL heroes are the ones who worked hard in the 90-some degree kitchen all weekend to fuel everyone’s energy for all this!! We’re so grateful for the Lord’s provision for this kitchen to be renovated (it now has a ceiling!!!) AND just in time for this weekend.DSC_0637 DSC_0352
Lastly, I can’t post without saying how proud I am of my husband (yes, proud–in a good way:) ) A few weeks ago, there were only 3 people signed up to come. So, what’s he do? Pray!! (And had the students make calls to invite every church they know.) We ended up having over 120 young adults come!! And SUCH a good time. I just love how he pours his heart into whatever he does. I walked down the hill to take some pics of the break-out sessions and here he is. The thing is…even if only 3 came, he would *still* share the need with this much passion.DSC_0619

Why do we share this? Because this weekend was about so much more than fun and games. We can work extremely hard planning all of this and stay up way past our bedtime and drink extra cups of coffee to make up for it and go hoarse cheering and conversing to the point of exhausting all the portuguese I know. But. If God doesn’t move, our labor is in vain. 

We’re praising God for every person He brought to Peniel this weekend. Now that they’ve packed their bags and boarded their bus, we keep praying that God would continue the work only He can do. That He would move in their hearts, give them a passion for His fame and call some of them to come back as missionaries in training.

Would you take a moment to join us in prayer for this?
Your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. | Isaiah 26:8


The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

I haven’t forgotten I have a blog!! It’s just my days are consumed with homeschooling, still working on my portuguese, and all else that comes with serving and living at a Bible Institute. There’s much I’ve wanted to share, but realized in our 2 years here I’ve never written about the biggest part of my day! And so.

In case the title didn’t give it away, I’m talking bout homeschooling. 🙂

2015-09-09 16.22.13I don’t presume to be a homeschooling veteran…much less an expert.
I haven’t ever read a single homeschooling blog…much less know how to write one.
But, it’s what I do. Errrry live-long day.

I don’t homeschool because I have some warm, fuzzy feelings about keeping our kids close.
I don’t even homeschool because I think they will receive a better education from me than they would anywhere else.

I homeschool because it’s what we feel is best <<please hear me>> for us, for this point of time, for where we are, for this stage of our lives.

When we moved to Brazil, the kids and I didn’t know a lick of portuguese. There were so many transitions our boys needed to make that we didn’t think being thrown into a classroom-full of peers they couldn’t understand, and who couldn’t understand them, should be one of them. Although…those first weeks, there were more threats than I care to admit for them to either shape up OR be thrown into a classroom-full of peers they couldn’t understand!!
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Homeschooling was an adjustment for all of us–boys and momma. My boys didn’t care about my B.A. in elementary education. I was their mom. And they just weren’t sure I really knew how to do long division. But, we pressed on. Many a morning I had to explain that I not only completed the 3rd grade, but I went on to finish college and have even taught 3rd grade.
Eventually, they came around… Eventually.
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Momma didn’t realize how much I had gotten used to predictable, uninterrupted, quiet hours in my day. I went from spending my mornings meeting with friends and leisurely drinking coffee to how-many-times-do-I-have-to-tell-you-to-capitalize-the-first-word-in-a-sentence?! As for the predictable, uninterrupted, quiet hours in my day…. well, time is a peculiar thing. You see, the more time that passes, the more I forget what that was like. And, the more time that passes, the more I see these moments as fleeting and precious. Is there any better way to spend my morning than this??
Eventually, I came around.
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As precious and rewarding as homeschooling is, it still is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s not just the pressure of being the sole person responsible for your child’s education (I freak out just writing that!) It’s that there is no moment where “school is dismissed.” There is no “personal day.” There’s no “sick days” either. There’s no “teacher breakroom”–the bathroom comes close, but they still stand at the door and knock with their math questions. 
And so.
My Homeschool Stress Prevention/Management Plan!!
{Help to surTHRIVE homeschooling}

1. Breaks. Honestly, even more difficult than finding the time is actually taking the time. But, we gotta! Whether it be an escape to my room after lunch for a quiet hour, or a kid-less Saturday afternoon… breaks are a must.
2. Morning Walks. Every morning that I am able, first thing I do is head outside to walk laps around the soccer field. And pray. Praise. Repent. Ask. Yield.  My husband calls it my “trail of tears.” 🙂 My day just goes better when first thing I seek the One whose mercies are new every morning.
3. Dates. Since moving away from family and friends, this is one we’ve let slip. But, we have new resolve. Even if I don’t feel like we “need” a date, our kids NEED someone else’s attention and care (and ears!) It’s a wonder how refreshing it is for all of us to get a sitter for a few hours now and then.
4. Let things go. When you add something as huge as teaching 3 children in 3 different grades, some things just have to go. Floors have more dirt. Closets have more clutter. Clothes have more wrinkles. Meals become more simple. Those won’t matter when it’s time for them to go to college.
5. Lower expectations. I can let fear drive my expectations of myself and my kids. And I need to simmer down a few notches. Are they readin’? writin’? ‘rithmatic? Ok, then. Relax!!
6. Soul care. Paint. Read. Dance. Create. Hike. Call a friend. Sit outside. Stare off into the distance. Find time to regularly do whatever makes your soul sing. Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. {Psalm 116.7}
7. Regularly receive truth: Our pastor is from Rio, speaks very fast, and I still translate what he says in my head and miss important things. I have a whole new appreciation for listening to sermons online while I make lunch. It keeps me grounded among the ups and downs of a homeschooling day.
8. Laugh: I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have wrinkles…it better be from laughing rather than scowling! I don’t do this enough. Which is why it made the list 🙂 Laugh with your kids. Laugh at your kids. Laugh at yourself. Ease up. And laugh. After all, Laughter is the best medicine!!
9. Still stressed? Make a list. Oftentimes, it’s just. not. that. much. If it is, consider if there’s a common denominator. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Memorize verses for perspective. Share with someone for accountability. Seek counseling for clarity. Tackle that baby head on!
10. Give thanks. Not just “when all else fails…” BUT before all else fails…GIVE THANKS! Ann Voskamp: He deserves all my thanks and it’s impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear {or worried…or stressed…or anxious}.

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I was gathering up our pencils at the end of last year, and just had to chuckle.
Not an eraser in sight…….
You can tell by this image, we make plenty mistakes.
The more we’re used, the more we’re gonna mess up.
BUT! The more we mess up, the more opportunities we have to be sharpened.

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.
2 Chronicles 20.12

As long as my eyes are on me, I will never be adequate enough or patient enough or wise enough. Which is why I need to look less at myself and more at the One whose promises are great.

All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.
Isaiah 54:13

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(P.S. When all else fails, make yourself a cup of tea and pull out the stickers. 🙂 )