Sunday, August 23, 2009

One month and Counting....

Sorry that it has taken me so long to post something. We are still having problems with our computer. Yesterday we had a guy from church come over and in less than 5 minutes he had it up and running...

Only to have the very same problem 20 minutes after use again.
Technology - it's a love/ hate thing at this house!

Peanut: another love/hate relaltionship!

We have now been in Brazil for over a month. Looking back the time has flown by and has gone as slow as a turtle. I know, that doesn't make much sense but truly that is how it feels. We have enjoyed so much our time here in Iguassu Falls while at the same time missing so many things about our old life. It doesn't feel as if we have just gotten here and yet a month is a relatively short time in the scheme of things. And it's a long time yet until we plan to see those back home...

While the following pictures take you on yet another walk through our neighborhood I'll give you some insight into what we have discovered about ourselves since we are here, about our life here in Brazil and about our dreams.

I expected the first month to be harder than it was:

Now that is a good expectation to have not met!!!! We have missed people very much (and tears are still much closer to the surface than what I am comfortable with) but the change in life style,
the longings for the old life and the language barrier have not been as heavy as I had tried to warn myself they would be. Not that they aren't a challenge!

The language: We are having private lessons 5 days a week. Some of it has been interrupted, first by my health and then by our teacher's Grandmother's health. All in all we have ended up with about 2 1/2 weeks of lessons. On the whole it has been what I expected as far as "not an easy thing for me" but I am encouraged by the fact that I can read a little Portuguese now, (see Jake, I'm learning to read too!) remember more words all the time, and once in a while can understand the ideas of what someone is saying. The more I learn the more I see that it will not be a quick process for me to have the language down. Warren finds that discouraging for himself but then he had higher expectations of himself than I did! After many nights in a row of being around people that speak a different language you find yourself doing one of two things: either going home with a headache because you have strained so hard to understand and listen or totally zoning out. Just depends on the day and your mood.

Before you get the wrong idea, the people have been very gracious with us here. Sometimes it's just impossible to translate continually and beside, we are told we will understand alot faster if we persevere with the listening....

The food: We have tasted very little that we dislike! Actually have to be very careful that we are not continually eating as they are always wanting us to try new things! We do like the rice and beans but we are not into having it at every meal like they do! (they say it just doesn't feel like they have eaten without it!) Their food is not like Mexican food. It is more bland then even American food (not in a bad way though) They eat a lot of bread. I mean a lot! Most everything that you get here in Brazil has just a little bit of a different taste to it than what we would have in the U.S. even if it suppose to be the same thing.

Not bad, just different. (that's become my phrase about everything!)

At home I cook American like. It's just more comfortable to me since I've been doing it for so long and we get plenty of chances to try the Brazilian foods when we are out and about. I have also been able to make quite a bit of American things for guests at our home or to take places.
Cookies are especially well loved here. I have made choc. chip many times and last Thurs. tried Snickerdoodles. They loved those as well and there were mixed reviews on which is the best. (I would have voted the Snickerdoodles only because they tasted pretty much like the ones I make in the US while the Choc. chip taste somewhat different because of the ingredients here)

Now, join us for a church service in pictures as I continue on:

Warren, getting ready to teach, with KaKa (the translator)

Activies: We weren't here but a day or so when Warren took on the driving lessons. He's done well considering that some of the rules of driving are different here, most cars are standard transmission, and he didn't know where he was going. Put that together with the fact that the vehicle isn't ours and it could be a disaster! But God has been good. We were given much help in the beginning and now feel like Warren, at least, has a pretty good grip on the layout of the city and the traffic laws. I have not driven. I would if it were our car but decided to hold off chancing it with the Roger's vehicle. Cars are expensive here!!!! Sometimes it's a choice between that or a house for many people. The Rogers included. Besides I have no directional sense of North, East, South or West here. I can't understand that since I have always had a built in direction sensor! But here - no. I now sympathize with all of you that are directionally challenged!

Warren has been able to play Fotebol (which is soccer in the states). The young guys (in their 20's) get together on Tues. nights (at 10:30) and play together. From the beginning they invited Warren. He has enjoyed it and even was able to make a few goals. However, he came home last week with a torn muscle and limping. We'll see what this next week brings!

We have tried to do some painting in the Rogers home. Paint supplies, as well as the techniques, are very different here. We have not gotten far as we haven't had the weather to proceed. We are told that you can't paint (not even inside) when it's raining and that you have to have at least one day of sunshine to dry everything out before you do it. It also has to be so warm but not too get the idea! We were hoping to paint tomorrow but now it has rained again today so we will see what our instructor has to say!!!!

I was just telling Warren yesterday how "unable" I feel most of the time. Even the things we feel most experienced in and able to do have now become "a learning experience". It's bad for a person's pride. Or good for it, depending on how you look at it!

We love the church body here. That alone could make it hard to hear the Lord if He desires for us to move from this place. We have made good friends. Before coming to Iguassu I had been disappointed to be going to a place where the missionaries themselves would not be. I felt needy of them to help us in the first few months. Warren and I were talking this past week about how, once again, we see God's hand in this direction. The church people have stepped up to the plate and we have formed relationships with them because of it, relationships that might not have been possible had we not been dependant upon them but rather Tim and TaLisa. Once again, God knew what He was doing. Imagine that!

Warren has been teaching the Sunday night church service. (they have church in the evening rather than the mornings) and I have been doing a Bible study for the ladies of the church on Fri. nights. We both have found ourselves to be really weak in this area of teaching and probably have felt the most needy of prayers. However, we have been blessed. Again, it has probably been more of a blessing for us than for the body here! They have a strong church leadership here with several able to teach and lead but once again God knew what Warren and I needed most. And this place has been a great training ground for us.

Our thoughts: we realize, seriously, more and more all time what a priviledge it is that the Lord would let us be here in Brazil. We are not feeling any regret in what we gave up. Sometimes we look at each other and say "can you believe we are actually here?!" The time proceeding us coming was definely harder than the first month here. We have not missed our things or even our home in Corvallis, which came as a surprise to me. Maybe that will come later. I don't know. I do look forward to the time, however, when we have our own place to call home. It has only affirmed the fact that I am a "nester".

We are not deceiving ourselves into thinking we have the adjustment made but rather just rejoicing in the fact that we have made it through the initial shock.

It was no surprise to us that we miss our family. What can I say about that except that you truly leave a part of yourself behind and nothing makes up for that. But I have determined that I will not be one that lives in continual unhappiness because of a longing to be with them. I will enjoy life here and look forward to some great vacation time! (I sometimes tell myself this out loud - stearnly!) Skype sure does help!!!!

And friends. We knew we would miss them but I guess we had no idea how much they are a part of our lives. From the very closest to the casual friendships in church - we miss you! I miss the deep conversations that can't happen with a language barrier. And I miss those that love me in spite of really knowing me. You know who you are! We miss having our small group and being real with each other. Praying for each other and seeing God work. We miss the familiar faces at church and work. We miss feeling connected. It feels far away to our other life.
That is hard.
It's no ones fault. It's just how it is.

Our dreams: [I don't say this lightly] we just don't want to miss out on God's best for us and whenever we begin to have ideas on what we would like it always comes back to that. We have come too far, done too much, to miss it now. Please pray for us in the next week as we ask God to reveal the next step. The time is getting closer to the Rogers family return and we still have no clue as to what we are to do. I must admit in the flesh I get panicy over this but then I am reminded of God's past faithfulness. What have I to fear?!

And for a final note. One of most importance.
We haven't plugged the toilet up so we must be doing good to remember that the paper goes in the little garbage can beside it and not down the drain! It doesn't even gross us out anymore!!!

We must be adjusting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Anniversary Celebration!

One thing we have found to be true of Brazilians is that they
love to get together!
We have been to many of the church people's homes, parties and
after church "going out to eat times".
It has made us to feel a part of the group very quickly.
They mention often how they don't want us to feel alone.
They need not worry.
We haven't partied this often since....well, I'm not sure we ever have!

Upon discovering that our anniversary was on Thursday night
I think they decided then and there that it was another
reason for a party. And not just an ordinary get together
but rather a

For those of you that don't know - that would mean a BBQ.
Brazilians are known for the way they prepare meats and
I would agree, they are the best.
Most homes and a lot of the apartments even have a fireplace
looking BBQ in covered patio areas.
And they don't just do one type of meat for the occasion but many.
And all must be tried! It was wonderful!
Our wonderful hosts, Raamses and Jacque.
We are looking forward to a time that we can get to know them better
as right now they don't speak English and well,
you know our handicap!
Even so, they have not lacked ways to show us love.
It was a blessing that they would open their home to us
and provide such a great time.

The group!
(for Larry - there is a pool behind us- don't step back...)
I don't know how I didn't catch it at the time but I didn't get a single picture of Rafa.
That in no way indicates what he means to Warren and I.
I know that he made a lot of the arrangements for this party. And he is one that is always checking up on us and seeing if we need anything.
He has been an answer to prayer for us here.
The only reason that I can think of for not having pictures of him is that he was behind the lense of my camera much of the time making sure that I had plenty of pictures.
Thank you, Rafa, we love you!

On a side note, I should tell you that this party
began after church on Thurs. night (around 9:30).
We left around l:00 and there were still people there, little kids and adults.
We decided it's just best to keep our bodies on Oregon time!

I was told by Luciana not to eat the salads and other side dishes but instead to save the room for the meat. I tried to listen to that advise but it all looked so good. But in the end I knew it to be true. She had been right!

The master at BBQ!
(I'm not talking about me!)

Following are two of my really good friends here Iguassu. Lori (on the left) is a wife to Neto and a mother of two small girls. We enjoyed lunch at their house on Saturday. Amazing food and even more so of the company. I was hesitant to stay while Warren and Neto went to the men's study that afternoon, knowing that Lori spoke very little English and, well, you know how little Portuguese I speak! But the fears were unfounded. I decided to stay and had a great time. She knew more English than she lets on when she's in crowds and the Lord enabled us to communicate. We were even able to share personal things with one another. I will always treasure that afternoon with her.

Luciana (on the right) is not only our Portuguese teacher but has become a dear, dear friend to us. She is the one that waited in all of the lines right along with us. Her patience seems to know no limits! We have truly been blessed by this woman that deeply loves the Lord.

I love them both already!
And this is my best friend! I don't know what we were laughing about here but that ability is one of things I love most about our relationship. We laugh a lot together. I'm thankful for that. It has helped us to not take the disappointments in life and ourselves so seriously.

And here we are with KaKa praying over us. We didn't know what he said as it was in Portuguese but we left blessed and encouraged by it. We left blessed and encouraged by them - our new and beloved friends here in Iguassu Falls.

Obrigada, friends!

It will always be a memorable 31st anniversary.

And thank you to all who wished us a Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Line Hopping

Okay, I know that you guys like pictures and believe me I have pictures
but today will be a post with no pictures. It's either that or no post.

My new Mac computer is not working as it should so I can only open the window drive side (did that even make sense to you computer wizards?) I cannot load any pictures onto the window portion although I can use the internet from there but I cannot use the internet from the Mac side in order to access my blog. I had been using Warren's computer for posting but he's using it to study for tonight's message because the study helps are loaded on that computer. So, a post with no pictures. Come back later, though, and I will have great pictures of our anniversary celebration!!!!

Hopefully, you'll want to hear bad enough to bear with it just this once!

We have had a week of standing in line. Literally.

Side note: when we were in the airport on our way to Brazil we started talking with a young Brazilian couple. He spoke very good English. He told us how difficult our language was to learn because of the prepositions. He asked "so how can you stand on the line in some cases and in the line on others? Why do you get in the car but on the plane?"

Anyway, we were in line. For hours. For 3 days straight.

We had heard that Brazil is this way. Waiting in a line a lot. We had commented to each other just the day before that we hadn't really experienced that. Paying bills had been fairly easy. The grocery store no worse than at home, etc.

And then we decided we needed to apply for our CPF.

The CPF is a number that you need in Brazil in order to do any business. We even need it to rent an apartment. It keeps track of all of our business transactions in Brazil. You can liken it to our social security numbers. We had tried to do some research on the internet to know how to go about getting it and we did get the help of our Brazilian Portuguese teacher.

We are so thankful for her.

We truly couldn't have gotten this far without her. Or without Tim and TaLisa's car. Can you imagine doing this using the bus? Oh, I don't even want to think of that.....

So Wed. we started out with big plans that by the end of the day we would be holding our new CPF numbers in hand ready to seek God on the next step.

Well, we actually started on Tues. afternoon by going to the local post office asking for the form to fill out. At this point we were thinking we would take the form home, fill it out, return it and wait for the numbers to come in the mail. That's what we thought. We were told there that if we went to the large post office down town it would be processed faster so we decided to do that. That was God looking out for us because we found out the next day that the form we needed couldn't even be gotten at the post office so had we filled out the regular form that the small post office would have given us (for people with permanent visas or residents of Brazil) we would have waited a month only to find out it wasn't the right form for us.

So Wed., thinking we knew what we were doing, the three of us headed out to seek our coveted cards! Yes - you have figured it out. We couldn't get them at the post office, nor at the Police Federal, nor at the next place, nor the next....(now in this process there were a couple of times we had to quit for the day because we would find the next place closed and have to wait for morning). Each day we started out thinking we were on the right track only to be disappointed.

There is renewed hope though! On Fri. we did find the right place (we think!) as she promised that once we get our passport translated into Portuguese she would issue us our CPF numbers. So off we went to find a place to have the translation done. (it must be done by a certified person) That took 3 tries right there! But it was accomplished and they are suppose to be ready for us on Monday to take to the place we believe will finish the process.

Ohhhhh, I hope so.

We have now been to 10 locations in this process and as of now still do not hold in our hands the CPF cards. They tell us getting these is easy. Wait until we try for our new visas.

Now this is what I heard about Brazil!

Who would have thought that standing in line would
have been our
big job for the week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Seven Good Years (with more to follow)!

all pictures by Jodi because my computer isn't working right and I can't access any of mine..... oh well, these are better anyway!


Seven years ago you made the 2nd best
(2nd only to choosing Christ!) decision of your life.

You chose Jodi.

Our family has never been the same. And we are grateful!

We are overjoyed to watch the two of you together,
to see the love for one another displayed so openly.

And then we are continued to be blessed to see
that love expanded to include
the 4 grandchildren you've given us.
You guys are the best parents ever!

We prayed for you as a child.

We prayed for the woman you were to one day marry.

God has answered our prayers and we couldn't be happier!

Happy 7th Anniversary!

We love you both so much.

Wish we were there to babysit!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Way to the Heart

They say that the best way to a man's heart
is through his stomache.
Well, I don't know if that is true but I think it did work in order to worm
my way into the group of ladies that attend Foz Calvary!
TaLisa had mentioned that she would like for me to pray about having a ladies Bible study at the church while we were here. I jumped at the chance. I love women's ministry and this would be my chance to get to know them better during our time spent here. So I talked with the women (through an translator, of course!) and it was decided that last night
was to be the first of weekly meetings.
I decided on cookies!
I had heard that they love the way we make cookies in the States and I was assured that even if they didn't turn out the way
I was used too it would be okay -
that they would still love them!
I also like to make cookies so it was
a win-win situation!
I asked my Portuguese teacher to take me to the grocery store and with my list in hand we figured out what I needed. At least we were hoping that we figured it out. Everything looks and is packaged differently than what I am used to. When she grabbed the shortening out of the refrigerated area I didn't see how this could be right -
but it proved to be!

The brown sugar looked similiar but it has a smell to it that is nothing like we are used to. I tried it. Even the cookies had the smell when they were baked and you can taste it in the cookie itself.
I'm not sure what it is!
We still aren't sure if I actually used baking soda! Try explaining what that is to someone.

Look closely at the oven dial.... no tempature gauge. So it was experiment time! I asked if this was normal to not have the tempatures written out and they smiled and told me "yes, their ovens are different than in the United States." No kidding.

The dough didn't look too bad. And then..........
yes! It didn't taste too bad either!

Well, they weren't perfection and they didn't taste quite the same as usual but they were good.
And they were eaten!
A special treat for my Brazilian friends!
They even took some home to share.
Next week we are trying soup - from scratch of course - I didn't see an aisle of Campbells!