Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our 5 week Home

the juice bar on the ground level of our building
We're in Rio!

Our apartment is on the 3rd floor.
The open window is ours.
Our apartment building is 12 stories. Notice our open window.

The bedroom: The side that you can't see has a large closet. First time our clothes
have had a closet since leaving home. It feels good!

The bathroom: Josh, it's an instant hot water heater - nice!

the kitchen: that is the side of the refrigerator on the left
The living and dining room combo: This apartment is the largest
that our apartment hunters had looked at for us.

We were welcomed with fruit, flowers and a clean apartment.

Another view of the living room

We arrived in Rio last Fri. and are enjoying the city very much. It could not be anymore different from Foz. People everywhere. Noisy and much dirtier. Be careful where you walk - both for safety and because you never know what you may step on!

There are great needs here. The biggest being that many do not know Jesus. Too many.
It could all be way too overwhelming.
And then I remember.

But God...

And I find myself asking, "Is this the place, Lord?"

Did I mention that this apartment is two blocks from Copacabana beach?!
Pictures of that next time!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

a Wish to be Illegal....

So much for thinking that we didn't need Tim and TaLisa's help so much. Since they have been back TaLisa has added us to her long list of things to "take care of". We are grateful but humbled. Very, very humbled.

It doesn't feel good to have to be looked after. Even the smallest of things seem to have become things that we need help with - at least that is how it feels. (TaLisa reminded me that what I am feeling is pride - that crushes!)

Life has changed drastically in this little house with the additional 4 people living their lives here this last week. It's been a blessing to us - a fun busyness - but it is busy! So far this week we have been gone every single evening and many of the days. Plus there have been the job of getting kids back to school, putting away the treasures from their trip to the US and connecting with all the friends they had left here for a couple of months. Busy is putting it mildly.

Add to it our visa quest.

Yesterday, after TaLisa had made an appointment for us (and herself) to see a lawyer, we headed off to find out about a new permanent visa that we had heard about. Sounded too good to be true and it was. For us anyway! After going with the lawyer to the Police Federal we were informed that it is only for those that are residing in Brasil illegally. Once every 10 years they issue visas for illegal immigrants to make them legal. We didn't fit the criteria. Then we asked about a missionary visa. (the irony of asking about information of an illegal visa to asking about a missionary visa!) It's recommended that we try for a visa from Paraguay at the Brazilian Consulate. TaLisa is checking on that for us today when she takes the kids to school. It's our prayer that they will allow us to do that as it would be faster and a much easier process.

All in all, we must remind ourselves that God has a plan and is aware of everything involved.

Again, we find ourselves learning to walk by faith.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today WAS the Day.....

Over the last year God has been trying to teach me what faith is to look like in my life.
The thing that has been revealed to me over and over is that working faith is just knowing that God only wants His best for me. That His plan will always be the best even when it doesn't look that way. I may not understand it at the time, maybe I will never understand it on this earth, but it will be the best for me and everyone concerned.
He is primarily after my spiritual best. That is first and foremost on His heart for me.
I want that for my life. It has taken me to Brazil.....

Sometimes that best takes on the look of huge disappointments in the meantime.

Yesterday Brett (and others that we love from our home church)
were suppose to board the plane to come and see us.
Our pastor and his daughter had planned to come to Brazil last year for a conference when they found out that Rob was going to have to have surgery and couldn't make the trip. Tickets had already been bought for that trip, 5 year visas secured. That trip was put on hold.
This was to be that trip with Amanda and Brett added to the traveler list.

A blessing to me all of these months, knowing he was coming.
I have missed that boy - I have missed family!
And having the others added as guests - well that was the cherry on the top!!!

It wasn't to be.

Unknown to Rob, until they got to the check in, the visas have to activated by going to Brazil within 90 days of receiving them so both of theirs were of no good anymore. He tried to make some phone calls while at the airport but there was just no way it was going to happen.

That left Amanda and Brett with the ability to go if they wanted. Amanda didn't feel at peace about going without them. Understandably so.

After many phone calls back and forth and even more prayers it was decided at the last minute that it wasn't peaceable for Brett to be going either.

I wanted it to be God's will. I wanted that boy on the plane.
But I didn't feel good about him coming either.
So when Rob called back saying he just didn't feel right about it, I agreed.
And felt relief. We all did.

We don't know God's purpose yet.
It's okay. In the end, I really want God's best.
For Brett even more than myself. And....

He does have a ticket good until June!!!!!!

pictures by Kellie Dykast

Monday, September 14, 2009



And as we are here at this mile stone mark we find ourselves packing for the next leg of our journey. And it's hard to go.... we have come to love it here and especially the people.

Peanut begging to go along as we take off for the store.
I just missed the picture when her head was back in a full howl....
I thought I would capture some of the things we have seen on pretty much a
daily basis or at least a regular basis, that maybe seemed strange in the beginning
but now are pretty much a part of life for us.

Warren doing a much too familiar thing - trying to communicate with someone who doesn't understand English! He was trying to find out if they had batteries at that particular store. He left not knowing. "But," he said, "I didn't see any." And he did get a few smiles from her as he tried to make the appropriate motions for batteries.....!
I think the biggest thing that I have come to realize is that I am the very same
person here that I was in Corvallis. Maybe that sounds strange. Of course you are, you say. Well, maybe I should have known that or maybe I did but just hoped to be different.
(you know, like hoping that God would give me the gift of tongues in Portuguese!)
I mean, I want to be this dynamite person for the Lord
but instead I find myself with the same struggles,
the same insecurities and the same selfishness
that I hoped would somehow disappear along with the miles
between here and there. They didn't.

So my words of wisdom:
Don't leave for the mission field thinking you'll be different once you're there.
If anything, these things about myself that I loathe have been magnified.
(and new ones added!)
Thankfully, I have a patient, loving God! (and husband!)

The recycling guy. Usually it's done with these carts
but sometimes you do see a horse-pulled cart.

I have also found that I love leading the ladies Bible study but that I suck at it. Yes, no kidding.
Studying is hard for me and wanting so bad to honor God's Word
sometimes feels overwhelming.
But in my weakness I did experience God covering for me. Giving me insight and scriptures that I wouldn't have had on my own. Being amazed by Him.
And week after week I realized how much I needed Him. It was worth it for that.

Our neighbor sweeping the sidewalks in front of her house.

A man mowing the grass. I hope you can see the mower. It's small and old.
However, this is not the usual. Most lawns are mowed with a lawn trimmer.
We have even seen the city guys mowing the lawn that way along big expanses of highway.

Another neighbor, across the street on the side of us. He is always outside doing work around his house or yard.
We liken him to my Dad. He must have the best kept place in the neighborhood and he does!

This is the garbage can! Their version of it anyway. The garbage men come here three times
a week. It's all gathered by hand, put in the road and then the truck comes by and
it's thrown in the truck. Nothing automatic about this.

Delivering propane. Much of the deliveries are made on motorcycles.
People also get their water jugs , take out food and groceries delivered this way.

We pretty much go to the grocery store every day or every other day. We look forward to it. We always walk. We had tried the larger grocery stores downtown. And while they may have a little bit more selection we didn't find that their prices are that much better. We liked this store. Lider is it's name. (Leader) We became known by the clerks there and though we couldn't say much we always got a smile and a few words.

And yes, Warren grocery shops too. Times have changed!

Not sure what he does with this truck but I thought it was cute and as soon
as he saw me ready to take a picture he got out and posed!

Studying for our Portuguese lesson. although we take the class together Warren is more advanced than I am. Today it was really a nightmare for me as we worked on telling time.
Oh, Jake, where are you when I need you?!

He's working on his homework. Counting and writing numbers. Don't get too smug.
It's not as easy as it looks. Unless of course you speak Portuguese!
And she checks for spelling too....

TaLisa is much taller than I so I am actually standing on a chair to hang up the clothes.
I will have a shorter line. You can count on it.

This has been home.
And it has been a good one.It's been a great 2 months.
What felt different and scary at first is now comforting to us.
We will miss this home and these people. But we feel the nudge to move on and besides...
the Rogers get home in 2 days and

they want their house back!

Side note: Brett, Rob, Jess and Amanda arrive on Friday and we couldn't be more excited. They will be in Foz until Tues. morning and then leave for Campo and Curtiba. From there they will go to Rio where we will meet up with them again. We are planning to stay in Rio for the month of Oct. We have return tickets to Foz on the 31st.

Please continue to pray about our visas.
Also that God will use us in Rio in spite of ourselves.

All of the pictures in today's post were taken today as we walked. That is how common of a sight it all is.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Out of Order

Sorry I got my posts out of sequence. I had down loaded some pictures and left them in edit not realizing that they would post in that order rather than the order I post them in.

All this to say, there is a new post after the next one if you haven't read it yet!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Project People...

We came to Foz wanting to do some practical things for Tim and TaLisa as well as serve in the church. Two months should have given us a lot of time to do a lot of projects but instead we found ourselves having to literally put it on our schedule! So we had one week that we set aside for painting.

A young girl from the church (Jerus) was already coming by before we got here to work on some things for them (tiling the roof, building a shed, etc) and so she came to help us. (actually it would be more accurate to say that we helped her!)

And she was great help!!!!

She not only was a hard worker but was invaluable for information. She had learned all of her skills from her,now deceased, father.

The first day we decided to start without her only to find when she did get here that we had used the wrong paint for the ceiling. We had used water based and we needed to use oil because of moisture here. Remember that nothing is insulated nor is it heated in the winter. Both contribute to the mold and peeling paint problems that they can have here. We also learned on that fateful day that we needed to paint the walls first and then the ceiling. (we are not totally convinced of that one yet!) But who are we to argue!!!

Now, you must remember that we speak very little Portuguese and she speaks about the same amount of English. Sometimes our conversations involved a telephone with a translator on the other end!!!! She did come armed one day with a list in Portuguese and drawings of the different tools we may use in construction and painting. She is an amazing artist! We found it very helpful as well as entertaining! We did make it through and, quite frankly, have had many a good laugh with Jerus. She is a gem. I look forward to the day I can really sit down and joke and laugh with her.

So we took to tackling the wall. Water based paint. Good! After surveying the paint out in the garage we realized that we didn't have enough so we walked down to the local improvement store (remember from my previous post?) Well, they don't mix paint colors at this site but an order was put in for us at the bigger store downtown. We tried to figure out at that point all that was needed for the entire project and get it when we were there. Well, that didn't work and we did make several trips to the neighborhood store! The walls were painted easily although the paint is very different from ours. And the supplies. No drop cloths, no angled trim brushes, no tray liners, etc! But man, the pleasure of seeing those walls painted was worth every second we spent on it!

Well, the walls and the water based paint was the easy part. Now we would move onto ceilings, doors and windows. All in oil. I hate oil and it's mess. But I must say when the job was competed there is nothing like oil to give a smooth and hard finish. It should clean well for TaLisa as we changed all the doors from gray (two shades of it obviously applied at two different times) to white. And there are a lot of doors in this little house! And ceilings - poor Warren got that job of rolling on the paint overhead!

A note about oil paint here. They don't sell it in different sheens. You just add thinner to take away the glossiness. Of course that makes for a runny, hard to manage paint and I am ashamed to say it made for some complaining on both Warren and my parts as we dripped here and there, had it running down our hands and arms, and of course our clothes. We had to take thinner and clean up floors (which are newly painted concrete) and we smelled like paint thinner and oil paint for days. We breathed it for about a week...

Are we glad we did it? You bet!!!! Would we do it again? You bet!
After all we are project people
and the reward in seeing it done was so worth it.

And by the way, I didn't really pick the paint color - TaLisa did - she just doesn't know it. They already had the kitchen painted this nice, light, natural color that I thought would go great with white trim. So we just continued on throughout the house. It's cool, clean and neutral and with the white it now goes with about any other color.

And by the way -
it's a surprise so don't tell.........

Our First Brazilian Holiday

While all of you in the United States were celebrating Labor day,
we were here in Brasil celebrating too!

It was Independence day for the Brazilians
and, once again, a reason to party!

We had another enjoyable time with Barakat family and friends.

When you are invited to their house you can be sure that there will be good food
and warm fellowship. We were not to be disappointed!

One of their daughters, Vanessa, had some of her college friends over so we had a lively dinner conversation about all the things you can only imagine young girls talk about! Brought back memories of my parent's table with me and my 3 sisters or the years of Kellie and her friends around our table. Good memories.

And there was a lot of laughter - even though we spoke different languages!!!

It was a great way to spend our first holiday in Brazil.

And we felt blessed!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What's up?

I can't believe how fast time goes nor how little I have written lately!
Sorry about that.

I have kept up with Facebook and I am glad to see many of you there! :)

We're still having the same computer problems and Warren is using the lap top as I write this so no pictures with this post. We've had the computer fixed a couple of times with it doing the same thing within 20 minutes of use.... love/hate

For those of you holding your breathe,
waiting to hear of our next step.....

It's looking like our next home is Rio for at least the month of October. We only found out (from the Lord!) a couple of days ago. And though we cannot quite imagine leaving all these people we have come to know and love here in Foz do Iguacu - now that the decision is made we find ourselves excited to see what God has in mind for us in Rio.

Brett will arrive here (can you imagine my excitement!) at the Falls with Rob, Jess and Amanda on the 18th of this month. They will remain until the following Tues. when they will visit a couple of the other churches. Our plan is to leave on the 25th for Rio where they will fly in on the next day. The pastor from the Rio church is finding Warren and I a small apartment to live in while we are there and says he has many plans for us that he cannot share on the e-mail or the telephone!!!! Only in person! Most of you know that we have been to Rio 3 previous times and already love the church body there.

Going back in time - a couple of weeks ago we found out that not only do we have to leave Brazil in December we will also have to be out of the country for a year (we had thought 6 months) if we do not have another visa in place or in the process by then. We have decided to go after a volunteer visa (hopefully a two year) because that will be faster than seeking a more permanent one at this time. We are trusting that one will be granted to us as we don't believe that the Lord brought us through all of this only to go back home so soon. Of course, His ways are not our ways and so; however it turns out, we know that God has only His best in mind.

Having found this out we, of course, do not want to rent anything long term (besides we have no idea even where we would do that!) and feel it would be a good time to visit and spend time at some of the other churches. Maybe during this time God will reveal His plan to us.

I know that we are continually asking for prayer and we're not stopping yet!!!! We need Alex to find us a safe, affordable place to live while in Rio, provision for the expenses of the travel, someone to continue to teach us Portuguese, the visa process and that we would be quick and willing to do all that God has on His heart for us. We have felt the prayers of all of you during this transition and know that they have sustained us. We are very, very grateful. We also are so thankful for all of the e-mails, skype calls and facebook messages! They have helped tremendously to curb the homesickness!

Next time pictures and stories - I promise!