Thursday, November 26, 2009

Floripa and Curitiba

Okay, this is seriously the most random way to start this post -
but remember (from my posts on facebook)
that I kept forgetting to carry the camera once we got to Floripa (Florinopolis).
I missed some really great shots.
I didn't get one of the Caze family (duh, Sheri!)
nor any of the church that Claudio pastors.
I am extremely disappointed with myself so please
don't continue with the discouragement by reprimanding me!!!!
On the Sunday that we were in Floripa we attended
Calvary Floripa (the Calvary in the lake area) for services in the morning.
The previous day we had attended the surfing ministry (of which I forgot the camera)
where we met the pastor and his wife (Nate and Dani)
from the other Calvary on the island.
They invited us and the Cazes to join them for a BBQ after church the next day.
Nate is the man with the broom....
(this picture was actually taken the day we went back to help
with tile but this is the same place we attended the BBQ-
remember I didn't have my camera with me....
We then attended that church in the evening. Both churches are full of warm, loving people.
We heard there was a project going on at Nate's church on Thurs.
so we borrowed Claudio's car and headed up to help for the afternoon.
They were laying tile in the Sanctuary.
Notice that they also have a upper story building project going on
and would love a team to come and help!
We were the grouters!
Warren asked for the float to install the grout and the guy he asked
proceeded to take off his flip flop, tear it in half and hand it back to Warren.
He said he'd rather spend the money on new flip flops
than to buy a tool he'd hardly ever use!
and by the way - it worked great!!!

The flip flop

Mixing the cement - by hand.
Warren and I didn't even get half way done with the grout project
but there wasn't an opportunity to go back.
Working together did make for sweet fellowship
and a good night sleep.
It also made for a few sore muscles the next day!

This was the lake that we had right out our "guest house"window.
I know - we were spoiled.

On Claudio's day off we took a boat taxi
to a part of the island that you can only get to by boat.
It was a really wonderful trip other than the fact
that we couldn't have lunch there as planned because the storm on the previous
day had taken out the electricity. Bummer. We did get to hike to this waterfall though.
That is Jess and Warren in the picture.
It was beautiful.
Don't let the word "hike"fool you. It was more realistically a difficult "walk".
This, however, was a hike!
What you are looking at is the road from the Caze's house to the main road up above. This is the first stretch. Warren and Zeph are walking up because we couldn't make it up the hill with all of us and our luggage in the car....truthfully!

This is the second part, after rounding the corner. And yes, it is that steep, maybe more so.
There are stairs on the side because you can barely walk on the road it is so steep.

Jess just ahead of me. I went last because I wanted to get the pictures
and because I didn't want them
to hear me panting.

We had a sweet time in Florinopolis
getting to know people from the two churches
and also the families of the pastors.

We then headed to Curitiba where the Hwangs live.
John picked us up at the bus station and we were immediately on our way
to a birthday party for 2 year old Daniel!
The food was wonderful, the company great
(it was at Flavia's mothers house with her whole family)
and the actions of the little birthday boy priceless!

And we got to meet little Anna. Beautiful like her mother.

We were only able to spend three days there this time
but the time was rich with the church and the Hwangs.
Again, I didn't get pictures of the church. (go ahead and beat me with a wet noodle).
We found ourselves, again (like we did in every place we visited)
thinking we could make ourselves at home there.
We left feeling blessed.

And headed to Campo Mourao on the sleeper bus.
We left at 11:00 and pulled into Campo just before 6.
The sleeper buses are our favorite way to travel.
It is not roughing it, believe me, and yet costs alot less than flying.
Don't be fooled by this picture, Warren is not sleeping.
When it was time to go down for the night
the seats completely turned into a bed.
Real comfort.

And now we are in Campo - but that will have to wait for another day.
I have been taking pictures!!!!

And to all you Americans: Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cidade de Deus

Laise and Tamara, our friends and tour guides from the City of God
A little over a year ago, we had two missionaries that came to Corvallis
from their home town of Seattle.
Ben had been living in the City of God for three years
and Josh was soon to go for the first time.
While they were in Corvallis they stayed at our home
and we were blessed to hear about this place from these amazing men
who were giving up their life of comfort and ease in Seattle
to make their home in this "city" so far from home.
From that time, I have wanted to visit for myself and was given the chance last Tues.
Here is our one day trip.
Join us once again for another "walk around a neighborhood".
We spent a large portion of the day at the Tamara's house (who is also the aunt of Laise).
They fixed us a wonderful meal and were a wealth of information.

This family loves the Lord and it was a blessing to see people
come at different times throughout our stay there just to be prayed with.

From the house, Laise's father also runs a Christian radio channel
that is broadcast over the load speakers throughout the City of God.

This is taken from the upstairs of their home.
Later, while taking a walk, Laise told me how this street has been used once a week
for a Feira (an open market).
In Copacabana we see these all the time out in the streets.
Streets are closed off to make room for vendors to come and sell their wares.
Many fruit venders as well as handmade goods.

This Feira was different, however. It was a drug market.
Imagine, right in front of their house, once a week, every kind of drug
you could imagine would be sold out in the open.

Just recently, the police took over the City of God.
For now, it is quiet from drug trafficing
and violence.

For now.

I don't know what gauge of wire is used here but this is what
all of their power poles looked like.

Makes for a good nights sleep....

One of the houses I saw there. Most were more of a subdivision effect
but this one had a "country feel" to it.

One of the areas that was used as a garbage dump.

The street.
It may be hard to see but the water was green.
You can expect that there is a mixture of rain water and sewage.

There are many houses that are made of brick.
Only as there is money are they finished in concrete.
This is a rare sight as most of the houses are unfinished brick.
The City of God has somewhere between 200 and 300 thousand people in it.
That was the closest estimate we could get.

This is a section that they call the "wood houses".
This is where the poorest of poor live.
This particular steet is waiting for government houses that are suppose
to be ready in the first of the year sometime.
Each of these houses are approx. 8'x10'.
We were asked if we wanted to go inside one of these houses and pray with someone.
We did.
The person that lived there was a young man who made me think of Brett.
About his age. Living here.
I cannot tell you what it did to my heart....

There were many, many children.
All of them wanting me to take pictures of them.
When we got home that night I could not calm my mind
as I continually saw these children in my head.
What are their hopes and dreams....
Or have they already stopped hoping and dreaming?

This river runs through this part of the neighborhood.
It has trash dumped in it and I was told that the sewage flows directly into too.
This is the only life that the majority of these people know.
I'm not one to ask God "why" very often
but that night as I lay in bed, unable to sleep, I did find myself
crying out to God "why"?
And what began with asking God why there are those that have to live this way,
ended with me asking God why I have gotten to live so blessed.
Who am I?
I would like to say that I will never be the same.
I pray I will never be the same.....