Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Loving on Shawna

My status on Facebook last night was this: My day went something like this: 1. no internet in the morning. 2. no electricity when I got back from the gym 3. no shower 4 wrong bus so it took 3 hours instead of the regular 1 1/2 hours 5 bird poops down my back as I am waiting for the light to change at the corner - no change of clothes with me 6. It was raining.
BUT the day wasn't bad - you can't have a whole bad day!

And really the whole day was not bad.
There were things that at the time
didn't feel so fun but that I could end up laughing about
and just recognize that all in all life is good.
And it makes for good stories. I love good stories!

What I didn't share on Facebook was that the day began
with something even worse.
Something that made my heart feel heavy all day.
Something that caused me to ask God "why?".

When the internet finally came on
(and before it went back off again!)
I saw a post and learned Shawna had cancer.
Stage IV.

I don't know Shawna that well myself
but I know more about her then just to say I know "of" her.
She was Kellie's maid of honor.
(I think she has played that role in a lot of weddings
because she is the kind that becomes a friend to all.)
She's been at my home a few times.
I was blessed to get to hear her teach the woman at our church
several times with an amazing ability to share her love for Christ.
I know about some terrible, beyond what anyone
should have to go through,
kinds of things that this young woman has already endured
and came through shining for Jesus.

I guess you would say I admire her from a distance.

And now she, along with her new husband and children,
are about to begin another hard battle.
Literally a fight for her life.

God does not answer my question of why.
I don't know why
but I have a feeling that He
is going to shine brightly in her life during this time.

Please join us in prayer as we hold her up
to the one who knows the answer to my question.
The one who loves Shawna more than any of us.

It makes bird poop on my shoulder and down my back pretty laughable.

If you would like to follow Shawna's fight against cancer
this is the link:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Dental Experience in Brazil

Yesterday I had a wisdom tooth removed by a dentist here in Brazil. I had prayed and asked God for a dentist because the tooth had broke while I was in the states and the dentist there had told me it would have to be surgically removed. He suggested I do it in Brazil because of the cost and our finances :). I didn't do it last year because of the knee problems I was having so I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. Anyway, I prayed and one day when I was at the gym here at the condo, I met a lady working out that was very helpful and wanted to talk "English" with me. Turned out she was a dentist! She gave me all the information (phone number, e-mail, etc) and at some point stated that she wanted a recipe for cookies (they are well known here!). That weekend I made some and decided to take some to them . They ended up having us (with the rest of her family) for Easter dinner! This past weekend we made arrangement for dental work.

She picked us up at our apartment building (we're in the same complex but different buildings) and planned to take us to work with her the whole day. She said she had a few other appointments (her own father being her last) but most of the day she had reserved for us. BUT first we needed to stop at her parents house as she didn't have water in her apartment to take a shower that morning after working out in the gym!

Wow! Her parents house was amazing! Custom built for them about 13 years ago in this wonderful (expensive) neighborhood that we had no idea you would even find in Rio. The details put into their house was, for me, so fun to see.

BUT I am way off the subject, am I not?!!!

They took their time showing us around, gave us breakfast and made us feel at home while our dentist, Marianna, took her shower. Her mother was trying to learn English so we had fun with that as we did a mixture of Portuguese and English to “try” and carry conversations with her.

Then off to the office – We got there and she had a few other appointments so we just sat in the waiting room and waited. Then she got to me. I had also told her that at some point we would like our teeth cleaned and checked for cavities, etc so she did that first for me.

No cavities!!!!!

No, she doesn't quite use the same techniques as the dentists in the states but all was good. Then it was time to pull the tooth.

She did an x-ray. Then she numbed up the mouth. She had to do that several times before the job was done because that tooth didn't want to come out!!!! She did have to do the surgery, just as the doctor in the states had told me. It didn't hurt. It was just a lot of pressure and being uncomfortable as she twisted and lifted on it. (She had to go underneath since there wasn't enough on the top to grab).

Finally it was out!!!! She stitched it up, cleaned me up and I went back to wait while she worked on her dad and Warren. I must add that while she was pulling the tooth her father took Warren out to lunch!!! They are a great family!

Warren didn't have any cavities either!!! And it always feels good to have your teeth newly cleaned!

We were done. It was time to pay. She wouldn't take anything although she would like a package of some of her favorite things from the states. I asked for a list. She is being kind. It will be one great box when I get done with it! She also handed me a bag of fruit and yogurt to take home so I would have something she thought I could eat last night. I couldn't but I'll explain why coming up.

Then we headed for home. It's a long ways. And first she needed to stop and pick up her son, stop at the store (she came with a bag for us, again, of fresh bread, and icecream for me!) Then we headed to the pharmacy to get pills for me. Lots of pills. I'm not sure what they were all for but by the time we got home I couldn't wait for the pain pill. The numbness had started to wear off and I was hurting. Bad. And not because of the missing tooth but because of my tongue. She had told me afterwards to be very careful not to bite my tongue and I thought I was BUT I have this huge sore on the side of it where I either bit it or got it caught in my partial.

Still, today, I can barely eat and it hurts so bad to talk because it rubs on my teeth. Warren said it looks like ground beef!!!! The mouth does heal fast though, right?!

I did eat a little breakfast of oatmeal this morning (so I could take the pills) but I won't be talking much today. A good thing Warren is going to Alex's for the day to work on his cabinets again.

Marianna has invited us to a birthday party this weekend and her father wants to take us sightseeing on Sunday morning (church is in the evening). We also have plans for me to teach her how to make cookies :) and with all the other things she said she would like us to do before we leave, well, there just won't be time.

I know that God answered my prayer for a dentist. I was just asking for a good one. One to do the work, at a good price, with expertess. He did that. But then, we always ask too little of God.

He also gave us a family of friends.

(I went to take pictures and my battery was dead. Bummer.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We were sitting at the table at a suco (juice) bar when I saw her approach.
She was headed straight for us Americans, after all, we are an easy target.
They believe that all Americans are rich.
What she didn't realize was that we've seen it before.
Poor, dirty beggers are all over the streets of Rio.
Some simply beg and others have small things to sell.
She had an object made out of a soda can that she was peddling.
We didn't even know what it was suppose to be.

She was young and dirty.
I recognized the smell of having not showered for some time
as she got closer to us.

It always makes me sad. But in this case it especially bothered me because of what I saw.

When she opened her mouth to speak I saw that she was missing her two front, bottom teeth.

That impacted me because 30+ years ago I lost my four front,
bottom teeth in a car accident.
I was able to have crowns put in right away so, unless I tell people, no one knows.
But this past year I had some problems with one of them
and so I am in the process of having a implant done. Muito money!!!!
Which means, right now, I am wearing a partial and I hate it!
And I complain about it.
My tongue is constantly playing with it and no matter how hard I try
to train myself to leave it alone I haven't been successful!

I'm also very self conscience of having it out (with one tooth missing)
even in front of Warren.
Really, I don't even like to look in the mirror without it! (vanity, I guess)

Even though we are having to watch our pennies these days we found it to be a necessity to have the implant done....

And then seeing her I realized how much I still have.
How much I take for granted.
How much I assume is still my right to have.

I've told many people here in Brazil (when asked about our economy in the U.S.)
that we Americans (myself included) really don't know how to be poor.

We can be losing our jobs, our income, and still drink our fancy coffees, have our own car, buy processed foods for ease, have cable TV, own our computer, central heat and air-conditioning, own a washing machine and dryer, membership at a gym, kids in sports or dance, good meals out, etc because we've grown accustomed to it. We know no other way. We think we should be able to have and do what we've always had and done.

And then I saw her teeth, or rather her lack of teeth, and it has me thinking.
There are things I just assume I should have. Almost like they are owed to me.
And forget how blessed I am.
I forget to be truly thankful.
I forget that maybe I don't deserve it after all.

I forget that having all of my teeth is a gift.

I am a rich American.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For Today

Warren's brother-in-law died last night.

Totally unexpected. Too young to be gone. Too soon for all the loved ones that remain here.

I watched a good friend of mine go through the grieving process after losing her husband and
felt that I learned so much from watching her...

but now, once again, I have no idea what to say or do. Death is too hard on the people that are left to live life. There is no words that you can say to someone that will bring comfort for a loss that feels as though it is strangling them.... where they are almost wish it would.

Here we are in Brazil. Feeling so helpless and far away. We had thought the day could come
when we would lose someone we loved while we were at such a distance. But the thought of it
was so much easier than the reality of it.

I had the sudden rush of wanting to be with my family. Not wanting to lose a second of time with any of them. Of course, this isn't possible. Of course, even if there were not such a distance we would continue living life in and out of each other's presence.

But for today, I will treasure more the lives of those that I love so much. I will pray more for them and take joy in their voices on the phone, their comments on Facebook and just in my knowledge that they are a part of my life.

For today we will mourn the loss of a man that made Warren's sister so happy. A man that was a great father and grandfather. A man that was friends with all.

I can only picture him smiling. I can only picture him living life to the fullest.

This is the man we shall mourn today.

Rest in peace, Dennis. You are greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shopping in Paraguay

A week ago we spent some time with Ben, Melissa and their kids
at their home in Iguacu.It was great to be able to talk
and hear their hearts for ministry as new missionariesto Brazil.
We are excited to watch and see how God is going to use
the whole family.
And He will. He does that with willing people.

On the last day we were there, we took a couple of buses
and headed over to Paraguay.
Even as we were doing it we weren't quite sure why -
it's just something you do.
We laughed at the joke that the first 45 min. are fun
but the remainder of
the 5 hours - not so much!!!!

Actually we enjoyed our time with them
and we also met up with KaKa, Lilianand little Marcus.
We got to know them when they lived in Iguacu
during our time there in 2009.
They have since moved to Praia Grandeto begin a church there.
So happy that we could spend time with them.

This is the way we got around once in Paraguay!
And it was hot. Very, very hot!

Warren needed a new backpack since the one he had bought in the
states fell apart in a matter of days.
This store had so many it was hard to decide.
He got one. $9 for a really good one.
Oh ya, that's why you go to Paraguay.
For the prices!
Their import taxes are either non-existant or they are very low
so by crossing the border the prices of things go down considerably.
So it is a busy, crowded, dirty,
(we keep forgetting not to wear flip flops there. Poor KaKa!)
depressing town
because it's full of people wanting to make money.
But we go because Brazil is very expensive.

We went to a chinese restauraunt for lunch.
I'm not talking American kind of chinese.
It was wonderful and inexpensive.
The table was huge and sat all 10 of us
(the baby sat on a lap).

the menu.
They did have one in Spanish too which is the one we did our best with.

Slippers in one of the stores.
They have a lot of general type stores that carry a little bit of everything.

Recognize the packaging?!
From the same store as the slippers.
They also have a lot of specialty stores and high-end stores.
Just about anything you can imagine can be found here.

The streets are narrow and full of traffic. They don't watch out for anyone but themselves
so it's your job to make sure that you are safe from traffic.
Melissa almost got her arm taken off right after this picture was taken
as a SUV came down this and wasn't concerned at all that it didn't fit
along side of parked cars on one side and Melissa walking on the other side.
I was walking behind her and didn't see how it missed her.

The sidewalks are full of vendors. Usually more of the poor that set their wares
out there and send their children out to try and entice customers.
Many a times you would find children sitting under the tables where they
literally spend their day - maybe their childhood.
It is heartbreaking.

When you do purchase something from a store you must first take your purchase
to a department that writes it up and then has you pay for it.

Then you move to another department with your ticket
and they give you your merchandise.
That is how it is pretty much done in Brazil at a lot of stores too.
It is time consuming and frustrating sometimes but...
patience, Sheri, patience.

More of a look at the streets.
Monday is actually a slow day there.
The first time we visited it was crowded beyond belief.

A stuffed animal store.
Here they are sitting in one corner of the store actually
stuffing the creatures!
I tried to talk with them but my Portuguese isn't very good.
Oh, that's right, they speak Spanish over there.
No wonder!

Julia loved the fact that the bear was bigger than her!

These are packing supplies.
As you walk the streets you hear tape being pulled off of the rolls are they
repack things that were bought during the day.
The reason? Well, you can only take $300 or less into Brazil without paying
a duty tax. People don't always agree with that law so they take things out of the original
packaging and pack things together in other boxes
and then sneak them across the border.
Sometimes paying a runner that will take them across
by going under the bridge to the other side.
None of us had enough money to have to worry about it!

It was hot and tiring so we promised the kids ice cream at the end.
In all honesty, we wanted it as bad as they did.
Funny how McDonalds can even taste good when you haven't had it for a while!

It was good alright!

Notice all the re-packaged goods. Not sure how these were being delivered
without being found out. Or maybe it was for a whole different purpose that they
didn't have them in the original packages...don't think so.

Saying good-bye to KaKa, Lilian and Marcus.

And to Tim and TaLisa.
Who by the way had homemade ice cream for us when we got back.
(they've been to Paraguay before!)
And we ate it, every last bite.

Actually, it was a very fun day.
A good day to put in the memory book.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oliver is 3!!!!!!!

Oliver Isaac our little "laughter" boy!
His big brothers knew what they were doing when they picked his name -
he can bring sunshine to the darkest of days with his joy for life.

You are my sunshine

you make me happy when skies are gray

you'll never know, dear, how much I love you.

please don't take my sunshine away.

Love you to the moon and back again, little guy.

You are a joy.

Happy Birthday!!!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Life (in Brazil) Thus Far

We made it, not just to Brazil but also to summer!!!!!
After experiencing winter for two years straight, we
arrived to enjoy many warm, comfortable days and a few hot, suffocating ones.

Ahhhh, to wear flip flops once again - my choice for foot wear!

We flew into Foz do Iguacu where we were able to spent a few days with the Roger's family.
As always, we enjoyed our time there and it felt like being with family.
We also got to meet the newest addition to their family, Linda Grace. Linda means beautiful in Portuguese so
"beautiful grace"
I love that.
waiting to load on the bus for retreat

From there we went to the Carnival retreat in Campo Mourao. It was an amazing time.
We saw friends from many places in Brazil that we hadn't been able to see for some time.
I looked over the crowd amazed at God's goodness - that we could have the opportunity to
know so many people from so many places. And call them friends. We are blessed.

one of the sessions at retreat

It was beautiful to see the people from one church fellowshipping with some from another.
I believe some good friendships were made.
There were also some teaching sessions that were amazing.
We were strengthened as believers and then there were some that became believers.
God used the time.


The last morning there we had a baptismal service.

These two women especially touched my heart because
I had met them the first night of retreat.
I believe God had put them in my path.
They were mother/daughter and had just lost their mother/grandmother to suicide.
They were in so much pain and had come because friends had encouraged them to come.
They had shared their story with me that first night and because I had learned a little bit about grieving from my good friends, Cindy and Deb, I was able to minister and pray with them.

And God did meet them. He has began a process of healing.
And by the end they were filled with a peace and joy that they didn't have when they arrived.
Yes, they will still grieve their loss but now they knew
Jesus was going to go through it with them!


After the retreat was over we stayed in Campo with Diego and Aline.
What a great time with them!
The first evening we also had dinner with Bill and Sheri Holdridge from Calvary Santa Cruz.
We so enjoyed getting to know them. And Bill got to go to his favorite place to eat in Campo:
Pizza Brasil! It was good!!!

We loved the time in Campo, experiencing life as Diego and Aline know it. Meeting some of their friends. Getting to attend the Wed. night study at church. And having wonderful, long talks with them. Hearing their hearts. Praying together.
It was good. Really, really good.

Then we caught a bus back to Iguacu where we were able to spend time with our newest missionaries. Ben, Melissa, Moriah, Daniel, Julia and (another new addition) Alaniah Lyon.
They warmly welcomed us into their home/lives, even giving us one of their two bedrooms!

It was almost like being home as we have known this family for years. Warren and Ben worked together for some time and one way or another they have always remained in our lives.
It was good to hear their hearts and to watch a little bit of the process as God has begun to reveal some of what their ministry is to be in Brazil. We're watching with anticipation!
Their children are a delight and we saw our time together come to an end way to quickly.

We did spend a day in Paraguay with them but that is for another post :)

We were able to go to the Sunday service and were so blessed by it. So good to see so many of our friends from previous visits. And the service was awesome!

Then we took a 11 (was suppose to be 10 but there was a lot of road construction) hour bus ride to Curitiba where we were met by our good friends, Ricado and Marcella. It was soooo good to see their faces!!!! We have settled back into our home here at the church and in many ways it feels as though we had never left. We look forward to seeing many of our friends on Sunday.
Warren has been able to see some of the guys and meet Tom Stowe (the pastor filling in for John). I got to spend time with Pricila yesterday but, quite frankly, I've been hiding in the bedroom with a terrible head cold/flu. Better today but still not ready to get out and about.

God has been good to us. We have had safe travels, gotten to see so many people we love and have been reminded of God's call on our lives to be here.

It's always good to be reminded.

Thank you for the love you show to us by praying for us. So many times we feel in desperate need of it, for we are in desperate need of Him.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Note to Calvary Corvallis

As we sat with the group of people about ready to receive the first message while at the Carnival Retreat in Campo Mourao I couldn't help but smile as I looked around at the group of people that have come from different Calvary Chapels throughout Brazil. It is a large turn-out.

Tim Rogers then stood up and welcomed everyone and prayed for the time together. During the prayer he thanked the Lord for what He has done in Brazil. Tim choked up. Suddenly I understood his feelings. He was looking at 11 years of he and his family's service in Brazil as he gazed at that crowd. I know that Tim would give God the glory, and rightly so, but I also know that God chose to use this man because he and his family we're willing to take that step of faith.,
Eleven years. Some rewarding and some just plain hard but now the fruit of his labor was before him.

My next thoughts were of Calvary Corvallis. How I wish that you could have seen this small ( in comparison to the whole, for it is just some of the members of the churches represented here) portion of the work that you have partnered in throughout these 11 years. Many lives saved and changed. Many people healed and restored. Many leaders raised up. Many families saved from ruin.

And much more work to do.

But God is faithful.

May we all be as steadfast in our callings.

Monday, February 21, 2011

1/2 a Century?!

Happy Birthday, Dori!!!!!

How does it feel to be 50?

Thought so.

Hope it's your greatest year yet!

Dori, from the very beginning you have always brought a bunch
of "life" to our family.
Your sense of humor always makes one smile
and your kindness is beyond words.
Your also the one that has the greatest sense of what it takes
to keep this family connected.

You're a one-of-a-kind sister
and a one-of-a-kind friend.

I am so thankful you're mine.

Enjoy today.
You'll be in my thoughts.

Love you much.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our plans, our needs, our thankfulness!

Many of you know that we are about to make our third trip to Brazil since officially becoming missionaries in July of '09. Back then we had gone with the expectation that we would be settling into the city or town that God would have us to minister out of. We had packed what little we had left with that in mind!

That, of course, was our expectation and now, in hind sight, see it was not God's plan. We have been blessed beyond measure in being able to travel to many of the churches, spending time with the pastors and their families and ministering to the people however God would lead. We know, had we settled in one place, that things would have looked much different and we wouldn't have had many of the opportunities that have been ours this way.

We've been reminded many times of Pastor Rob telling us of a vision that he had before we were even ready to leave. He had seen a map and on that map there were stick pins on the places throughout Brazil that we had traveled with our routes drawn out for each visit. Much like the way we view the maps of Paul's missionary travels (NOT that we are anything like Paul!). As we talked about “settling down” in one place, Rob, upon several occasions would remind us of his vision and express that he did not see us settling down – at least not for some time. As of yet, although there are many places we could see ourselves living in Brazil, we have never felt God confirm to us that we were to put down roots.

A year ago we were given an opportunity to buy a house in Tennessee. This was not in our plans. Even after the purchase was made we were in awe of it, wondering what God had in mind. Although, we are still not convinced this is a permanent situation we feel for now this house is to be our home when we are in the states. It was in need of work that we are doing with the hopes that when and if the time comes to sell it we would make a profit of some sort on it. The cost of housing and of living in Tennessee is quite a bit lower than that of Corvallis making this a possibility for us. Another added bonus to living in Tennessee has been the cost and the hour reduction of flying to Brazil. On our last trip we were amazed at how short the trip felt after having made it so many times before from Oregon. Now it's done in less than a 24 hour period compared to a 32+ period before. (counting layovers and travels to and from airports). That is huge when you are arriving, hitting the road running! We also were blessed to learn after moving here that a Brazilian Consulate had opened in Atlanta – a 2½ hour drive for us! We were especially grateful for that as we made our way there yesterday to apply for our new visitor visas. We did the interview and had the new visas before the end of the day!!!! These are just some of the ways that God has confirmed that this move was of Him.

So we continue on with another missionary trip! We are returning to Curitiba for the majority of our time. With John Hwang on an extended leave right now he had asked us if we would consider going back and helping Tom Stowe with the church as they settle into the changes that so suddenly came upon them. We are blessed to do it. We also will be spending some time with our friends in Foz do Iguassu where we spent much of our time on our first trip, then on to Campo Moura. Here we will be able to spend time with many different churches, pastors and their families as there is planned a Carnival Retreat for many of the Calvary churches throughout Brazil. We look forward to touching bases with many we have not seen for some time and also those that we have not been able to see at all. While in Curitiba we are hoping to make a trip out to Florinopolis in order to spend some time with both the churches there. Many of you know that Claudio and Jess Caze are in the states right now and so we would like to stop there and encourage the pastor that is filling in for Claudio while he is gone. Also Nathan Cate is still pastoring at the other church in Floripa. His young family is a joy to us and we look forward to our time with them. After leaving Curitiba we are headed for Rio where we will spent about 2 weeks ministering in whatever ways Alexandre has for us. We hear he already has plans!!!! We are thankful to have an opportunity to go back to Rio. We have a love/hate relationship with the city but with the people it is pure love!

I will try to keep updates on this blog while we are there and we both have facebook accounts where we would gladly welcome you as our friend if you are not already!

We just received a new 10 year tourist visas (it allows us to be in Brazil 6 months out of each year) and are praying about whether we are to try for a more permanent visa this fall or be content with this. We have found that God has always given us the next step, however, He has not given us much more than that at any given time! We are trying to learn contentment in whatsoever state we are in without feeling anxious about it.

As you can imagine all of this travel is expensive and while we know that God alone is our provider we have been reminded that many times God uses people for that provision and that those who assist in this way share in the ministry. Philippians 4:17. We know that times are hard and money is scarce these days but should God lay it on your heart to help out with these expenses we would be so grateful. Maybe it could be a monthly contribution for the 3 months we are gone (March, April and May) or a one time gift. All the money would totally go towards the expenses of this trip as God has provided us the means to take care of our living expenses. Any gift can be given through Calvary Corvallis 2125 NW Lester Ave. Corvallis, Or 97330. Write Warren Yoder in the memo line.

It is a tax deductible contribution. We are not asking for anyone to make any kind of commitment to us. We are taking this trip, as we have the others, by faith knowing that God is our ultimate provider.

We wish to thank all of you that have continued to bless us with phone calls, e-mails and facebook messages! It is ALWAYS such a blessing to hear from you. We also are so very blessed by the support of your prayers. We are so needy of them. Please know that you are loved.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I can't believe I'M old enough.....

You have always been amazing.

You were one of those "great" kids -
an "awesome" teenager-

(Okay, there are a few things during that time
I still don't like to hear about or talk about!)

And then you became a man.
A husband. A father.
A grown son.

And you're great at all three.
I'm proud to be your mother -
I love being your mother!

You've changed my life.
And it's been wonderful.

Happy birthday

to my favorite
oldest son!

I love you, Josh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday Birthday!!

Today is the birthday of two very special girls in my life -
Both of them brought to me because of one man's love.
My son's.

The first is his wife of 8 years.

She was Josh's dream for a wife.
And my dream for a daughter-in-law.
Neither of us have been disappointed!

I love you, Jodi.
I couldn't have done any better had I picked you myself.
I love how you love my son
and your children.

How respectful you are of other people.
And the goodness and sweetness that is your heart.

And then there is Lily!
The only girl in a sea of boys.
And every bit the princess.

I loved you from the moment I knew there was a you.
Enough gentleness to call you girlie
and yet enough toughness to hold your own
with four brothers.

One years old today.
You make my heart sing.

To two of my favorite girls

Happy Birthday!

My life wouldn't be the same without
either one of you.