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.