Just like Ants...

You must understand the annoyance of ants marching all over your kitchen counter and the floor. Here in Brazil we have a beautiful white tiled floor. The ants can be seen for miles! And while they can be an annoyance at times, today I'm thankful for their persistent march around my house!

Last week I thought I'd beat them when I laid down salt along where I thought they were getting in. Someone told me they won't cross the salt line. As soon as I sat down to appreciate my efforts, ants started marching up and over the salt and right into my living room. So I tried to think of a potent spice that might deter them, so I laid down cinnamon. I watched for a few minutes and nothing! I checked the next day and still, no ants! I was so proud!

Today I noticed ants all over again so I went back to the barrier I built. The ants marched right through it this time, and persistently kept marching on. They’ve been working for a weak at plowing through, and finally they did. Well, this was quite the encouragement for me, the language learner...

The frustration of trying to explain anything lately has given me a true appreciation for the term "language barrier". I try my hardest but sometimes I just can't crawl over it. So with my newest object lesson, I will do like the ants and keep plowing until I get through it. Trite, I know. But there will be days when God gets your attention with something silly and you won't care how silly it sounds, you'll just be glad you found the encouragement to push through the trial.

Now I'm off for another day in Brazil. This barrier will slowly crumble, and then i'll happily march right on through!


Hit the ground running...

While the saying may be overused, it's precisely what we've done since our arrival 9/2/2011.

The missionaries here in Brazil rotated us through their homes feeding us and sharing their tried and true advice about adjusting to a new culture (for Mandy) and re-adjusting for Maicol. We are visiting each of the different church plant works here and getting a feel for the diversity and opportunities for ministry. All in all, we are "adjusting." It seems to take it's toll physically and mentally!

Mandy started language school the week after we arrived and is enjoying her teachers. Maicol began practicing with Sogipa, the basketball team he hopes to have a ministry with, also the week after we arrived. Our days are pretty full of running around!

We attempted to begin the process of getting our paperwork taken care of such as visas, passport renewals, I.D. cards, driver's license... Notice the word "attempted". We have pretty much had hang-ups with each corner we turn. Our marriage is not recognized in Brazil because the certificate needs to be authenticated by the consulate in the state we were married. This process will be expensive if we attempt it now. So we thought, "why not get married again here in Brazil?" Yea. NO. So we are back to square one. Mandy's visa and I.D. card cannot move forward until the marriage is recognized. So we have a lawyer in Sao Paulo we've emailed and we will pray God gets us through this without too many scrapes!

Maicol is in driving school! His U.S. license could not be renewed in the States because his school visa expired and therefore the license was not recognized here. His only option is taking the whole driving course which takes about 2 months to complete. So for now, he appreciates his brunette chauffeur...

Driving in Brazil is freeing and scary all at once! Having only driven in the U.S. it's strange to not stop at stop signs or drive through red lights. It feels wrong! But it's the safest way to drive here at times. The chauffeur ended up the wrong way on a "one-way" road. Needless to say, she didn't get a tip for the ride that day!

We are taking things day by day and so in need of your prayers! This summer was a spiritual high for us, and we felt that way throughout most of the summer. It was green light after green light and everything was coming together so smoothly. Lately our lives have been figuratively and literally "stuck at red lights". So we are thanking God for the growth we know is taking place as our patience is tried and our character is refined.

We have had a lot of opportunities to ride the public transportation and it's great! Getting lost, not so much but we only tried that once. We are beginning to figure out the bus routes. We also enjoy walking. We have a gym membership and the facility is a two minute walk from home. There's also a few bakeries and a salon within walking distance. Mandy's language school is about 2 miles away and most times we walk there.

Once our car gets fixed we'll be able to drive more. Since we've purchased it, the car has overheated nearly every time we drive it so the mechanic has it in for the second time and will try to get it fixed soon.

Now it's time for the highly acclaimed Sunday afternoon lunch. Chicken and beef seasoned and skewered, grilled to perfection over a charcoal delight fondly referred to as a "Churrasco". With that said "tchau"!


It's the most wonderful time of the year... Christmas?!

No, not Christmas. But it sure does feel like it when I can't sleep because I wake up anxious! Some kids, never grow up! Dad will drive us to NYC today to get to the JFK airport. We'll be in the car about 9 hours. Then we board our plane tonight at 6:15pm and fly to Rio. We arrive in Rio at 5am and our final destination, Porto Alegre at noon. Can't wait!

It's been a crazy week since last Thursday! The people of VA were evacuating to escape Irene and we were swapping planes and heading to Iowa on Friday. Our time in Waterloo was wonderful. It was amazing to see God revealing His perfect timing. Every aspect, was really amazing. Needless to say, we were moved to tears by the end of this trip by God's provision of EVERYTHING we need! It was astonishing to see everything come together at the last minute! Our support reached 100% and we received gifts to help us pay for half of our baggage. The people at Walnut Ridge were extremely generous and such a blessing to visit with. Everyone we've met this summer has been generous! What made this past weekend amazing was to see God's providence in placing us through difficult trials and right at the end using so many people to meet our needs and bring us great joy in fellowship.

We spent our last few days with family, and our luggage! Packing has been a full-time job. Hopefully all of our planning, shoving, and crunching will pay off as we unpack and hopefully feel settled somewhat soon. It was hard to hear our niece (4 y.o.) talking about missing us and wanting to move to Brazil. And the other niece (3 y.o) kept saying "I'm gonna miss Maicol". Her dad asked "What about Meme?" Olivia: "NO, I just gonna miss Maicol". Quite comical.

We've had such a wonderful summer travelling, raising support, being with friends and family. Really we have been blessed beyond measure. We really do not deserve it! And to think we have been asking for prayer and faithfully asking God to bring us to 100% and He answered just in the nick of time! Astonishing! We are glad to begin our journey encouraged and reminded of God's power and provision. It's the only place we're safe and sound. Now we just can't wait to board this plane!