Sunday, May 29, 2016

Well, here we are in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I am six weeks from graduating x-ray school. We are beginning our third summer in this city. Life is going pretty well-

Monday, March 08, 2010

Change of Address

So from here on out, our blog is at

How is that for easy to remember?

The only trick is that you'll have to remember how to spell Quirey.

All new posts will go there and this blog will be left to languish.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Heads-Up

Our blog will be moving to a new address very soon. We'll let you know when it's up but in the meantime, things here may look a little wonky.

While I'm here, since I haven't really been lately, let me take the opportunity to tell you that we'll be on furlough in just over a week. Our rough schedule is:

March 16-23 Blackwell, OK
March 23-April 1 Athens, TX
April 2-6 Oklahoma City
April 7-10 Personal Days
April 11-14 Oklahoma City
April 16-23 Winnipeg
April 23-26 Grand Strand, SC (R only)
April 29-May 5 Oklahoma City

All those days are "-ish", as in "we may be in between two places" and all the places are "-ish" as well, which is why OKC comes up so much. OKC is just easier to say, though we'll probably be in Stillwater and Blackwell a little. If you're interested in seeing us, let me know. If you're in Athens, Sharon Hartis is coordinating our schedule so you should talk to her.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to School

I haven't blogged about much ministry stuff lately. Part of that is because of the normal January lull. Not much happens in church life between Christmas and Carnaval. The other main reason is that I'm the mother of a very active toddler. My time is truly no longer my own. I don't get to sit and blog and I don't get to get out of the house to do much else these days. But I'm not the first person to ever have a toddler, so I'm not asking for sympathy, I'm just explaining what's up.

That said, back in January Russ and I took over the children's ministry.  Since Heather, intern extraordinaire, is here for a few more months we're not responsible for quite everything just yet but we've been working on some big organizational stuff and some of the week-to-week stuff too.

Last Sunday we had our first event. February is back-to-school month, so we had a party instead of Sunday School last week. We started handing out invitations in December and we ended up with 20 kids, which is about double our average weekly attendance.

We played games like "stick the pencil on the desk".

We wanted all the kids to know that their schooling is important to us and that we support them so we took the time during our worship service to pray over them.

And at the end of the morning (after church) we handed out goody bags to everyone with school supplies.

I hope this becomes a yearly event for our church family. More importantly, I hope that these children truly are blessed in their studies. Most of them have so much to overcome when it comes to schooling yet we know that with proper schooling they will be able to overcome so much! Please take a moment to pray for the kids of ICOS!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

We were tired but we were only halfway done.

We flew to Dallas to meet up with R's side of the family. We had a mini-family reunion at the Holiday Inn Express, with the East Bernard Quireys coming to be with the Blackwell Quireys and, of course, the Brazil Quireys. So we had just about all the Quireys we know in one place. Jackson got to meet his great-aunt Melissa and her family for the first time, and his great-grandparents were thrilled to see him again. We had a great couple of days with the Quireys.

Then we loaded up in the car and went to Oklahoma City. We got to have a few hours with my brother Mike, sis-in-law Jacque and MY NIECE TESSA!!! I was so excited to meet her and she is even more adorable in person. (Jackson may not feel the same way about her. Not yet, anyway.)

We headed up to Blackwell for a few days with Russ's family.

(Not shown: Mike (R's dad) and Nana (R's grandma). Also, I'm not quite ready to consider Matt's mustache a family member yet.)

It was nice to be with the fam for Christmas but by far the most exciting part of this leg of our trip was the SNOW!!

I haven't been that cold in a long time! We bundled Jackson up in layers and layers of clothes and we took him outside. He wasn't too impressed.

He liked it much better this way:

(I DID IT! I finally finished posting about vacation! Good thing, too, since furlough is just around the corner!)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Still More Vacation

We were in California for a wedding. Sort of. It was the celebration of a wedding that had already happened but it looked just like a "real" wedding. My brother Dave and his wife Liz decided to have a small private ceremony a few months ago but they had a big shindig for the rest of us to enjoy.

It was a little odd for me because I had never met my new sister-in-law, but I have to say that I love her! Liz is a great girl and a wonderful match for Dave. Here they are at the wedding:

It's one of my favorite pics of the day because of the look on Liz's face. I think every bride should look that carefree and happy.

Jackson was the ring bearer. He did an okay job for someone his age. He loved the Christmas lights all around the stage and tried to blow them all out.

And here is the lovely Quirey family. Russ spent hours on his hair!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wherein We Meet a Large Rodent of Note

Still updating about our vacation...

So we spent a week in Anaheim with my family. The folks rented a house so we could all stay together ("we" being Russ, Jackson and I, Mom and Dad, my sister Susan and her husband Joel, my brother Dave and his wife Liz and Dave's best man Blair). It was wonderful to all be together again. We stayed up and played games, hung out in the hot tub and let Jackson get to know his family. He loves his aunties and uncles but I think if asked, he would say that his favorite part about this leg of the trip was the foosball table. Yes, we have an addict on our hands, which was confirmed when we got to the Quireys in Blackwell where they also have a foosball table. Thankfully Jackson has many patient people in his life who gladly indulge him. (Liz played with him for almost an hour one day. She's a saint!)

Because we were going to be gone most of December we didn't put up our Christmas tree in Brazil. But we found an acceptable substitute.

That was in Downtown Disney, where we got to spend an afternoon just hanging out and drinking lattes. Yes, folks, that's what missionaries like to do when they come back to the U.S.--drink lattes. We may have lots of good coffee here in Brazil but we do not have sugarfree caramel lattes with nonfat milk.

And of course we had to spend a day enjoying Disneyland. We could have spent more time there but we were happy to even get one day. Jackson had a lot of fun although he really didn't know who any of the characters were. He took a nice two hour nap which let us big kids enjoy some delicious Mexican food. (That's the other thing we do when we go to the U.S.--eat as much Mexican food as possible!)

The grownups had plenty of fun. I got to ride Space Mountain, which is all I really want to do at any Disney park. Russ took my parents and sister to Honey I Shrunk the Audience, which Jackson and I skipped, so that's why they've got these lovely new spectacles on. I'm sure they were disappointed they didn't get to keep them. (And I know that Susan is incredibly disappointed that someone had to hold the camera so she didn't get to be in this picture. I know I would be.)

And we stopped into the home of this guy. It was awesome because there was NO LINE. We just ran through the empty house. Jackson didn't quite know what to think of him but he wasn't screaming, so I guess we count that as a successful visit.

(Hmm...there is some crazy formatting going on here. I'm just going to leave it as is because my son needs to get ready for bed. Just squint and imagine it's prettier.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Well, at this point I can say that I am 85% recovered from our whirlwind trip and 30% recovered from the missionary conference. My apartment is 15% recovered (Antônia is on her month-long holiday and I'm feeling a little burnout from having to unpack twice in two weeks.)

I'm starting to realize that I may never get the two hours it would take to sit down and blog about our adventures in one nice cohesive narrative (or even a coherent one) so you'll get it in bits and pieces.

1. The advice that guided me through the whole trip was this: "...I called my mom, who in the 1970s loaded me, my three siblings, and our reluctant father into a van for a yearlong road trip behind the Iron Curtain. “In my travels,” she said, “I’ve found there are three things you can find anywhere: Snickers, Fanta, and Johnny Walker Red. It wouldn’t kill them to live on Snickers and Fanta for a few days. If that doesn’t work, try the Johnny Walker and let them sleep.”" (from the National Geographic Travel Blog)

Jackson is a pretty picky eater and airplane travel isn't well-thought out for toddlers ("Why yes! My child would love beef tips with mushrooms and salad. Except can I sub the beef tips with chicken nuggets and the salad with french fries? And could I get a gallon of ketchup while you're at it?") I read that advice a couple of months ago and it popped into my head while we were traveling. While I never gave Jackson Snickers or Fanta (or Johnny Walker), it helped me remember that the meal choices we were making on the trip were short-term and that he would survive. So for a couple of weeks, there were several meals of cashews and raisins, washed down chocolate milk. Maybe not totally balanced, certainly not organic (gave up on that ambition ages ago!) but it was stuff we could find almost anywhere we went. Later in the trip I started carrying a pouch of Easy Mac "just in case".

I have to say it made me miss Brazil, where I can always find one of Jackson's favorite meals: beans and rice. Especially the rice.

2. Thinking of how unfriendly air travel can be with little ones, on our return trip, Jackson got an upset tummy on the flight from Dallas to Miami. We went through most of what was supposed to be our overnight supply of diapers and were stuck trying to find diapers in the Miami airport. Have you ever tried to find diapers in an airport? Every kiosk sells the same little pack with one diaper and two wipes for FIVE DOLLARS! (And no one seemed to have anything but a size 4!) We were facing having to spend at least $30 on diapers when we looked in one last store. They had 12-packs of diapers and I was so excited. When I went to pay for them, we discovered they didn't have a price tag and they were not going to sell them to me without a price. The clerk suggested I go with the "Little Swimmers" instead. At that point, I was on the verge of tears and ready to offer $50 for them (still a better deal than the other diapers). The Lord heard our desperate prayers and finally their manager authorized them (over the phone) to sell them to us for $10. We bought two bags.

Then we looked for some sort of food choice that wouldn't aggravate his upset tummy even further. Au Bom Pain wasn't going to cut it that day! Tucked away in a remote corner of the airport we found a Cuban cafeteria that had chicken soup and Jello. I have never been so happy. Jackson gobbled up the chicken soup and I (who had been fighting my own stomach ails) went for the Jello.

And of course, as is often the case with toddlers, after our frantic search for diapers, Jackson's stomach was fine on the overnight flight.

3. I don't know how people traveled with toddlers before the invention of the iPod Touch. Yes, I realize the ridiculousness of that statement. We would have survived without it.

But it sure was nice!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Notes from Anaheim

1. It took us waaay too long to get here. We had several flying delays which extended our trip by 11 hours, then had to wait around LAX for four and a half more hours for my parents' (delayed) flight. Add some more amazing hours and you get a classic trip. But we all made it--Mom and Dad from Winnipeg, Joel and Susan from New Mexico, Dave and Liz from Washington. We wish Mike and Jacque and the girls were here!

2. Our vacation rental is great and just a 15 minute walk from Downtown Disney. Not too shabby! (Thanks Mom!)

3. I hurt my back last night when I bent over to pick up my screaming child. I don't know what I did to it but I'm sure a little time in the hot tub tonight will help!

4. We finally feel like we're on vacation. We never go on vacation. We usually tack our vacation time on to furlough so it just ends up feeling like more furlough. This is wonderful!

5. California is COLD! When we landed yesterday morning the pilot said it was 45. That may seem warm to you (and my parents) but we're coming from Brazilian summer. Salvador never even gets CLOSE to 45 in the winter!

6. I am quite proud of myself: I have been here for almost 36 hours and have only been to Target and Starbucks once.

7. It's awesome to get to meet my new sis-in-law, Liz. Welcome to the family!

Monday, December 07, 2009

One more post. Good thing, too, because my brain hurts!

But I have not posted pictures of Jackson in a long long time and I just wanted to take a minute to tell everyone what an AMAZING kid he is. I know you think your child/grandchild/niece/nephew/best friend's kid/whatever is cute and smart but Jackson's got them all beat. But I try not to let HIM know that so he can be humble, too.

English Class Christmas Party

Yet again we celebrated Christmas with our English students in the "North American style". I think this party could also be referred to as "Missionaries-Pig-Out-On-Christmas-Goodies Day". My tummy hurts! So it's hard to post this first picture.

(Truth be told, I didn't really eat that many goodies yesterday. It was more all the days leading up to the party when I was baking.)

The kids helped me decorate. They were really into it this year so we let them decide where to hang things.

We played a gift exchange game that almost ended in a catfight.

Well, not really, but there were tears and screaming (mostly kids, I promise!)

And of course a special visitor stopped by!

Some of the students from the beginner class with their wonderful and beloved teachers.

(Yes, Santa was one of my students.)

This year the party was a little bittersweet because we're not going to be able to offer English classes next year. My plate is going to be pretty full with the addition of the children's ministry responsibilities and my co-labourers in the English ministry, Heather and Travis, are both bailing on me. I pray that in the future we'll find a way to get this great outreach going again!

And next year we missionaries will have to come up with another excuse to do our holiday baking...

Lourdes' Baptism

Here are some pictures from Lourdes' baptism.

Lorena and Gustavo

Here I talked about Lorena and Gustavo's reception. Here are some of the pictures from it. The only problem is that I didn't manage to get a decent picture of the happy couple. So here's Lorena and Gustavo's reception minus Lorena and Gustavo:

We had a potluck lunch. Always tasty!

Some of the amazing servants that make days like this possible! We've started using glass plates for all our events which means the workload is greatly increased.

We've all of a sudden got a bunch of little girls at church! They're all just precious...most of the time!

Women's Conference

(You don't need me to tell you that I haven't been blogging very faithfully lately. Today I'm trying to play catch-up on a lot of things, including uploading pictures, so today I'll be posting a lot of pictures.)

A couple of weeks ago several of us went to the annual state-wide women's conference. Actually, there were women from several states.

There were about two hundred present. The organizing congregation went all out with the decorations.

The meals were especially excellent, with a huge breakfast spread and the hottest pepper sauce I've had in a while at lunch. It looked like it wasn't hot, more like pico de gallo, so I piled it on (I'm not a fan of hot stuff). Big mistake. I wanted to cry. But I dutifully finished my plate.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Quickly, an update-
Our new sister in Christ was baptized at high tide today on the beach in front of ICOS. Her name is Lourdes, and she has two small children. She has been a part of a small group for about two years, and it has been a struggle to give God control of her life! Her husband came to church with her for the first time, and her daughter Vanessa was so excited to hug her mother when she walked out of the waves. We are pumped...

Another friend, DL, who I wrote about last month has returned to Salvador. He was able to live with his brother in the second-largest city in our state and make enough money to pay off his crack dealer. To top it off, the same dealer surrendered his life to God in a local Four Square Gospel Church while he was gone! Some things take decades of prayer to change, but others only a few days. I look forward to more study times with Deraldo (see my note about DL in an earlier post).

Finally, pray for Jeni and Rizzi - I have been studying with them both. One is very close to telling her family about her plans to be baptized, and the other loves talking about Jesus on a weekly basis with me. Pray for them both in the two weeks before we leave for the US. Valerie taught her last English class today, and it was bittersweet. She loves all the students that she has met - over 200 just this year. However, there will be much more responseability placed on us in overseeing the children's ministry. We have many needs but we know who is making our list. Peace, guys and gals.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Last Thursday we enjoyed some family time on our day off. We're really bad about actually taking days off so it was nice to spend some time together and just relax. We went to the zoo but my camera battery died so I didn't really get any pictures. As soon as we get to the zoo, Jackson demands to see the lions. He grabs my chin and looks into my eyes and says, "Rawr?" (which is his word for lions. He refers to most animals by the sound they make until he decides to start calling them by their "real" names. So dogs are now dogs but cats are be-ows.)

On Friday, we had our next set of meetings to plan for next year. This one was a little better for me, though, because it's the guys that met all day and then different ministry leaders just had to come in to meet with them. This year Russ and I were responsible for the goal-setting for children's ministry since we're taking over the ministry in January. It sure is a lot of work for a ministry that we have not "officially" taken over yet! We're trying to get the curriculum mapped out for the next few months, plan VBS and figure out how to recruit and train some more volunteers. We're headed on our vacation in less than a month and when we get back we'll have the missionary conference so anything that needs to be ready in January needs to get done now.

On Saturday I got up early and headed to the annual city-wide women's conference. Russ was kind enough to take care of Jackson for the day so it was extra-enjoyable! It's always nice to get together with our sisters from the other congregations. We took several of our women with us (we all squeezed into Jenn's tiny car!) and everyone had a great time.

When I got home, it was my turn to hang with Jackson while Russ went to small group. Why has Jackson been home so much? Well, in the past two weeks or so, we have dealt with an ear infection, a cold and headlice. Yes, that's right! Good times, I tell ya! I'm not sure where he picked up the lice (though I have an idea or two) and fortunately we seem to have caught it early enough that we're not having much of a fight. I never had lice as a child so this has been a crash course for me! I find it a little funny, though, because in my Tuesday bible study I asked for everyone to pray that Jackson could catch a break healthwise. Apparently God said no.

Yesterday we decided to keep Jackson home one more day. It was a pretty full Sunday so we decided that I would stay home with Jackson during church and then Russ would trade out with me at lunchtime so I could go help with the potluck and reception we were having for one of our recently-married members. I used the extra time to make my food for the potluck (Mexican casserole and guacamole!) but was surprised when I heard a key in the door at about 11:00. (Church usually ends at about 12:00.) Russ was home early because he felt miserable. Fortunately this week one of our members was leading singing and another was preaching so Russ had no responsibilities in worship and was able to leave. I rushed around to finish getting ready and made it to church about five minutes before it ended. I don't know if it was the holiday weekend or the wedding reception or what, but we had an awesome turnout for worship and almost every single person stayed to eat. After lunch we celebrated Lorena and Gustavo's wedding. They got married a couple of months ago but it was in another city so none of us (except Mary) were able to be there for the wedding. We had a yummy cake and open mic time, which is always interesting but this time was actually pretty tame. After the reception, we had a devotional. Anailson, another Brazilian, brought us a message about prayer. You could tell that he was incredibly nervous but he did a great job. I was so thankful that I got to participate in even part of yesterday. On days like that the feeling of community in our congregation is amazing. I was glad that people like Lorena's husband, Gustavo, and her mom were there to experience what her church family is like.

This morning I got up early so I could put a turkey in the oven. Today we're celebrating Thanksgiving as a team. Matt and Mary Virginia are leaving for furlough in a couple of days and we wanted to be able to celebrate with them. (We're missing Travis and Alicia, who are in Ecuador right now but we'll celebrate Christmas with them!) Some people (including one that I happen to be married to) think it's silly that we're having Thanksgiving so early. No one seems to buy my argument that we're actually celebrating Thanksgiving a month late! (Actually, as an American-Canadian or Canadian-American, or half-breed or whatever you want to call me, I believe it is within my rights to celebrate Thanksgiving as many times I want on as whatever days I want.) So we're off to try not to ruin all the hard work we've been doing to lose weight. Maybe we can all work out after dinner. Or something like that...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

We need some prayers for our friend

Hello everybody- I had a tough conversation with our new friend, DL. He recently came back from rehab and was really getting involved with our church. I have never seen someone actually return from rehab and thank me for buying his bus ticket! He spent a morning with me at the city court to replace his ID so that he could return to work. His big sister was letting him live in her extra room above the house.

He called me after I returned from English class and asked to speak to me personally. I hope you can pray for him from this point in the story. He had gone with another member to hand out flyers for our church in the neighborhood, when two guys on bikes grabbed him and said his old drug dealer wanted to see him. He fled, and hid above his sisters house, but when she saw him she said that four men had threatened to kill him if they found him. We prayed with him, and offered to do whatever he thought he needed to be safe. After considering our offer to make a report to the police or at least stay with another family, he felt it best to leave town immediately; his brother lives a couple of hours away where he was in rehab. He looked like a man who had lost all hope. DL is a smart 46 year old who is trying to make a fresh start. I really hated sending him away, but none of us had space for him to stay more than one night. Please pray that he finds family in another city. We are praying that sometime soon (after his debts are paid) he can return. DL, we are praying for you and for your safety.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Strategy Review, Days 3 & 4

I didn't blog last night because we all headed out to dinner and it took us over ninety minutes to get a table (it would have taken even longer had a certain teammate not boldly approached the couple that had already paid and was taking up our future table and begged them to move on) so we didn't get home until ten-ish.

That's one reason anyway.

The other problem is that I'm not actually sure what to say about yesterday, or what led up to it.


Okay, I'm going to let you in on something you may or may not have already known: missionaries (and ministers, for that matter) don't always have it all together spiritually speaking. We get distracted, we lose our focus, we neglect our personal spiritual lives. It's really easy, since we're "professionals", to put all our time and effort into our work and convince ourselves that it's all for God and actually be quite far from him. We make decisions based on what we feel is best and don't stop to ask God. We get so caught up in the what that we lose the why.

As we talked about what has happened in the past year, we were frustrated. Things hadn't gone like we had hoped. We weren't seeing the results we expected. Several of us are exhausted by our workloads, especially on Sundays. We all knew that something had to give.

We made our list of what we feel God wants in 2010 and what kept coming to the top was that God wants us to seek Him. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that if we all seek God with all of our hearts, everything else will happen naturally. And if we, the missionaries, are not seeking God first and foremost, how can we expect that from our members or the people we're studying with?

I've got to pause here to say again how hard this is to share. In fact, in the course of this conversation, we discussed how tough it would be to share that we had not been measuring up spiritually. (I even specifically said that it would be hard to blog about!) But I realized that 1. It's the truth and we need to openly share our struggles to be able to conquer them, and 2. We are definitely not the first missionaries or ministers to have this struggle. So I'm sharing it with you. My prayer is that your response would be one of support and prayer as we try (as everyone ought) to truly make God Lord of our lives.

So put God #1. Easy peasy.

Oh, no wait. That's hard. But we're going to try to do it together. I won't go into all the details of how we're going to go about it, but it involves regular study, prayer, worship and accountability. Sounds like a good start, doesn't it?

That wasn't the end of our retreat, though, because we did have to get around to talking about some of our day to day ministry things. But the incredible thing was how quickly all that went once we were all unified in our desire to focus first on God. Conversations that we expected to take hours were had in ten minutes, incredibly tough decisions were made, prayers flowed freely.

This week's strategy retreat was unlike any we've had before. (To begin with, we had less people than ever!) Through our time together, through our conversations, our worship, our times of prayer, we reached a new level of unity. We had moments of discouragement but are now refreshed and renewed in our commitment to serve God and the people of Salvador. I thank God for what He did in our lives and our hearts this week!