Friday, June 30, 2006


Baptism, originally uploaded by russandval.

Tonight we are rejoicing with the angels. ICOS celebrated its first baptism. Gicilene (gee-sill-EE-knee) has been worshipping with us since our second Sunday. She grew up in very strict evanglical churches but the rules drove her away. Her friend Sônia started bringing her to our church. It was the only church that Gicilene was willing to attend, so Sônia, who goes to the Assembly of God down the street, kept bringing her. Gicilene loves that she has found a church that is free of all the dogma that she encountered growing up. She has a wonderful spirit and we are excited to see the many ways in which the Lord will use her. Please keep our new baby in your prayers!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Okay look, I rarely do this so I feel like I'm allowed to do it on occasion, especially in honor of the Cup:

This site helps you figure out your Brazilian soccer name and even puts it on a spiffy jersey for you. (That's it, no editorial comments, especially not for those of you who live in Italy and Germany. I'm keeping my mouth shut. But you know what I'm thinking...)

In other news, we bought a small freezer today. I'm very excited. I don't know why new appliances thrill me, but they do. And the freezer will be a big help. Our teammates are already asking to borrow space in it...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

São João 2006

São João 2006
Originally uploaded by russandval.
I can't believe it's São João already. New pics up on Flickr. (Click on the picture to get there).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Game Day

The Crew
Originally uploaded by russandval.
It's amazing to think that some of you may not even be aware that the World Cup is going on right now. Here in Brazil it is all-consuming. On game day, life just stops. TVs appear everywhere. The streets are dead. The game is punctuated by screaming, firecrackers and cars honking. It's an incredible experience.

We've been showing the games on our screen at church. We've been getting a pretty good turn-out--both our regular visitors and their friends and family. This past Sunday, the game was at 1:00, so we offered lunch after worship so everyone could stay and watch the game. People came to church decked out in their team colors. Almost every person who came to church stayed for the game and a few more showed up later. It was our first all-church event and we were thrilled by how well it went. Everyone's already looking forward to the next game (Thursday). We're glad we have the resources to take advantage of this opportunity to make our motley crew feel like a family.

After the game, we boarded a bus and headed to our team retreat. We've spent the past three days reviewing our strategy and evaluating our efforts so far. Needless to say, we're exhausted, but hopefully I'll post about that soon.