Saturday, July 29, 2006

Leave a smile wherever you go.....

Russell here, reporting alive and well back in Bahia. After arriving home around 3AM today, Valerie graciously let me sleep. I woke up after 2PM, and got dressed enough to run at our condo’s sports fields. After about an hour, I stopped to leave and said hello to the two security guards who were managing the courts. I introduced myself to one of them; the other I knew. We talked about my trip to Canada; then they surprised me by asking if I was an evangelical. I told them I that I was (it is interchangeable with protestant here) and they said that were sure I was because I was the only resident who stopped to talk to them. It seemed like the smallest thing to stop for a few minutes and reflect on life in a place that they will probably never see. However, it gave them dignity to face the arrogant and pretentious (their words) people who live around them. I am looking forward to more talks! Think about Lazaro and Ze Carlos the next time you check out of a store. What do people see in you?

We’ll fill you in on the trip soon. Right now we’re getting things ready for Val’s parents to get here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The past few days have been a whirlwind and it's not over yet!

We got in Friday afternoon. Friday evening, we met Don Millican (from Tulsa) and his son-in-law, Luke, for dinner. They had an overnight layover in Winnipeg so we jumped on the chance to see them, even though we were dead tired. We were good friends with Luke at OC so it was great to see them both again.

Saturday, Russell's parents came up from Oklahoma. They were in town for less than 48 hours so we made the most of our time. Fortunately they're great friends with my parents so spending time all together was easy. Sunday night we got a room at a nearby hotel (with pool and waterslide!) for a little family time with the Quireys.

The main thing we've been doing for the past few days is shopping. I've got to say, I'm quite exhausted. Every spare moment means a new trip to the store. I've forgotten how much work a wedding is. I'm so thankful that I'm here to help.

Last night was Susan's shower at church. I got to spend more time with some of my church family. But for me, the best part was sitting there at the front of the room with my sister, mom and both grandmothers. Grandma Turner arrived Monday and Grandma Merritt came directly from the airport to the shower (Grandpa got to go rest!). My family is very spread out. Grandma T. lives in North Carolina, the Merritts live in southern Ontario, Susan is soon to be living in New Mexico, Mike's in Oklahoma (though sadly he can't be with us) and after the wedding Dave's headed to Europe for several months. Times like this are rare and indescribably special.

On the docket for today: more shopping! Good thing it's my favorite pastime!

Friday, July 14, 2006


So here I am sitting in my parents' living room. It's the weirdest feeling. In many ways, it feels like we were never in Brazil. That's one of my favorite things about our relationship with my family. We don't talk as much as some families but we're close. And when we get together, it's like we were never apart.

On the other hand, we do notice we've been gone. We've had some experiences in the past 24 hours. Here's just a handful:

- May I say again how grateful I am we didn't fly Varig? Our line was filled with people who were trying to fly stand-by and had been for a couple of days.

- Going through the line in U.S. customs (yes, we've had to go through several different customs lines in the past 24 hours), the customs official asked what we do in Brazil. I said, "We're missionaries." He misheard and thought I said mercenaries. It made for a very interesting conversation but we all had a good laugh!

- Two things that remind me that I haven't been living in North America: 1. This morning I sat at breakfast in the airport. The waitress had brought us our big glasses of complimentary water (!), then a large glass of milk and two big cups of coffee. It was so much beverage for two people! 2. I keep pausing in the bathroom trying to figure out how to dispose of my toilet paper. (Some of you will understand why!)

I think I'm going to go take a shower. That sounds so delightful. But just sitting here, talking with my parents, wrestling with the dog, and joking around with my sister is not so bad either.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One Week Later

Sorry I forgot to update you guys; I've had a few things on my plate.

Yes, LST finally made it here at around 1:00 Friday morning. After a slow start, they now have more than 50 readers and the church building is full much of the time. It's very exciting. They're having their first social event tonight so we're excited to get to meet all of the students.

Russ and I are just about ready to leave for Winnipeg. We're headed to the travel agent in a few minutes to see if we need to change our Varig flight to something else. Varig is pretty unreliable these days. (Just ask Jenn and the LST team!) We are sooooo excited to see our families and our suitcases are full of treats for them. (Sssshhh! Don't tell them--it's a surprise!) And I'm incredibly excited that Joel and Susan will be starting their new life together. In the same city. Finally!

I'll try to let you know how our trip is going; maybe even post some wedding pictures. But if the two weeks go by without an update, know that we're having a great time!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


The LST team still hasn't arrived. In fact, we don't even know when they'll be getting in. Supposedly they've made it to São Paulo but we don't yet have confirmation of that. We had the first information meeting last night and had a decent turnout, but we had strongly encouraged people to wait and come to the meeting tonight so they could meet their teachers. Now that might not happen. Please take a moment and pray for their travels. We are so anxious for them to get here and the meeting will not be the same without them. (Not to mention that they've been stuck all this time with a four-year-old. Unenviable.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It's Raining...

As much as we love to talk about our great weather when the rest of you guys are suffering through the winter, it's the land of eternal sunshine. Through the fall and winter, Salvador turns into Our City of Perpetual Rain. In the fall, there are days of non-stop rain. Now that we're in the winter, the rain is a little more unpredictable. Like this morning--we left the house and I decided not to bring my umbrella because the forecast predicted a warm, sunny day. As we got out of our taxi, Russ noticed the grey clouds looming over the ocean and commented to the taxi driver that it was going to rain soon. No, he reassured us, it's not going to rain today. So we did our work at the church building and then got ready to leave. We locked the front doors and the rain started. Lightly at first, so we started walking. When it rains here, no one walks unless they have to. People take shelter until whatever they can and wait it out. They're in no hurry! It's taking me some time to get used to this mindset. It quickly picked up and we found ourselves getting wetter and wetter. We decided to stop and have a cup of coffee. As we were finishing our coffee, the rain let up and everyone started walking again. We hurried to the door and before we were even off the front stairs, the rain started again. This time we waited (with several other people) until it let up enough to get home.

Why do I tell you all this? Not to complain, because I hate complaining. (Is that a complaint?) This morning, as I stood and waited for an end to the rain, I realized it was a blessing. I hadn't been having a very good morning. The LST team isn't arriving today isn't arriving today as planned, so that creates some extra work for us. It seemed like I had the opposite of the Midas touch--everything I tried to do went wrong. Russ and I kept quarreling. I stubbed my big toe. And all I could think about was all the things on my to-do list. But the rain forced me to stop. It made me enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband and have a good chat. I had to take a breath. Sometimes I find myself forgetting to take breaths. (You can ask the rest of the team--Russ and I are notorious for not taking days off or vacation time.) But today, I had to and I'm glad. I feel so much calmer now. I thank God for giving me the eyes to see that the rain was not a curse but a blessing.

Addendum: It's even easier for me to breath now. After 478 days, our books are finally unpacked. It's about time. I've missed them.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

How awesome it was to share the news of Gicilene's baptism this morning!

We've been a little short-staffed this weekend because several of the team are traveling. It left just Keith, Stacey, Randy, Russ, me and all the kids. It was tough, but we soldiered on. With both Travis and Paul gone, Russ got to preach. I'm biased, of course, but I think he did a great job. I asked him afterward what kind of feedback he got from the congregation. He said, "One lady told me my hair was beautiful!" Not the feedback every preacher wants to hear, but in a land where people don't hold back from telling you how fat you are or how bad your Portuguese is, it's a welcome compliment!

We're getting excited for Let's Start Talking to get here. The team is arriving on Tuesday afternoon. One family will be living at the building for the six weeks they'll be here so I've been trying to make the place a little more livable (those of you who have seen it in person will understand). At first the job was really hard because we only had power in the front two rooms and the bathroom. The power company said it wasn't their fault and everyone else who looked at it blamed the power company. Thanks to the persistence of some of our guys, it finally got resolved.

Problems like that have been coming up, just like we had before our first service. I guess we should be used to that by now. We've been advertising the courses all around town but no one could call for information because our phone wasn't working. The phones are back up now and people are calling. This is the first time LST has been offered in this city and the responses have been interesting. Everyone who calls is skeptical that the courses are free. This morning as we were getting ready for worship three police officers stopped in to ask about the course. Some friends of ours that own a fabulous Italian restaurant have been give people LST fliers along with their check. We've handed out fliers in the street, in language schools, left them in taxis, put posters in stores, taken out a newspaper ad and talked to everyone we can think of. Now we have to sit back and wait. We have informational meetings this week on Wednesday and Thursday. Please pray that they go well and we have great turn-outs. We have spaces for 65 readers so that's a lot of potential new contacts for the church.

World Cup fever is officially over. The game ended at about 6:00 last night and by 9:00 many stores had taken down their special displays. Everyone is so disappointed, especially because it seemed like Brazil didn't even show up to play. I have to confess that I'm a little glad it's over since we're trying to get things done this week. It was hard having to schedule everything around the games. But I'll miss the opportunities we had to watch them as a church family.

Two weeks from today, we'll get to worship with our family in Winnipeg. We can hardly wait!