Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recipe for a Team Retreat

2 babysitters
6 miscellaneous pool "floaties"
1 big green lawn, suitable for running around
3 days worth of awesome food (including this and this
Rook cards and Ticket to Ride
2 hammocks
10 lbs of junk food
1 broken toe
trips to the beach, as needed

Combine all in a big house. Garnish with a silly talent show, bubble-blowing and a giant parachute.

Pics to come.

Monday, July 20, 2009

VBS Night Five

Night Five was all about our relationship to God's creation.

Here's Diana cutting out an egg carton flower

in the class she and big sis Piedade taught about recycling.

Here are Heather and Ana Paula

and Ana Paula helping the kids do leaf rubbings.

Finally, there was Cintia (or the back of her head, anyway!)

and her mom Cristina, who talked about plants and helped the kids plant their own seeds.

At the end of the evening we had a slideshow with pictures from the week, which we showed again yesterday during church. We also took time to recognize everyone who had helped out during the week--about 25 people, which for a congregation our size is huge! Thanks again to Heather and Alicia for all their hard work and to everyone who joined us in prayer!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I still haven't uploaded any pictures from the last night of VBS. It was our biggest night yet and the kids got to show their work off to their parents.

Oh, but that's not why I'm blogging.

I wanted to say that yesterday, my mind was MILES away. 6592.8 miles to be exact.

This was happening:

That's my "baby" brother, Dave and his new wife, Liz. (Liz is the one in the white dress.) And that's my dad behind them.

Dave and Liz met while touring with the African Children's Choir, though they are neither African nor children. They've been off the road for a few months and now they've started out on a new road together. Metaphorically speaking, anyway. They will be living in Washington.

So that's where my mind was. I wish I could have been there but it just didn't work out for us to get up there in time for the wedding. Sigh. But I'm sure my parents, grandmother and sister did a good job representing the Turner side.

So, Dave and Liz, congratulations! When are you coming to Brazil?

Friday, July 17, 2009

VBS Night Four

I still don't have pictures from night three. I'll post some when I do.

Last night was about our response to God's creation.

Jenn taught a class about praise.

Heather's class was about people in different countries. Specifically she talked about a far away land called "Texas". She made strange food (Ranch dip) for the kids to try.

There were a bunch of letters from kids just like them that live in that exotic land.

In another class they talked about love.
These three, Andreia, Ana Paula and Viviane, threw glitter in everyone's hair and told us we were blessed. I'm glad I'm not the one who had to clean up that classroom!

There was an enormous bowl of Jello for snack time.

And I have to mention that Heather has been doing a great job with the singing.
See? She's got joy like a fountain!

Tonight is the last night and the kids will be doing a special presentation for their parents. Please pray that we will be able to follow up on the relationships built this week!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

VBS Night Two

Tuesday was night two of VBS. I am just now getting around to posting because I had some health issues yesterday. I also didn't get any pictures of last night but I'll try to steal some from Alicia or Heather...

They learned about birds and painted with feathers.
This is Ceara, Travis and Alicia's little girl. Isn't she grown up?

Most of the teachers have been our young professionals. This is Gabriel, he's kind of a gentle giant.

In another class they learned about seeds.
This is Leia. She's not even a member--she's Heather and the Porters' Portuguese teacher and she had helped translate all the materials so she helped out. It's been a good opportunity for her to build relationships with some of our members.

After the lesson, the kids painted with vegetables and fruit.

Jackson is too little to go the classes so we make our own fun. I let him paint while the kids were busy listening to their lesson. It was his first time painting and he had a ball!

There was another station but I didn't get any pictures of it. Oops.

The highlight of night two was snack time at the end. It was a special night for a special girl.

This is Alicia, daughter of our church secretary Andreia. She's got a huge smile on her face because she came downstairs to discover this:
All her friends waiting to sing Happy Birthday!

The kids are having a great time and every night we have new kids show up! Please pray that our last two nights will be even better than the others!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

VBS Night One (or part of it, anyway)

This year we're having our first full-scale VBS. Heather and Alicia have been planning for months and they've really done a great job. The theme is "God's Creation" (so poor Heather has been subject to many stories about when we did a creation VBS at Mayfair). Here are some highlights from the first night (We skipped out early because JT was being a toddler so I only got pictures of some of it):

A little parachute fun!

Jackson thought it was great and jumped right in!

Space. Jenn talked about the planets...

and then the lights went out and the blacklight came on...

for a little fluorescent crayon fun!

(I wish I'd had more time to play with my camera to get decent pictures of this!)

Cintia and Lorena taught about animals

I'm sure they did an awesome job but we had to leave before they got going.

But the star of the show was Piedade. She taught about sealife.

Piedade actually lives across the bay on a large island, but she spends a lot of time here in Salvador helping her daughter who's a single mom. She got really into her lesson and managed to come up with all kinds of great sea creatures to show the kids.

When anyone asked, "Where did you get all this stuff?" she would just say, "On the island." as if that were enough. Everyone, kids and adults alike, were so impressed and intrigued by the stuff she brought.

Tonight there will be new centers with new surprises. Please pray that we don't have rain like we did last night. Pray that kids from our neighborhood will show up and that they will get a glimpse of our God through the lessons and through the way we act.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Today is Bahian Independence Day. The state of Bahia celebrates Brazilian Independence later in the year, but it took a few extra months after Brazil's independence for Bahia to be fully free of the Portuguese. Some might say it's because of the Bahian tendency toward procrastination (which, after four years of living here I certainly would be the first to admit that does sound like a valid reason). The truth is that Salvador was the first capital and a major fortress and it was the last Portuguese stronghold. (Feel free to make your own spiritual application at this point--it would make an excellent sermon illustration, I think!)

Bahian Independence Day is flanked by Canada Day and American Independence Day, so our team always celebrates with a Red, White and a Little Bit of Blue Party. (Bahia's colors are also red, white and blue.) It's an excuse, as are all our parties, to make all the food we miss. So yesterday it was banana pudding, coleslaw, potato salad, strawberry pretzel salad, deviled eggs, and so on...

This year we were also blessed to have a number of visitors, bringing the total number up to 27. We've got Dan and Becky still, Matt's parents and Mary's mom are here and Scott, Rachel and Chris Perkins from Abilene made a quick stop here on their way down to the inauguration of the new church building in Itu.

We managed to wrangle all the kids for a picture. This was quite a feat, as it seemed all afternoon there was always someone sleeping, nursing or crying. But we finally had everyone awake and happy-ish and we acted quickly.

Somehow we even got a group shot!


If only life were all parties and fun. We also found out yesterday about an accident that happened in Bolivia. A bus carrying youth from the church in Cochabamba rolled, killing three girls and injuring everyone else. I got to know the women of the team that works with that church a couple of years ago and I can't imagine what they have ahead of them as they deal with the aftermath. The team has set up a blog with more information and ways to help. Please join us in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Bolivia.