Wednesday, September 30, 2009


There's a lot swimming in my head right now (probably since it's been ten days since I last blogged!) and I'm trying to figure out where to start. I'll just throw everything at you and let you try to connect it all.

*Big news first: Last Sunday Travis and Alicia announced to the church that they will be leaving in April. Not only that, but they'll be taking their kids with them, much to the disappointment of many! They've reached the end of their commitment and they're ready to move on to another work. We're sad to see them go (my fellow Canadians!) but I know that God will use them to do great things wherever they are. And we still get a few more months with them, so I'm not going to start freaking out about it now!

*Since they're leaving it leaves some big holes in our work especially with the children's ministry and Russ and I have decided to take it on. We're really excited about it. We had the opportunity to do some work with children together when we interned in Nova Scotia so we know that the combination of my planning skills and his craziness really works!

*Poor Jackson can't catch a break. He's been fighting a cough for at least three weeks now and he's finally getting better. But now he's having some crazy skin problem that required a trip to the dermatologist this week (and some very expensive creams to put on it). And now we think he may have pinkeye. Blech. I have no doubt that if we lived in the US he would have had swine flu by now.

*R's mom Debbie arrives on Saturday morning! We're all super-excited to see her. Russ will only get a couple of days with her before he heads to a conference in São Paulo but Jackson and I will have a fun week of Grandma-time.

*Jackson and I are headed to see the Backyardigans Live on Saturday. This is our first such outing and I'm really jazzed about it. Well, not so much. I know that Jackson will think it's AMAZING and that's why I'm going. That boy has a serious thing for Uniqua.

*I hosted my English bible study this week and I discovered a yummy new recipe--Maple-Pecan Danish Coffee Cake. It's made with Bisquick, which we don't have here but I make my own baking mix with half whole wheat flour. And it calls for maple syrup, which we also don't have, but I did happen to have a bottle of Griffin's Butter Pecan syrup so I used that instead. It was absolutely delicious. HOWEVER, something happened overnight and it disintegrated so it was unservable. That left me with some very tasty scraps in the kitchen. Oops.

*While I'm sharing recipes, I can't forget this one: Pumpkin Spice Lattes IN THE CROCKPOT!! You see, not all of us can just run to Starbucks to grab some deliciousness whenever we want but we can make it at home! (I make it with artificial sweetener because of the whole weight-loss competition thing but it's still pretty good!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Today was as always a full day. This morning we had several of our "long-lost" members in attendance, people who haven't be showing up lately. And we were thrilled to see one of our former members and his family, who we haven't seen since the move. Antonio is blind and it's just too hard for him to get out to our new location. It makes us sad, because they're wonderful people. Jackson fell asleep during the FIRST SONG at church today, which has never happened. He woke up about ten minutes after church ended. Then we ran to the mall with Heather to get a bite to eat. Heather and I tried a new salad restaurant. For those of you familiar with Brazil, you can imagine my excitement to get a "Tex Mex" wrap on a whole wheat tortilla with low fat Ranch dressing. After lunch we headed back to the church for English class. Today we had more sign-ups which brings our grand total of students for this term up to 71! Amazing! It seems to be an enthusiastic bunch and I look forward to getting to know them. After class, it was back home to make dinner and play with Jackson. Sundays are always full, always crazy and always a blessing.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I just wrote in an email "It's Monday morning and I already feel behind." and it couldn't be truer. I feel like I've got so much work to do, things that I've been putting off or had to put on the back burner while I tended to other things. The past month was a little chaotic for me because the hotel where we'd been planning on having the missionary conference backed out, leaving me to scramble to find a new one. Many prayers and price quotes later, we have a new place. But it meant my to-do list was completely thrown off for a few weeks.

So now there's today. There's a lot going on--yesterday we started a new term of English class. We had 40 students with no advertising whatsoever, just word of mouth, and I know there will be more next week. At this point we've done our basic course enough that our curriculum is set so the main work is administrative and getting to know our students. I pray that God will show us ways to enter into our students' lives.

Thinking about prayer, I need to ask you all to pray for Salvador. The city has been experiencing some violence and everyone is terrified (understandably!). Several buses have been set on fire, at times full of passengers, and several police stations have been attacked. No one from our church family has been a victim of the violence but some have been affected by it. And the whole city is scared. So please pray for an end to this violence. Pray for God's protection for His children and that all would come to know Him, which is the only true solution to our troubled world.


Monday, September 07, 2009

7 de Setembro

Today is Brazilian Independence Day. We decided to make it a weekend for the church family to be together. Yesterday after worship we had a potluck followed by a devotional.

Then today, about thirty of us headed to the beach. We had tables and umbrellas reserved and we sat and talked and ate and swam and chased kids. The weather was just perfect--not a cloud in the sky! Here are some pictures from today:

Here's Russ with our lunch--a big red fish, slightly battered and fried. Amazingly this was the smallest size available. We didn't mind too much, it gave us more to share.

Lucas and Cristina, two of our members.

Russ and Jackson flying a kite.

There were several chess matches. I would have never thought to play chess at the beach.

We rented this pool for the kids to play in. It kept us from having to chase the kids down every five minutes.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Washing the Dishes

When we first got married, we were both in college and we divided a lot of the household chores. We decided that I would cook and that Russ would clean up after dinner. I'm not the best housekeeper in the world and washing dishes is pretty low on my list. It was our system for over nine years. At times it was a bit of a challenge for me, since Russ wouldn't always do them in a timely manner, but he would eventually get the job done and I rarely had to touch a dish. When I did, I had a hard time not feeling a little resentful, though my problem was less with Russ than the task itself.

A couple of weeks ago we decided that in this season of our family life, the time had come for me to start doing the dishes. I wasn't thrilled about it and only suggested it because I knew it was the right thing to do for our family. And so for the past two weeks, I have faithfully done the dishes, leaving a clean sink at night and even treating our cleaning lady to a clean sink a time or two!

Yesterday as I stood washing the dishes for the umpteenth time that day (we had a potluck at church today so I spent yesterday cooking) I realized something. I didn't feel at all resentful. The once-hated task has become part of my routine and I do it without thinking about it.

So what's changed? For me, the "why" has changed. Now when I do the dishes, I'm doing them as part of my conscious choice to do what is necessary for my family. It's not a burden someone else put on me; it was my choice to take it on. seems to me that there's a word for what I did. It's a word that's often maligned and misinterpreted but I'm going to go ahead and use it anyway: submission. Are you still with me or are you cowering in fear of the s-word? When we choose to submit, it is an act of love and comes from a desire to do what is best. No resentment necessary!

Obviously, when the topic of submission comes up, most of our minds run to the subject of women in the church. But, as I was reminded yesterday as I scrubbed pots, we are given the opportunity to submit and transform our attitudes all day long. It's yet another way to follow the example of our Master.