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...