Friday, September 20, 2019

We are Coming Home

Hello to our Wonderful Friends and Family!



We finally have some great news to tell you! We are coming home! We started the visa process at the beginning of February, and next month in October, the process will be complete. As you can imagine, we are overjoyed and relieved that this long journey is finally come to an end.
The last step in the process is an interview. Ronã will travel next week to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the US Embassy that handles immigrant visas is located. He has to do several medical exams before the interview. The actual date of the interview is on October 3rd. A few weeks later, the visa packet should arrive in the mail that will allow him to travel to the US.
As of now, we are planning to come back to Ohio at the end of October where we will begin our new life. We are really looking forward to this moment to reunite with all of you. Your support for our family during this time has been beyond measure, and we can't wait for the opportunity to show our gratitude in person. You guys have really held us together through your prayers, your financial gifts and your emotional support. Thank you. We are so bless by you.
We will also be leaning on all of you as we transition into a new life in the States. Our goals in coming back include Ronã finding a job, finding a place to live, and buying a car. We have been saving money in order to prepare ourselves for this new start.
We would also like to ask, once again, for your hospitality in this beginning phase. We are asking for help with living arrangements for the first few months back home. This would be for November and December. If any of you have additional space in your home that you would be willing to share with us during this time, we would be grateful. We would need at least 2 rooms in a fairly calm environment, as we have a 2 year old son. We hope to buy a car as soon as possible when we arrive, but if possible, we may also need to borrow a car for a short period. If you think you will be able to help, please send me an email directly at allygail424@gmail.com
Please, we ask that you continue to pray for us during this next month that God's favor would be with us and guide each step of the way. He has been incredibly faithful to us during this season of our lives, and we have no doubt that he will continue to do so. Thank you, again, so much. We love you!

Love,
The Moura Family

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Faster Than We Thought






Hello Everyone!

I hope you all are doing very well and enjoying the start of Spring! In Brazil, we are starting our "winter" which basically means that there is more rain and more wind than normal. We are grateful for both as it cuts down on the heat.
It has been a while since I have connected with all of you. We have been waiting to have some news to give you about our progress with the immigration process for Ronã. I believe I told you before that we expected the process to take around 10 months to a year, and we filed our paperwork to get started at the beginning of February. The first part of the process is to file a petition that proves that our marriage is legit, and if approved, allows us to start the visa process for a green card. When we were looking on the government websites, it was saying that the wait time just for this first step was taking an average of 8 to 10 months! As you can imagine, we were pretty discouraged with that time frame. However, I am very happy to say that our petition has already been approved! We got a letter in the mail at the beginning of May, which means it only took 3 months!
So, what does this mean for us, you may be wondering? Well, we have been trying to estimate how long the other steps will take, assuming that everything goes smoothly. We believe it is possible that everything could be complete within the next 6 months. IF that is the case (I am using that IF with some liberty), then that could put us back in the US before the end of the year! Please, pray for the rest of this process to continue to go smoothly and quickly. We are anxious to start the next chapter of our lives.
In the meantime, we have a lot happening here. Recently, Ronã was able to get a job as a graphic designer. He is really enjoying it, and it is giving him a lot of experience. Unfortunately however, even with a job like that, his salary is only about $300 dollars a month. He has also started taking an electrician's course 2 nights a week. He has already completed the online course he was taking for an airport worker. I finished my hair styling course about a month ago, and I am also going to start teaching English part-time with an online company to help us save a little bit of money for our transition.
The other missionaries that we were working with here, Phil and Jen, are going back to Canada for a few months for a furlough. While they are gone, we are going to move into their house in order to take care of their furry friends. We were already having to move out of our apartment because the owner is selling it to her son. It worked out to be good timing for both of us, and we will save a few months of having to pay rent.
Last week, I had the privilege of having my Mom come visit! We had a great time together, and Oliver got to see that his grandma is a real person and not just an image on a video chat. She also got a taste of what my life has been like for almost 7 years living among the Brazilian people. I am grateful she got to see it before I leave here.
Watching videos on facebook together

Saying goodbye


We are always so grateful for your prayers and support of our family during this time. Even with all the many changes we are experiencing right now, we see God working in our favor on every side. He has been more faithful to us than we could have ever imagined. You all have been so much apart of that. We love you and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Love,
The Moura Family

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Plans for the Future

Hello to our Friends and Supporters!

I want to start by thanking you all for the incredibly gracious words we received from so many of you after the news we sent out last month. It was very hard to explain to everyone what was going on, and you all made us feel very loved and supported. Thank you again.
We want to let you all know as well exactly where we stand as a family. Please understand that Ronã and I are very committed to each other and to do whatever is necessary to take care of our family. I think the beginning of marriage is often hard for most people because of all the changes. There is a lot to learn about each other and how to live with one another. For us, we have had to deal with that as well becoming parents, several moves, working as missionaries, an age difference and a cultural difference. All those things together have created a lot of pressure that we just weren't handling very well. We needed space to grow and learn how to do life together.

Over the past month, we have spent a lot of time talking with each other as well as our pastors and leaders to decide exactly what our next steps should be and what our options are for moving forward. It is clear that the best thing for us is to go back to the States. However, this requires us to go through the immigration process. After a lot of research, we determined that we need to do the entire immigration process here in Brazil in order for Ronã to receive a green card before going to live in the U.S. This process could take as long as 2 years, however, we do not believe it will take that long for us. We have a friend who also married a Brazilian, and they both live in the U.S now. Their process took 10 months to complete. Of course, there are no guarantees, but we hope that our process will take anywhere from 10 months up to a 1 year.
As we explained before, the Xingu Mission is allowing us to continue to receive support until June 30, 2019. This is for the purpose of allowing us time to transition into our new lives. However, as you can see, our situation is a little bit different because Ronã is not a U.S. citizen. Because of the legal restrictions of receiving support through the Xingu Mission beyond June 2019, we have asked our home church, Vineyard Tuttle Crossing, for help.
Fortunately, we are able to continue to receive support through the church without a time limit. We are asking that our supporters would continue to give to us financially until we are able to receive the green card and start a new life in the States.

This process is the following. *Please note that if you are already giving through the Vineyard Tuttle Crossing church, there is no need to make any changes.

1. You would need to cancel any reoccurring donations that you have been giving through the Xingu Mission website. Contact Patty.Fultz@xingu.org in order to do that.

2. After the cancellation process is complete, set up a new reoccurring donation at Vineyard Tuttle Crossing website  http://www.vineyardtc.org/egiving


3. Enter the amount you would like to give and be sure to select the option for "Missions". Follow the instructions to complete the donation.




During our interim, we are doing what we can to cut down our expenses. We are also setting aside funds to pay for the green card process, as there are many fees and expenses involved.  You may remember that I had started a hairstylist course in order to meet new people in the city. We have decided that it would be best if I continued with the course in hopes of possibly getting a job as a hairstylist in the future. Ronã is also going to take a course that trains airport attendants. We are doing these things as a way to help prepare us for a new life in the States. We are going to continue to be apart of the small church starting here in João Pessoa, but we will no longer be involved in active ministry.

We still have a lot of unknowns ahead of us, but we are taking one day at a time and trying to do our best to prepare ourselves for the future. We ask for your prayers for God's favor and direction during this season of our lives. We thank you again for all of your faithfulness and sacrifice for our family. We are truly blessed because of you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Love, 
The Moura Family 

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Small Steps Forward

Hello to All of Our Wonderful Friends and Supporters!!

I just want to remind you, as always, how great it is to have you guys on our team! You make everything we do possible. Each and every day, as we minister to others in many different ways, you are right there with us. Thank you!


Alpha with the Girls...

One of the ministries that we have had the privilege of participating in is going weekly to pray for the women who work as prostitutes near the beach. Each time we go there, it is always a little bit different. Sometimes, we feel like we are able to really connect with some of the girls in a meaningful way. Other times, it can feel like we are running into a wall. There is always a tug-of-war happening in our hearts as we are both wanting so much to help them, but also having to accept that this is a very slow process.
However, recently, we have been able to take another step forward in connecting with them on a deeper level. Just last week, we started our first "Alpha" on Tuesday morning.
For those of you who don't know what Alpha is, I will give you a brief explanation. Alpha is a program that was started several years ago to help non-believers have a casual environment in which they could ask questions and learn about the basics of Christianity. Once a week, we get together, have a meal, watch a short video, and talk about the discussion questions.
There is a church just up the road from where we meet with the women, and they have allowed us to open up the space to invite these women for the Alpha meeting. We were a bit nervous that we would be the only ones there for the first week, but thankfully, we had 4 girls show up! We served them breakfast, had a short time of worship, and then watched the video together. It felt like a very special moment, and God's presence filled the space.

Watching the video together
Later in the week, Jen and Phil were able to go back again to pray for the women. They heard that word was getting around about our first meeting and how much the girls liked it! We are hoping for even more women next week!
As you can imagine, there is a lot of spiritual battle surrounding these women. The enemy has had so many hits in their lives already. There are so many things stacked against them. Please, join us in praying for them and that the power of the Cross would invade every area of their lives!

Update on Mãevia:

You may remember from a few months back that I told you about a young woman named Mãevia who had successfully left prostitution. At the time, she was still in the middle of battling a crack addiction. Mãevia had gone to a rehabilitation center, but had only remained there for about 15 days. Well, I am happy to say that we are still very much connected to her. She still has remained free from crack addiction and prostitution, but in many ways, her life still a mess.
Mãevia has lived most of her life being traumatized and abused. She has no internal structure to even begin knowing how to live a "normal" life. For us, as we try to walk along side her, it's like being on a roller coaster. There are a lot of ups and downs! Right now, we are simply trying to see, one day at a time, how we can we helpful to her. Next week, she is supposed to start meeting with a therapist. Please pray that she is able to start working through some of her wounds. Our hope for her right now is that she can begin to learn how to calm down her emotions, as she is prone to explosive and defensive behaviors. We are well aware that this will be a long journey. We pray for the wisdom and patience and love needed to guide her along the way.

Moving.....Again



So, I'm sure you have already heard me talk about how much I love our new apartment and our new city and that we are so close to so many wonderful places and we even love our neighbors...... You can imagine that the idea of moving is the absolute last thing I want to do right now. However, we received some news a few days ago that has been a little hard to swallow. Apparently, the owner of our apartment has a son who will be getting married and wants to buy our apartment from her and live here. *Insert big, fat, cry face here* We can stay until our lease is up but they are requesting that we leave a little early. Despite all this, there is some good news in this situation. The tenant upstairs will be leaving at the end of December. That apartment is not as nice as ours and there are many repairs that need to be taken care of, BUT there is the possibility that we could at least stay in the building! We are in the process now of figuring out all the details. Please, please, pray that we can move upstairs and that it can be a smooth transition. I am so weary of moving. Every instinct in my body just wants to settle down in one place for a long while. We are always open to God's will in our lives, even when it is painful or confusing, but please pray that God would give us favor in this situation. Thank you.

Thank you all so much, for your prayers and support. We are so grateful for them. We love to hear your words of encouragement.

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Love,
The Moura Family

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Tribes of Jampa



Hi everybody!

This is Ronã. Long time, no see! I feel better writing the blog now, since I know who all of you are.

I wish you guys could visit us and see our new city. We definitely love our new place. It’s completely different from my small hometown in the middle of the Amazon. They speak with a different accent and use different expressions. The sun here rises much earlier, the roads are better, and the ocean isn’t far!

Sunset in Jampa (Nickname for João Pessoa)


 
 
Since we arrived here, we have been having church every Sunday at the Snell’s. We are a small group of around four families. Once a month, instead of having a service, we go out and pray for people on the streets.

Some of our church family
 

We also try to connect with the people around us in our daily life.

Allison has been doing the hair of practically every women of our building, and two of our neighbors asked if we could teach English for their kids. The kids are Natan and Sophia. They are very smart and are learning very fast. We feel good that we can bless our neighbors. Especially for those 2 kids that don’t have a present father.

Teaching the kids in our building

One of my favorite places in my new city is this studio at the Cultural Center.

Studio Made in PB


It’s called "Studio made in PB". I have drawing classes here every Monday and I have met some very interesting people. I call them the comic tribe. They take comics, cartoons, and super-hero movies very seriously. Don’t dare say anything bad about Batman or Thor in front of them! Many pop culture artist in the city studied here. I had the pleasure to meet some of them, and their art is just stunning!

 
 João's Digital Paintings


My teacher is named João. He was also a student at "Studio made in PB" before becoming the teacher. He is a great teacher. He has taught me many things and also motivated me to publish my first comic story . João will be a father next month. His wife is eight months pregnant with a baby boy!

João and I at the Cultural Center
 
"Studio made in PB" has allowed me to use their space to do an Alpha course. We are just waiting for the right moment to start. The Alpha will be an opportunity to tell the story of the super-hero of the real life, Jesus Christ. We are also talking about the possibility of me teaching English classes there. They are supposed to offer classes for free for students from the public school, but they lack teachers. Join us in prayer for how God wants to use us in this place.

The other tribe I have been connecting with is the ‘no pad football’ tribe. Yeah, you read that right; they play american football with no protection at the beach! There are about 8 teams in their league. The Carcarás, The Bolados, The Devils, The Jaws, The Punishers, and The Vikings are just a few.   There are even The Witches, a team of women who love football. They all have the dream of being the second full pad football team in the city. They are inspired by the João Pessoa Espectros, the city team, which were the Brazilian champions few years ago.

No Pad football players
Espectros Football Team (Black and Red)


Don’t you worry, I don’t plan to play with them in the league! However, it has been a good experience helping them out with the football materials that some of you guys donated to us.

Before saying good bye, I'd like to let you know that I also started a new quarter in VI. This time I picked the course Biblical Meta-narrative by Bill Jackson. It's a course I've always been interested in taking. It goes into the details of the Bible, considering the cultural context in which it was written as well as revealing the big picture story of the Bible. I’m learning a lot.



Prayers requests:

-That we be witnesses of God among the people we are meeting and building relationships with;

-Financial Support: Our support went significantly down last month and the exchange rate is currently dropping here in Brazil. We also want to raise a fund to pay for Ollie’s studies next year;

-Our family and marriage

-Brazil's current political situation: We are in the middle of an economic crisis, the country is polarized, and the future president will have a lot to do.

We love you all so much and we thank you for absolutely everything you have done for us.

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Lots of Love!
The Moura Family

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fighting the Good Fight

Hello Everyone!

As always, I pray that you are all well and really experiencing the life God has for you. This life may not be a life always filled with riches and success and peace and happiness, but the life we live in the presence of God is always a life with purpose. We discover everyday a little more of what it means to be his children and what it means to be loved by him in all our seasons of life.

Cancer

For many of us, this has not been an easy season. As many of you know, last year we lost a close and beautiful friend, Tania Leigh, to cancer. She was only 40 years old, and everyday, her family and friends try to figure out life without her.
Tania and Ola on their wedding day

More recently, we lost our dear friend, Marilyn King, to cancer. Marilyn had shown her support to us as missionaries in numerous ways over the past few years. Her encouragement helped to remind us just how loved we are even though we are so far away from home. We were so blessed to see through Facebook how all of you honored her and her family by giving her a beautiful goodbye celebration. She, too, leaves behind a family who are just beginning to comprehend what life will be like without her. We pray that each day, they can experience the Lord's comfort and the support of their church family.
Marilyn and her family
Here in Brazil, we have also recently lost another very special woman to cancer. Milton and Erika Lucas are the national directors of the Vineyard in Brazil, and Erika just passed away a few weeks ago. Their family is very beloved here and the whole movement is grieving for her. Erika was also only 45, and they have 3 children who are going to miss her terribly. Please, pray for them as they take steps in moving forward.
The Lucas Family
Larry Crabb states in his book, Finding God, that, "Life itself is a trauma, an unpredictable drama that breeds terror."
We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and we cannot prepare ourselves for all the possibilities, even though we exhaust ourselves with trying. We are in the hands and at the mercy of a fallen and broken-down world, but praise be to God, that world is in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is truly bigger than our brokenness, bigger than our failures and tragedies. The only sure place for our feet to stand is on him. He is our hope that, one day, all things will be set straight. One day, we will see our loved ones again. One day, we will not wrestle with constant fear and pain. One day, our freedom will be complete in his arms.
In the meantime, we are here, and we keep fighting. We fight with prayer and sacrifice and grace. We fight to bring about good whenever possible and in every situation.

Work and Hobbies

I have noticed over the years a tendency among Christians to put their lives into categories. We have our work life, our family life, our leisure life, and our church life, and often times, like food on a plate, we don't like it when anything is "touching". We compartmentalize. We are all guilty of it on some level. But as we read the Bible, we see that God would prefer that we just mix it all together into one big heap. He wants our lives to be integrated.
As Ronã and I have started here in a new city as church planters, this is a concept we have taken very seriously. We want who we are--all of who we are--to be expressed in every area of our lives. Our approach to this has been fairly simple: Take the things you love to do and do them with other people. One of the things that I have enjoyed doing for a long time is hair styling. I don't have any professional experience, I have just picked up some things over the years. So, since we are in a new place and we are trying to meet new people, I decided to sign up for a professional hairstylist course! I have been going for about a month now, once a week, and I love it! And beyond enjoying what I am learning, I am trying to be very intentional about building relationships with my colleagues.
My Teacher and a few of my classmates

We often underestimate the amount of influence we have over the people around us, but our attitudes and actions have the power to change the atmosphere of a place. We can bring love and grace and integrity into an environment that is full of competition and gossip and back-biting. We can be a trusted friend in a place where no one trusts anyone else. We can make decisions to do the right thing in a situation where cheating has become the norm. We can pay attention and notice when someone is hurting or going through a difficult time. We can be a source of encouragement and hope.
As Kingdom people, we are called to use our sphere of influence to bring about Godly change through our service to others. We are not all called to be pastors or church planters or missionaries. Many of us are called to be cashiers, engineers, teachers, computer techs, delivery persons, sales persons, real estate agents, food servers, and yes, even, hairstylists. Our work or our hobbies can and should be our ministries, the place where we bring the influence of the Kingdom of God in whatever capacity we have. 
Please, pray for me as I continue to just love on and grow closer to these beautiful women. Pray that God opens my eyes to who I can help and how I can help them.

We thank you again for your constant support and encouragement to us as a family. We hope that you feel like you are truly apart of our work here. We need your prayers that God would guide us daily and use our lives to bring about the realities of his kingdom here on the earth as it is in heaven!

We love you!
The Moura Family

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fitting Right In

Hello Everybody!

I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to the fall season coming ahead, although some of you probably have some mixed feelings about summer ending. Where we are, the seasons change from hot to not-so-hot, and I often miss the changes that take place with 4 seasons!

We are really settling in well here into our new lives. João Pessoa is a lovely city. We feel very privileged and blessed to be here. If you remember in our last blog, I told everyone that we were trying to sell our car in Altamira. And thank God, we did! AND, we already bought another one here! It is small and cute and we like it a lot.

It's smiling at you!



Another ministry that Jen and Phil were able to start before we came here is helping at a place called Mission Restoration. It is a foster home for girls run by a Brazilian couple. The Snells met with them and began brainstorming on how they could help by serving these girls. They started doing a program called Alpha with them once a week. Alpha is a great program that helps introduce the basic message of the Bible in a very practical and open way, allowing people to ask questions and express opinions in a group setting. The Snells were also fortunate enough to receive the help of a local group of believers called Ezekiel 47. During the Alpha program, there is a retreat with a focus on the Holy Spirit. All of us together worked to create a very special weekend for these girls. We played games and ate together. We worshiped together and several of us gave our testimonies of how God had moved in our lives. Throughout the weekend, we saw the girls open up even more and share their own stories and struggles. We were able to pray for them and just love on them. It was an awesome time. The Alpha course will be ending soon, but we are already meeting to talk about ways that we can keep supporting and investing in the lives of these girls. Please join us in praying for them.

Us with a few of the girls

Being generously served by the Ezekiel 47 Team

Playing a treasure hunt game

A few weeks ago, we also had the privilege of receiving a visit from Michael Hansen, the senior pastor of VCDC. We had a great time showing him around and introducing him to several of the ministries we are working on. He preached at our church, and Ronã translated from him. We were so glad that he got a chance to meet with our team.

Ronã trying to explain one of Michael's jokes...lol


Michael with a few from of church planting team from Recife

Once a month, we put up a tent on the beach to invite the women on the streets that we pray for to take a break and enjoy a little sanctuary. We offer them a few yummy treats, as well as a moment to connect with God. This time, I gave my testimony and a few of the women said they felt touched by my story.

Our Beach "Sanctuary"



Jen and I praying for one of our friends who works on the street

As I said before, we feel so privileged to be able to do this kind of work in a place like this. And to every person we serve and share the love of Christ with, you are right there with us serving and sharing as well. You are on our team, and we are grateful for all of your support and the many ways that you have given it.

Prayer Request:
-A clear and direct vision for our church planting team for the future of Vineyard Jampa, as well as unity and intimacy among our team members
-Strength in our marriage and family as we grow in grace and love for one another
-New ideas and open doors for ministry opportunities
-Pray for the girls at Mission Restoration
-Pray for the women working in prostitution to find healing and job opportunities

We love you all and thank you so much!

Love, the Moura Family

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