I miss you guys! I see on Facebook all the time about your problems with the weather. I don't envy you. Here in Brazil, its the rainy season, which is a lot like the very beginning of fall. I absolutely love it, and I have no problem boasting to all of you about how great it is!
So, if you remember from my last blog, I spent the month of January traveling around to the different missionary bases here in Brazil to get a better understanding of what everyone else is doing. It was a great experience, and it really helped me become more familiar with the missionary lifestyle.
After I visited Maribel (last blog), I came home to Altamira for a few days, and then headed back out to visit Pacaja and Maraba. The first thing I can tell is about the buses. Traveling is quite the adventure here, as much of the roads are not paved and are very hilly. I always have my Dramamine handy for the motion sickness.
Pacaja is about 4 hours away from Altamira, and the missionary family, Marsh and Keith Wilson along with their 2 sons, have been there for 6 months now. They were recently joined by a Brazilian couple, Fernanda and Ferrada Sousa, along with their 2 daughters. Building relationships in Pacaja has been a slow process for Keith and Marsh, but things are beginning to move forward. They are also greatly encouraged by their new teammates! They are starting a CDR(English school) there as well, which provides a great opportunity to make new connections. I have faith that God is going to use them in amazing ways in Pacaja, as they are true examples of a serving heart.
Maraba is another 6-7 hours away from Pacaja, and home to several missionaries families including one Brazilian family. There is Rick and Deana Bergen and their girls, who have actually lived in Brazil for 20 years now. There is Art and Cyndi Rae and their sons, who have been here for about a year and a half. And finally, there is Jenn and Phil Snell and their young children, who have been here about a month less than I have. Monica and Ivanildo Leao are the Brazilian couple, and they have 2 children as well. In fact, Monica is the sister of Fernanda, who is located in Pacaja.
So, these families are all working together in this very poor and very rough neighborhood in Maraba. The majority of their church congregation is kids. And these kids come from very broken homes. Many of the parents are drinking or using drugs in the home. It is not uncommon for one parent to have several children from different relationships, and it is also not uncommon for girls to get pregnant as early as the age 13. What the missionaries there are doing is hard work, but they are committed to loving these childrens in the midst of their brokenness and showing them a different way to live.
I was totally blessed to spend time with all of them and to become more familiar with the work they are doing there. I also got the chance to give my testimony to the congregation, and I did it all in Portuguese!! I had written it all down before, of course, but it was still a big milestone for me!
I am back home in Altamira now, and I've starting teaching English again at CDR. I must say that I really enjoy teaching, and I was glad to get back to work! I am truly blessed to be here to serve the people of Brazil. I am learning new things everyday, and feeling more and more comfortable in my new home.
As always, I want to bless all of you for your prayers and financial support. You are my teammates! Even though we have so much distance between us, we are together in purpose and in heart. I want you to know that everything you have done is truly making a difference here. God does not waste our faithfulness, but uses it to further his kingdom. Bless you all for your willingness to step out in faith. I pray that the blessing that you give is given back to you. I pray for your health to be restored and for your hearts to be at peace and filled with joy. Take care!
|Visiting a family in the Interior with the Pacaja Missionaries|
|The kids playing games at the Maraba base|
|Me giving my testimony in Portuguese!|
|My bus broke down on the way back to Altamira..not fun.|
Please, click on the link below to see more of the pictures from my trip.