Hello to all my Beloved Friends and Family!
Thank you for your prayers and support and for hanging in there with me. If you can believe it, next month will mark my one year anniversary here in Brazil. It seems that it has gone by so fast, and I can't believe the amount of things I've learned in one year.
My Portuguese has greatly improved. I can understand most of what is being spoken to me, and can communicate enough to even have some deep conservations. Last night, I even taught at a friend's small group in Portuguese. I have also decided that next month, I will stop taking classes, but continue to study on my own. I do still have a lot to learn, but I feel confident that I will continue to grow with more time and experience.
I feel pretty comfortable with the lifestyle here. There are many things here that in the beginning seemed so different, but now, I have started to take them for granted. Actually, the thing that has probably been the hardest for me to learn is the different communication styles between American and Brazilian culture. This is something, I know, will take me a lot more time to learn. Brazilian culture focuses on pleasing others. They use more indirect communication and avoiding telling another person "no". As you know, American culture is very different from this. Our communication is very direct and saying "no" does not usually offend someone. Neither communication style is "right" or "wrong". Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but for me, it is sometimes like trying to solve a mystery with a bunch of subtle clues. I am sure that if a Brazilian moved to the States, they would feel the same way I do!
Right now, I am on a break from teaching at CDR, so I decided to do some traveling. I took a boat back to Macapa. Macapa is a city that I traveled to when I first came to Brazil. Some of you may remember that Buck and Lusiane Schmit were missionaries there some years ago. They have since moved back to the United States, but the church that they planted still remains. I spent almost 2 weeks there getting to know again some of the people I had met originally, as well as meeting the new people in leadership. It was a great time.
While I was there, I started seriously considering the possibility of getting involved with their ministry. One of the ideas we discussed while I was there is the possibility of starting another CDR (the English school). CDR provides a great opportunity to help support the local community, as well as give exposure and credibility to the church. I also spoke with another couple in the church who have a great heart to minister to the people they refer to as "Urban Tribes". Basically, these people represent those who would not normally be attracted to the church environment because of traditionalism and legalism. They are also located more in the downtown areas of Macapa which is a large city of around 500, 000 people. Both of these ideas really got me excited as I feel I have a lot to offer in both of these areas. I am praying that if this is what God has for me, that he would continue to reveal his will and favor. Please, pray with me about this, and let me know if you feel that God is speaking to you concerning this possibility.
Next week, we have our annual Intervinha Regional Conference here in Altamira. This is very exciting because pastors and church members from the North and Northeast regions in Brazil will all be coming here to attend the conference. Phil Strout, Danny and Penny Meyer will also be coming here to speak at the conference. Several other missionary families and I will be joining them on a boat trip for about 4 days, and then at the end of the week, we will have the conference. For me, I am really hoping to be ministered to by our visitors and really get refilled by the Holy Spirit. Please pray for me that this is a time of refreshing and direction for my future here in Brazil.
Also, on a deeply personal note, I have a request. As you all know, I am single. I am 33 years old, and I will be 34 in October, which is just around the corner. Since I have been in Brazil, I have yet to meet anyone that I think I could marry. This is a deep hope and dream of mine to meet someone I could share a loving, life long relationship with and start a family. I ask that you would pray for me to meet the man God has for me. And again, if you hear the Lord speak to you anything about this on my behalf, please let me know.
Thank you again all of you for your faithfulness to God and to me. Thank you for being on my team, and for being my cheerleaders! I long to see all of you, and sometimes its hard to think that I have another year to go before that happens again. I long to worship with you again, to hug and cry with you again. I love you all. Bless you and your families and your hearts.
Below is a link with the pictures from my trip.