I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I must admit, seeing pictures of my family gathered around the cozy living room opening presents made me a little homesick. Something about being in 90 degree weather makes it hard to get into the Christmas spirit. It's just not the same.
I'm sorry that it's been so long since you heard from me last. Last month was very busy, and I have a lot of news to tell you!
First of all, and most importantly, I AM ENGAGED!!!! Ronã asked me to marry him on November 23rd, 2015, and as you can guess, I said yes. We are both very happy and excited about our new life to come. We have already set a date for our wedding in Altamira for April 23, 2016. We will have a small ceremony with our friends and family here in Brazil. Our hope is to visit the States sometime at the end of 2016 and have a celebration there with all of you! We will keep you posted as more details come. Please pray for us as our plans move forward and that God will continue to bless our relationship.
|The night of our engagement...|
During the holidays, Ronã came to Portel in order to start settling into his new life there. We are currently in Altamira where we will gather his things to shortly move him there. During his visit, he spent time looking for a job and a place to live until we get married. In part, he will be working as a teacher for CDR, and hopefully, he will be able to get another teaching job. Richie was kind enough to allow Ronã to live on the boat with Ramon (our worship leader) for the short time before we get married. This will help us to save money as we plan for the future. Please pray for Ronã as he continues the job search in Portel.
|Ronã playing soccer at the Mission|
As you may remember from my last blog, we had decided to close CDR (the english school) for the time being because of the situation with the location. After spending some time in Altamira, I went back to Portel to continue to look for options for a location. What I decided was to turn one of the bedrooms in my house into a classroom. I painted the walls and had an air conditioner installed. I organized it with chairs and a desk and shelves for storage. It is a little small, but it will work for our purposes until we can complete our building on the mission property.
During our trip, both Ronã and I were very busy. For Christmas, we helped the kids learn a song to present for our Christmas service. It was a bit of a mess, but everybody had a lot of fun. For New Year's Eve, we also had activities for the kids in the evening. The kids in our neighborhood are very poor and are often under very little supervision. Having events and activities for them can often be very challenging, but it is also well worth it. Ronã has a special gift with children, and as we worked together, it was clear that God wants to use us to be a blessing in their lives.
|The kids singing a Christmas song..|
We also began work on starting the classes again in February. We will continue the classes that were put on hold last year and also open up a few more terms. When we go back to Portel at the end of the month, we will continue to focus on signing up students for the next semester.
Like I said, we have a lot of new things happening, and we are very excited about all of them. We will be experiencing many new changes in our lives over the next year, and we would really like your prayers. We long for God's grace and guidance over us as we make decisions and minister together. We pray for patience as we learn to integrate our lives together. I was recently reading a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Bonhoeffer is quoting as saying this about marriage,
"As God today adds his "Yes" to your "Yes", as he confirms your will with his will, and as he allows you, and approves of, your triumph and rejoicing and pride, he makes you at the same time instruments of his will and purpose both for yourselves and for others. In his unfathomable condescension God does add his "Yes" to yours, but by doing so, he creates out of your love something quite new--the holy estate of matrimony."
We would hope that our decision and future marriage be about the work God wants to do in the Earth. That we are his instruments, and that our covenant reveals a glimpse of the love of Heaven.
God bless you all in this new year. Whether the coming year looks dim or bright, remember that God is the one who walks you through it. He is the God of all seasons. May you know him in every season.