Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ladies Retreat

This past weekend I had the privilege to attend our ladies retreat with both my mom and my sister. This was the first time we have all three been together for one of these. We were able to sing together, "Count Your Blessings." It truly was a blessing to sing with my mom and sister. I am so thankful that they love the Lord and are always eager to serve Him.

My home Church, Berean Baptist, was in charge for the weekend so I was able to be involved in all the fun of planning and serving. I got to work in the kitchen and it was more fun than work!

Our Speaker was Sherry VanHooser. She is a pastor's wife from Mt. Pleasant, IA (one of our supporting churches). She did a wonderful job sharing from the book of Ruth. I was really challenged to "stay under" a trial and let God do His work in me, conforming me to His image. I had never thought about the fact that when Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem they were running from the chastisement of the Lord. The famine in Bethlehem was due to sin in the lives of the people. They should have repented and led the people in repentance instead of running to the SINFUL land of Moab.

So, my challenge for you is to "stay under" your trial and pray that God would teach you what He wants you to learn and conform you to Him image!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Support Update

We are now at 85% of our support. This leaves us with a monthly need of $680.

I thought you might like to know a little about how we apply for visas in order to enter Brazil as missionaries.

We have been busy working on getting our documents ready to apply for our visas. To apply for our visas for Brazil we need birth certificates for each of us, our marriage license, diplomas, transcripts, criminal records, proof of residence, immunizations and more. Our Mission (BMM) is collecting several documents from Brazil for us as well. This doesn't sound too bad does it?

Before we can turn in any of those documents with our visa application they each have to be legalized. Meaning, they have to be sent to the Brazilian consulate in the area in which they originated to be proved legal. Example, everything that originated in the mid -west, my birth certificate, Jeremiah's, our college transcripts and marriage license have to be sent to the Consulate in Chicago. There they examine them, stamp them and attach a statement that proves each document legal. We have to get two copies of these legalized. One to turn in with our visas and one to take to Brazil for when we apply for permanent residency. To make it more interesting each consulate requires a different fee for each document. One consulate even refused to legalize 2 copies. "You don't need two, we want to save you money." Yes, it costs money to have things legalized. We pay to get the official documents and then we pay to have someone else say they are official.

It has been fun figuring out how to work through the system. So far God has led step by step and we haven't hit any road blocks. At this point, we have all of our documents legalized and in hand. We are waiting for the ones that have to come from Brazil, and our passports. We all needed new or updated passports and so we have about 1 month before they are supposed to arrive. We are praying to be able to apply for our visas mid April. It takes 2weeks to 3 months for the visa to be processed. Once we have our visas we have to enter the country within 3 months.

We are excited to see how God will provide the remainder of our support and our visas in His perfect timing!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The blessings of Travel

Wow! What a trip! One of the biggest blessings of all the travel we have been doing is seeing friends and family. Our first stop on the trip was Kansas City. There we always stay with my brother and his wife (Albert & Kalli). They have 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 birds (oops, only 1 bird now!) We always to get see "grandma Sue" and sometimes visit with more of Kalli's family. This time we got to go to a birthday party with them. It is always special to see our old dog Rocky when we are with them.

Our next stop was in Ames, IA at Laura and Mark's. We love to play with our FAVORITE (and only) cousin! Isn't he cute??? He doesn't crawl yet but he is the fastest roller in Iowa. Most of our trip was spent with temperatures well below freezing so we spent lots of time inside. Oh, for those sunny days in Texas!

While in Iowa we always try to visit some of our old college friends. We have one set of friends that are very special, Michael and Kimberly. James actually grew up with Michael in Brazil. Then they were roommates in college. He even taught James how to tie his tie (which he had to wear every day.)

Kimberly and I met through the guys and I am so thankful for her friendship over the years. We have stayed with them many times over the past two years. She is such an awesome hostess! She is always ready for visitors and can cook anything, anytime! I praise the Lord that we have stayed in touch over the years.

This cute little girl next to Jeremiah is their daughter who is one day older than him . Don't they look like friends already?

We hope that one day we can repay them for their generosity to us. We are already planning for them to visit us in Brazil, where we can be the hospitable ones!:)

We also had a great visit with James' grandma. It always brings back so many memories. She has been such a prayer warrior for us. She is always the first one to call and ask about our meetings and let us know she is proud of us.

I was a little worried about how she would do with our exuberant children, especially since they were house bound most of the time. It all went great and we are so glad for the new memories we were able to make together.

One extra special blessing God has given us during travel is allowing us to get to know the Farlows. They are missionaries to Brazil and will live in the same city that we will. It has been great to establish a friendship that we will be able to enjoy even in Brazil. Our kids love to play with their boys, who are very close to our kids' ages. Barry has helped James several times with our computer and most recently with our new prayer card. Ellen has been such an example to me of trusting God's timing. I am so thankful to have a friend like her as I make the transition to living in Brazil. Ellen is also an awesome hostess. This picture was taken the day after she arrived home from the hospital. We called to see if we could stop by and see the new baby and she asked us to join them for lunch! I hope that I am always as ready to receive people.

We made it out of Iowa in between 2 blizzards! PTL! We arrived back home in Texas just in time for my Mom's birthday dinner. We are trying to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as we can!