Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Conference Fun

Conference was so much fun!Hannah spent every free moment jumping on the trampoline. She could jump with the big boys she got so good!

The staff loved Jeremiah and this man decided that he and Jeremiah were "cafe com leite," (coffee and milk)!

The Peninsula Hotel in Avare, Sao Paulo, had so many fun activities available. We were on a lake so they had boats and canoes. James took Daniel and Hannah out for a fun trip on Tuesday.

They had bikes, and pool, and fooseball. Daniel was often found riding around the grounds with the other boys or playing fooseball.

They had a recreation staff that planned and supervised activities for kids and one day they constructed a water slide down the hill. They kept soapy water flowing down and we had so much fun!

They also had horses for us to ride. Daniel couldn't wait to get on the big horse, although he complained that his horse wouldn't obey!
Hannah decided to take a ride in the pony cart with Lydia, one of the other MK's.

We were blessed to have a group of 15 come from the U.S. Their pastor did the preaching for the adults, and the rest of the group did a program for the teens and children.

The children's program was like a VBS and the theme was on the armor of God.

We all enjoyed great fellowship with others.

I am updating my blog here during a business meeting (I am not allowed to vote yet!)
I call this "computer row" (it was nearest to the plugs!)

I loved it that everyone in that room has studied and learned Portuguese, just like I am doing. I smiled as I realized that no where else in the world can the speaker speak in English, throw in a Portuguese word where fitting, and no one in the crowd would even question for a moment what was being said. As I watched the teenage MK's I realized why their bond is so strong when they meet in college in America. Who could understand them better than these precious people.

The last night of the conference there was an MK recital, both music and poems.

The final presentation was by all the MK's in the room, those of ANY age. I had a sleeping child in my arms and was taking pictures so I stayed in my seat as they sang Jesus loves Me. Almost all of the 120 people there were standing up front singing. I was reminded that when a family commits their life to the Lord, the repercusions go on for generations. Some of the people in that room are 4th generation MK's (including my kids!)

The week was so full of fun and blessings but it was also very tiring. If you notice James is holding Daniel up in the picture above and this picture is him right after the photo was over. He did manage to make it to our room and into his bed that night!

All in all, the ROAD to conference was VERY worth it!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The ROAD to Conference

We left Monday morning heading to our annual BMM South Region Conference. It is in Avare, Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is about a 9 hour trip from our home.

I was already dreading the trip through the mountains because 80% of the vehicles on the road are big Semi-Trucks. They drive very slow and therefore make the trip more dangerous. The speed limit for cars is a whopping 110 KPH and the trucks are usually going about 10KPH. So, we come around a bend in the road and there is a Semi and he is going so slow he is practically stopped! James is a great driver but it is still the grace of God that keeps us safe.

Do you see those holes???
It is hard for you to really understand how bad the roads are unless you are in the car with us. There were several holes SO BIG that we would have not only blown out tires, we would have lost our engine as well!

This Speed-Limit sign is the highest I have seen here in Brazil. Does anyone know how fast 120 KPH is in MPH?

We were told before we left for the trip to expect to spend about $30 each way on Toll-Roads. James and I both took a moment to complain about that. Once we reached Sao Paulo and got on the Toll-Roads we thanked God for the quality of the road and decided we would gladly pay to if they would re-do the road from Curitiba to Sao Paulo.

As with most things in life, the difficult road to conference was well worth the blessings of fellowship we are experiencing!

My next blog will be pictures of our family and the activities we have experienced here. See you then!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daniel's First day of School

Monday was Daniel's first day of 1st grade!

After a hearty lunch of hot dogs, beans and rice, he was ready to go!

We all went outside to wait for the bus.

We waited..........and waited.......and waited.

Is that bus EVER going to get here??????
(by now, Daniel is DYING to get to school for his first day!)

Finally, James called the school to make sure today was really the day.

Great news! The bus is almost to our house!

Off our first born big and courageous.

Lord, keep him safe, but most of all, guard his heart and draw him closer to You. Let him see that You are the greatest treasure and the only source of true joy in this life.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Don't Waste Your Life!

Monday and Tuesday we had our first youth retreat. Our theme was "Don't Waste Your Life." It was very appropriate as this is the weekend that most of Brazil is busy wasting their lives at Carnaval (similar to Mardi Gras). We studied Sampson, a life wasted; Stephen, a life not wasted; and closed with a look at Phil. 1:20-21.
"According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

We started Monday afternoon by going to the zoo. Two teams, armed with a list of clues, camera, and a deadline, ran through the zoo looking for animals, signs, or the random butterfly. They had to take a picture of the item along with part of the team. We ended up with lots of fun pictures!

After the zoo all 16 of us headed to our house for the next 24 hours.
Upon arrival, the teens had to construct a tent that they would end up sleeping in that night. I have to say, I was very curious about how this would turn out but as you will see, it was great!

They were given a very large plastic tarp, 7 pieces of bamboo, tape and string. It took them about 2 hours to do it but they ended up being very sturdy and would keep them dry if it rained!

The teams participated in preparing dinner. The kitchen was absolute chaos, but oh so much fun!

The next day we had lots of fun playing games in the sand field that is our back yard! This one is "Futebol Americana com water ballons!"
After a lunch of churrasco and the final message, they all went home to sleep!

Here are a couple more pictures I thought you might enjoy!

When Brazilian kids sleep over, they bring their own mattress!

Brazilians ALWAY have a pair of flip-flops around, (even if it's cold!)

This is ONE of several piles of sand I swept up after everyone went home!