Monday, May 25, 2009

Life Goes On...

ABOUT US!
Felipe and I have a lot going on right now!  Please pray for us...
We really want wisdom and balance between our work and our upcoming wedding and preparing for our marriage.   We are in a BIG transition time and have MUCH more responsibility than we expected during our time of preparing for our wedding. 

  We thought we would be in the USA and would have time off to focus on preparing for our wedding. Now, since we are marrying in Brazil, we need wisdom in how to divide our time and step away from work responsiblities - so we can prepare for our wedding.
 We really want to enjoy this season of being engaged.  Pray for us!

This is photo of a "pretend" wedding ceremony that we jokingly had at a children's play area in a local park here in Belo Horizonte.  You can't see in the photo, but we had a wonderful audience -our team and a visiting DTS outreach team from Mexico.   On this day we also had a picnic, did some hiking and spent quality time together as a team.  It was a great day!     

   LIFE and ministry continues at the Light House...

TEAM WORK!

Recently we had an afternoon of "team time" and did a fun team building activity as the Light House team along with a visiting DTS outreach team from a YWAM base in Mexico.  

Everyone listening to the instructions and the objective of the game.
The challenge was for each team to work together and make it across court carrying two cups of water.  The main rule was that we could not touch the floor.  We had several materials to help us out - scooters, mats, wooden boards, and each other working together as a team!  We also were challenged to make it across the court with as much water as possible in our plastic cups.
  It was a great team building activity!




THE LOVE OF GOD!

The past few weeks we have been focusing on the LOVE OF GOD in our lessons with our children's group.  Here we are sitting in a HUGE heart on the floor. The kids are loving this and it has been a great way to keep them sitting on the floor in an organized way. 

I was teaching about HOW long, high, deep, and wide is the LOVE of GOD!

 ROLLER SKATING FUN!
Last week we did roller skating for the first time with our group and they ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!  
Our house has a stock of donated skates of various sizes.  Most of the kids were using roller blades WAY too big, but they loved every minute of their time skating. Many were falling over and over again, but they persevered and were full of laughs as well. 

In the start of the skating session, most of the kids were falling and on the floor! 

But with time most were soon on the feet and skating well! 
Now they are doing better... Almost everyone is up now!
 It was a SUPER FUN skating session!

LIGHT HOUSE SOCCER SCHOOL
In addition to working with groups of children here in the Light House, we also have a Soccer School.   A Brasilian YWAM worker, who is currently studying physical education at a local university, leads the soccer school.  He works with adolescent boys from the slum and does an amazing job training them.   Through this program many boys are off the streets and spending time and energy in a positive way, while also learning Biblical principles for life. 

Enjoy this video below of the boys training away...



One of my girls drawing a sidewalk chalk portrait of Felipe and I.  Felipe's HUGE green afro is great!  Pray for this precious girl who participates in my group.  Her adoptive father is in the hospital with stomach cancer.  It has been a hard few weeks for her. 

FAMILY!
Felipe and I spent last weekend at his family's house celebrating the birthday of his mom.   They all live here in Belo Horizonte, but on the other side of the city.  Here is a photo of Felipe and I with his brother, sister and mom.  It was a great weekend!   We rested, spent time wedding planning and were also able to personally invite several extended family members to our wedding.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BRASILIA.... update about the VISA


Unfortunately, Felipe was not approved to receive a Visa to come to the United States.

This was a difficult and extremely stressful process for us, but very rewarding too - even though Felipe was not granted the visa. 

It may seem strange to write that it was a "very rewarding" experience, but it is true!  Through going through this visa process A LOT of GOOD came out of the situation.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
~ Romans 8:28 ~

In all the preparation we were both thrown into stressful situations and together, as a team, we had to work through them.  God was really using this in our relationship - to help us talk through things, know one another better, work through conflict and frustration, and through it all respect and love one another even though we were under an extremely high level of stress.

Felipe was so great!  Really he works so well under pressure. I was really "freaking out" at times and he was such a blessing to calm me and speak truth to me...

THE BIG QUESTION - WHY did he not receive the VISA?  
Basically because he is a missionary and does not receive an official salary.  All YWAM missionaries do not receive a salary and we live by offerings and donations from friends, families, and churches.   So for the last 5 years that Felipe has been working with YWAM, he has not received a salary.

In order to receive a US visa, the applicant must show that they have strong ties to  Brazil, which is shown usually through a steady income from a profession of some sort.  Although Felipe had prepared many official documents about his work as the director of the Light House, during the interview the focus became his salary - how he "makes MONEY."   Because Felipe is a missionary and does not receive a salary, this was the determining factor that led to the VISA denial.

SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
So our NEW plan is to marry here in Brazil and then come to the USA in the future- hopefully sooner than later.   Felipe will have more of an advantage in obtaining a visa when he is married to me! 

After thinking about our new plan we saw MANY MANY POSITIVES to this change!  Both our families will be able to be a part of our special day (rather than just my family in the US), this plan works better with our work schedule, we will save money marrying in Brazil, and when we visit the USA together it will be a more quality visit.  

This factor of having a more QUALITY visit in the US was really a positive one for me. We can really enjoy our time in the US with family and friends and sharing about our work - rather than just rushing to plan a wedding.

So...please pray for us as we are changing all our plans!  We want God to lead us in all our decisions as we STEP forward in FAITH together!

MORE about our time in BRASILIA...
Here is a photo of the YWAM base in Brasilia, where we stayed during our trip.  It was blessing to stay with our YWAM family there.  We wished we could have stayed longer.  The heart and vision of this base is beautiful.  The leadership longs to see the rejected and unaccepted embraced.  Relationship with God is the focus! 


When we suddenly had to change our plans to go to Brasilia, we sensed God wanted us there to encourage and spend time with the DTS students who are on outreach at the YWAM Brasilia base.  Our times of talking with friends on the team was significant - for them and for us.  We were able to speak many encouraging words and God showed us HIS love through the team as well.  We felt supported, valued, and "at home" because we had friends in Brasilia with us.  It is beautiful to see God's hand working in every detail of life.

The DTS team preparing a drama for a children's presentation. 

GOD is GOOD and FAITHFUL!  We are trusting and resting in HIS loving arms...

Monday, May 11, 2009

VISA INTERVIEW


This Wednesday on May 13th, my fiancé Felipe has an interview with the American Consulate to see if he can get a visa to come to the USA.

Please pray for Felipe!  For peace, favor, and wisdom in all that he says.

Felipe and I are traveling to Brasilia and will be staying at the Brasilia YWAM Base.  We also will be visiting a team of Discipleship Training School students (who recently completed 3 months of DTS training at the Light House).  They are on outreach in Brasilia and it will be great to see and encourage them! 

Thanks for your prayers for us!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

THY MERCY

Thy mercy my God is the theme of my song

the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue

Thy free grace alone from the first to the last

hath won my affection and bound my soul fast


Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here
sin would reduce me to utter despair
but through Thy free goodness my spirit's revived
and He that first made me so keeps me alive

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart
which wonders to feel it's own heartless depart
dissolved by Thy goodness I fall to the ground
and weep for the praise of the mercy I've found


HALLELUJAH!  HALLELUJAH!


Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own
and the covenant love of Thy crucified Son
all praise to the Spirit whose whisper divine
seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine


Was recently listening to an old Caedmon's Call CD and the above song brought me to tears...


God is taking me through a season of revealing HIS unconditional and continual GRACE, MERCY, and ACCEPTANCE.  I struggle to really receive, accept and understand His GREAT mercy for myself.  I often can give MUCH mercy to others, but when it comes to me I feel I do not deserve the GRACE God offers.  


The truth is that HE GIVES GRACE because of WHO HE IS, not because of anything I DO.  GOD IS LOVE... I am accepted as HIS CHILD and therefore free grace is mine.  I am in such need of a revelation of this. 


This beautiful hymn was written in 1776 by John Stocker.

The words are powerful.  Profound TRUTH to meditate on...