Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The RAINY Parents´ Day!

This past Sunday we had a special Parents´ Day here at the Lighthouse Community Center!  All the parents of the children who participate here at the Lighthouse were invited to come to the Lighthouse to participate in a special program and activities.

We started preparing for this event as a team, early in the morning.  We spent half the day preparing refreshments for the big gathering!  We made cakes, banana bread, and fruit salad from a donation of fruit we received.

We spent hours preparing the fruit!
I enjoyed spending quality time with the team, as we were peeling and cutting up fruit and talking - hairnets and all!
We worked SO LONG and hard on this fruit salad!  It turned out really yummy too!
At 2:00 in the afternoon the parents and children arrived and the special program began! We had special guests lead the parents day program.  A Christian Hip Hop/dance ministry danced, sang, rapped, and shared with the children and parents.  Everyone enjoyed the show!
At the end of their program, the children were invited to come to the front to dance with the ministry team!
In this photo, Felipe is presenting his boys group.  They led the group in a song during the program.
The house was packed with kids and parents!  
And then it began to RAIN, and it was raining SUPER hard! Good thing we had a RAINY day plan! Here is a sweet photo of a mother and daughter having fun in the rain!
The parents and children enjoyed various activities throughout the house.
Here the parents and kids playing a fun parachute game!

The Game Room!
  In this room, the parents and children enjoyed spending quality time playing various board games.
At the end of the afternoon, everyone enjoyed the feast of snacks we prepared!
I caught this sweet moment.  One of the missionaries from our team, Joquebede (in red), had the opportunity to talk with one mother for a really long time during the afternoon activities.  This mother poured out her heart to Joquebede and was really in need of counsel and prayer.  The Lord used Joquebede to encourage and bless this mother.
It was a wet, but great afternoon! The parents were encouraged to spend quality time with their children and enjoyed being here at the Lighthouse. 

My Faith Box!

Recently, I randomly entered a drawing to win a free My Faith Box, on a blog that I enjoy reading (http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com and GoodMorningGirls.org).  I was excited to learn that I WON the contest!  I was SO happy because I have never really been someone who wins things so this just really made my day!

 Here is a quick description about the box that I took from the site where I learned about it. Enjoy reading about the My Faith Box!  Even if you can´t afford to buy this amazing tool, it is a great idea to create and make something like this on your own as a way to document your child´s faith journey!

 "What is the My Faith Box? I’m so glad you asked! 

Basically it’s a box that you can decorate and place special keepsakes in, BUT the exciting part is what’s inside the box! Inside is the My Faith Book. 

What I LOVE about the My Faith Book is how as a parent you can record your child’s faith journey! From birth until age 18, you can record each year how you are praying for your child and create an intentional plan of passing down your faith to your child. Each year contains areas for you to record special memories, what they are learning about God, what they are praying for, favorite bible stories etc. 

As your child gets older, he/she can then start filling in each year. The book also contains areas for photos as well as areas for older children to personally write about their journey thus far with God. What I love is this book helps create a history of your child’s faith that they can turn back to in later years. 

The My Faith Book is a tool that can be used to help them remember the faithfulness of God as they flip through the pages and see how God has answered prayers that were written down years before.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Worship on Mondays

Every Monday, Felipe starts his boys group with a time of worship.  The boys in his group really enjoy singing! This past Monday, the group had a special musical guest.  One of the students from the Children at Risk Course (a girl from Japan named Keiko) participated in the group and she plays the violin.  She actually plays violin and viola professionally in Japan.  She brought her violin and played for the boys during the worship time this week and the boys were absolutely amazed.  They were staring at her with BIG eyes, super impressed with her musical skills on the violin! Just listen to the video clip and you will hear what an amazing and beautiful violinist she is! Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Girl I Know...

Yesterday I learned that a teenage girl I know (she is the older sister of one of the sweet little girls I have worked with) has recently entered into prostitution.  The girl is only 17 years old, so therefore she is a minor and a prostitute.  My heart breaks as I think about her now…

A lady in the community talked with her, inviting her to come live with her in her home and to work with her as a prostitute.   This same woman is making this proposition for lots of troubled girls, trying to persuade them to leave their difficult situations to go into prostitution.

This was a big shock to me and saddened me greatly, as I have known this teenage girl for several years (let's call her this Cynthia*).  I have visited her home many times, spoken with her mother, heard Cynthia’s life story (which was painful to hear), and encouraged and prayed for Cynthia and her family.  I know her little sister Vanessa* extremely well because Vanessa was in my group for 2 years. Vanessa would share things about Cynthia with me from time to time when ever she was worried about her big sister.

This home is troubled.  There has been much conflict between Cynthia and her mother over the last few years.  When Cynthia came into her teen years she became very rebellious, but her home is also not the most safe or stable environment.

Cynthia and Vanessa’s mother has the HIV virus.  The virus is so advanced that their mother must be on heavy medication.   This medication alters her mental state and thus prevents her from being able to run her home smoothly or even keep a steady job.  The mother also continues to have different boyfriends come and live in the small home with the girls. A sad and unstable situation…

It has been almost a year since the last time I have seen Cynthia, but to hear this news about her has really shaken me.  

Why did she choose this?  What in her life led her up to this point?  Does Cynthia really believe that working as a prostitute is the best choice for her?

I know some of the answers to my questions… I know Cynthia's past.  I know she has suffered abuse and has believed lies about herself.  Her father is not present in her life. Her relationship with her mother strained. She has dropped out of school.  There are lots of things in her life going against her.

I want better for this teenage girl. I want to be able to tell her, "YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THIS!  You are valuable and loved.  GOD has more for you than this!"  

As I think about her and pray for her I sense that throughout her life a specific lie has come to taunt her over and over.  The enemy has told her, "You are worthless..."  and unfortunately she has believed this lie.

So, this morning I want to proclaim truth and pray for this precious 17 year old girl!  Please pray together with me.  God can rescue her from prostitution and give her a HOPE and a FUTURE.  I also pray for all the other girls in the community, that they will not turn to this kind of lifestyle.  And esspecially Vanessa. May she not go down this path of death...

There is so much in my heart concerning all this...I want to fight in prayer on behalf of these girls.  I want to give of my life to bless them and speak life to them. Lord, show me how...  Show me what I can do...

 * Names have been changed to protect the children.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Team Night!

This past weekend the Lighthouse team had a special team night   "Uma noite de jantar e jogos." Translated,  "A night of dinner and games." We hope to do this at least once a month to spend more quality time together having fun and growing in relationship as a team.  
Enjoy getting to know our dear team a bit through this blog post.  Since most of our team are living far from family, our team is really like our family here in Brazil.  I am so thankful for our amazing team!
Here is Beckie and Cida with our daughter Sophia all dressed up in a party dress.  Sophia loves all her tias (aunts) and tios (uncles) here at the Lighthouse!
Joyce preparing the dinner tables with candles! 
We enjoyed a lovely dinner together with our team.

There was music and Aldenito and Joyce enjoyed some dancing!  This sweet couple just recently got married and are serving here at the Lighthouse with us.  They are a huge blessing!

I made a game for us all to play as a team. The game was a signature game and the goal was to get as many different signatures as possible the fastest.  There are a list of various categories listed on the paper, some easy and some more difficult.  

Here are some examples: Get the signature of someone who has the same color eyes as you, get the signature of someone who has traveled to over 7 different countries, get the signature of someone who has been on a blind date, ect...
This game got everyone talking and also learning new things about one another!
We even found out that 2 of our team members have been on blind dates!
Andreia won the game with the most points in the fastest amount of time!  She was happy with her chocolate prize! :)
After the signature game we played a game of MAFIA!  It has been YEARS since I have played this game and guess what? I was the MAFIA!  As many of you know, I am a terrible liar.  I just can't lie so this was really challenging for me, but I ended up doing well and me and my MAFIA partner Andreia won the game! Fun Times!

After MAFIA, many people enjoyed playing various board games into late in the night!
Rummikub! I love this game! I used to play this game with my grandmother when I was a little girl!

It was a FUN night spending time together and just having fun!  My sweet husband Felipe took care of Sophia and let me stay and play with everyone. I really enjoyed our special TEAM night!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Training Day for the School Monitors

This year, at the Lighthouse Community Center, we have began working closely with a school that is located in a rough area of our slum.  
Once a week, students are bused here to the Lighthouse to enjoy swimming in our pool, playing in the park, roller skating, playing sports, and participating in various activities. 
Members of the Lighthouse team lead all the activities and are ALSO able to share Bible stories, sing songs, pray, and share about God openly while the children are here, even though the school is not a Christian school.

When the children come to the Lighthouse, they are not alone.  There are school "monitors" that come here with the children serving as chaperones. Here is a photo of the monitors together with a few missionaries from the Lighthouse team!
Recently we had a training day with these school monitors.  We invited the monitors here to learn about disciplining and working with children who have difficulties and come from at risk situations.  Felipe led the morning training session.
The monitors also had a time of playing a game on the sports court here at the Lighthouse.  Fun fun fun!
The monitors truly enjoyed their time of learning and meeting with us here at the Lighthouse.  We are happy that our ministry is building these important relationships with the community workers.  We desire to bless, encourage, pray, and impact this specific school for Christ as they are impacting and investing in many children (who live in a dangerous area of the slum) on a daily basis.

Please pray for us at Lighthouse Community Center.  We desire to build good relationships and work together effectively with more schools in the future.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Graffiti on our house!

After the short term missions teams from England visited and painted some fun murals on the walls here at the Lighthouse Community Center, Josiah was inspired! ( Josiah is the eldest son of a dear missionary family from England that serves here with us.)  
Josiah came to Felipe and I asking if he could paint something on our house, facing out towards the Lighthouse playground.  It would be something fun and cool for the kids to see while playing. Of course, we thought it was a great idea and we said, "YES!"  

Josiah prepared everything, even showing us a sample of the cool graffiti sketch he was planning to paint with some leftover paint (that the teams did not use).  Below is the work of art in progress...


 The final result!


The graffiti says JOCUM. Translated this is literally YWAM - which is Youth With A Mission, the missions organization we serve with.  In Portuguese it is JOCUM, Jovens Com Uma Missão.  The kids from the slum often call the Lighthouse Community Center JOCUM because we are a ministry of JOCUM.

Now the children like to take photos in front of our YWAM graffiti.  It is our cool addition to the Lighthouse!  Didn't Josiah do a fantastic job?  He is a talented and gifted young artist!