Our dear friends Amy and Tom Walker (and their beautiful 1 year old daughter Lydia) were here in Belo Horizonte, Brazil visiting us for most of the month of March. They just left 2 days ago and we miss them already.
Amy and Tom actually already came to Brazil in 2009 to be a part of our wedding. This visit they came here with a mission to bless us as a family and to bless the ministry we work with - the Lighthouse Community Center, which serves to minister to the children and families living in the largest slum in our city. Amy and Tom indeed were a HUGE blessing as they served us in various ways!
Amy worked with a girls group during her time here. She even taught a fun swimming lesson one day!
The girls were learning how to float on their backs!
Amy also helped out in the kitchen, giving some assistance to the cook who prepares meals for all the staff and students here at the Lighthouse. Lydia was enjoying being in the kitchen too!
Tom went into the community on a few ocassions to walk, pray and visit people. Felipe and Tom having fun in the streets of the slum!
Tom also helped out in a children's group that Felipe and I work with every Wednesday morning. These kids come from a local school which we are partnering together with.
Here Tom is explaining the game of kickball to the kids. They had never played kickball before, so the game needed much explanation.
After much coaching the kids are starting to really enjoy the game!
Tom also helped out with some technical things, which was a great blessing as we do not have an official tech person here at the Lighthouse to fix or help with computer issues. Tom set up wireless internet in our home and also resolved several computer and internet problems. He also helped me sort out some problems I was having with our Paypal account. I am happy to say that we can now receive donations through Paypal - thanks to Tom.
Lydia was also such a blessing to us! Her sweet personality and beautiful smile brought joy to everyone here at the Lighthouse.
Sophia also loved having Lydia around. The girls had fun playing together and Sophia loved following Lydia around everywhere she went. Sophia wanted to be exactly where Lydia was.
BLESSING of FRIENDSHIP
We enjoyed sweet times of fellowship, long talks, meals together and made many wonderful memories. Felipe, Sophia and I were blessed by the Walker family in more ways that we can express. For me (Laura) it was super refreshing to have Amy here as she is one of my best friends in the whole world!
We wanted Tom, Amy and Lydia to have a wonderful experience here in Brazil. We ate lots of açaí, which is a fruit grown in Brazil and is super delicious frozen and blended into a kind of creamy substance! Here is a photo of us at our favorite açaí place.
The girls LOVED eating açaí, but I must say Tom enjoyed açaí the most!
Sophia with her açaí face!
We also took the Walker family to a few of the site-seeing places here in Belo Horizonte. We took many photos and enjoyed spending quality time together seeing the city.
We even saw monkeys at the local park near our home. Here Tom is feeding a monkey a cookie.
We also spent a few days in Rio de Janeiro, showing the Walker family this wonderful city. We had fun being their tour guides!
Tom developing his photography skills...
The famous Christ the Redeemer Statue.
The moment was captured...Sophia suddenly realized the statue of Jesus was right above us and she kept looking up to see it.
The girls getting a bit restless as we waited in a SUPER long line to go up to Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio.
Sophia and Daddy playing in line...
A photo of us, the Matias family, on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain with the Christ the Redeemer statue in the background.
The amazing view from the bed and breakfast where we stayed.
Every time we went out the babies were in the baby carriers! In a walking culture, like Brazil, this baby gear is priceless! We walked to so many places wearing the girls. Here is a photo of Felipe and Tom having fun with the babies on their backs.
During the Walker family's time here in Brazil, we wanted to do something to bless them for being such a blessing to us. We decided to bless them with the gift of photography. Felipe did a family photo shoot with the Walker family in the slum and here at Lighthouse Community Center. The photos turned out beautiful! To see some photos from the photo shoot click here.
BACK in the USA
Amy, Tom and Lydia are now safely back home in the USA and we are extremely thankful for the time that they spent here in Brazil with us. Their lives, their example as a loving family, and their service truly blessed everyone that they came in contact with here in Brazil - us especially!