Monday, December 31, 2012

Goal Accomplished!

During this year I was trying to accomplish a personal challenge  of reading through the whole Bible in 2012.  I wrote about it here on our blog this time last year and several other times throughout the year.

Today, the last day of the year, I actually finished! Whew!  I can´t believe I actually did it.  I read through the whole Bible in a year!  There were times I was ahead on my readings and other times I was behind on my readings and had to play catch up. Today, ONLY by the grace of God, I managed to read the last few chapters on my list.

My daily reading list for the year.  It was a booklet, but I cut it up to focus on a few months reading at a time.  I kept this folded up inside of my Bible.  As you can see, Sophia got a hold of it and made some "art" of her own.  :-)

This past year, I was PURPOSELY in the Word of God MORE...  This was really good for me personally.  I had to be disciplined and truly devote and purpose myself to choose the Word over other distractions.  As I picked up the Word and turned my eyes on the Lord, God brought much PEACE to my mind and heart... I spent many a sleepless night (due to my pregnancy) reading the Word of God in the stillness and quiet of the night.  These were wonderful moments with the Lord, just me and Him...

As I was reminded (just this morning) as I was reading the Bible,
"... man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
~Deut. 8:3b ~

This is the truth!  I live, breathe, and have my being because of an amazing God who lives and speaks to me through the Word of God - His words of life.

Now, I am looking forward to 2013 and what the Lord will speak to me in this new year.  2012 was a year of being in the Word. I am excited to see what 2013 will bring!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Praising God and Packing!

We have some AWESOME news to share! 
Just before Christmas we received an email from YWAM Kona stating that Felipe has been awarded a special 80% discount for the Photography Course he will be participating in. 
What a wonderful Christmas present for us!

The 3 month course - which would have cost $4,000 (to cover Felipe´s tuition and his room and board) - is now reduced to just $800!!! We feel so blessed and we praise God for His provision. This was a HUGE unexpected financial blessing!  We went from needing $14,360 to needing only $11,160.

Back in October we turned in paperwork to YWAM requesting financial assistance for our time in Hawaii.  Since we are long-term, career missionaries with a family, any financial help would be extremely helpful to us. We imagined that maybe, just maybe, we would be awarded a $1,000 discount, but what was given to us was MUCH more than we could have asked or imagined.

God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! 
~Ephesians 3:20 The Message ~

WE were AMAZED by this news and we just can´t stop praising God for this financial blessing!
We have officially reached our financial goal and we are able to fulfill the YWAM requirement of paying all expenses upfront to YWAM Kona. To see a breakdown of our simple budget click here.  God has provided at just the right time, every step of the way.  We are beyond thankful!

Packing Our Bags!
Currently we are packing, packing, packing - getting everything set and organized for our trip. Just one suitcase is completely packed so far...

 Packing for Jessie is the most challenging.  Jessie is leaving home at almost 4 months and will be 8 months old when we return.  She will grow A LOT while we are traveling, so I need to pack clothes of all sizes for her. 

It is also strange that we will be living out of a suitcase for the next four and half months.  We will miss many things here in Brazil - our cozy home, friends and family, the children here in the slum, and our sweet kitty, Amora...  

Yet we are SUPER excited about the adventure before us.  God is confirming His hand on this special season.  He has opened the doors and we are open to receive all He has for us.

  We travel in just a few days, on January 2nd late at night, arriving in Hawaii on January 3rd around 8:30 at night.  Our total travel time (with flying and layovers) will add up to about 30 hours!  This is a big trip! We will be arriving in Hawaii when it is 4:30 am on January 4th in Brazil.   We will definitely experience jet lag from this trip!

Please pray for us...
Please pray for our travels.  I am praying that both girls will travel well and that those traveling on the same planes as us would give us grace.  Please also pray for this transition for us as a family, as we will be adjusting to a new time zone and a new routine at YWAM Kona.  We know that Felipe will have a really busy and intense schedule and I will have lots of "girl time" with our precious daughters.

We will continue to keep you posted here on our blog!
Thanks for your prayers and support and to God be ALL the GLORY!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas Day in Photos

For the month of December, I had the idea to show our Christmas day in photos. 

It's a holiday so your not supposed to worry about time, right?  What´s most important is enjoying the gift of being together with family and friends, so here are some photos highlighting our day.  I am not sure what time we did what, but I do know we had a wonderful Christmas!

Just after Sophia and I woke up... Daddy and Jessie were still sleeping.
It´s Christmas day!!!!!!!!!!

Getting Jessie dressed in her "My First Christmas" shirt from Aunt Jessica.

Chocolate chip pancakes for Christmas breakfast.

Singing a few Christmas Carols after breakfast!

Jessie waiting for the present opening to begin!

Sophia opening her main Christmas gift from Felipe and I, a Belle Disney princess doll.

She was in awe!  Sophia loves anything princess!

Jessie opening her gift from her namesake, Aunt Jessica!

Jessie loved her new custom made bib and blankie!

Opening presents!

Felipe enjoying his favorite gift this year - BOOKS!  I got him A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

First Christmas as sisters...

Cooking and getting things ready for our Christmas lunch.

Rice made Brazilian style...  I prayed over this rice because sometimes my Brazilian rice does not turn out the best, but this rice turned out great! Yay!

 Opening presents with Tia Renata!

Sophia showing off her new shoes and "princess dress'' that she got from Tia Renata and Vovo!


Our simple and delicious Christmas meal!

It was super hot here in Brazil as it is summertime, so we enjoyed eating lunch outside!
We celebrated with Felipe´s family and a few people from our team -  Joyce (from Holland), her husband Aldenito (from Bahia, Brazil), their daughter Sara Joy, and Andreia (from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Desserts after our special lunch!

Enjoying  my baby girl! She is the greatest gift God gave to our family in 2012.
We are thankful for our sweet Jessie!

The ladies talking...

Joyce and Sara relaxing in our hammock.

Funny faces!

Vovo and Jessie!

A family photo, but the girls were not in the mood to take photos.

Super tired after a busy day visiting... and no nap time.

Eating leftovers for dinner with Daddy.

Ending the day watching the Nativity Story.  We want this to be one of our family traditions as a way to focus on remembering the story of Jesus´ birth.

We hope you enjoyed seeing how we celebrated December 25th, 2012 here in Brazil!
We hope your Christmas days have been abundantly blessed celebrating with loved ones and remembering the true reason for the season...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jesus Came!

This week during a time of prayer the Lord was reminding me of my very first Christmas as a true believer of Jesus Christ... 
I had always heard of the Lord growing up (all my life my parents took me to church), but when I was 17 years old I had a real and powerful encounter with Jesus.  It was then that I made the decision to follow Jesus and give 100% of my life, my heart, everything to Him.

My first Christmas as a true follower and lover of Jesus, Christmas came ALIVE to me in a whole new way. Every song proclaimed the wonder and greatness of God in a beautiful way.  Every Christmas message carried a new and deeper meaning for me.  It was like all the Christmases before had been in a drab black and white, and now I was experiencing Christmas in color!

  I mean, think about it... Jesus CAME to earth as a baby!  He CAME! He did not just leave us alone, but He cared, He loved enough, our Father God loved us enough to send His only son... Jesus humbled Himself and He came. He came for us...  WOW!

  And Jesus came ALSO to show us true life, show us the way to our loving Father, He came to die for our sins and raise again in great power!  What an amazing God Jesus is and I am so happy He came.  He came to earth for me and for you!
His LOVE for us is everlasting and I stand in awe...

This week, God was reminding me of this.  Jesus is the reason for this season and we have MUCH to celebrate! As we simply remember WHO HE IS and that JESUS CAME for us...
This alone is reason enough to celebrate!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas
 and praying all would have a deeper revelation of the love, character and greatness of Jesus Christ!  
He came for us!