Sunday, March 4, 2012

Always An Adventure!

At the end of almost every week, I often say to Felipe, “Wow! What a week!”  When I say this he always responds, “What a week - EVERY week!” 
  It seems there is always an adventure living life in missions.  
Almost every week is full of surprises and something extraordinary happens.  We lead full and busy lives here - without a doubt!

Here are some of our adventures of this past week...

Sophia started the week off with a great victory! She bravely stayed in the nursery at church on Sunday morning almost the whole service long.  It was her first time doing this without crying. We were so proud of this accomplishment!  Sophia just loves this little play house full of colorful balls in the nursery. It was a big help to her cooperation.

Monday morning began with an intercession time as a team here at the Lighthouse Community Center.  We start every day here with either prayer or worship.  A group of us walked into the slum to pray over a more dangerous area where there is a lot of drug dealing and drug usage in a particular house.   

We prayed and declared God’s mercy and love over this area.  The song playing in my heart for the people of the slum was “He Knows My Name”.   God knows the name of every person who is struggling with addiction to drugs and trapped in drug trafficking.  He loves deeply them, sees them, hears them and longs to be in relationship with them.  I sang this song over the people during our morning prayer time.

Felipe and I (with Sophia tagging along) continued  our day by going into the downtown to resolve some stuff for the Lighthouse Community Center at the bank, which can sometimes be a long process here in Brazil, but Monday went pretty smooth. I bought some supplies for my girls group in a craft shop downtown, Felipe picked up his new Brazilian ID and then we returned home.  A trip to downtown always involves lots of walking among crowds of people and takes quite a while to get things done.  It was busy in the city, but we were surprisingly able to gets lots done in a short amount of time.

Meetings, meetings and more meetings!
 During the week, both Felipe and I spent time in meetings.  I met with the co-leader of the girls group to plan and prepare for our group starting- which starts this coming Tuesday YAY!!!  Felipe had an afternoon meeting with leaders in our YWAM base and he also leads our team meeting that we have every Friday at the Lighthouse.  As the director, Felipe usually has many meetings every week.  These meetings are vital for planning and making important decisions concerning our missions work here.

Tuesday morning me and Alynena (my teaching partner for our girls’ group) and also 2 volunteers from Holland (who are here on a short-term visit) walked a lot in the slum, visiting various homes inviting girls to join our group.  It was the first time the two volunteers had ever been in a slum, so they were really observing and had many questions.  We shared a lot with them and I was able to tell stories of some of the girls and families we have worked with in the past.   
This is a photo taken just outside a home we visited.  The older sister - of these beautiful children - will be a part of our girls' group.

Another  BIG adventure of the week was our trip to the vet!  Wednesday morning Felipe had to cancel a meeting at a local school, so he could help me take the Lighthouse dog, Humble, to the vet.  Humble’s tail was swollen and somehow he had hurt it – so an urgent trip to the vet was needed!   Humble was not happy  about this!

Felipe struggled and fought with Humble just to get him into the Lighthouse VW van and then once we were on our way, Humble decided to escape...  

 While I was driving, Humble somehow managed to open a cracked window with his nose and he jumped out of the moving vehicle into the street!  I was freaking out!  He was extremely lucky that a car did not hit him!

  I had to stop the van, Felipe ran after him, got him back in the van and then we could continue on our way to the vet.  We had a good vet visit, got some meds and Humble is feeling better now, but the whole trip just to get him to the vet was quite an adventure!   Sophia behaved really well through the whole ordeal thankfully, watching wide-eyed. 

Two mornings this week we, the Matias family, also experienced the adventure of going to pick people up from the airport. Sophia even got car sick going to the airport one day, but she did great overall.

 The airport is about an hour’s drive away from the Lighthouse Community Center, depending on the traffic.  If traffic is bad it can take a REALLY long time to get to the airport and is quite the adventure on the road- especially with all the motorcycles racing and weaving about.  Many times traffic rules are completely disregarded here in Brazil, which makes driving stressful. 

Thursday morning we picked up a missionary, named Joanne who is from New Zealand.  She serves here at the Lighthouse teaching English and working with kids.  Then on Friday morning we picked up a volunteer from Holland.   

 This volunteer, named Jacqueline, has a beautiful testimony!  She was born in Brazil, rescued from the streets and then adopted by a family in Holland.  Jacqueline’s adoptive parents were missionaries in Africa for a while and then they moved back to Holland where she grew up.  This is Jacqueline’s first time back in Brazil since she was adopted.  She is so excited to be here to see the nation where she was born and may possibly even get to meet her biological mother while she is here.  Beautiful!

Thursday was special day for us as a family!  I had my first ultrasound to see our baby.  When I saw our baby I was filled with such JOY!  I have been feeling pretty tired and yucky lately (which is totally normal for the 1st trimester), but just being able to see the baby strong, healthy and moving around reminded me of the great importance, value and beauty of this little life growing inside me.  I love this baby so much already and seeing the baby was a big encouragement to me personally.  Even when I am not feeling the best, it is for a wonderful cause that I am pregnant.  This life growing in me is worth it!

As soon as we got home from the ultrasound appointment Felipe headed to his office to prepare for the YWAM worship service where he led the worship songs for the night.  I was exhausted and stayed home with Sophia.  I was fast asleep by about 8:30, even though there was a loud service going on literally right outside my house.  I put earplugs in my ears and slept right through it.  I was beat!

Friday I also had another doctor's appointment to see how baby is doing (Sophia tagged along this time) and then we went out for pizza as a family afterwards. Sophia loves pizza!  While talking to our waiter at the restaurant we discovered that he used to participate in activities at the Lighthouse when he was a boy.  It was great to chat with him and to hear how the Lighthouse Community Center blessed his life.  Our pizza outing was a nice treat after a busy week!

Saturday, there was a bazar (which is like a big garage sale) here at the Lighthouse Community Center.  We have received many clothing and various items as donations from friends and churches and we are selling these things to people living in the slum to try to raise money to help keep the ministry of the Lighthouse running.

Children waiting expectantly outside the Lighthouse Community Center with anticipation for the bazar to begin.

  It was a win win situation really.  The people from the slum were blessed to be able to buy  good quality items at a low price, and the Lighthouse Community Center was blessed to receive much needed finances to help keep our ministry running.  Recently we have had more financial challenges, so every offering we receive or money we raise is important to help us pay our bills - especially our water bill as we having the only operating swimming pool in the community.

The bazar was a BIG success! 
To see more photos click here.
 We raised about $1,300 in Brazilian Reais (which is about $750 USD)!
Just this lady alone spent about $300 Reais on various items.

Next week even more adventure await us!
I, Laura, will start my group of girls which will take place on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Please be praying for the girls in the group- I will hopefully write more about this soon!  Then next weekend, we as a team of missionaries will be going away on a team retreat.  I will be the official driver for the weekend so that will definitely be an adventure!  Pray for traveling mercies!

Let's see what other adventures pop up this coming week!
  God teaches us so much through the surprises and the adventures as we journey with Him.  It truly is an honor and a joy to serve Him, worship Him with the fruit of our lives and to live to bless His heart and bless the children and families He so dearly loves in the slum of Cafezal.

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