Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Official, Felipe is a Driver!

This past Friday afternoon Felipe received his driving license in the mail! 

After months of classes and driving lessons, Felipe passed his driving test, which he took  on August 11th.  After waiting a week , his official driving license document arrived in the mail at our house. 

Felipe was SUPER happy when the license arrived! He was like a little kid at Christmas!

This afternoon Felipe had a driving test to be approved to drive the YWAM VW van (or as we call it here in Brazil - a kombi). Felipe passed his YWAM driving test too!  Felipe will now have the responsibility and privilege of serving the ministry of the Lighthouse Community Center through driving.  

We don't have our own personal family car yet (we are praying one day this will be a reality), but we are SUPER blessed to be able to borrow the faithful YWAM VW van when we need to.  We are also thankful and rejoicing because now Felipe can actually drive me to the hospital when our baby girl is born!  He got his license just in time because our baby girl is due mid- September.   Very soon - less than a month away!  

We praise God for this accomplishment and that Felipe was able to achieve his personal goal of obtaining his driving license!

Rejoice with those who rejoice...
~ Romans 12:15 ~

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14th - Our Day in Photos

6:30 -  I was up early sitting in our living room with a nice cup of hot tea having some quiet time before the day started...  I have literally taken over Felipe's English Bible this year. It's the first time I have ever read the English Standard Version and I really like it. 

I also have been counting all the amazing gifts and blessings in my life since the beginning of the year.  I have been so encouraged by doing this!  (I got the idea from Ann Voskamp, an amazing writer and woman of God.  Check out her blog here and book here.)

7:30 - While Felipe makes the coffee and helps to get breakfast on the table, I like to get Sophia ready in the mornings.  I often brush and do her hair here before breakfast.

7:40 - Eating bread with butter and drinking coffee.  Almost every morning we eat homemade bread (made by our cook here at the Lighthouse Community Center).  This is the typical breakfast here in Brazil - fresh bread and coffee.

8: 30 - Prayer time here at the Lighthouse.  Every morning the team meets together to start our day with worship and prayer.  I went around taking photos of the various groups meeting together to share and pray.

9:30 - Today here at the Lighthouse was a special day.  Several times throughout the year we take time as a team to meet, pray, share and evaluate our missions work.
Felipe led the team during this morning evaluation time.

10:30 - Sophia and I spent some time in the Lighthouse park.  Everyday I like to let Sophia spend time playing outside here. She is an active little girl and has lots of energy so this is an important part of our day.  We are SO blessed to live near a playground!  

As you can see by her clothing it is a little chilly here.  It is more windy and cool up here on the mountain where we live.

Something very "normal" for us are the goats who roam around Lighthouse grounds. There is a family that lives across the street from us and they often bring and leave their goats to graze on the grass here on our property.  Sophia loves the goats!

11:30 -  I was starting to sort through some baby stuff today in the baby's bedroom and was also storing away stuff Sophia has outgrown.  Sophia enjoyed being my little helper and wanted to try on things and play with everything I was sorting through.

12:30 - After lunch, Ivonete, our dear friend and also the amazing cook here at the Lighthouse, insisted on giving me a foot massage with some special foot lotion.  Isn't she sweet?  Just what a pregnant mommy needs...

Ivonete is such a servant and a blessing!  I am thankful for her...

1:30 - The team came back together to meet and do team building activities.  Sander, a missionary from Holland, led this time.

Meanwhile, Sophia and I were taking much needed afternoon naps...
 Since I am not sleeping the best at night now late in my pregancy, I am trying to take a short nap every afternoon when Sophia naps.

2:30 - Felipe heads out for another meeting he has scheduled with the leaders of the various YWAM Community Centers.

4:30 -  Vovó  (grandma in Portuguese) came over for a surprise afternoon visit!
  She called me at 3:45 and said, " Laura, I am here at the front door!"  This is common here in Brazil to just pop in and visit someone unannounced. We love it when family comes over to visit.  Sophia woke up from her nap happy to see  her beloved Vovó.

6:00 -Vovó has left to go home and Felipe is already back at home.  Felipe took some time to look into moving a wardrobe from one bedroom here in at the Lighthouse to another empty room.  Soon a missionary will be moving into this bedroom, so Felipe promised to help her get the room ready. 

7:00 - After dinner, I finally had a moment to hang up the baby items I sorted through and washed today.  I was able to wash crib sheets, baby blankets, burp cloths, washrags, towels and various baby items.  I am totally nesting at the moment and thankful for more time to be able to focus on my family and prepare our home for our baby girl - who will be here in just a month!

HOPE you had a great TUESDAY!

My goal is try to do a blog post of "Our Day in Photos" at least once a month to show a bit of our every day lives here in Brazil... This post came a little later than I wanted this month, but better late than never. I am not sure when I will do it next month.  It will depend on our new born baby girl...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dear Daddy...

Dear Daddy, 
In honor of Brazilian Father's Day, here's a list of the top TEN things I like to do together with you.


10. Be SUPER silly together with you! We are a lot alike you know...

 9.   Eat lunch with you everyday and see you lots throughout the day.
Because you work where we live- that's just great!  We spend lots of time together!.

8.  Read Brown Bear and Good Night Moon with you.  

7.  Sing songs like "Five Little Monkeys" and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider."

6.   Watch cartoons together, especially Toy Story and Batman.

5.   Dance around the room with you, especially  to The Godfather theme song.

4. Wake you up in the morning by climbing into your bed and jumping on you saying, "Daddy! Daddy!  Daddy!"

3. Sing the Super Man blessing before we eat.

2. Wear our matching Batman t-shirts.

1.  Our nightly bedtime prayer-time and goodnight kisses and hugs.

Happy Brazilian Father's Day!!!
You are the BEST and FUNNIEST Daddy EVER!

Lots of Love,
Sophia Grace

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The End of our Girls Group

A week ago today was a somewhat-sad day for us.   We had our last girls group session of the year. Since my baby is due in September, we decided to stop the girls group in the beginning of August.  We planned some special things during our last week of group.  

First, we made some cute bracelets and necklaces with our girls. (All the jewelry making materials were donated by my sister who was recently here visiting!  Thank you!)  The girls loved doing this activity.  They made necklaces or bracelets with their names on them.

Ludmila even made a necklace with her full name on it - first, middle and last name!

During our last week of group we also had a special time of encouragement and prayer for each girl in the group.  We felt it important to take some time (and we took A LOT of TIME) to speak blessings and declare truth over every girl one last time before the group officially ended.

  The girls also actively participated in this activity. I really loved seeing the girls praying and blessing each other through their encouraging words. It was a sweet time...

On the last day of group we also did a special treasure hunt around the grounds here at the Lighthouse Community Center.

Here's a photo of the girls doing a special cheer before the treasure hunt began!
They counted and then shouted out (a fun name we call our group),  
"1-2-3... Super Power Girls!"

We taught them through out the year that they are strong and powerful in the Lord, and they have the potential to change the world around them for good.  This is why they are "Super Power Girls" or "Meninas Super Poderosas!"

And the treasure hunt begins! 
 The girls received one clue to start the hunt.  All the clues were Bible verses, so the girls had to search the scriptures and think about the passages.  The clue the girls are reading here is a verse about Jesus being baptized by John.  Where will the next clue be hidden? Where could it be?

The girls found the clue inside a plastic jar floating in the Lighthouse swimming pool, where we have many many baptisms!  Here at the Lighthouse, we open our pool to local churches at least once a month for baptisms. 

The girls were really reading the Word as they found each clue!

Eventually the clues led the girls to a treasure box in a classroom decorated for their goodbye party.

The last scripture, that all the girls had to read before opening the treasure was from Psalm 119:72, where David wrote, 
"Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold or silver."

We talked with the girls about how the greatest treasure we will ever find in life is - GOD.   This is something we hope and pray the girls will remember from the time they spent in our group.
Knowing God,  knowing and reading His word, and being in relationship with Him is more precious and more important than anything - more than money, more than any other treasure in the world...
 God is the greatest treasure of all!

The treasure inside the box.  Each girl got a little treasure/goodbye baggie full of goodies!

Felipe made a slideshow of photos showing all the wonderful memories we made as a group.

The girls laughed and smiled while watching the video and when it was over they wanted to watch it again.  SO... we watched it twice!

You can watch it too if you like! Enjoy!

We celebrated the birthdays of the girls who will have birthdays coming up at the end of the year, but our group won't be in session.

We prayed for the Birthday girls, sang Happy Birthday, enjoyed cake and sat around talking about some of our favorite memories of the year and what we were most thankful for during the time in the group.

At the end of the day each girl received a card and a photo from Alynena (my teaching partner) and I, and of course we gave each girl a BIG goodbye HUG!

I wanted a photo with this special girl - with an injury...  This is Giselle. A few weeks ago she fell in the park here at the Lighthouse and got a hairline fracture in her leg.  She is recovering well now, but it was quite a scare on the day of the accident.

Please pray for this precious girl!  She is so dear.  I think she is probably the girl who most valued coming to our group this year.  She really needed something like our group desperately in her life.  She has few people who are really investing positively in her life, encouraging her or spending quality time with her.

 Giselle's father was killed here in the slum when she was 5 years old ( I am pretty sure it is related to crime activity) and she has a strained relationship with her mother. She currently lives with her grandmother in a small house down an alleyway here behind the Lighthouse.  God has really put a deep love and burden in my heart for this girl and I can see how God is touching her heart and revealing Himself to her.   She even began crying during our special prayer time for her. 

Please pray for Giselle, as she was really sad to see our group come to an end.  I hope to invest in her and spend more time with her in the future too...  Praying about this and how I can do this...

Even though the group is ending we told the girls that we would love to schedule times with them on the weekends or during the week (every once and a while).  The girls can come over to swim, to hang out with us or play on the playground.  Felipe does this often with the boys in the community and it is a great way to invest in our relationships with the kids and families here in the slum - in a more low-key and relaxed way.  I don't want to loose touch with these girls either, so every once and a while I can handle something like this.  Sophia loves playing with the girls too, so she will love having them over!

Alynena really had it strongly on her heart to meet with one specific girl in our group, named Sabrina, and she started this today!  Every Thursday morning Alynena will be reading a special Children's Bible with Sabrina and talking about the stories and truths presented in the Bible. 

Sabrina is very excited about this!  The day Alyneana took her aside privately inviting her to come back weekly to meet one-on-one, Sabrina came over to me with a huge, beaming smile on her face and said,
"Laura, Laura - I am not going to stop coming to YWAM.  I am going to come back every week to read the Bible with Alynena!"  

Grinning, I responded, "I know... I know... Isn't that great?" 

 So much JOY filled my heart as I saw the hunger and desire in Sabrina to return to the Lighthouse to learn about God!

  During this year we really saw a need  to explain the Bible and various truths about God to Sabrina, in a more one-on-one way.  No one in Sabrina's family is a believer or follower of Christ and there is no one in her life teaching her about God (except us here at the Lighthouse).

  Now, God is continuing to use Alynena to tell Sabrina about His great love and the message of Jesus Christ - in a personal, individual and real way.  I am SUPER happy Alynena is doing this and please pray that these special meeting times would be fruitful. 

We had a great girls group during 2012!   
I will miss seeing and spending time with these beautiful girls every week. 

Please pray for their lives, their families and a protection over the things God has taught them while here at the Lighthouse.   Please pray that these girls will choose to walk with the King, choosing the path of abundant life that brings them a HOPE and a FUTURE!