Monday, January 28, 2013

Photography Field Trip

Last week, as a part of Felipe's photography school, Felipe went on a field trip to two different places here on the Big Island.  First the class went to a historical church, lovingly known as The Painted Church, and then they went to Pu'uhonua o H┼Źnaunau National Historical Park.

Here are some of Felipe's best shots of the afternoon.
These photos capture a little bit of the Hawaiian beauty and culture.


Friday, January 25, 2013

God Cares about the Details...

God cares about the smallest details in our lives...  The needs we have, the deep desires, and yes even the littlest, most particular and peculiar wants.  He knows us SO intimately.

I want to share a quick story of how God reminded me of this just this week...

Here at YWAM Kona there is a little shop called the "Boutique" which is a second hand, thrift store with no prices.  Yes, that's right, EVERYTHING in the store is FREE!  Anything you want, you can just take - no strings attached. It's awesome!
I am experiencing major culture shock with this. In Brazil, household items, clothes, toys, well almost everything is SUPER expensive, so to be able to get cute items at the Boutique and for FREE -this is absolutely mind blowing!

The beloved Boutique is also such a blessing for us as a family (and many others) being far away from home. I am making our living space much more cozy and homey thanks to the Boutique.  As of yesterday we now have a bathmat, some more silverware, a plastic divider for the silverware drawer,  two proper plates and even this nifty yellow bowl (which might even come home to Brazil with us).

Look at all the books too!  I have found lots of great children's books here.

Sophia enjoys playing at the Boutique, which is helpful as she is totally occupied while I can focus on shopping!

Here are some of the toy treasures Sophia and I found together at the Boutique.

The beauty of it all is that we can use this stuff (during this short season), and then when we leave we can donate everything we don't want to take on with us... and believe me, we will be donating LOTS back!

Yesterday, while sorting through the goods at the Boutique, I stumbled across a box that was a mix of random items. As I dug through the box I discovered this sleeping mask and right away I thought, "God you are awesome!"

Now this is not just any sleeping mask. This sleeping mask just happens to be exactly like a sleeping mask I had used for years (until it had completely worn out and the band broke). I had inherited it as a hand-me-down from a friend in YWAM.

For years now I searched and even purchased other sleeping masks to replace it, but they all just did not compare to my faithful red.  They were too tight and just didn't feel as nice and comfy.   

This is something so small, so particular, actually something a little strange about me... For a few years now I have been desiring a new sleeping mask- just like my old red one. So when I found this sleeping mask at the Boutique (and BRAND NEW at that), I stood amazed at God.  He knows me, knows my desires (even the really strange and peculiar ones), He loves me and does the impossible to give blessings.

When Felipe got home from his class I said, "You will not believe what I found today at the Boutique!" I whipped out the eye mask and he too was amazed.
We both marveled together in our God who truly cares about the details...
This little red sleeping mask is definitely a small (yet BIG) demonstration of how God cares about the details.  It was a pure love gift from my generous Father - along with all the other gifts He has given us through the Boutique and through being here at YWAM Kona.

God is SO faithful to provide and He proves this over and over to us...  Even in the challenges (like loosing my wallet the other week), He takes such tender care of us.
What a wonderful and personal God! 
We praise Him for His provision and blessings!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 22nd - Our Day in Photos

 6:35 -  Sophia and Daddy praying for breakfast.
Life begins pretty early here at YWAM Kona.  Felipe was already up and out by 6:15 to get our coffee and breakfast from the campus cafeteria.  While Sophia and Felipe ate together, I headed out for an early morning run.

7:25 - Just back from my quick run.. I am trying to get back into running again and I must say, Hawaii is a beautiful place to run.  I ran down by the ocean this morning.

8:00 -  Felipe was already at his class for the daily prayer and intercession time, Sophia was busy playing with some of her toys, Jessie was sitting with me feeding and I read a bit in this free e-book!


 The book is written by Joy Forney, a missionary in Indonesia who is a mother to 5 kids.  She writes on a blog I follow called Grace Full Mama.  If you would like to download this simple and encouraging book just go here to find out how!

8:45 - Sophia enjoying her morning bath.  She loves playing in the BIG built-in bathtub.  At home in Brazil we just have a plastic baby bathtub that we use in our shower.

9:00 - Class time for Felipe!

9:30 -  Fussy baby...  Soothing Jessie down by wearing her.  This is one of her favorite places to sleep.

10:20 -The School of Photography's morning break.

Always drinking coffee!

10:30 - Park time! We try to go out to the park every morning for about an hour so Sophia can have some interaction with other kids. She has made lots of friends!
There is an International Christian School running here at YWAM Kona, and the kids come to the park throughout the day.  This cat was quite popular this morning.

 Jessie and I enjoyed sitting on the bench watching the kids play.  It was a beautiful day...

Sometimes I read a bit while Sophia plays.  I read in Proverbs today.

12:00-  Eating lunch with Felipe's classmates! 

12:45 - Felipe is back in class.  Here are some self-takes he took during the afternoon.

2:00 - Jessie is in a deep deep sleep.  She had a good afternoon nap.

 2:45 - Working on a birthday card to send to Grandpa Bookout.

3:15 - Daddy's home!

 4:15 - One of my favorite places on campus...

I enjoyed some quiet prayer time in the prayer room while Felipe was in the park with the girls.

5:00 - We were standing in line for dinner, and what a line it was!  There are lots of people here at YWAM Kona!

For a while Sophia played around in the grassy area singing and dancing all by herself.  This is a good sign she is feeling more at home here now..

5:45 -Playing in another playground area after dinner.

 6:30 - Back in our room. Sophia was playing with my camera and laughing at all the photos she was taking. We have a rising photographer in our hands!

7:25 - Sisters in pajamas! Time for bed...

We hope you enjoyed seeing our day in photos!  We are enjoying this different rhythm of life here at YWAM Kona.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Worthy of It All

 One of the things I am SUPER excited about (being here at YWAM Kona) is that every Monday morning we have an hour long, AMAZING base worship service.  It is a time to just sing and worship God through songs.  I am excited about these times of just soaking in God's presence and worshiping Him for who He is.

The song Worthy of It All has been played and sung now at several services and it has really encouraged my heart.  
If you have never heard this song before (as I had not until I came here) take a moment to listen to it, worship a Great GOD - WORTHY OF IT ALL, and be encouraged today!

Worthy of It All

All the saints and angels bow before Your throne
All the elders cast their crowns before the Lamb of God and sing

You are worthy of it all, You are worthy of it all

For from You are all things, and to You are all things, You deserve the glory

Day and night, night and day, let incense arise

Day and night, night and day, let incense arise
Day and night, night and day, let incense arise
Day and night, night and day, let incense arise

Words by David Brymer
Music by David Brymer and Ryan Hall

My favorite line of the song is, 
"For from You are all things,
and to You are all things,
You deserve the glory!"

This week in worship (during this song), my eyes filled up with tears as I held close my baby Jessie (who was sleeping peacefully on my chest), and then I glanced over at my beautiful Sophia being held by my faithful, loving husband...  What great and priceless gifts God has blessed me with!  

As I continued to reflect on what God has done in my life, I thought about how EVERY SINGLE THING has come straight from the hand of God...  My salvation, the healing of my heart (which He is still working on and bringing to me), freedom to be who God has called and created me to be (He is still teaching me this too),  a life full of LOVE, HOPE and JOY because of WHO Jesus is... The list could go on forever actually...

  And I will go on a little more ... every breath that I take, my health, precious relationships, the money in our bank account, the faithful ones who give to us (thank you), the food we eat each day, the clothes on my back... God is literally our provider and He is a generous, loving Father! As a missionary, living by faith and depending on God to provide EVERY THING for us, this is so astounding and I praise Him for His constant and loving care of our family.
I am still amazed in how we even made it here to YWAM Kona.  God did miracles to get us here.  Thank you Jesus!

He is indeed WORTHY of it ALL!
ALL of me, ALL of my life, ALL my praise, everything that I am!
He deserves the GLORY!

What do you have to praise the Lord for today?
 What blessing (from God) in your life are you particularly thankful for right now? Take a moment, will you?  Offer your personal praise and thanks to a loving Father God who holds you, delights in you and is truly WORTHY of it ALL.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Our First Week at YWAM Kona

 We made it!

Last Thursday, January 3rd, after about a 35 hour journey from Brazil, we made it here to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  For those of you who do not know why we are here, Felipe is doing a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) intense photography course for 3 months here at the YWAM Kona base.  Click here to read more about it!

First of all let me explain a little about where we are... We are living at a Youth With A Mission training base called University of the Nations Kona.  It really does have a university feel to it.  It is almost like I am living on a college campus again, just instead with my little family.

A fun family self-take!
Currently there are many short term missions training schools/courses running and lots of young people here.  This semester there are over 600 students enrolled, which is the most students YWAM Kona has ever received at one time.  There are also many YWAM missionaries staffing and serving so there are over 1,000 people here on campus daily.

  Many of the schools running are Discipleship Training Schools (DTS).  A DTS is a YWAM introductory school that is mandatory to complete if you want to be a long-term missionary with YWAM.  It is a school that teaches a variety of subjects and is an amazing time to just focus on your relationship with God.  There is a young guy from my home church (Chase Nimmo) here doing his DTS.  I was so happy to see him here! 

 The first few days were busy and kind of blurry for us, as we were tired from traveling.  We attended orientation meetings, shopped a bit at Walmart, explored the campus and were getting unpacked and settled in.  One day we even took a quick walk down to the ocean which is just a short distance from the campus.  We have yet to explore any more than this, as we have been busy here on the YWAM base and must do everything by walking.

 The first few days here the girls were super tired and fussy as they were adjusting to the 8 hour time difference.  Jessie had a few major crying fits due to being overtired, but I am happy to report that now we have all adjusted really well. It took a few days, but now the girls are on a better sleep schedule.

Here are a few highlights from our first week here!

We enjoyed a time of corporate worship with everyone here at YWAM Kona.  Such a beautiful time of us all coming together and just focusing on one thing - worshiping GOD for WHO He is.  I loved this time and I am looking forward to our Monday morning worship sessions...  I am glad I can participate in this and we can go to worship as a family!

I can just imagine that heaven will be like this.  Many different nations joining together to worship the Lord!

 On Thursday night we also went to the YWAM base service.  This week the founder of Youth With A Mission, Loren Cunningham, shared.  It is always a blessing and honor to hear him speak. His life has profoundly impacted many people, including mine.  I am thankful for Loren's obedience and commitment to the Lord and to sharing the gospel.

At our base back in YWAM Belo Horizonte we translate all our services from Portuguese into English.  Here at YWAM Kona there is a large Korean population so all of the services are translated into Korean.

The School of Photography

Felipe had class every day of the week.  There are a total of 16 students in the YWAM School of Photography.  Felipe participates in a daily intercession time with his class from 8:00-9:00, and then class time runs from 9:00-11:30 and also from about 12:45-3:00 daily.

 After class, Felipe has to spend time doing photography assignments which often include shooting photos and completing other photography related tasks.  Felipe took this shot on Thursday at sunset as he was working on a photo assignment for his class.  Isn't it beautiful?

Felipe is already enjoying the challenges given to him. Don't we all grow through challenges?  It is the challenges that push and drive us to rise up, grow and improve.  I am excited to see how Felipe will grow and develop even more as a photographer during the next 3 months.

 While Felipe is in class, I spend lots of time with my girls!

Sophia has literally spent hours every day playing outside in the park!

 She plays hard and gets very dirty, and this is helping her to sleep extremely well at night. She loves playing outside with the kids, but what she does not love is that there are LOTS of people everywhere we go.  Sophia can be painfully shy at times and does not like large crowds, so this will take some getting used to on her part.  Please pray for her.   

On the other hand, Jessie is much different and is enjoying all the people.  It is interesting to see how different Sophia and Jessie are already!  Jessie is definitely a people person giving everyone smiles, showing off her cute dimples.  She is also enjoying playing on her colorful new play mat and having tummy time.

  I just have to add that we got this at Walmart for just $20. WOW!  In Brazil this would cost at least 150 to 200 Reais which is $75 to $100.  I am enjoying the low prices here in the USA already.  You would be surprised, but everything is much more pricey in Brazil.

The girls and I have spent a lot of time in our cozy room as well.  I feel SO blessed by our living quarters.  It is much bigger and nicer than I ever could have imagined.  We can even see the ocean (in the distance) from our windows.

  As you can see in this photo there is an upstairs, which is a cute little loft area made specifically for children.  Sophia is scared to stay up there by herself and prefers to be downstairs with mommy and daddy, so we are using the loft as a storage space.

This week I also had the privilege of going to a Mommy's group (childcare provided) where I heard Darlene Cunningham speak about having character and being a mom.

 Darlene and her husband Loren (who spoke at the base service) started Youth With A Mission a little over 50 years ago.  YWAM has grown immensely over the years, with missions work occurring in many nations all over the world.  The Mommy group was an amazing morning and I was really blessed just to hear Darlene's great wisdom as an experienced mother and long-term missionary.

As you have probably heard, it is absolutely beautiful here in Hawaii. The weather is much like Brazil's weather so it was an easy adjustment climate-wise for us.  I heard someone say this week that Hawaii truly is a precious jewel in the world, with an abundance of natural beauty.    I have to agree. I have already seen such interesting and intriguing plants and birds.  Hopefully soon we can share the Hawaiian beauty through our photos on our blog.

A shot I took of a Hawaiian flower on a tree right outside our bedroom door.

Again we want to say thank you or MAHALO (which is thank you in Hawaiian) for all who have helped make it possible for us to be here at YWAM Kona.  Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and financial support and partnership with us.  We couldn't have made it here without your support.  We are very grateful and excited about all God will be doing during this special season here.