Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 25th - Our Day in Photos

6:45- Breakfast time!




8:00 - We rushed out the door to get to Worship on time...






9:30 - While Felipe was in class, I was in our room doing mommy stuff (cleaning and caring for our girls) and attempting to drink a cup of coffee... I think I reheated this coffee about 2 or 3 times before actually drinking just half of it. I had lots of interruptions.  Nice cup huh?  Felipe received it as a gift from a guest teacher (who loves Nikon).



10:30 -Shifting the laundry!  We are enjoying being able to use a clothes dryer while here in the USA.  IN Brazil we don't have a dryer and hang all our clothes on the line. Sophia likes to help me put the quarters in the machine and push the buttons!




11:00 - At the Boutique (2nd hand free store here at YWAM Kona).  Sophia found a car seat, just like the one we have and Sophia was excited about that.  Today I gave Sophia the choice to go play in the park  or to go to the Boutique... She chose the Boutique! 


12:00 - Back home!  Jessie plays on the floor, with this Christmas headband (one of Sophia's finds from the Boutique), while we eat our lunch. 




12:30 - Felipe takes our tray and dishes back to the kitchen.  He scraped our scraps into these buckets for the pigs.  Yes, pigs!!!  YWAM Kona has a pig farm and all the food scraps and leftovers go to feed the pigs they raise here.



12:45- Felipe is back in class and we had some down time in our room.  I try to do this every afternoon with the girls during Felipe's afternoon class session. Sophia plays quietly and Jessie naps off and on...

2:00 - A carrot snack for Sophie.  I am trying to encourage this girl to eat more veggies!



3:00 -  Felipe's class said good bye and prayed for their guest teacher for the past week, renown photographer Stanley Leary (in orange), who is originally from North Carolina! Check out his website here.





3:15 - Playtime!



4:00 - Washing up dishes before heading out to shop.



On Wednesday, Felipe is leaving for a 2 day class field trip around the island to shoot photos. They will even be going to volcanoes and mountainous areas where it gets cold.  Felipe wanted gloves to keep his hands warm as he clicks away!

4:30 - Family field trip to the thrift store!
Funny sidenote:  I said, "Give a thumbs up Sophia!" and she did this, pointy finger up! We need to work on our thumbs up...



Our Salvation Army finds:
Sophia - A POTTY!  We have been doing potty training off and on now for a while.  It has been a roller coaster adventure, with many ups and downs with our stubborn Sophia.  If you have any helpful tips or advice please pass them my way.

For me - I found another handy baby carrier, that way we can do some hiking here.  We already have one carrier so now we have two. We can carry both girls and go exploring!

Felipe - Found his gloves and some golf props for future photography assignments.
We got ALL this for just $12.00!


5:30 - Jessie is super sweet most of the time, but she throws strong fits too!  Meet our angry bird!



6:00 - We decided to have some special family time, since the next 2 weeks Felipe has a busy schedule (with classes, a field trip and kitchen work duty on the weekend). We went down to a nearby beach to eat our dinner and watch the sunset.




 Eating Daddy's nose!



Sophia made a friend at the beach...




6:30 - The sunset.  This is one of my favorite things about being here.  What an amazing God we have!  Thankful!
A beautiful end to the day...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wrecked!

I have been wrecked!  Yes, that is the best word to describe it.

My baby girl was sound asleep in my arms and my other little one was watching a video, so I took advantage of the peaceful and quiet moment.  I grabbed my laptop and clicked over to one of my favorite blogs called
 A Holy Experience

 This blog is written by Ann Voskamp, who is a gifted writer, farmer's wife, mommy of six, and passionate lover of Jesus. Have you ever read her blog or books?  Her writing challenges me, encourages me, and presses me into the Lord in deep ways.

So this morning, as I clicked around to read one of Ann's posts, tears began to flow fast down my face.  My heart ached and my spirit so resonated with every single word written on the screen before me. 

Ann was recounting her time on a missions trip to Haiti and the many things God stirred in her heart while she was there.  She told stories of the reality, asked hard questions, and shared about her hatred for sin, for poverty, and for injustice.  She so beautifully put into words things I have struggled with and thought about as I have lived in a slum in Brazil for the past 5 years.
 
 Here are two snapshots Ann took while in Haiti. If you like, you can also read Ann's thought provoking post yourself by clicking here.  It is quite a long post, but totally worth the read.

Photo by Ann Voskamp


Photo by Ann Voskamp


As I said before, after reading this post and seeing these beautiful images, I was a mess!  A complete wreck!  Red faced, ugly crying, stirred deeply and feeling a strong conviction and confirmation of our life direction as a family.

The part that most struck my heart was when Ann herself asks a question to her translator.
Here is a portion of the text from the post...



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

... when our Haitian Compassion translator, Johnny, stands in The Alpha Hotel with its rats running down the hallways, he tells us how, after getting his BA in Florida, he’d got his MDiv in North Carolina.

How he’d come back to Haiti to work for Compassion, and took in 5 starving Haitian orphans to raise with his own 3 and saved to send all 8 of them to university.

How he’d walked out of the Hotel Montana not 30 seconds before it collapsed in the earthquake and how after the quake, how he’d climbed from one tree to the next, all down the mountain from the Montana, all the roads blocked with rubble and death, wild to find his kids and wife somewhere in Port Au Prince that is home.

And that’s when I couldn’t stop it – when it came out of me, a whisper, but still too loud.

Like an angry fool, I had asked him, laid my hand on his arm and quietly begged him, “Johnny, I know you were born here – but someday — couldn’t you take your family and move to a land like the States?

Just step over the rubble and beggars and latrines and garbage and gangs and just get your family out of this place where you were born and come find the land of the free? It’s ugly, but it’s what I thought for our friend:  
You only get one life here and who really wants to spend it in the slums?

And he looked me in the eyes and he waited, searching mine.  Searching for a way to get the truth right into me, me born into the lap of ease of the West and homesick for the farm and wanting everyone to have the relative ease of the middle class.

“But I am Moses.” Johnny speaks it deep, his eyes never leaving mine, his fatherly hand gently squeezing mine, soothing out my roaring wail.

I am Moses. I do not leave my kindred.

And the whole planet and all my heart reverberates.  I am Moses. I do not leave my kindred. 

You don’t leave your kin to save your own skin.
You don’t stay in the palace if you want anybody to find deliveranceespecially yourself.
You don’t forget who your brother is — when you know Who your Father is.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------



As I read these words, my heart was struck... I first was reminded of my husband, who (in a way) is a Moses...  God has given Him a huge heart for his kindred, specifically the poor and the children of his own land, Brazil. 




I was also reminded of a word the Lord gave to me when I moved to Brazil back in 2007.   My best friend Jessica actually sent this scripture to me in an encouraging letter during my first days in Brazil.

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."  
~Ruth 1:16~

When I married my Brazilian husband, this scripture also rang true.  I was commiting myself not only to another person, but also to another people.  Now, after years of living in Brazil, marrying into a Brazilian family, and giving birth to my two precious daughters in Brazil, I feel the truth of this scripture so strongly.  The people in Brazil are "my people. They have become "my kindred" too.
 
When I read Ann's question:
 You only get one life here and who really wants to spend it in the slums?

 I instantly thought, "WE DO!!!"







  
Yes, like this dear Haitian translator, we too want to stay in the slums.
It may seem crazy, but that's okay.
We want to be among the poor sharing the love and hope of Christ to the needy ones.





We long to see kids and teens meeting Christ at a young age, walking in light and in love, rather than down a dark path of gang involvement, violence, prostitution, drug addiction, depression - ultimately death.






Reading Ann's post was a confirmation of our calling.
I am reminded and encouraged yet again of His path for us as a family in missions.  

We are called to reach out in faith, to remain in the land, and not to forget our brothers and sisters in great need living in the thousands of slums in Brazil.




I was wrecked today, yes, but in a good way;
broken and available,
 undone in the center of the Lord's hands,
ready to do His will as He leads us each step of the way,
and longing, more than ever before, to be His hands and feet
 to "our kindred" in the slums of Brazil... 






Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sunsets, Whales, and Family




One of the most magnificent blessings of being in Hawaii is the daily wonder we see at sunset. We are living on the west coast of the Big Island and every night the waves glisten in the sunlight and the sky is full of color as the sun drops down over the ocean. 

These moments, watching the sunset, are moments of pure worship.

  As I see the sunset, I am constantly reminded of how BIG God is and how small I am.... I stand in awe of an all powerful Creator, who is beautiful, makes all things beautiful, and is the author of beauty itself.

I feel like this.  A child, so small, next to the vast ocean, facing such greatness and wonder...
Yet this God loves me, sees me his daughter, and delights to know me and be in a relationship with me. I am overwhelmed by LOVE HimselfHe is a good Father.



I love going down by the ocean to watch the sunset with Felipe and our girls.  We have done this a few times, and every time I find myself saying over and over, "Wow!  It is SO beautiful!" 
 Something else I find myself doing is searching and searching for whales... Yes, whales!   I had never seen a whale in my life until being here in Hawaii.


It is whale season here and I have seen whales now (from a distance) on several occasions, spouting water or gliding up to the water's surface.  Once, we even saw the flip of a whale's tail glimmering in the sunlight. It was amazing!  And since that first whale spotting, I have become obsessed... I am constantly whale watching now while I am down by the ocean, anticipating with excitement to see more of this majestic creature.

Just as I am eager to see the whales, I want to have this attitude in my every day walk with the Lord.    I desire to be joyfully eager and constantly searching for God in the details of my day (which at the moment consists of spending most of my time and LOTS of energy raising our two little ones).


  I want to be a determined and persistent seeker of God, expectant to discover something new, just like I am persistant to whale watch and then get super excited when I do in fact see a whale in the water.
  
 So this has been the prayer in my heart lately,
 "Lord, I want to search for You, like I search for the whales."



Ask and it will be given to you;
 seek and you will find;
 knock and the door will be open to you.
~ Matthew 7:7 ~



And God speaks and shows me that I do already see Him, every day, and in so many different ways. 
 
I see Jesus in my husband...
 In his grace-filled love, tender care, faithful friendship and servant nature.




Felipe also challenges me in my walk with the Lord, in ways that no one else does...
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another...
~Proverbs 27:17~



I also see the Lord in our little growing family... 


As I gaze upon Jessie's sweet face as she sleeps peacefully or hear Sophia squeal with laughter, I see and experience the beauty and deep joy of Jesus. Over and over again... 
Every. Single. Day. 
Wow! What a blessing and a privilege!



 I encounter Jesus through my family, and oh how the Lord uses each one to minister deeply to my heart.   Yes, I have gotten to know many new sides of the Lord through these dear and precious gifts in my life. My cup runneth over with thankfulness.

Yet, my heart longs for more.  I am hungry... To know God more and to make Him known.  Simply put, that is what this life is all about - isn't it?.  To worship God, to know Him and then to share His goodness and love.



God reminds me once again... I need to open my eyes to see Him and open my ears to hear His voice.  He is speaking and revealing constantly...

 Yet honestly, I am often easily distracted, rushing around, with my focus in the wrong place, and too busy to stop to invite the Lord into each moment of my day.  Yet, in grace and love, God pursues me passionately through sunsets, whales, and my precious family.



My heart is humbled by such a merciful God, who longs to be in relationship and constant communion with me.  
Little me, with struggles and weaknesses and all...

And He promises in the Word,
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek for Me with all of your heart. 
~ Jeremiah 29:13~

God wants to be known, and my heart responds.  Yes, I will keep seeking and searching for Him, with all my heart.
Just like I search for the whales...