Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Exhibition

The School of Photography that Felipe has been participating in is coming to an end.
To commemorate the end of this season, the students displayed their best pieces of photography (taken during the past three months) at an art and photography exhibition here at the YWAM Kona campus.

Felipe and his fellow classmates spent most of Friday prepping and setting up for the exhibition.

Ginta from Latvia.
Gjermund from Norway.

These are a few photos Felipe printed and set up to display at the exhibition.

Meanwhile, I was in our room tending to a pitiful and sick Sophia.  Mid-day Sophia suddenly came down with a high fever.  During Felipe's lunch break we took her to the YWAM Health Clinic where she saw a doctor, we then gave her medicine, she napped and thankfully she began feeling a little better by late afternoon.

The photography and art exhibition ran from 6:00 until 9:00 in the evening. Here are some shots from the event. 

The YWAM School of Illustration displayed their amazing art!

Lots of people came to check out the exhibition.

Each student stood by their photography.

Anna from Texas.
Masha from Russia.

Felipe with his photography display.  He spoke with many people during the night, especially the Brazilians who are here at YWAM Kona. 

Felipe also created this slideshow of photos to show at the exhibition.  It is quite impressive! Check it out!

Here is also a little personal project Felipe did for fun. Take a look at this time-lapse photography of a volcano, revealing one of the many wonders of Hawaii!

At the end of the Exhibition this excellent group shot of the students and staff of the 2013 School of Photography was taken by school leader, Dennis Fahringer.

To congratulate Felipe on the completion of this photography course, the girls and I got him a little balloon and doughnuts, one of Felipe's favorite American treats.

I am proud of Felipe and his accomplishments! 
He has been challenged and has grown as a photographer through participating in the YWAM School of Photography.  We totally recommend this school, so if you want to grow in the Lord and in your own photography skills, click here to check out this awesome YWAM school.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

In less than 2 weeks we will be leaving on a jet plane...
We are counting down the days with Sophia.  She is super excited to go to Grammy and Grandpa's house and talks about it every single day!  

It has been a wonderful season here at YWAM Kona, but now it is coming to an end.  Next up: Rock Hill, SC and then in April we are going to the Raleigh, NC area for several weeks.  We are looking forward to the next leg of the journey in which we will be visiting family and friends and sharing about our missions work in Brazil.  Jessie finally gets to meet lots of special people for the first time too!

As our time in Hawaii is coming to a close, both Felipe and I are reflecting.  We truly see how God has worked in our lives individually during this short season.

The school of photography has been a special time where Felipe feels he has been refined and defined as a photographer.

It has been extremely beneficial for Felipe to have this season of focusing completely on his God given gift of photography.  It is important to invest in and develop the gifts and talents God has intrusted to us. We do carry a responsibility to be good stewards of the things God has blessed us with (Matthew 25).  Felipe feels the conviction even more to use his gift to raise awareness about children at risk and injustice in the world, giving a voice to the voiceless through his photography.

This season for me has been quite unique. I have been 100% focused on supporting Felipe and being a mommy, with little distraction of anything else.  God has been reminding me and teaching me the immense importance of these roles, as wife and mother. 

God has also been doing more personal and deep things in my heart, bringing healing and speaking truth about my value, worth and identity in Him.  It is like God is peeling back another layer of  my heart (like an onion).  Sometimes this is hard and painful, but also so beautiful and healing.  Knowing who I am as a daughter of God directly impacts my life on every level.  Who I am, the person I am, how I am living my life daily is so much more important that anything I do or accomplish in this life.  After all, I am a human "being" not a human "doing"  :-).
As a family, this time has been super special for us.  We have made many beautiful family memories here in HawaiiEvery other weekend Felipe has had 2 days off, so on these free weekends we have taken picnics to different beaches or gone hiking somewhere on the island.  

One Saturday morning we were even blessed with a boat trip where we saw dolphins and whalesThis opportunity was a God orchestrated story in itself.  A young guy working with a boat company blessed us with a HUGE discount, just because we are missionaries with YWAM.

Through this boat trip, God was fulfilling deep desires in my heart.  I have been obsessed with whales since arriving here -you can read a little about that here.  So of course, I was ecstatic to have up-close glimpses of whales during this outing. Seeing whales is a personal way God has been revealing His beauty and greatness to my heart.

During the past three months God has been reminding us of our calling to work with children at risk and He has been stirring dreams in our hearts, confirming things to come.  It is always exciting when God speaks of the future. We are in Hawaii, but dreaming of how God can use our lives to share His love to those living in the slums of Brazil.  
I saw this quote the other day and I want to live this... 

God has also been increasing our faith by being here in Hawaii.  When we began thinking, praying and dreaming about Felipe participating in the YWAM School of Photography, we saw it as such a HUGE thing!  It seemed financially impossible in our eyes, but our God is a God of the impossible.  He miraculously provided the way for us to come here, and we were amazed.  This whole experience has increased our faith to believe God for the impossible!
Nothing is too difficult for Him.  We will remember His faithfulness... 
  Again we want to say thank you for all who have prayed for us and given financially to us.  We greatly value your prayers and support!  Really, we are so humbled...   If you live in the Charlotte or Raleigh area and want to connect with us while we are in the Carolinas, please get in touch with us.  We would love getting together to talk and visit while sharing a meal or enjoying a cup of coffee.
We are leaving Hawaii soon, but we still have 9 more busy days here.  Felipe has a few classes, we will be saying our goodbyes, packing, cleaning and also this coming Friday, Felipe and his classmates will display their photography in an exhibition.  I hope to share about this here on our blog and also post a day in photos before we fly out next Thursday, so stay tuned...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Swimming Pool Closed!

Even though we are in the USA, we are still aware of needs back home in Brazil.

The pool at the Lighthouse Community Center has been out of service for some time now.  During much of 2012 the pool was having complications and then we had to close it.  The Lighthouse Community Center team is now in the process of raising funds to repair the pool.

Please pray for this situation so that the pool can be opened again SOON to bless the people living in the slum of Cafezal.  If you feel led, you can even partner together with us financially to make this happen, just contact us!

Read on to learn more! 

On the Lighthouse grounds we have a swimming pool.
About 10 years ago, a group from Holland raised all the money to construct the pool and the whole structure around it. We use the pool to work with children and we also offer water aerobics classes for the ladies of the slum. 
 The swimming lessons we give are very important because we have the opportunity to teach about safety and overcoming fears, it encourages physical activity in a safe environment, and offers a leisure activity for the people living in the community.  The pool is of great importance because the slum does not have many places that offer swimming or swimming classes.  Also we are able to allow the public schools and other NGOs operating in our community to use the pool.

The vinyl pool has a durability of about 9 years. We have already passed this time span and we are finding more and more holes in the vinyl every day. Repairs are expensive because we need to drain the pool to be able to paste the stickers which close up and block the leaks. Several technicians have told us that it is not worth it to fix the holes anymore, so now we need to replace the whole vinyl.   In addition to replacing the vinyl, the water that was leaking for some time pushed against the structure of the pool and the wall beside it.  Now, we also need to repair this damage.

As you can see, we have emptied the pool to prevent any further damage and then set up this pool repair project.

Pool Repair Budget 
This is a total of about $20,800 US Dollars.

The Challenge
We know the value listed above in our budget is a big challenge. We are seeking individuals, churches, and businesses wishing to contribute. Maybe you can make that commitment or maybe you can help with just a part of the challenge. If you are unable to contribute but know others who might be willing, please send this pool repair project on to them.

We believe the pool adds greatly to our work and we know that even though the value is high, with God all things are possible!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Adventure of a Lifetime!

An Invitation to Life in a Slum

Who wants to come and live in a slum? Maybe for just a little while? Or maybe for the rest of your life, if you had the choice?!  It doesn’t seem like the most attractive way of life for most of us, but wouldn’t it be the “place to be” if you wanted to make a difference in the world? If you have said “yes” to any of these questions, then maybe this is for you.

Come and do a DTS (Discipleship Training School) here in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This school will have a strong focus on slums, poor communities, human trafficking and children at risk. You will be living in a slum for 6 months. During the lecture phase you will be in one of the most dangerous slums in Belo Horizonte.  During your outreach you will be able to go to the slums of Rio de Janeiro or Recife in Brazil.  Or who knows, maybe you will even go to the poorest neighborhoods in Guinea Bissau, Africa.  
Doesn’t that sound like an adventure? 

Sadly though, poverty and injustice are all too real for many people today. When we read the Bible, we meet the God who grieves for the poor, the marginalized and the voiceless.  God grieves for the 13 year old girl named Suzana forced into prostitution by her own family for as little as $5 a client.  And also for the 22 year old named Luiza promised a career and a new start in a western nation only to find herself to become1 of the 27 million slaves today.  What about the small boy Edson already involved in violent gang life since he does not see a better future for himself in the poverty stricken slum he lives in.......It does not have to be like this!

Over 2,000 verses in the Bible speak of God’s heart for the poor. This is Good News! But what a challenge lies before us to speak up and make a do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly.

The aim of the DTS is to promote personal spiritual growth, prepare you for Christian ministry and lay a foundation of Biblical principles in your life.  A DTS is a time in your life set apart to focus on your relationship with Jesus and gain understanding of who God has created you to be. In drawing near to God you learn expressions of His heart both personally and through acts of service and compassion towards others. Your ability to work with, relate to others, and gain cultural perspectives is sharpened through this experience.

Right now we have a DTS doing their outreach in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. It is a mixed group of young people from 4 different countries, all eager to make a difference and to find out what God’s plan is for their lives.  They can’t wait to live the adventure God has for them for the rest of their lives. Is living in radical obedience to God’s calling and using your specific talents for the expansion of God’s Kingdom something you want to be a part of too?

Our next DTS with a focus on poor communities starts this year on the 14th of July. So if you feel called, challenged or moved, now is the time to start working on your visa, and hopefully we’ll see you soon!

For more information click HERE or go to:

Written by: Johanneke de Jong
YWAM Belo Horizonte Newsletter, December 2012


We wanted to share this information about this special DTS coming up in July.  Felipe will be directly working with this DTS!

If you would like to come to Brazil and be a part of this PLEASE get in touch with the YWAM Belo Horizonte's admissions department SOON for more info.   
The email is:
You will need to get a visa to come to Brazil, but there is still time if you would like to come. 

Come and experience an adventure of a lifetime!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Best of February

During the past month, Felipe has learned about photo stories, photo journalism, humanitarian photography and studio photography - to name just a few of the various topics covered in his School of Photography

Enjoy this post of some of Felipe's best photos taken during the month of February.
 If you would like to see the "Best of January" click here.


Kevin Max from DC Talk sang at a service here at YWAM Kona.

Photography Field Trip
These photos were taken during a 2 day photography field trip Felipe went on with his classmates.  They traveled around to some of the most popular places on the island.  These are Felipe's favorite shots!

Taken in the STUDIO...

 Taken at Sunset...