Saturday, June 29, 2013

Jessie got bicho-de-pé!

Yesterday I had a new cultural experience here in Brazil.  After living here for 6 years, I had my first run in with something called " bicho-de-pé" or translated into English "foot bug."

Earlier this week, I noticed Jessie had an "owie" on the tip of her middle finger.  She is a curious little baby and loves to crawl and explore, so I thought she acquired it from romping around on the ground.  So, after examining the boo boo, which looked to me like a blister with a little bit of dirt in it, I thought, "Oh this should get better in the next few days...  I will just keep my eye on it."  Well, after a few days, the little hurt spot did not seem to be getting better, it actually seemed to be getting worse.

Long story short, yesterday we realized Jessie had something called bicho-de-pé.  Basically, a bug decided to take residence in Jessie's fingertip.  I was shocked and grossed out! A bug hosting on and living in my sweet baby's finger.  We rushed her to the nearby public health post, where we were told that it is quite common for crawling babies to get these in their fingertips.
We were then referred to an urgent care facility.  After about an hour wait, a doctor removed the bug.  Jessie cried a lot, but did great overall.  Jessie is now bug free!  The doctor even showed Felipe the bug's eggs that were imbedded inside the tip of Jessie's finger. YUCK!  
So what is a bicho-de-pé?
I had to do research about it myself, because even when people tried to explain it to me I did not fully understand. 

First of all, it is a insect found in tropical locations.  This bug does not exist in the USA, so that is why I had never seen it before.  It is a type of flea that imbeds itself in the skin of animals, and sometimes humans (usually on the sole of a foot), as it waits to hatch it's eggs. The bug feeds off it's host while it's belly, full of eggs, grows and develops.  After 2 weeks the eggs hatch and crawl out of a small hole, falling to the ground, while the mommy bug dies, still imbedded in the host animal/person's skin.  If you want to read more about this bug yourself you can click here.

Jessie is doing great and has to wear a bandage on her finger until it heals completely, and thankfully she will not get sick or anything because of having the bug in her finger.  No long term effects... Whew!

Jessie is constantly sucking on her finger now, working hard to take off her band-aide!

Now, I feel reluctant to let Jessie crawl on the ground in our little outside porch area (even though she loves to crawl there).  We think this is where she was exposed to the bug.  Everyone is assuring me this is very very common here in Brazil, especially in even warmer regions of the country.

I must say, it seems I am constantly experiencing new things here in Brazil, even after living here for several years already.  What an adventure life is here and I love it, but I am praying we have no more bicho-de-pé  experiences.  :-)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Never Before in History

Never before, in the history of Brazil, has there been a time like this.
Brazilian citizens are raising their voices for the government to make major changes.
To read more, check out these news articles - here and here This video is also very informative about the current problems in Brazil.

 Many protests are happening in major cities all over Brazil.  Since the city where we live, Belo Horizonte, is the 3rd largest city in the country, much has been going on here!  Over the last week and a half, many protests have been happening in our city, and especially on the Confederation Cup (soccer) game days. 

The missionaries from YWAM Belo Horizonte have been going to the streets to pray for the nation of Brazil, share the good news of the gospel, and hand out information cards to raise awareness about human trafficking.  These are the cards they are distributing.

Felipe has been participating in these street outreach times.  Here are a few photos, documenting the large demonstration that happened this past Saturday, in the city of Belo Horizonte.

I found this quite interesting.  Some people were bungee jumping off a bridge, and then would hang upside down for a few minutes holding their protest signs.  Talk about being radical!


Please pray...
Please pray for YWAM Belo Horizonte, as various teams go to the streets to share.
Also, please pray for the nation of Brazil.
Pray against corruption in the government.
  Pray for peace, justice, stability, and God's will to be done in this country.
May His kingdom come and His will be done here.

Right now it is a pivotal moment in history.
May the nation of Brazil turn to the Lord more and more, and may God bring the change that this nation desperately needs, through changing the hearts of those in powerful positions.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

"I will offer to You the 
sacrifice of thanksgiving,
 and will call upon the name of the LORD."
~ Psalm 116: 17 ~

Lately things have been busy here for us...  Felipe is gone from home lots lately, as he is out working at other locations, attending meetings and working on new projects.  I am hunkered down at home with my precious beauties, and lately my days seem super long.   I am trying to juggle the daily tasks of keeping my house, work responsibilities, and sometimes (actually many times) I am getting lost in the mundane.  

At the moment, my Jessie is down for a nap and Sophia is focused and quietly playing. Yes!  A few quiet moments...  So, I have retreated to my room to soak in the Lord's presence.  I literally crashed on my bed (I have been fighting off sickness this whole week) and decided to spend a little while listening to the song "ALL I NEED is YOU LORD" over and over. How completely refreshing...

Then I opened the Bible and turned straight to Psalm 116.  What a blessing the Word of God is! Alive and speaking straight to our hearts.  Today I am reminded once again to focus on thanking and praising the Lord.

"I will offer to YOU the sacrifice of THANKSGIVING..."

A side note in my Bible reads, 
"Sometimes it will be a sacrifice to thank God.  Why?  Because our attitudes are not always right, and things are not always going the way we think they should.  
When we begin to offer God the sacrifice of thanksgiving (to thank Him even when we don't feel like it), we discover that our thanksgiving gives us a fresh, new outlook on things." 

This is totally where I am at.

I am not sure what your week has been like, but for me, this week has been full of lots of bumps in the road.  Things have just not been going my way, and honestly, my attitude could be better.  
I am weary, yet God is SO worthy! 
I want to offer it ALL to the Lord, the good and the bad, and focus in on HIS goodness, gaining His perspective, and knowing His heart.  I took the JOY DARE last year and kept an on-going journal of things I was thankful for.  When traveling I got out of this habit, so it has been a while since I have done this...

Today I am returning to this important principle.
I want to offer the Lord a sacrifice of thanksgiving. 

So, these are the things I am thankful for today:
1.   God's mercy.  New - every, single morning.  We don't deserve it, but He gives... So generous! 
2.  A husband who loves deeply, encourages me, accepts me as I am, and continually reflects God's character.
3.  Sophia's personality and her caring and compassionate nature.  I am proud to see these qualities developing in her.

4.  Healthy girls
5. A roof over our heads. 
6.  Food in our tummies.
 7. The way Sophia is talking so much now and is constantly making me smile with the funny things she says.
8.  The much needed help of a friend this week.
9.  Both my girls sleeping by 7:30 pm, so mommy and daddy can have time alone together.
10.  God's constant provision through our mission partners - THANK YOU!
11. Ivanete, the Lighthouse cook, who is a dear friend and blesses my life daily by cooking lunch for us here at the Lighthouse.
12.  Felipe´s family who live in the same city as us.
13. Living in community with fellow missionaries, and their encouragement as we serve and pursue the Lord together.
14.  Sophia dressing up in her princess costume and proclaiming, "I am a princess!"  She reminds me of my place in the Kingdom.  I am a princess too, the daughter of the most High King.

15.  Rest on the weekends.
16.  Hot showers.
17.  The red car we will hopefully be getting soon!
18.  The LONG process of receiving my permanent visa (to live in Brazil) is almost finalized. Praise Jesus!
19.  The amazing things God is doing in the lives of precious kids who live here in the slum.  You can read one story HERE . It was written by a missionary who serves here.

20. My baby Jessie, who is super joyful, sweet, and has such kissable cheeks.

21.  The view from the Lighthouse Community Center. The sunsets are amazing here.
22.  The beauty of nature. What refreshing and wonder it brings...

23. The Lord's presence. So sweet, tangible, so renewing.
24.  The way the Lord knows my heart, sees me (weaknesses and all), and chooses to love me, forgive me and offer grace.
25.  The Word of God, what a gift!
26. The ladies Bible study I will be starting soon. I am expecting good things!
27.  The honor to know personally and serve a GREAT God!  How I want to serve Him with integrity and joy!
28. This computer I am typing on and the gift of internet. I am thankful.
29.  My daughters' clothes.  Almost ALL of the clothes were given as gifts or hand me downs.  God provides...
30. The English tea I received as a gift and I am still enjoying.
31.  Being able to borrow Felipe's brother's car for a few days.
32. Reading a book together with Felipe at night when the girls are in bed.
33.  My times of reading together with my girls.

34.  Bedtime prayer times with Sophia.
35. These three people, who have forever changed my life, captured my heart, and are greatly used of the Lord to teach me and minister to me in ways that no one else can. 

36.  Jessie's love for music, especially hip-hop.
37.  Skype
38.  Peanut butter we brought from the USA.
39.  Grace given in love, when Felipe and I made a mistake today.
40.  Fresh bread in the mornings, from the bakery in the slum.
41.  Friends treating Sophia to a ice cream outing this afternoon.  Sophia LOVES ice cream!
42.  Playdough - it offering hours of entertainment.
43.  The ability to see and hear - life is rich with these senses!
44.  The challenge that happened this week that led to a blessing in the end.
45.   Our kitty, Amora.  What joy she brings to our girls!

46.  The herb garden being planted on the Lighthouse grounds.
47.   The fruit donation we receive weekly here at the Lighthouse.
48.  Sara Joy, Sophia's friend, who lives here at the Lighthouse.  They are SO cute playing together.
49.  My washing machine
50. Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, He paid for my sins and made a way for me to have relationship with a loving Father. 

There is SO MUCH to be thankful for!  Just writing this list has lightened and strengthened my heart, as I remember the faithfulness, love, mercy, goodness and never changing character of my amazing GOD!
This is my sacrifice of thanksgiving today!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Help the Matias Family Buy a Car?

An unexpected opportunity has fallen into our laps...  
This opportunity came out of the blue and has presented itself to us.  One of our friends, who is a missionary here in Belo Horizonte, is selling her car at a good price! 

Another missionary friend of ours told us about this car being for sale and strongly recommended it to us.  He actually wanted to purchase the car himself, but did not have the money.  He thought of our family and told us about it, hoping we could take advantage of this great opportunity.

We actually have been praying about purchasing a car for quite a while, but we were waiting on God, with content hearts, for the perfect timing.  We were surprised when this opportunity presented itself so soon.

All this being said, we have the opportunity to buy a family car for around $4,700, from someone very honest and dependable. This is a huge plus in our eyes, as we feel much more peace about buying a car from someone we know and trust 100%, rather than from a complete stranger.

Having a car would be a huge blessing to us! 
As a family of four, it is becoming more and more challenging to get around town to do simple things.  Walking, taking a city bus or catching a taxi is quite challenging with two little ones, especially if I (Laura) am by myself.  
To get to church on Sunday mornings by bus is an adventure in itself!   It takes us at least an hour and half, which includes walking about a mile carrying the girls, waiting at a bus stop, and then traveling by bus -and that is just getting to the church! After church we have to make the trip back home too.  By car it would take us a quick 20 minutes to get to church!

Sometimes we are able to borrow the ministry VW van, but currently there are more drivers at the ministry house where we live (the Lighthouse Community Center), so it is becoming more and more challenging to borrow the van.  Ministry also takes priority, so we do not like to borrow the van if we know it is needed for important ministry purposes.

Having a car would be super helpful to us personally and also a blessing to our ministry.  We could use the car to more easily participate in meetings and work related activities, and also assist in transporting other missionaries as well.

Would you prayerfully consider helping us buy a family car?

We had hoped to save a little more money ourselves before attempting to buy a car, but this opportunity really seems to be from the Lord.  Any donation, no matter the size, will help us reach our goal of purchasing this car.  For info on how to donate just click HERE.

Thank you for your prayers and consideration!  We will keep you up to date on what happens. Pray for us!