Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ministry Trip Highlights!

We are coming to the end of our ministry trip to São Pauloand we wanted to share a few highlights from our time!  

The purpose of this trip was to make connections and explore possibilities for our future ministry to children at risk. (To read about our dream to start a project in São Paulo click here) Through our times of prayer and talking while being here, both Felipe and I joyfully sense God directing our steps and plans.  We are constantly seeking God for His leadership and direction.  We want Him to establish our steps and make our path straight.

These two scriptures have come to our hearts repeatedly as we have prayed...

The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.
~ Prov. 16:9 ~

In all of your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
~ Prov. 3:6 ~

 Visiting the Slums
One of our main objectives during this trip was to visit slums where we could potentially work.  We had the opportunity to visit a few different regions in the general area we are praying about establishing our project.

Our make-shift sling for Jessie to help give support while walking in the slum. 

One special day we even got to visit a little church right in the center of the slum that reaches out to the needy kids living there.  The church was full of children hungry for love and  attention and eager to learn about God.  Sadly, the church has little resources and few people volunteering to work with these precious kids.

Casa Semear
Last year Felipe and I led a Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach to São Paulo and our team served for 3 weeks at a ministry called the Sower House or in Portuguese, Casa Semear. Check out their blog here.

This ministry is proving to be a key partner and help to us as we are seeking to set up a ministry in São Paulo.  We are extremely thankful!

First, we were able to stay in the Casa Semear hospitality apartment during our time here, which has been a huge blessing to our family.   Also the Casa Semear missionaries took time out of their busy schedules to meet with us, show us slum areas in need of ministries and programs for children, and share their experiences working here in São Paulo. 

We really enjoyed seeing our missionary friends again and spending time with the kids who participate in the Casa Semear programs.

Other than Casa Semear, we have yet to see another ministry project completely focused on reaching out to the literally hundreds of kids and teens at risk living in this general area. 

Connecting with Nearby YWAM Bases
Felipe visited a Youth With A Mission base called YWAM 300, which is located in the North Zone of the city of São Paulo.  This missions base offers missions training to Koreans and  Korean Brazilians.  Felipe enjoyed meeting with the missionaries of YWAM 300, while I stayed home with our girls since Jessie was not feeling well.

Last Sunday we traveled as a family to YWAM Sampa, which is located in a suburb of São Paulo. This past November we served here with an outreach team.  Felipe gave classes to the Discipleship Training School on the topic of Children at Risk.

I enjoyed leading worship during an intercession time.

Our time at YWAM Sampa was quick, but very good!  We are excited about the many possibilities of working together with the nearby YWAM bases in the future!

Group shot at YWAM Sampa!

School visit!
We were able to visit a school where we would like to place Sophia and Jessie when we make the move to São Paulo.  We serve as missionaries in a country where the public education system offers very poor quality education.  We feel blessed to have found an excellent American and Christian school, which offers amazing opportunities and resources for our children academically- in both English and Portuguese.  This type of education will prepare them to study on the university level in both the USA or Brazil.  The school is much more expensive than we expected, but we want to try to do everything possible to try place our girls there. They are worth it!

We have laughed a lot about some of the challenges we have encountered on this trip, but we try to see challenges as a part of the adventure!  

So, first our car decided to break down...
Less than 24 hours after arriving in Sao Paulo, we noticed a strange noise coming from our back right wheel.  We stopped the car and saw that the tire was inverted a bit. God was totally looking out for us because there just happened to be a guy, by the side of the road, who is a mechanic and he took one look at our car and knew exactly what it was.  He removed the broken part and then put in a temporary replacemet screw -which he happened to have on hand!  

Our broken car part.
Felipe was then able to continue driving (thanks to this nice man's help) and then spent the afteroon searching for the new car part we needed.  In the end, it took a week and half to get our car fixed, but the Lord gave us much grace when we needed to walk or use public transportation, and even provided transportation for us a number of times.

We are extremely thankful for God's protection, and that we did not get into an accident or break down during our 9 hour road trip from Belo Horizonte to Sao Paulo.  

Another challenge during our trip was Jessie's health.  During our first week of traveling Jessie was bothered by her allergies and her two top molars cutting through. These two things made her absolutely miserable!  She cried lots and just wanted mommy to hold her constantly.  Jessie does not deal well with teething! Thankfully Jessie is beginning to feel a little better, not 100 % yet, but better.

Camping Fun!
Tomorrow we leave São Paulo and before heading home we are going to camp at the beach, which is a short 2 to 3 hours away.  Belo Horizonte is not located close to the ocean, but we are excited that our future home is.

This will be our first official family getaway in a really long time, and Sophia is especially excited about camping out.  After the weekend we will return home to Belo Horizonte, and return to a full and busy schedule.  I especially have lots of things in the works, as I am about to enter into an intense season of serving in a Discipleship Training School.

We are now going to unplug for a few days to fully enjoy God's beautiful creation and family time!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend coming up too!

Just for fun - a cute shot of Sophia! :-)

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