Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 28th, 2014 - Our Day in Photos

It has been quite a while since I have posted a "Day in Photos" on our blog.  I wanted to do this once again to share a little peek of what is currently going on in our daily life.  Enjoy!

6:45 - Sophia heading out early to preschool, all dressed up in her school uniform.  This is her princess pose!

7:00 - My messy Jessie, with her crazy bed-head curls, eating waffles (we recently found them here in Brazil)!

7:30 - Spending time in the Word and in prayer.  So thankful for my husband who keeps Jessie for a little while in the mornings so I can have precious time with the Lord.

8:30 - Felipe went to the intercession time here at the Refuge House.  Everyone spent time praying for the Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach phase and the evangelism events that will take place during the upcoming World Cup games here in Brazil.

9:30 - Jessie and I visited our friend Kelly, one of the DTS students, during the small break between intercession and the DTS morning class.  Jessie loves playing in Kelly's bed because of the pretty blue mosquito net!

10:15 - While Jessie has her morning nap, Mommy and Daddy can work.  We are trying to spend several mornings a week praying and preparing things for our Sao Paulo project (read a little about it here).

We are currently planning a trip to travel to various YWAM bases in Brazil to share about our ministry plans.  We want to also invite people to pray for the São Paulo project and to even consider joining our team. Do YOU want to be a part of our team? :-)

11:00 - I was also able to work a bit on grading two DTS journals.  I am responsible for meeting weekly with two very special girls who are currently participating in a DTS here at the Refuge House. Each week I grade their journals, where they record written assignments and reflections about their experience in the DTS.  The girls are very creative and do an awesome job!

11:30 -  Sacked out! A snapshot just before I had to wake Jessie up.

11:45 - Jessie played a bit on the I-pad while waiting for Sophia to come from school.

12:15 - Lunch time! We eat rice and beans every day for lunch.

1:00 - Playtime outside after lunch.

1:15 - Hugs and many tears... Jessie was sad to see Daddy leaving for an afternoon meeting.

2:00 - Felipe is a member of YWAM Belo Horizonte's base council, which is a group of leaders and elders who meet together to make important decision about the base.   He was in the council meeting all afternoon. 

2:30 - I spent some time printing materials for a Bible study which I am hosting in my home for the missionary ladies here at YWAM Belo Horizonte.  Our cat Buzz was confused and mesmerized by the printer.

3:00 -  Sophia had a friend (the daughter of YWAM missionaries) over to play for a little while during the afternoon, and of course they had to play with our special Ressurection Eggs. (If you have never heard of them, click here to read more.)

These eggs were a huge hit with Sophia this Easter season, and she constantly wants to play with them and tell the story of Jesus' death and ressurection.

4:00 - I got the laundry washed and hung later than I wanted to, but I got it done. Most people do not have electric clothes dryers in Brazil, so I dry all our laundry like this.

4:30 -  Jessie "helped" me sweep the park area in front of our house. 

5:30 -  Felipe got home from his meeting.  We took some time to talk and take a selfie! 

6:00 -  Felipe helped me do a quick clean up before the ladies from my Bible study arrived.  He's the best!

7:00 - I made pão de queijo (cheese bread), one of my favorite Brazilian snacks, to share at my Bible study. 

8:30 - The ladies Bible study in session in my living room!  We are doing the Beth Moore study called Living Beyond Yourself, and it has been so encouraging.  I am so thankful for the group of ladies God has brought into my life during this season of my life.  Our times of meeting together have been so special.

Yesterday was a little more busy than usual, but a good start to our week.

We hope you enjoyed seeing our day!  God bless!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Celebrating the Nations!

 This past Saturday night the Refuge House (the ministry where we live) together with the Discipleship Training School (which I am helping to staff) hosted an international worship service.   Various churches, pastors and missionaries came together to worship the Lord and celebrate the nations!

As the guests arrived at the Refuge ministry they received a chocolate treat with a flag of a specific nation. 

We as YWAM missionaries hosting the service, dressed up in traditional clothing from various nations to celebrate the diversity of the nations!

The worship service began with YWAM missionaries declaring Psalm 96 in many different languages.

During the service we had a wonderful time worshiping the Lord with singing, instruments, dance and declaring with our voices that Jesus is the King of the nations!


We sang in various languages - Portuguese, English, Dutch, German, and Italian to be exact.

During the service, everyone was encouraged to pray for the nation they received upon arrival. 

We also had a special moment of taking communion together, as many different nations yet united as one body in Jesus Christ.

Simone, a YWAM missionary, shared a special word (I translated for her) about how Brazil will be receiving many nations for the World Cup games.  For us living in Brazil, this is our chance to share God's love with the world!  What an opportunity!

As the service came to an end, everyone received a Brazilian flag as a reminder to pray for Brazil and the nations coming soon for the World Cup Games.

After the service everyone was invited to fellowship and have a snack.

A shot of the beloved DTS students.  They are such a great group!

The team of YWAM missionaries serving at the Refuge House.

At the end of the night, once all the guests went home, we had a closing time of prayer praising and thanking God for such an incredible worship time.

It truly was a unique night of celebrating the nations and exalting the King of the nations!

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

Saturday, April 5, 2014

7 Years in Brazil!

Today I am celebrating 7 years in Brazil!

I can still remember my arrival here like it was yesterday... It was Thursday, April 5th, 2007.
I was filled with much expectancy, joy and excitement for the path the Lord was opening up before me to serve as a missionary in Brazil.

After my plane landed in Belo Horizonte and I was finally making my way out of customs, I searched and searched for the YWAM staff who was supposed to be picking me up from the airport.  I felt nervous and even a little scared as I could not find anyone waiting for me.

Soon a nice Brazilian man (who was on the same plane as mine) noticed the lost and worried look on my face and attempted to help me call YWAM Belo Horizonte.  As he began to dial the contact numbers I had scribbled on a little piece of paper, an English speaking Brazilian YWAM missionary named Alberto showed up.  "Are you Laura?" he asked.  I felt such relief!

Alberto grabbed my bags and we caught the next full bus to downtown Belo Horizonte. I remember feeling bad that Alberto had to ride standing up in the bus because it was so full of people. I later learned that this is quite normal.  He insisted that I stay seated because I had been traveling for so long.

It was evening by the time we arrived at the Rescue House, (the ministry where I served for the first 5 months I was here). Upon arrival I noticed how empty and quiet the house was.  All the missionaries who lived and worked at the ministry were at the weekly YWAM base service.

Alberto heated up some dinner for us on a huge gas stove.  We ate the traditional Brazilian beans and rice leftover from lunch.  Again I felt a little bad that this guy was doing so much for me.  I was impressed that he was even warming up food for me, and on the stove top at that!

After eating dinner Alberto gave me a tour of the ministry and I remember meeting a fellow missionary who had stayed home from the base service. She was a new mommy, named Nury, and had recently given birth to a baby boy.  We met briefly, not really being able to communicate (because of my lack of Portuguese), and she instantly called me into her home to see her sweet newborn sleeping peacefully in his crib.  I felt warmly accepted by her smile and her welcoming way of inviting me into her home to share a bit of her life with me, a foreigner just arriving.

The house was quiet, so I went to rest in my bedroom which I was sharing with 2 other staff members that I was yet to meet.

A shot of my room. I was on the top bunk! :-)

I was tired physically from my travels, but completely satisfied, totally at peace, and extremely full of faith for what God was about to do in my life.

These were my first moments in Brazil upon arrival in 2007.

Little did I know....
That just a week later I would hear my future husband preach at my first of many YWAM Belo Horizonte base services.

That through working with children at risk (from kids living on the streets to those living in the slums), my worldview and perspective of life would be completely changed forever.

That my life in missions would be challenging, hard, and even painful at times, yet so wonderful, rewarding and fulfilling knowing I am right smack-dab in the middle of God's perfect plan for my life.

I would follow Jesus to live and work in the largest slum of Belo Horizonte for over 5 years...

That I would grow and do things I never dreamed or imagined I could do...

That I would share my life with so many different nations and would make friends with people from all over the world.

That God would give me a heart for a nation, a people  that is not my own, and especially an overwhelming love for girls living in the slums of Brazil...

That 7 years later I would be where I am today, super happily married to a loving and generous Brazilian man and a mommy to two precious girls, who were both born in Brazil.

Photo by: Kelly van den Brink

Today I am celebrating 7 years of living life in Brazil,
and I must say I have so much to celebrate!

I have nothing but gratitude to the Lord for His faithfulness and abundant blessings in my life.
My cup overflows!
God has truly blessed me with more than I could have ever asked or imagined.

So many wonderful things have happened during the past 7 years of my life, and here's to many more years of serving my faithful Father in the beautiful nation of Brazil!

 To HIM be all the glory!