Friday, October 31, 2014

Are you talking to Jesus?


Yesterday, when I went to pick up my oldest daughter Sophia from preschool, a funny thing happened.

First, let me explain that I do not enjoy driving in Brazil.  I am still adjusting to driving a stick shift and the traffic can be crazy!  I continue to drive anyway and challenge myself to grow in this area.  Practice makes perfect, right?  I especially get nervous on hills often fearing my car will roll back and hit the car behind me.

So… yesterday, I drove to Sophia’s preschool with no drama, parallel parked successfully on the main street in front of the school, got out to get Sophia, and walked her back to our car. Then I noticed… 

In the short amount of time I was getting Sophia, someone parked REALLY close to our car and now I was wedged into a super tight space between two cars, AND I just happened to be parked on a hill. Do you remember my fear of hills because I can possibly roll back and hit the car behind me?  Well that was just what I was afraid of.

I buckled Sophia in, stepped into the driver’s seat, took a deep breath and then as I started to maneuver my way out, I began to struggle.  When I moved the car slightly backwards, the the car stalled.  I nervously restarted the car to try again. The car stalled once more.  I saw a few parents close by also picking up their kids and began to feel embarrassed.  As cars whizzed by on the main road beside us, I braced myself to try for the third time to get our car out of the tight spot.  I then blurted out, “Oh, help me.  I’m scared. I’m scared…” crying out to God for help.

At this exact moment, when I was feeling fearful, Sophia said,
“Mommy, are you talking to Jesus or to me?”

I smiled and replied, “Yes, I am talking to Jesus.”  I then had the realization of how many times I randomly pray out loud in front of Sophia.

But her question also made me realize that I am doing something right.  When I am afraid, in need, facing a challenging situation, vulnerable, and desperate for help, this is just the thing I need to do. I need to cry out to God, to be honest, to confess my fear, and to look to Him as my source of help and strength.

I want my two precious daughters to learn how important it is to do this – to cry out to God in any situation. And as I am learning every day more and more, my little people watch me, they notice, and they learn from every single, little thing that I say and do.

Yesterday was a small reminder of the great responsibility I have as a parent to teach, to model, and to live my life honestly and completely dependent on God in front of my girls. As I live a life close to my Lord, my example will teach them to live a life close to Him too.



And just so you know, after building up my courage, I did successfully get out of that tricky parking spot, and on that third try!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Lighthouse Community Center

The Lighthouse Community Center is the ministry where Felipe and I served together for most of our years in missions, reaching out to kids and families living in the largest slum in our city. Felipe lived and worked there for 9 years and I for about 5 years.  We made many wonderful memories at the Lighthouse and learned so much about God's heart for children at-risk and the poor.  Needless to say, we love this ministry and are very thankful for our time serving and leading at the Lighthouse!
(Read more about the Lighthouse here.)

Recently, Felipe photographed some of the children's groups running at the Lighthouse.
Enjoy these current photos of this amazing ministry!
























Monday, October 27, 2014

Presidential Election in Brazil

If you haven't heard the news, yesterday an election was held in Brazil to elect the nation's president.   
The current president, named Dilma Rousseff, was re-elected for four more years. The race was extremely close and she actually barely won by a small margin of votes.  Dilma obtained 51.64% of the votes, while her opponent Aécio Neves had 48.36%. 

Felipe had the opportunity to photograph at two different events surrounding this election, so I wanted to share a few of his photos here on our blog. 



A rally held in our neighborhood on October 18th in support of Dilma.



The former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula), made an appearance and gave a speech in support of Dilma.  Lula has a strong influence in the nation of Brazil, so his involvement with Dilma's campaign was a key factor to her victory.




Lula is so sweet with babies and children. I loved these two shots Felipe captured of him! 



The newly elected governor of the state of Minas Gerais, Fernando Pimentel, also spoke at the rally. 



Felipe's mother, sister, and brother all work at a fancy hotel in downtown Belo Horizonte, and the final campaign press conference for Aécio Neves just happened to be held in the convention hall at this hotel.  Felipe was allowed to take photos to document this special moment in Brazilian history. If Aécio would win or lose, his speech was to be held at this location.

There was a sea of photographers, reporters and video cameras.  All were waiting with expectation for the results of who would actually win the presidential race.



As I mentioned before, Aécio lost the race for presidency. Here, he is holding back tears as he gives his final speech, thanking all who supported him





 José Serra, a past governor of São Paulo, was also there supporting Aécio. Serra is a senator for the state of São Paulo.



For fun, my mother-in-law got a photo with José Serra.



We hope you enjoyed seeing a few photos from the presidential election in Brazil!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Rock House

During the last two months, Felipe has been working hard photographing the many ministries of Youth With A Mission Belo Horizonte (YWAM BH).  These photos will be used on the YWAM BH website, newsletters, and also serve as a kind of photo stock for the base to pull from in the future.

Last week I shared a few photos Felipe took of the ministry work with street kids. Today I would like to share some photos of a ministry called the Rock House, or in Portuguese Casa Rocha.

The Rock House is a community center working to share God’s message of love and transformation in the most drug-infested slum of Belo Horizonte called Pedreira Prado Lopes.  You can often find Rock House missionaries walking through the slum, visiting families, sharing God’s love with drug addicts, and praying for the community and the critical needs there. 

Almost daily the Rock House runs programs to help enrich the community. The message and hope of Jesus is constantly being shared to everyone the Rock House team comes in contact with.  Check out these photos to see a glimpse of the awesome work the Rock House ministry is doing!












On the outskirts of the slum is an area called Crackland.  Several crack users have built these small homes/tents in order to live here, close to the area that supplies their drugs.  The Rock House missionaries are visiting this area weekly to share the love of God.







The Rock House runs various programs and activities for the kids who live in the slum.  Here the children can learn Biblical principles, play games and sports, swim, develop their creativity, learn basic computer skills, and participate in meaningful character building activities.  

It is so important that kids living in slums have a place like this where they can go, otherwise they often end up spending lots of time on the streets, getting involved in activities that are not beneficial for them.

The Rock House is a safe place where the kids can just be kids. It is a place where they can laugh, play, and create.  At the Rock House the kids encounter a positive and loving environment with opportunities to learn and grow in many areas.








To read more about the Rock House go to: www.jocumcasarocha.com.br