Monday, January 26, 2015

New Things & Partnership

This year holds many “new things” for us, the Matias family.  We will move into a new home in a new city, our daughter Sophia will go to a new school, and we will start a new ministry!   



NEW HOME – First things first, we need to find a place to live!  After we return to Belo Horizonte, Brazil in March, we will take a road-trip (about a 9-hour drive) to São Paulo, to search for a place to rent.  We are praying about the possibility of living near or inside the slum community where we will start our ministry.  By May we hope to move to São Paulo and begin adjusting to our new home and life in the big city.  






NEW SCHOOL – In August, Sophia will start Kindergarten!  The public school system in Brazil offers very poor quality education; therefore, we have decided to place Sophia in a private school.  In São Paulo, Sophia has the opportunity to attend an American Christian school where she can learn in English and continue to develop her Portuguese skills.  Financially, private school will be an extra monthly cost, however we strongly believe it is a worthy investment.


NEW MINISTRY - Once we get settled into our new home, we will take steps towards working with the slum community where we plan to establish our ministry.  Living inside or near the slum is key in building relationships and getting to get to know the area, which we are really looking forward to.
Along with our team, we will be establishing the ministry from ground zero.  We have many challenges ahead of us, but we know God is with us as we serve Him in the expansion of His Kingdom! 




PARTNER WITH US!

We would like to invite you to please consider partnering with us through financial support.

We are looking for 20 to 40 additional partners to join our ministry through monthly giving of $25 or $50 or even $100 per month.   To reach our budgeting goal we need to raise at least $1,000 more per month (or a total of $9,000 in one-time gifts for 2015).   To read more specifics about why we need to increase our monthly financial support, check out our brand new PARTNERSHIP page click HERE!

 Any donation, no matter the amount, is a great blessing to our family in missions!


To make tax-deductible donations, please send financial gifts to: 
YWAM Tyler Accounting, P.O. Box 3000, Garden Valley, TX 75711
Please write checks payable to YWAM and enclose a separate note stating the donation is for.
Laura & Felipe Matias. Our names must not be written on the check.

For more details and options concerning how to give towards our work, visit our SUPPORT page, or email us with questions at: laura.felipe.matias@gmail.com.


Please know, we sincerely appreciate your prayers, consideration, and partnership of our ministry to children at risk in Brazil.

 We are super excited about the new season ahead!   
“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare.”  Isaiah 42:9

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Beautiful Reunion

Today I am featuring a story I wrote for a recent issue of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Belo Horizonte's base newsletter.  It was such a special experience for me to write this piece! I had the honor of seeing this amazing story unfold as a "Beautiful Reunion" between a mother and son came to pass.  I pray you are blessed by the story!



In 1995 in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Maria left her 3-year-old son Lucas at a local YWAM shelter.

It was a difficult day for this troubled mother. Things were hard at home, and Maria was struggling to care for her six children.  She reasoned, “Once things are better, I can bring Lucas back home.  This will just be for a little while...”  Her alcoholic husband was physically abusive and Maria feared for Lucas’ life. “This will be best for Lucas,” she convinced herself.

A “little while” turned into longer, and the missionary couple who had taken Lucas into their home decided to adopt him, with Maria's blessing. Then, just a few years later, Lucas moved to the Netherlands with his new adoptive family.

Though separated by great distance, Maria and Lucas managed to stay in touch sporadically for a span of about ten years. But eventually, they lost all contact. For years, mother and son thought about each other, prayed for one another, and hoped to find each other again. But they knew that this would take a big miracle!
 
Now, almost twenty years after Lucas’ adoption, this miracle has taken place, and God used the missionaries serving at the Rock House to make this reunion possible.

The Rock House (Casa Rocha) 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 YWAM 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 such as kid’s clubs, Bible studies, swimming, water aerobics, and other activities to help enrich the community. 



During the recent World Cup games, the Rock House ran a special children’s program and many kids who had never participated at the ministry attended. This is when the team first met some of Marias's grandchildren, who live in the slum with their mother and grandmother (Maria).
Through home visits and various opportunities, several missionaries gradually got to know the family better and learned of Maria's story. “Does anyone know where Lucas is?  Can you help us find him?” asked Lucas’ biological sister.

The Rock House leader began to search online, and find Lucas he did!  
Today, Lucas is doing well. He lives in the Netherlands and is 23 years old. Lucas was very happy and surprised to receive news from Brazil about his biological family. Maria was also overjoyed that her long-lost son was found. 

The Rock House ministry helped organize an online meeting so mother, sister and son could see each other for the first time in many years and speak to one another through a translato. It was a beautiful reunion!  Many tears were shed, memories were recounted, forgiveness was asked and freely given, “I love you” was spoken, and plans were made for an in-person meeting.

God greatly used the ministry of the Rock House to help reconnect this family in a miraculous way!  Through this reunion, God has shown His amazing love, His tender care, and how He longs to bring healing and restoration to hurting hearts. 

This story is also a great reminder:  “With God, all things are possible!”


Below are photos of Maria, her daughter and some of her grandchildren during a visit to her home.  I was able to take her some current photos of Lucas. 

To see photos and read more about the Rock House ministry go to: www.jocumcasarocha.com.br

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Months in North Carolina!

Just a few days ago, Monday, January 5th, marked exactly two months that we, the Matias Family, have been in the USA (staying with family in South Carolina).  We are officially two months into our USA trip! 

Now we are changing states!  For the next two months we will be living in North Carolina, in the Raleigh area. We arrived here on Monday afternoon. Yay!!!!

We are staying at a guest/mission house owned by Bethlehem Baptist Church. We are so thankful for their partnership and for hosting us in such a lovely, cozy home!

A fun photo of our family celebrating our arrival in our "new house" with a tea party (Sophia's idea)!

While we are here in the Raleigh area we will visit my home church, Covenant Church International, and other various churches to raise awareness and support of our mission work in Brazil.   We will soon be starting a new ministry to reach out to children at risk living in slums, so we have much to share about!






If you would like to schedule us to share at your small group, Bible study, or church, please contact us!  We would love to share about what God is doing in our lives and ministry. 

Email: laura.felipe.matias@gmail.com      Cell phone: 843-329-9267


We have limited internet at the moment, but we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

Already, it has been nice for me (Laura) to be back in the town where I grew up, and we are looking forward to seeing many friendly faces in person soon.
Here's to two months of adventures as a family in North Carolina!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

December Memories

During our furlough in the USA I am posting photos to highlight and document the precious memories we are making each month.  This post features our December memories, and what a special and memorable December it was!

Exactly 5 years ago, Christmas of 2009, it was just us two - plus a baby growing in my tummy.  We were newly-weds visiting the USA for the Christmas season, and actually it was Felipe's very first visit to the USA.  Much has changed since that Christmas!  
Here's a photo of just us Christmas 2014!

We are now a family of four, and finally we made it back to the USA again for this special time of year. It has been such a blessing and treat - especially for our girls. 


We took many photos during this month, but here are just a few of my favorites!

We started the month of December with a quick trip to Raleigh, NC to meet with a dear friend, who is serving as our financial coach.  We are very thankful for all the financial advice we received while visiting him.

While we were busy talking and working on stuff, our kids played together.
Here's a fun shot of all the kids sporting their Brazil shirts!


While in Raleigh, we also went to a Frozen birthday party and Sophia got to meet Elsa!


We then went back to Rock Hill, SC and celebrated my mom's birthday!


A sweet moment of Grammy surrounded by her beloved grandchildren. 


We got a Christmas photo with all the cousins!
The girls have absolutely loved spending time with their cousins during this trip.


We were blessed with an all expenses paid, three-day family trip to the North Carolina mountains, where we saw snow!





A sweet photo of Sophia from the trip.


We went Christmas caroling, visiting a few ederly home-bound church members, with a group from Bethesda Presbyterian.


We also enjoyed worshiping the Lord and celebrating the Christmas season at Bethesda Presbyterian Church.  I even sang together with my parents in the choir at the special Christmas service!  

A shot of my dad singing in the choir.

Reading Luke 2:1-7, as a part of the Christmas service.

At the Christmas Eve service Sophia dressed up as an angel and sang proudly (and loudly) as a part of the Christmas program. You could hear her singing above all the other children.  It was quite funny! Sophia stole the show!

A photo of the Candle-lit service. This is one of my favorite things about celebrating Christmas in the USA.

Singing "Silent Night" outside the church on Christmas Eve.

My beautiful Christmas angel!

The girls baked Christmas cookies with Grammy.



And we took fun photos in our pajamas in front of the Christmas trees!


On Christmas day we enjoyed opening presents and spending quality time with family!  We were having so much fun we hardly took photos.

  

We celebrated New Year's Eve with my sister Becky and her family. Sophia loved the sparklers and fireworks!

Happy New Year!

We are thankful for God's faithfulness in 2014, but we are super excited about 2015! 
This is a year of new beginnings for us, because this is the year we move to Sao Paulo, Brazil to establish a new ministry to children at risk. If you have not read about it click over here to read more!

We wish you a Happy New Year and may God lead us all to new discoveries and ultimately to know Him more in 2015.  May God bless you in this new year!