Friday, April 17, 2015

Tomorrow's Moving Day!

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 18th, is our moving day!  Please pray for us!

Today we spent the day cleaning, organizing, packing, and loading up our belongings in the moving truck.

Tomorrow morning we will wake up super early to begin our trip to São Paulo, which is about a nine hour trip depending on traffic.  Our family will travel in our car along with our cat, Buzz Lightyear. I am a little nervous to how Buzz will travel, so please pray for him.  We bought some special travel medicine to help him handle the trip well.

Our moving truck will travel at a different pace, but most likely by early evening on Saturday the moving truck and our family should be at our new home in São Paulo. Then the unloading will begin!

Please pray for our moving day - for grace, strength and protection as we travel and officially begin our new chapter of life in São Paulo, Brazil.

Last night at the Youth With A Mission - Belo Horizonte weekly worship service, this verse was shared and it captures so well how I feel at this moment.

Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.” 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:2b-3

As we end a very influential and important chapter of our lives, we can easily testify about the countless great things God has done.  
The Lord has indeed done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!

So tomorrow we "will go out in joy and be led forth in peace" (Isaiah 55:12)
as we follow the Lord's calling to go to São Paulo.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Meditations as We Move

Since arriving here in Brazil, Felipe and I have been busy working to sort out all the details concerning our big move to São Paulo. 

Our Plan A for moving, which we have had for forever, ended up not working out, so we made the decision to change to Plan B.  Yay for Plan B! I like Plan B's!

The decision to change our plans took us a while to make due to various factors, but the end result is still the same. We are moving soon to São Paulo!

Our storage room.  Our things have been packed up here since the end of October.

In the midst of all the changes, the unknown, and the waiting to see if Plan A would possibly pan out, this travel-weary mama was feeling done, impatient, pushed past my limits, and oh so utterly tired. The longing for consistency, routine, and a place for our family to call home was growing stronger than ever.

We have been in transition now for 5 months, moving from place to place, so we are super ready to stop living out of suitcases and plant ourselves in one place so we can flourish and grow as a family.  

One day recently, while we were still in the throes of figuring out how and when we would tackle moving,  I was crying out to the Lord in my weariness.  I was afraid our move could be delayed for another month or so.  

As I began to pray, Jesus’ prayer instantly came to my mind, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”
And I knew God wanted me to surrender.  

Surrender my will,
my rights,
my way,
my desires,
my life,
my days,
my wanting to move sooner rather than later. 

God was calling me to surrender to His perfect timing, and to ultimately trust in Him.

He also gently reminded me of this simple truth:
 Every day is a gift from Him.

Where ever I am in the world, whether I am traveling around, living in temporary housing, or in my own home, today is a gift God has given me.
Today is the day that the Lord has made! 
Today is an opportunity to surrender my life, and live for His honor and glory.  
He is just asking me to be available and willing right where I am at, and to surrender to Him along this journey, which is always full of adventures.  

In this “in between” time, my honest daily prayer is,
“I surrender today to You, whatever may come. Thank you for today, a wonderful gift from You.  Your will be done. Your kingdom come, today. Have your way in my today …”

As I have been purposely surrendering my "todays" to the Lord, He is showing up.  I already have a few stories of things God has been up to since our arrival in Brazil, and I am so thankful for His sovereign hand over our days, our times, our lives.  Each day truly is a gift!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:7

I am thankful for these great reminders, and I pray for sweet grace to live them out until the day we move, during our move, and as we adapt to a new life in a new city.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Back in Brazil & March Memories

We are back in Brazil!  
We arrived here Tuesday morning after a pretty smooth trip with no delays or complications with our flights. Overall our girls did an awesome job traveling too! Thanks so much for praying for our trip!

Our trip, in itself, was great!  However, after our last flight we encountered two problems.  
First, we discovered one of our suitcases was lost during the trip, and it is yet to be delivered to us by the airlines. Second, once we could examine our bags, we realized several item were removed (maybe stolen) from our suitcases.  We are hoping that maybe, just maybe, these missing items will show up in the suitcase that got lost. We are waiting to see...

In the grand scheme of things, we are healthy and happy and here in one piece, so we are good and thankful to be home in Brazil!
We are staying at the Youth With a Mission base in Belo Horizonte for a quick visit and then moving to our future city, Sao Paulo, very soon. We are excited about visiting our Brazilian family this weekend and celebrating Easter together.

March Memories
To conclude our recent monthly series of memories made during our USA trip, we are sharing our last photo post of March memories today. We made many special memories during the month of March, and they are documented in some of our favorite photos below!

In the beginning of March we said goodbye to many friends living in the Raleigh area.
Sophia wanted to throw a little goodbye party at the house where we were staying with just a few friends.  Here's our group photo!

Family fun at the mall riding a choo-choo train!  Jessie loves trains!

Photos taken just before saying goodbye to dear friends!

On March 10th we traveled down to the Charleston, SC area to visit my sister Elizabeth.  We even enjoyed spending time on the beach one warm March day!

After a few days in Charleston, we returned to stay with family in York County, South Carolina.  There Sophia enjoyed an extra special "mommy-daughter-grammy-auntie date."  We went out for lunch and then saw Cinderella!


When we stayed at my sister Becky's house, we had tons of fun hanging out with her family!  We love the Shillingtons! 

We had lots of family fun on St. Patrick's day!

Making memories at Grammy and Grandpa's house dying Easter eggs! 

I had the honor of being the guest speaker at a ladies retreat at Bethesda Presbyterian.  Click here to read portions of my message.

Felipe also had the opportunity to preach at Bethesda Presbyterian one Sunday! 

My brother-in-law, Shawn, took Felipe shooting out on my Grandma Bookout's farmland.  Felipe had never shot a gun before, so it was quite the cultural experience!

A sweet moment captured when our friends came over!

Sophia threw a spontaneous birthday party for her kitty! 

Jessie enjoyed snuggling lots with Grandpa in his big chair! 

Easter Egg Hunting!

To close, we would like to wish you a very happy Easter! 
May God bless you this Easter as you celebrate God's immense love expressed through Jesus' sacrifice and victory!   

With love,
Laura, Felipe, Sophia, & Jessie Matias