Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mighty to Save!

My favorite memory from a recent camp we helped staff, was during our nightly worship service...

It was the very first night of camp, and we gathered together seated in a circle. After Felipe shared with the teens teaching from the book of Jonah, I pulled out my guitar and led a brief time of singing songs of worship and thanksgiving to the Lord.

I encouraged the kids to take seriously our special time of worship, to participate and engage in this moment personally with God.  We even handed out the lyrics of the songs so that each one could follow along, through singing and meditating on the words of each song.

As we began to sing together, there was a reverence and a sense of expectation in the air. The sound of sweet voices singing praise to God filled the soccer court where we were meeting.  My heart especially swelled with love for these teens as we sang the song, Mighty to Save, in Portuguese.

This specific song captures well my prayer and declaration of who God is for these teens. Many of these precious ones come from difficult home situations and the harsh reality of living life in a slum.

As the song so powerfully proclaims,  
"Our God is mighty to save!" and "He can move the mountains!"
 He is the God of the impossible and can powerfully bring transformation to our hearts and lives in a blink of an eye.  Anything is possible with Him!

I sang out the song boldly, praying and proclaiming truths from God's word over them, over me, over all of us. We are ALL desperately in need of God's compassion, love, forgiveness, and hope.

Declaring salvation and the life changing message of Jesus' death and resurrection, I sang with all my heart, and these teens lifted their voices up and sang along too.
 It was a special moment!

The morning after arriving home from camp, one of teenage girls who went to the camp posted this on facebook: 

"I am so annoyed...
 It is terrible to come home from a trip so beautiful, and come face to face with reality...  
To come back from a place where there was only joy, fun, peace, tranquility, and to be connected with our Father...
To arrive home to see that here everything is so different - cursing early in the morning, fights, arguments, and all that is unpleasant.  Oh God,  HELP.  - Feeling like living at camp."

This girl also personally shared with another missionary at the Sower ministry that during the time at camp she felt such a strong connection with God. She felt Him so close, so near to her.

Hearing testimonies of how God used the camp in her life brought such joy to my heart! God is working in this girl's life in a beautiful way. He is drawing her to Himself more and more.  She is tasting and seeing that HE is a GOOD Father!

Yet, my heart is also burdened for the reality she faces on a daily basis.
 the sad reality that all the kids in the slum face continually.  

So this serves as another reminder of WHY we are here doing what we are doing.
There is hope for these children and their families, living in the slums of Brazil.
  Jesus is mighty to save!
He can move the mountains and bring change!

We are here to share this message and to show the the way to the Father through Jesus Christ!

May the revelation of God's LOVE breakthrough,
His KINDNESS lead to repentance,
 and SALVATION come to the slums of Brazil!
He is MIGHTY to save!

"The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zep. 3:17

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Camp Month!

July has officially been "camp month" for us, and we have enjoyed our camp experiences!

During this month we have been extremely busy helping out with preparations for and staffing two different multiple day/overnight camps for the kids and teens who participate at a ministry called the Sower House - or in Portuguese "Casa Semear." 

The Sower House is a ministry that reaches out to children and teens living in a Sao Paulo slum. We are serving at the Sower House for the rest of 2015, and then we will transition into starting a ministry similar to this one in a nearby slum area.

The schools in Brazil take a short winter break during the month of July so the Sower House always hosts two special camps during the winter school vacation, one camp for the teenagers and one camp for the children (ages 9 to 12). 
Leading a time of praise and worship with the teens.
The theme of both camps was the book of Jonah.  Each day of camp we focused on teaching biblical principles from a different chapter of the book.  The nightly worship services, morning devotional times, and many of the camp games were also centered around Biblical principles from the story of Jonah.  By the end of camp, all the kids had a good understanding of this powerful Bible story.

Both camps were held at beautiful camping areas outside of the city (with excellent facilities) so that the children could enjoy a few days in nature and have a full camp experience.  Our girls especially loved swimming and playing outdoors.  Sophia even participated in some of the more challenging camp games.

Below are a few photos from each camp.  Enjoy seeing how these precious kids' lives were impacted and blessed through our fun time at camp!

The Camp for the Sower House Kids

A funny game we played at the kids' camp. Felipe was dressed as a mummy and scaring everyone!

The Camp for the Sower House Teenagers

Surrendering sins to the Lord by burning them in the campfire.

The last night of camp there was a scary zombie game!  Felipe rocked as a zombie! 

To see even more photos of these camps, check out the Sower House blog here!
Coming soon, a story from the teen camp!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 30th, 2015 ~ Our Day in Photos

I always enjoy doing photo posts on our blog as a way to share about our life here in Brazil.
We hope you enjoy seeing moments from our day yesterday!
Breakfast time!
I brought back a nice supply of pancake syrup from the USA, so the girls have been enjoying pancakes lots lately.

Loaded up and heading out to work at the Sower House ministry, where we are volunteering during this season. Here is a shot just outside our house on our street. 

As the kids arrive at the Sower House they eat breakfast before the Bible study sessions begin.

Here is a photo of a teenage girl who has participated at the Sower House for several years. She lives in a slum area close to the ministry and is soon due to have a baby boy.  Please be in prayer for her as she enters into this new season of life as a single teenage mom. 

Felipe worked together with the leader of the ministry (Robert) in the teenage boys' group.

I worked with the teenage girls' group along with Robert's wife, Silvana. I usually help out some with this group on Tuesday mornings, as Jessie and Sophia enjoy playing with toys in the classroom.

 After our Bible study time, the girls were making creative prayer books, finding and cutting out images to represent things they are thankful for and also for prayer requests they have.

Something beautiful that is being cultivated in these precious girls is the importance and power of prayer.

Just after the morning ministry session, a hungry fit got the best of our Sophia, so we packed up quickly and headed home for lunch.

Sometimes Sophia has so much fun playing she does not want to stop to have a snack, even though she really needs to eat something.  She had a little temper tantrum after getting disappointed about something and was crying uncontrollably.  Crying fits are a part of our reality with kids. Soon after this photo was snapped Sophia returned back to her normal happy-self, after eating a pack of crackers during the drive home.  She actually even laughed about this photo later. :-)

 Home Sweet Home! 
The stairway leading up to our house. 

Jessie played in some wooden crates while I was making our lunch. 

Goodbye kiss!  Felipe was heading back out to the Sower House for an afternoon meeting, and ministry time with the kids.
Tuesdays and Fridays are our busiest days, where Felipe spends almost all day at the Sower House. The girls and I spend half the day at the ministry, and the other half at home.

Back at the Sower Ministry the teenagers came for a special meeting around 2:00 to find out who would be participating in a special four day camp coming up soon. 

With permission slips in hand, reading the details about the upcoming camp, the kids began to walk home. 

Yesterday there was a power outage at the Sower House, so Felipe and the team had their meeting in the dark, by flashlight.  They were preparing for the upcoming camps that the ministry will be hosting.

 Please be in prayer for us as we take the kids on these overnight camping trips.  We hope it will be an extremely special time where God will do great things in the lives of the children.

Yesterday Felipe led a Bible study time with the group of kids I work with every Thursday afternoon.  Aren't they sweet? This is the youngest group of kids (6,7&8 years old) participating at the ministry.  I love their smiles! 

While Felipe was busy at the ministry, I was home with my girls, and I captured a few photos on my phone.

The first level of where we live is one house where a dear lady and her daughter live.  We live in a separate house on top of her house. We share an entrance area and garage.  In the garage our sweet neighbor runs a little neighborhood shop full of treats, cleaning supplies, and various items.  It is very handy for me because I can buy useful items by just running downstairs to her store.

Our girls love visiting our neighbor in her store.  Sophia and Jessie are already lovingly calling our neighbor "Grandma Val" or in Portuguese "Vovó Val."  Yesterday Sophia played with Val's granddaughter, who is also the daughter of our friends (Robert and Silvana) who lead the Sower House.

Playing with sidewalk chalk in front of our house.

In the late afternoon we walked down the street to play in a little neighborhood park. When we go there I always try to get some exercise in by walking around the playground area while the girls play.

Upon arrival at home I decided to give early baths to my girls. 

Last night's yummy dinner- chicken strogonoff, a favorite here in Brazil.  My girls love this meal!   

The power was still out at the Sower House as they were concluding the afternoon ministry session.  They made announcements and had a snack by flashlights and lanterns.

Felipe's night drive home after work - bumper to bumper traffic.  The traffic is no joke here in São Paulo.

Meanwhile, my hungry girls were enjoying a fun dinner by candlelight on our back patio area. Soon afterwards Felipe arrived home.

We then read stories and said our prayers before bedtime. 
Last night Sophia and I were discussing some things from a book she recently got as a gift from a church we visited.  The book talks about following Jesus, making good choices, and seeking to please God with our lives.  We had some nice conversations last night.

We hope you enjoyed some highlights from our day yesterday!
Again, please be in prayer for us as we help out with upcoming camps with the kids who participate at the Sower House ministry.  This Friday through Sunday we will be working a weekend camp with a group of about 30 kids ages 9-12.  Please pray we would have a fruitful and fun weekend! 

 Stay tuned... Photos of the weekend camp are coming soon here on the blog!