Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our 2015 Christmas Season!

We just celebrated our very first Christmas season living in São Paulo, Brazil,
and it was a very special season indeed!

During this past year we have been volunteering in a ministry called Casa Semear (translated into English - the Sower House) that reaches out to kids living in the slums of São Paulo.  Along with the ministry team, we helped organize and throw the big annual Christmas party.  The girls, who take ballet lessons weekly at the ministry, presented a beautiful dance performance, and all the children who participate at the project on a regular basis received Christmas presents.  These presents were donated by various people who attend local churches in the area.

During this Christmas season it was awesome to see the generousity of the local body of Christ blessing families and children who live in poor conditions and at-risk situations.  We felt priviledged to play a small part of making Christmas so special for these precious kids!

To see more photos of Casa Semear's annual Christmas party, click here.

At Sophia's school, the elementary students presented a darling Christmas play called, "Christmas in Reverse."  All the students spent the first half of the year learning and practicing the songs for the school program. Sophia was so excited about singing in the choir, and we were especially proud of her!  Sophia loves her school and all the amazing opportunities she has there!

During the third week of December we participated in a Youth With a Mission (YWAM) national conference here in Brazil. Every other year all the missionaries who serve with YWAM in Brazil come together to fellowship and meet at this gathering.

In order to attend the YWAM conference we traveled to the central part of Brazil, and stayed in a nice hotel where the gethering was being held.  It was such a treat!  We had a wonderful time of reconnecting with dear missionary friends who are working all over the country.  The hotel has many natural hot springs pools, and our girls enjoyed swimming and playing with their friends/other missionary kids.

Sophia braving the water slide!

The fun photo booth set up at the conference!  It says "YWAM in Family" on the side of the VW van.

At the end of our trip we all caught a tummy virus, and once back home in São Paulo we took a few days to recover.  Even so, we went out one night to see the Christmas lights, even though Jessie was fighting off a painful ear infection.  There are not tons of Christmas lights here, but we did find a big Christmas tree at a popular park here in São Paulo.

On Christmas Eve we attended a beautiful candlelight worship service at the amazing church we are attending here in Sao Paulo, and then on Christmas morning we enjoyed family time opening presents.  We then went over to our friends' home for a Christmas lunch, which was a Brazilian barbecue.

Felipe found some American sodas that are almost impossible to find in Brazil!
Daddy got another Bible to add to his collection!
I took some prebaked Christmas cookies to our Christmas lunch gathering, and I had a fun and messy time decorating cookies with the little girls there.

This Christmas was much different than last year in the USA.  Yet we rejoice in the opportunities we have had here this Christmas in Brazil.  We have been able to share God's love and the joy of Christmas, and also to continue to grow in the Lord as we serve Him.

We see God's love and faithfulness over our family as well, and we are especially thankful for many of you who faithfully pray and support us as we minister in Brazil.  Thank you! 

We are looking ahead now to 2016 and have some important decisions to make. 
Please continue to pray for our family and for wisdom in the days to come.


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