Thursday, December 29, 2016

Recent Video Projects

In the recent months Felipe has been asked to help with filming in various capacities, both personally and to promote mission work.  Although Felipe says he is first and foremost a photographer, his photography skills, camera equipment and creativity lend towards making some awesome videos too.

Below are some of the recent video projects Felipe has completed.
 Happy watching!

A fun family video, showing what happened in our lives during 2016!

Felipe went on a special trip touring ACTION Ministries in various cities throughout Brazil, filming at each location.  He will soon be making more videos for ACTION, but this is the first video teaser of what is to come!

A thank you video Felipe made in Portuguese, to help a local children's shelter that is a part of ABBA - the local Brazilian mission we serve in partnership with.

Felipe filmed Sophia's school Christmas program! 

And just for fun, here is a fun video Sophia and Felipe made together!

Stay tuned for more videos to come in 2017!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Thank You Christmas Sponsors!

This post is to say thank you to those who sponsored children this Christmas!

The body of Christ helped to make this Christmas super special for the kids who participate at Casa Semear (a ministry reaching out to children and families living in the urban slums of Sao Paulo).  For many of the children and teens, the presents from the sponsors are the only nice Christmas gifts they receive. 

We especially want to thank the sponsors from our church here in Brazil, Calvary International Church, and also the women's circle at my mother's church, Bethesda Presbyterian.  

Thank you for blessing the kids beyond measure with clothing, a pair of shoes, and a thoughtful gift!

Just a side note:  Our daughters, Sophia and Jessie had so much fun helping us gather the gifts from the sponsors.   It truly was a fun family Christmas project. 

 Each week at church people would give us their gift donations for the kids at Casa Semear.  On the day of the Christmas party, where we gave out the gifts, the girls helped us take all the Christmas presents downstairs and load them in the car.

Enjoy seeing these photos from the annual Casa Semear Christmas party! 
At the party, we the Semear team, were able to spend time with the kids and families, share about the Lord Jesus - the true meaning of Christmas, provide a yummy Brazilian barbecue lunch and offer a fun-filled, relaxing day to the families.  We held the party at our mission's main headquarters, which is a more spacious green environment, and a little more the 200 people were in attendance.  At the end of the party the kids received their much anticipated Christmas gifts! 

Robert, the leader of Casa Semear, starting the day off with a special message and prayer.

Felipe leading a time of fun worship with the kids!

The kids presenting a special song for their parents!

Fun activities galore!

Felipe was on lifeguard duty!

 The extra special moment that the kids get most excited about - gift time!

Again, THANKS SO MUCH to those who sponsored these precious children (and many more not pictured here) this Christmas!  Thank you also for partnering together with Casa Semear and our ministry.
Your generosity and care is much appreciated!

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:40 

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Life-Changing Year!

The year of 2016 has been a life-changing year for us as a family! 

A  Beginning
After serving for a combined total of 20 years as missionaries with Youth With A Mission (Laura-8 years and Felipe-12 years), we prayerfully decided to change mission organizations.  In January we began the application process to serve with Action International Ministries, and by April we were on a plane flying to their US office in Seattle, WA to be interviewed by their mission board.  We were approved, and became official ACTION missionaries!   We also joined a local Brazilian mission, called ABBA, that works in partnership with ACTION. 

Although we changed mission organizations, our work continues to be the same.  We work in a ministry with children and teens living in the urban slums of São Paulo.   We love these kids and enjoy investing in their lives.  It is our utmost desire that they would walk intimately with Christ. We feel extremely blessed to be serving in São Paulo, doing what we do.  

Our New Addition
Our lives were also wonderfully changed this year by a little guy named Josiah!  All year long we were anticipating his arrival and praying for his health.  God answered these prayers, and in September Josiah made his grand entrance into the world.  He is healthy and sweet, and although we are sleep deprived at the moment, Josiah brings such joy to our lives!

Our Girls
Our oldest daughter Sophia (our 6-year-old) continues to enthusiastically attend an American Christian school, where she studies both in English and Portuguese.  She adores going to school!  Jessie (our 4-year-old) is super excited that soon she will be starting school herself, at a small Brazilian preschool.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
We pray this letter finds you well and enjoying a meaningful holiday season.  If you are receiving this letter it means that you are connected to us, care about us, and are supporting us in some capacity – thank you!   We are extremely grateful for you, and pray God’s love and presence will bless your life in a special way this Christmas and in the year to come.
May we all celebrate the amazing gift of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, who came to save us and give us life!

Christmas blessings from Brazil,
Laura, Felipe, Sophia, Jessie & Josiah

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 9th, 2016 ~ Our Day in Photos!

It has been a while since I have done a "Day in Photos" post, so I decided to do one again to show a bit of our everyday life and to document this season.  This post is documenting our day - last Friday, December 9th.  It was a more busy Friday than normal, but this is basically our typical Friday,

Sophia is up by 7:00 and eating breakfast so she can soon leave for school. This is her waking up look!  Some days she is really dragging!

Around 7:40 Felipe is loading up to drive to school. Last Friday he also helped drive the children of our friends, who are the leaders of Casa Semear (where we serve in ministry). 

After school drop off, Felipe bought lots of bread for Casa Semear.  Every morning session the ministry offers a Brazilian breakfast of coffee and a french bread roll to the kids who attend the program. 

Josiah napping away!  
My 11 week old is still pretty unpredictable with his sleep.  He has days where he sleeps almost non-stop and other days where he struggles to nap and therefore sleeps much less.  Friday was an extra sleepy day for Josiah.  He slept a LOT!

While Josiah napped, I got to do one of my favorite exercise videos called T25, and it is just 25 minutes long.  I am slowly starting to exercise again, when I actually can find the time to do it. 

Jessie's morning art activity!

Since Josiah decided to sleep SO much, I had some time to study  the Bible and journal. I am slowly working my way through James. 

Felipe working with the kids at Casa Semear.
Fridays are the free-play days at the ministry center, where the kids have free choice in what games or activities they can play.  These are great days of building relationships with the kids and often gives time for meaningful conversations to happen.

Jessie had some computer time playing educational games!

Our lunch: rice, beans, eggs, french fries (something extra special that Jessie loves), and salad.

After work, Felipe had some errands to run so instead of coming home he stayed out and went to a small snack place to eat.  

Felipe's lunch - a Coke and a big pastel (which is a Brazilian snack with usually meat and cheese inside.)

We live in a cozy house on top of another house.  In Sao Paulo, many homes are constructed like this - with houses built one on top of another.  The lady who lives under us runs a tiny store in the garage area.  We go down to visit with her every day, several times a day.  My girls even call her vovo, which is grandma in Portuguese.  She and her daughter are such blessings to our family. We love our downstairs neighbors, and they especially love Josiah!

Swinging in the hammock! Josiah fell asleep AGAIN! 

This is my little back patio area where I wash laundry and hang our clothes to dry.  While the kids were in the hammock, I was doing laundry! 

Our car needed some repairs, so Felipe was sitting reading the book he is currently reading: Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. 

Felipe also decided to quickly get his hair cut at a nearby barber shop during the long wait time. 

By 2:45, Felipe was at PACA, the American school where Sophia attends, preparing for the annual Christmas event.  Felipe went there on Friday to meet with administration and prepare for filming the event on Saturday. 

Felipe then brought Sophia home from school, and Sophia's friend Mari came over to play.

Not too long later, I also had a friend and her children come over for a play date! 

These girls ate the whole afternoon! 

Meanwhile, Felipe was working with the kids at Casa Semear! 

As I mentioned before, Friday was a bit different day for us, as we had lots of friends come over. Sophia enjoyed playing with her friends on our front porch area.  

By now it was early evening, and Josiah and I went downstairs to visit a bit with our downstairs neighbors.   Felipe arrived home from work around 6:30 and captured these shots.

Josiah making a super cute face sticking out his bottom lip when he is about to cry.  

After our dinner and showers, we ended our day with the girls doing our Jessie tree activity before bed.  First we watch a video, then we have a discussion time or Bible reading, we place the ornament on our tree, and then finish with prayer before bed.
This is my first year doing the Jesse tree, and the girls are loving it!

Every night Felipe parks our car into the tiny garage/shop so our car will be safe. It is amazing how he manages to do this! Very impressive!

I went to bed early, and Felipe stayed up late watching a movie with our friends' sons, since they were sleeping at their grandmother's home downstairs.  It was a boys' movie night, and even Josiah joined the fun!

Josiah's schedule is still kind of switched. He insists on sleeping late at night, and then sleeping late into the morning.  Each night Felipe lets me go to bed early, and he keeps Josiah - that way I am better rested.  Isn't he the best?! This helps me so much energy-wise.  

We hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of our lives here on the blog.  There are so many more elements to our days here in Brazil, but hopefully this gives you an idea of the rhythm of our life here.