Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Camping Weekend!

Last weekend our team held a campout for the kids at Casa Semear. 
Checkout the fun we had during our camping weekend! 

Sophia, Jessie, Josiah and I shared our tent with six of the girls at the camp! 
I must say I was very proud of all the kids. They were on their best behavior and slept great the whole night long. 

The biblical theme of the camp was the story of Elijah.  As a spin off from this story, the Casa Semear team decided to talk about various religions that do not worship the true One and only God.  One of the religions presented was Mormonism. 

 These kids did a cute drama about Mormonism, and then one of the ministry leaders (Silvana) taught about how Mormanism is not true Christianity. 

The kids from Casa Semear greatly value these special weekend outings!  We praise God for the opportunity to be able to have fun with the kids, invest in relationship with them, and teach them truth from the precious Word of God.  
Our camping weekend was awesome! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Reminder of Reality

Yesterday I went to Casa Semear together with Felipe for the first time in quite a while.  I took both Jessie (our 4 year old) and Josiah (our 4 month old) along to play and enjoy some time there.

It was a relaxed morning at the ministry, as Fridays are the free-play days where the children can choose what they would like to do, whether it be playing on the playground, doing an art activity or playing a game like ping-pong or fooseball.  

Often on Fridays, quality time spent with the children and teens lead to spontaneous conversations. These conversations are valuable, and also a window into what is really going on in their lives.  Often kids will chat and open up, revealing problems or difficult situations they are facing.  In response, the missionaries at Casa Semear can encourage and know how to better pray and help the kids and their families.

Yesterday I was reminded of one reality that many of the kids face.  
A teenage girl was sharing about how her mom had lost her job and was not able to find a new one yet.  Her mother was hoping to find a job in January at the beginning of the new year, but she still has not found one.  The family is struggling to pay bills and to have enough food to eat.  They have been able to get some food donations from a church in the slum, but still it has been extremely hard for them.

This is the reality of many of the families in the slum - who are often led by single moms raising their kids without a father present or helping financially.

Yesterday I was shocked by the reality of a child not having enough food to eat at home. I never had to worry about this as a child.   Did you?

 I was reminded once again of the reality of children we know personally and see on a regular basis. A basic need these kids have is not always being met, and that is a part of their normal life.  It should not be so, but it is. They as children are effected by this and worry about these needs too.

Please pray for the mom who urgently needs a job, and also pray for the many children in the slums of Brazil (and all over the world) who are need of food.  

Every once in a while it is good to be confronted with some of these realities happening in the world. 
It reminds us to pray, 
to remember
to care, 
to give, 
to help those in need,
to be generous, 
and to be thankful for the way our own personal needs are being met.  We have MUCH to be thankful for!

May this be a reminder of reality to us all today...

Friday, February 3, 2017

News About Jessie

For some time now, Felipe and I have been concerned about Jessie's speech.   Living in Brazil she is exposed to and learnng two different languages - Brazilian Portuguese and English (the language we speak at home).  Jessie's English is much much stronger than her Portuguese, but she honestly struggles to communicate well in both languages.

Jessie is not an extremely talkative girl (by nature), and several months ago we began to notice her frustration increasing significantly when she would try to tell us something and we could not understand her.  Jessie would often end up in tears and we would still be clueless as to what she was trying to say.  

In November we did some formal testing, and now Jessie is going to speech therapy sessions every Thursday morning.  She also does daily speech exercises to practice various sounds she has difficulty pronouncing.   The exercises also help strengthen the muscles in her tongue, which will aid in improving her overall pronunciation. We are already seeing improvements, and Jessie seems to be communicating better and better every day!

Jessie's speech therapist also strongly suggested that we place Jessie in a preschool as a part of the speech treatment.  This would force her to speak and have social/speaking interactions.  So just last week Jessie began preschool! 
Jessie's 1st day of preschool!

Jessie is going to a little Brazilian preschool located right around the corner from our home. I can easily walk her to and from school, which makes things easier logistically for our family when Felipe is at work (Casa Semear) with our family car.   

Jessie is loving preschool so far, and we can tell she feels extra special that she is now going to school like a big girl! Please keep her in your prayers as she overcomes her speech difficulties, and as she is learning to speak more in Portuguese at preschool.  Thank you!