I am a 36 Year Old Baby

One of the things that ABWE warned us about was “culture shock.”  I did not expect to say that I was going to suffer “culture shock” so quickly.  I fully expected to not have “culture shock” or to only have it a little.  However, this is not the case.  I have a full blown case of “culture shock.”

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A padded room, aka the elevator.

My “culture shock” is so bad that they put me in a padded room daily.  This padded room is the elevator to my apartment.  I feel like a baby trapped in a 36 year old body.  The ability to understand the conversations that happen around me is next to nothing.  At best I understand when my name is said and a few words here or there.  I don’t understand anything but at best the most basic of sentences.

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Sometimes they turn the lights on in the padded room.

Sometimes I am having people come to work on or install different appliances I the apartment.  Some of these conversations are interesting because I do not speak Portuguese.  (My first lesson happened on Thursday the 23rd.)  When the workers come I use Google Translator to talk with them.  This makes for some interesting conversations but normally we are both able to communicate what is needed.  The water heater was not working so an appliance repair man came by to fix it.  We had a good conversation but the water heater would not work properly and would have to be replaced.

 

 

 

Shopping to Furnish

One of the things that I don’t enjoy is shopping.  Setting up an apartment requires me to do lots of shopping.  When I arrived I told my host missionaries that I was not going to make any decision until the Monday after I arrived.  Well, that Monday arrived faster than I thought and before I knew it I was getting to make some of the decisions which will shape how I will live in Brasil.

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List of Items I am looking to Purchase.

We visited many different stores while shopping.  I think that I saw at least 4 different appliance shops, 5 furniture stores, and a couple of mattress stores.  I am not normally one to shop around but I know that it was good to visit all of these different places because it allowed me to get a better idea of what is available in Brasil.

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Entertainment Center

What I found was that many of these places have the same or very similar items to purchase.  It also allowed me to figure out what style I liked.  In my past I always worked on a limited budget and ended up with miss matched items which was fine for me but this time I figured that I would enlist some help.  I asked one of the missionary wives to help me work on getting things that would not clash.  It is a blessing to have a team of missionaries who are looking out for me.

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Looking at Armoire’s

I would say that one of the unexpected surprises was that I needed to get an armoire for each room not only to store my clothes but also to have storage space.  I am thankful for the missionaries pointing out that storage space for linens and other items is not present in the apartment.  They suggested and encouraged me to look at bigger armoire’s than I needed for my cloths because these are also the place where I will store my things in my apartment.

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Sometimes you just need some storage space.

 

Apartment Rental

Housing is in short supply in Ivoti.  I was blessed to find this new great apartment very quickly.  The only drawback was it had to be reserved before I even arrived in country.

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Kitchen fully installed.

I was really surprised that I was able to find a furnished apartment.  I had expected to have to install the entire kitchen.  It was an answered prayer to be able to rent a place which had not only the kitchen installed but also the lights.

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Light fixtures already installed.

I love the fact that I have a BBQ in my family room.  I look forward to many days entertaining friends in this room.  I know that I will be seeing this view often during my stay in this apartment.

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A great view when I BBQ.

Not only is my view from the family room great but the view from my bedroom is equally as enjoyable.  I look forward to seeing this view when I wake up every morning.  I hope to also see storms as they dance on the hills in the distance and to watch them roll over the valley.

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Looking forward to seeing a clear day from my bedroom.

 

Church Construction

Throughout the first weeks that I have been in Brasil I have been watching the new building being constructed.  It has been an exciting time because I remember seeing this lot when the building was only a gleam in the missionaries eye.  During my survey trip I saw this lot and talked with the missionary about the possibilities.

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An Empty Lot next to the Future Community Sport Court, photo from December 2015.

As I think of the possibilities which were spoken of I am excited for the current construction of the building as I found it.  There is a very large concrete structure which is being built. It is large enough to be a soccer court and has some class room’s in the back.  The shear size of the building was more than I was prepared to see.

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My sight when I arrived.

There was some question about who was building this new structure right on the main street into Ivoti.  One of the church members had a banner made so that people would clearly know that this the new future home of the church.  It was awesome to see the signage as they finished hanging the banner.

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Future Home of Ministerio Biblico Ivoti.

The second floor was being constructed when I arrived and within a day the platform was completed.  After the completion of the platform they began to work on the roofing.

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Getting to work on the roof.

Around the outside of the building a wall is being constructed to hold back the possible road traffic loading.  This will be an impressive wall when it is completed.

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Building the protective wall.

The main part of the building exterior has been finished over the last week and the roof has also been installed.  This construction is happening so fast.

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Can’t wait to see it completed.

 

 

First Sunday

I don’t know if it was the jet lag or the lack of understanding or some other reason which caused my inability to stay awake during the first service I attended in Brasil.  I want to blame it on my jet lag but I really think that not being able to follow anything that is said or done during a 2+ hour church service is very hard.  I feel like a little kid again in need of something to do while I listen to things that I don’t understand.  The only thing that I understood was when communion was offered at the Sunday Morning Service.  What a great reminder that communion translates to every language, tribe, and nation.

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Communion Sunday.

Sunday evening was at a different church that I knew more people at.  I remember coming to this church in December of 2015 and there were less chairs present.  I remember excitedly waiting to see people that I know and faces that I remembered.

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Worship Practice before Church.

I enjoyed trying to join in the worship through song.  The slower and quieter worship style at the church in Ivoti allowed for me to try and imitate the sounds of worship that I heard.  I say that I am imitating the sounds because I didn’t really understand what I am saying so it is not really singing with any intelligence but actually mimicking sounds.  It was a joy to also be able to follow familiar melodies.

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Almost a packed house.

During the sermon I had a hard time following when I didn’t get what is being said.  I believe that I was used as an illustration because I heard “Benjamin” and some of the people turned around to look at me after I heard my name.  However, I think that I will be trying to redeem this time by reading scripture and also trying to enlarge my vocabulary by adding flash cards of words that I hear.  The power point and sermon notes which were handed out helped me to figure out the proper spelling and what some words mean.  I am so thankful for visual aids during the sermon as they will help me to enlarge my vocabulary.

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Listening to Preaching in Portuguese.

 

Final Walk through Sacramento

I was able to reflect on my last walkthrough Sacramento this past week.  I grew up in this city and have many different memories of past events which happened at different places all throughout the city.

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Pyramid Building and Delta King

When I think of Old Town Sacramento two of the things that come to mind are the Pyramid Building and the Delta King.  The Pyramid Building is a West Sacramento landmark which I have actually never been to but have always looked for when in Sacramento.  The Delta King is a wonderful reminder of the rich river life history that is found in Sacramento.

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California State Capital

I have spent many afternoons walking through tours in the Capital.  Many of my thoughts here went to my life during junior or senior high.

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K Street Mall

When I view this mall I think of my youth when they had a Thursday Night Farmer’s Market which would fill this street with booths and people.  I really enjoyed this time in my youth.

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Golden 1 Center

The Golden 1 Center is the new basketball arena which was built in downtown.  This beautiful building reminds me of watching many Sacramento Kings games when I was a youth.  One day I hope to come back and watch a Kings game in this arena.

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Golden 1 Center

 

Flying Gift

My mother said that she had a gift for me to bring on my carry on.  I decided to wait until Toronto to open the gift.  I am so thankful for my mother who decided to look through all of the books that I was taking to find if I had this book or not.

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Gift from my Mother

When I first felt this gift I knew that it was a book.  The only question was what book.  It is great to have this book as a reminder of home and to read while I hurry up and wait on all of the different things that I need to do to get set up with everything here in Brasil.

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My Gift

 

 

 

Travel to Brazil

Last week I traveled from San Francisco, California, USA to Ivoti, Rio Grande Do Sul, Brasil.  It was a long trip, about 30 total hours, filled with lots of luggage and plane flights.  I was dropped off at the airport in San Francisco by my dad at 5 am on February 8.  It seemed like a very short 2 hour drive to get from Sacramento to San Francisco.  My dad and I unloaded all 11 bags and my backpack.  It only took two baggage carts to bring my bags to the check in counter.  When we approached the counter the lady looked scared but she was able to check in all 10 bags which weighed 70 lbs or less.

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Waiting to Check in at San Francisco International Airport

After checking in I boarded the Air Canada plane for the first leg of my trip, San Francisco to Toronto.  It was a blessing to not have to pick up my checked baggage in Toronto.  The Toronto customs asked some of the hardest questions on this trip but in the end the customs agent decided that I was safe to admit into Canada.

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Thankful for extra leg room on the first leg. Even if it was only 4 inches.

The second leg of this journey was from Toronto, Canada to Sao Paulo, Brasil.  When I boarded the plane there was no going back at even if I wanted to.  I was excited and nervous because the next airport represented the part of the trip which I feared the most, Brasilian customs.

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My feet flew business class during this flight.

I arrived in Brasil with great excitement and lots of nerves.  I flew through immigration and then picked up my bags without any problems.  I didn’t even get one question about why I was coming to Brasil in immigration.  The next step was to pick up my bags and face customs.  My size and 2 carts filled with 11 bags created a HUGE target and I was expecting to get stopped.  On my way out, while pushing my 2 fully loaded carts, an airport employee, who was escorting 2 young ladies, noticed me struggling with the carts and offered to push one for me.  When we walked by the customs inspector he waved her off and pushed my cart through.  I am so thankful for the LORD’s provision here through the airport employee’s help.

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The plane which brought me to Brasil.

After getting to the main airport in Sao Paulo I was greeted by two ladies from the ABWE team in Sao Paulo.  It was great to meet Sharon and Meta when I got out of customs.  They were able to help me push the carts with my bags and get me to the correct part of the airport. Thank you, Sharon and Meta, for welcoming me to Brasil.

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My ABWE welcome team in Sao Paulo.

After arriving in Sao Paulo I had one last flight to take.  This flight from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre would be a little adventure in it’s own right.  On this flight I had no extra leg room and the gentleman in front of me insisted on pushing his seat back.  We had a short conversation before he realized that there is no room for me to move my knees.

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Last flight, I can deal with my lack of leg room.

I arrived in Porto Alegre without incident and was greeted with the smiling faces of my new team mates.  I was excited to have arrived at the final airport knowing that only a short hour long drive was waiting for me.  As I finished this part of the journey I began to think, “This is home now?”  It was a very weird thought and still remains so today.

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The bags all fit into the Fiat Adventure.

 

Quilted with Love

It seems like every time I leave for a major life change it is marked with a quilt.  By the time that this posts I hope to be on the plane to Brazil.  I will travel from San Francisco through Toronto and Sao Paulo, and then to Porto Alegre.

The first quilt that marked a life change was given to me by my parents bible study when I left for college.  This quilt has lasted very well over the years and still reminds me of all of their prayers from the Sacramento Area.

 

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Quilt Two: Marking the Transition to Tennessee

The second quilt was given to me when I left to help plant a church in Tennessee.  This quilt has traveled all over the country and still reminds me of all of the prayers from friends in the Murrieta Area.

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Quilt Three Title Block

The third quilt marks the transition to being a missionary in Brazil.  This gift was an amazing and completely unexpected provision.  The quilt reminds me of my friends and their prayers from the Santa Clarita Area.

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Quilt Three: Marking the Transition to Brazil

As I write this blog I am amazed that 1) I would have friends who would quilt 2) Each quilt marks a specific massive change in my life and 3) Three different networks of relationships which have helped shape me and continue to do so.