Easter

This Easter was different than any other one.  It was my first Easter as a missionary in Brazil.  This day was filled with gifts that I was given and a very relaxing day.  I opened the chocolate Easter egg which I purchased in Gramado.

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Easter Egg from Gramado

After opening my egg I opened my Easter basket which my mother sent me.  It is interesting as I mostly remember getting Easter baskets after I left the house.  I got some great gifts in my Easter basket like Joe-Joe’s and Pistachio’s.

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Easter Basket

The other thing that I remember is going to a friend’s house for a meal.  It was a very relaxing afternoon hanging out with some friends and having lunch.  Now that I look back on this Easter I remember the gifts that I received, the lazy afternoon with friends, and the resurrection of Christ.

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Easter Basket Unwrapped

 

 

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Beach Day

I was told that I needed to visit the beach in South Brazil.  It seems to be a highlight for many of the people that I have talked with.  On Good Friday a group of us went to Torres Beach.  While at the beach we went walking along the beach and one of the missionaries kept on joking with me that I looked like an American.  That works for me because I am an American.  The beach was nice but not quite as nice as many of the beaches which I have frequented in California.

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Torres Beach

After a fish lunch at a restaurant along the river we went for a short walk across the bridge to the next state.  Now I can officially say that I have been in 3 states in Brazil (Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande Do Sul).  The bridge was pretty rickety and it felt like you were going to fall due to how much it flexed.

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Walking to Santa Catarina

After the bridge we went for a hike along the cliffs north side of the beach.  It was very beautiful and I enjoyed the time up at the top.  One of the missionaries was pretty scared of us falling off the edge of the cliff.  It was not that scary and the rock edge was solid.

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Cliffs north of the beach

After hiking the cliffs on each side of the beach we decided to get a group shot of all of us who hiked them.  I enjoyed my time at the beach and look forward to going back with another group of people.

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Group Picture

 

Football

This game was the first Brazilian Semi-Pro American football game that I attend.  One of the missionaries on the ABWE team in South Brazil helps coach the Porto Alegre Bulls.

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Game Ticket: Bulls v. Solders

I was excited to see the kickoff of the game.  The last time that I visited South Brazil I was able to help coach the linemen on this team a couple of times.  I was continually looking to see if I recognized any of the players on the sideline.  I did recognize some of the faces.

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Time for the Kickoff

The game was pretty one sided with the Bulls only able to move the ball a little on offense when the Soldiers had penalties.  On defense it wasn’t much better as the Soldiers were able to move the ball and scored every possession.  There were some highlights for the Bulls as I saw a couple of their defensive linemen make some good plays in the backfield.  I look forward to being a guest coach the Bulls again in the near future and hope to help them with some skills that might make this more of a game the next time these two teams face off.

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Halftime Score

 

Construction Continues on the Church

The construction has continued on the church building.  It is so cool to see it going up.  We are hoping to have the dedication service this Sunday.  At this point the outside is looking very good.

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The outside is painted and really coming together.

Looking forward to the floor being painted in the sports area.  This will be where lots of activities happen and the church meetings are held.

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The inside is painted and the sports court/sanctuary looks great.

The rear of the church had to have fire resistant drywall and a small wall by the stairs needed to be constructed due to fire safety regulations.  The building code required the redesign of the building to include the fire resistant drywall and wall blocking off the stairs.  I am glad that this issue was found before the building construction was completed.

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The rear area and second story are progressing very well.

The room’s on the second floor consist of two offices and a large multipurpose room.  This room will have games and activities for all ages.

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The main room on the second floor will be huge.

A surprise for me when I last walked through the building was a mural that a short term missionary was painting.  It looks very good.  I can’t wait to see the completed mural.  I know that the kids and their parents will enjoy seeing this mural when they have church on Sunday mornings.

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The mural in the children’s room.

 

Internet Woes

One of the things which has been causing me to become frustrated is all of the internet issues in my apartment.  From the very beginning I have had trouble with the internet.  It began with the installation of the internet.  What should have been a fairly simple pull of a line from the common area took over 4 hours to do.  During this process they had to cut and splice back together the existing phone line to install the cable line.  The internet worked for a couple of days before it stopped working for no reason.  It took a couple of days to get the technicians back to fix the problem.  The internet worked again for a couple of days before going out again.  This pattern continued for almost 2 months.  Talking with the technicians they blamed an issue with the internet providers server.  It was at this point two months into living at my apartment that I decided to change providers.  I ended up paying for 2 months of internet service during which it only worked for about 16 non continuous days.

 

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First Internet Router

The problem with the internet caused me a great amount of frustration.  With the help of a lawyer from the church I was able to cancel my contract with the internet provider.  This meant that I had to get a new internet provider.  This time I was encouraged to get a fiber optic internet provider.  It was a very interesting thing to watch them pull fiber optic cable from the power poles on the street all the way into the apartment building and then up 5 floors  and over to my apartment.  The new companies technicians were able to run a single line the entire way without splicing it at all.  I was very pleased with their effort and look forward to having uninterrupted internet service and the ability to communicate with everyone.  Hopefully this will end this source of frustration in my life.

 

 

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Fiber optic internet router 

 

Baptism

On last Saturday I was able to attend a Baptism.  I was so excited to come to this baptism because I remember sharing the gospel with Carlos when I last visited in November/December 2015.

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Pre Baptism Fellowship

Carlos was one of the stories that I shared about my visit to Brazil while I was raising support to come back.  Carlos was one who attended the Hangout but didn’t want to talk about spiritual things.  While I was visiting the Hangout one night he asked a question that lead to a conversation where I was able to present the gospel to him.   He did not repent at that time but eventually he did repent.

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The Immersion

Over the last year and a half Carlos has repented and been discipled by one of the missionaries.  The missionary who has been discipling is going on furlough and he wanted to be baptized before the missionary left.  It is great to see answered prayers.

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Post Immersion

 

Church Work Day

This past Saturday we had a church work day in Ivoti.  It was great to see all of the people from the church who came to help.  I think that we made lots of progress during that one day.

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Preparing to Work

One of the things which really helped the painting during the church work day was using a paint sprayer.  It seems like Brazilians do not prefer to use a sprayer but using one really helped speed up the process.

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Spraying the wall with paint

We divided the work that needed to be done on Saturday.  There was the guys painting the rear wall, the bottom floor interior group, the second floor interior group and the front interior group.

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Painting the outside of the building

The second floor group did a great job painting the wall.  I helped up here and enjoyed painting with all of the ladies.

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Working on the second floor

The second floor looks great now that the painting has been done, the floor has been poured, and the water tanks have been installed.

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Progress on the second floor

The back wall looks great from all the work that the back wall crew did.

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Progress completed on the back of the building

We got lots of painting done on the front of the building and lots of gravel placed.

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Progress completed on the front of the building

 

Field Team Meeting

I had the opportunity to attend my first field team meeting a couple of weeks ago.  It was a great time of prayer and fellowship.  I was looking forward to the first field team meeting and it didn’t disappoint.  It is very clear that everyone enjoys each other and it was a very relaxed affair.

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Field Team Prayers

I am looking forward to the next meeting even though I will miss two of the families and two of the short term single missionaries.  I will need to get used to these meetings as we have them quarterly.

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Field Team Fellowship

 

Portuguese Language Study

I have enjoyed and been challenged by my Portuguese Language Study.   There are different opportunities presented during my studies.  One of those opportunities is to learn new vocabulary terms.  This is an area where memorization is a key component of being prepared for class.

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Family Terms

Another area of language study is being able to verbally understand and respond to questions.  This is something which memorization doesn’t help that much with.  I need experience with listening to people and responding to help me in this area.  I had one class where I felt so comfortable during this session that I thought I was a 2 year old speech wise instead of the 1 year old that I actually am.

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Calendar information

Another aspect of language study is bible reading.  Each week there is a new verse which we read every day during class and which I am supposed to be memorizing during that week.  So far I have not been able to memorize any of the weekly verses but I hope to catch up by the end of the year.

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Practice using different terms

 

 

Church Construction

The construction has continued in the church and lots of progress has been made.  I am so excited to see how the new church building is progressing.  It took a long time but the concrete floor has been poured.

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The floor has been poured.

After the concrete was poured it was time to start the block wall construction of the rear rooms.  The first floor rooms are walled in with blocks.  It was great to see the walls going up in the rear of the building.

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Walls are going up.

Not only did the rear walls go up pretty fast but the installation of the stairwell meant that we could finally access the second floor without a ladder.

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Rear walls are almost completed

Not only has the interior been worked on but the exterior has been coming along as well.  It is great to see the after effects of the blasting that was previously done.  The church is built on bedrock and the bedrock had to be blasted to open up a space for the septic system.

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Septic tanks have been installed.

The area around the septic tanks is being backfilled with soil to eventually provide some parking places for the church.

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Septic tanks have been almost covered

The view from the second floor shows how large the church actually is.  There is a huge concrete area where soccer, basketball, and sports can be played.

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The interior of the church is huge