Conversations in Portuguese

My skills in Portuguese seem to be growing every day.  I am a slow learner but try to learn something new every day.  I have seen my conversation skills grow markedly every week recently.  When I listen to Portuguese I have a simple inner monologue going.  I first am listening for all of the words that I understand which have been said.  Then I am telling myself the different possibilities of what was said based on the context and words I recognized.  The next part of the monologue is normally do I understand enough to respond.  If I do then I will think to myself do I have the vocabulary to say a response that makes sense.  Finally I think about if I actually want to respond.

conversations 3

Past Portuguese Understanding

This internal monologue has gotten better each and every week as I understand more vocabulary.  Here is some of the progress that I have made.  When I had only been in country about a month and a half I went to a wedding.  At this wedding we had some great table conversation which I really didn’t understand much of at all.  I was able to pick up a few words here and there but I do remember two specific words that were actually only one word.  The words were “de coracao”  which means “the heart”  I thought that they were talking about the heart of the matter in my internal monologue.  It lead me to actually respond that I understand.  Later I was told that the word I heard was “decoracao” and actually means decoration.

conversations 2

Current Portuguese Understanding

A few months later the internal monologue is different when I talk with a guy after the church service.  We were able to talk about cooking food, talking about missing another missionary on furlough, and how nice the church/dedication service was.  This conversation went so well that when I expressed how my Portuguese has not been progressing as well as I wanted.  During this conversation making a story to accompany the words that I was able to follow was easier.

conversations

Future Portuguese Understanding

One day in the future I hope that I will not have to fill in as many words in the stories that I tell myself during a conversation in Portuguese.

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Things I Enjoy about Brazil (#1-5)

There are many differences between the United States and Brazil.  Some of them I enjoy and some of them I find very frustrating.  I would like to begin to list many things that I enjoy about Brazil.  Some will be trivial and some profound but all are my opinion.

  1. Having a light switch at the head of my bed that controls the light in my bedroom.

    Likes

    Easy to Reach Switch

  2. Coke is better in Brazil.

    coke

    My Stash of Coke and other drinks

  3. I know my Butcher.

    Butcher

    My Local Butcher, Ze, hooks me up with quality meat

  4. Brazilian BBQ is great and is built into most homes.  Mine is located in my family room, makes it easier to grill.

    BBQ

    Built in BBQ Pit

  5. One of the things that I get frustrated with using the English language is the lack of a plural you.  The Portuguese language has the plural you in the language (Voces) and I intend to put it to good use.  Those of youall in the south know what I am talking about.

First Visitor

I had the privilege of hosting my friend Wagner this past week.  Wagner is my first visitor from the United States and is looking at the possibility of returning to Brazil as a missionary.  Got to show him some of the missions opportunities in here in South Brazil.

Visit 2

Wagner and Friends over for Lunch

It was a blessing to have Wagner visit.  Wagner is a Brazilian who speaks very good Portuguese.  I am so thankful that he had the opportunity to share with the Youth Group.

Visit 3

Wagner preaching at the Youth Group

There were other brothers who also were visiting South Brazil to look at the opportunities in South Brazil.  It was great to be able to spend some time with Wagner, Ronaldo and Justin.

Visit

Wagner, Me, Ronaldo and Justin

Wagner’s visit also provided an opportunity for me to preach as he was able to translate the sermon this past Sunday night.  It was a blessing to be able to share with the body.  It was a great blessing to be encouraged by Wagner during this visit.  I look forward to more visits from friends.

Visit 1

Wagner translating as I preached

Missionary Difficulties: Death in the Family

Death 2

Grandpa and Grandma 1949

When I left the United States to be a missionary in Brazil I knew that there would be some difficulties that would happen.  One of those difficulties I thought through was “How do you deal with the death of a family member?”  This has already happened to me.  On July 9th when I woke up to a message saying that one of my grandmothers had passed away.

Death 1

Grandpa and Grandma with their 3 children 1963

I had thought through two different options: Stay in Brazil or Return to the United States.  This is a real issue that I am thinking through again.  I absolutely love my grandmother and always thought it would be an easy decision but now that I am facing the decision there is no easy answer.  No matter what I decide I will have some regrets.

Death

Grandpa and Grandma as I remember them

As a missionary there are difficulties in the course of life that we will face.  “The death of a family member” is a difficulty that I expected to have happen during my time as a missionary but I did not expect it to happen so quickly.  Being away from family at this time provides a clear opportunity to trust and be comforted by Christ.  I am struggling with my love for my earthly family, specifically my grandmother, and my longing for being with my heavenly family.  Longing to be with my heavenly family has brought me to be in Brazil.  As I am struggling with this difficulty I have had to find comfort in the scriptures.  Specifically, I find peace that the scriptures that say leaving your family is worth the cost to share the gospel and follow Christ.  Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, and Luke 14:26 all very clearly teach that being a missionary in another country is worth the cost.  The difficulties and hardships are very real but so is the comfort that I find with knowing these scriptures.  I am also comforted in knowing that my family is not limited to only those who are flesh and blood.  The scriptures say that when you become a Christian you gain more family.  Matthew 12:30, Mark 3:35, and Luke 8:21 all say that the Christians family is those who are doing the will of the Father.  I am comforted by the knowledge that I am getting to know more family here in Brazil.

Building Dedication Service

Dedication

Outside of Church Building

Last Saturday evening we had a building dedication service.  It was a great event that is the culmination of lots of work but the beginning of lots more.  The building is awesome.  When I visited South Brazil in 2015 the church was in the process of purchasing the land for this building.  I can remember talking with the missionary about his dream for the building.  I think that this building is different than his dream but it is still awesome.

Dedication 1

Pre Service Conversations

The dedication really showed off how large the church building is.  There was plenty of room to have 200+ seats for a service and then to also have enough room to have an after service hang out area.  It was very encouraging to see people from 5+ churches attend the 8 pm Saturday night service.  I was so encouraged to see all of excitement that the church body had at this dedication.

Dedication 2

Packed House – Church members brought their own chairs

I am looking forward to all of the different ways that this building is going to be used.  It is my prayer that the LORD would use this building for his glory and many opportunities for ministry would be facilitated through this building.

Dedication 3

Someone Wanted a Picture with Me

4th of July in Brazil

The Fourth of July has always been about spending times with friends and enjoying a celebration of the freedom that we enjoy in the United States.  I think that I have almost always been in the states to celebrate.  This year I celebrated in Brazil.  I would say that the thing that I missed the most was the lack of fire works.

4th

Rehydrating beans for Chili

It was my responsibility to make the chili for the party.  This was the first time that I made chili without using canned beans.  I was surprised at how much moisture the beans soaked up when rehydrating them.  I also struggled with not having the normal spices that I would use to make chili so I had to make due with the spices that I had.  I was very pleased with the results.  The chili not only tasted like chili and my house smelled like chili, which was awesome.

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Crock Pot Chili

I celebrated the 4th of July at the Hangout.  We made chili, cornbread, and apple pie.  It turned out to be a great party.  Many of the Brazilians enjoyed the American food and it was the happening place to celebrate.

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Fourth of July at The Hangout

Playing games is a normal part of being at the Hangout and the 4th of July was not an exception.

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Game Time

 

 

15 Reasons Why I am Unable to Sleep

Normally I do not have a sleeping problem.  I used to think that I could sleep well everywhere.  I have normally had trouble sleeping for a night or two in a new place but it only lasts until I get used to all of the new sights and sounds.  Over the past few weeks I have not been able to sleep well at all.  5-6 hours a night are normally enough for me to function but I have been averaging 4-5 hours a night recently.

The inability for me to sleep has led me to reflect on some excuses that my cousins child had to not be sleeping.  Here is a partial list of his excuses: his was thirsty, hot, needed socks, he saw a cat pooping on the lawn, his parents didn’t kiss him goodnight, he misses his mom, he love his mom, he needed to give one more hug, he heard his sister kicking the wall, he is not tired, he is cold, and he want’s his back scratched just to name a few.  While he had many excuses I also have a few of my own.

Sleep

Nice Bed to Sleep In

I have had enough time to analyze why I have not been able to sleep.  Here are a list of reasons why I have not been able to sleep recently.

  1. The bed is not comfortable.
  2. It is too cold in my apartment.
  3. It is too cold in my bed.
  4. I can hear the refrigerator running.
  5. I can hear the windows rattling in my apartment.
  6. I can hear the rain pounding the window.
  7. I have acid reflux from eating too late at night.
  8. I have acid reflux from eating to much sugar.
  9. I have too much on my mind to sleep.
  10. I am worried about language school.
  11. I am just not tired.
  12. There is lots of caffeine in my system.
  13. I took a long nap that day.
  14. It is stuffy in my room.
  15. I am so tired that I can’t sleep.

I have done my best to deal with all of the excuses that have stopped me from being able to sleep at night.

  1. The bed is comfortable.
  2. I turned on the heater.
  3. Put on new blankets on the bed and purchased another one.
  4. I closed the door to my room.
  5. I closed the storm shade.
  6. I stopped eating right before I go to bed.
  7. I have changed my diet from eating as much sugar.
  8. I have tried to get more exercise each day.
  9. I have tried to stop drinking as much caffeine each day.
  10. I have tried to get on a schedule of when I go to sleep and when I get up.

One of these days I will either get too tired to stay awake and start to get some consistent sleep or I will figure out a way to actually get some regular rest.

Culture Shock: Battle for Control

I still battling culture shock on many different fronts.  One of the fronts which I have seen the war rage is that of control.  When I first arrived in Brazil I was warned by other missionaries that control would be one of the areas that I struggled.  I have strived in my life to be under control in many ways.  It actually scares me to not be in control.  In Brazil I am not in control in many ways.

food 1

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Avocado Burger

The lack of control has been difficult to deal with.  I find myself complaining when I am not able to control the situation.

food 2

Grilled Chicken and Pad Thai

I am able to control what I eat when I cook the food.  It is good to be able to cook different kinds of food that feel like eating.  I really enjoy using all of the fresh ingredients and great meat which are available around here.  The only draw back for all of this cooking is that I have to do all of the cleanup after cooking.

food 3

Steak with Bell Peppers and Onions

As I battle culture shock by exerting control I am continually reminded that I need to trust that the LORD is in control even when I am not.  I have found myself thinking of Proverbs 3:5-6 continually and trusting in the LORD to work everything out.  I am also thinking lots about Romans 8:28 where simple truths are presented that are a great comfort to me.  The truths which bring me comfort are “God is actively at work,” “God is working these events together for good,” and “God has made a plan.”

food

Chicken Fritters and Rice