Visiting Igreja Batista Pioneira

When I returned from the youth retreat last week I immediately left to go and visit Igrejas Batista Pioneira in Santa Cruz and Vera Cruz.  I was very encouraged to be able to meet with these like minded men.

Santa Cruz

Cal, Jair, Marco, and Me at the Church in Vera Cruz

One of the great things that happened during this visit was being able to hear the philosophy of ministry for these churches.  I was impressed by their articulation of the philosophy of ministry and it excites me to see these men desiring to radically pursue Christ and see the church body also do likewise.

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Listening to a presentation on the Philosophy of Ministry

With any good church there is a group of men who lead the church.  It was great to hear the excitement of the men on the leadership team at the church in Santa Cruz.  I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the day with such great guys and to have so many good encouraging conversations about ministry and the churches.

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Enjoying a meeting with leaders at the Church in Santa Cruz


Cultural Learning: Returns

I purchased a triple pot crock pot in November and had to return it after the first time I used it.  I figured that sense I purchased the item at Sam’s Club that it would be as easy as it is in the US to return a defective product.  However, I was pretty wrong.  I had assumed that I could just walk in and exchange the item or get the money put back on my credit card.  That did not happen.


Crock Pot to be Returned

I found out that there were three options for a returning an item.  1) I get store credit that is only good for that day and can be used to exchange for the same item or purchasing other items, 2) I get store credit that can be used another day for a direct exchange or on other items only during that day.  This is a little different because they don’t accept the return until you decide to use the credit so you leave with a signature of the manager and the item you wanted to return, or 3) They will credit back your credit card but it will take a minimum of 2 months to return the money to your credit card.

Two New Unique Experiences

This past weekend I had two unique experiences.  The first was that of driving on a car ferry and then crossing the mouth of a large lagoon.  It was really a bitter sweet time for me because I had to drive a girl who got sick to the local hospital.  It was very interesting because when we arrived at the hospital we found out that the doctors had gone on strike so that they were not receiving any patients who were not going to die.  So we simply returned over the ferry again.

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Car Ferry accross the inlet at the lagoon near Laguna, Santa Catarina

The second unique experience was that of riding inside of a car on top of a tow truck.  While on the way back to the rental property I noticed that my car was overheating very quickly.  When I got out of the car I could hear a hissing sound but could not find the leak.  I messaged my mechanic and he said to try and get the car back so that he could take a look at what was wrong.  Other guys at the retreat also looked at the car and could not find the source of the hissing. (It turns out that there was a leak in a hose to the radiator and that was fixed.)

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Friends Looking at the Car

Therefore I topped off the water in the radiator and tried to limp the car back to Ivoti which was about 380 km away.  I got about 2 km down the road when the engine over heated again and I had to shut it down.  We called the insurance company at about 8 pm and it was 10:15 pm before the tow truck arrived to take me home.


Waiting for the Tow Truck to come

Being as there was 3  people in the car and only two could fit in the cab of the tow truck the driver allowed us to illegally keep two in the cab of the car on the back of the two truck.  It turned out to take about 7 hours to get us back to my house on the back of the tow truck.  That meant that we arrived home at 5 am on Monday morning.

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Arriving at 5 am Monday morning


Youth Retreat in Santa Catarina

I had the privilege of preaching at a youth retreat this past weekend.  I was so thankful for the opportunity which was presented to me.  I prepared to preach 4 different messages on Evangelism over the weekend.  The three messages were 1) Our Great Salvation, 2) The Gospel Messenger, 3) Preaching the Gospel, 4) Examples of Gospel Proclamation in the Scriptures.


Awesome Retreat Housing

The youth message was well received by the majority of the youth at the retreat.  I heard that one of the non-Christians repented during the retreat and that many of the Christians were challenged by the different messages.

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Breakfast at the Beach

I enjoyed the various beaches we were able to visit while at the retreat.  I had a wonderful time at the great beaches with the youth group.  One of the cultural takeaways for me from the weekend was how much Brazilians enjoy their beaches.

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Beach Day

I also enjoyed talking with all of the youth at the retreat.  I was reminded of how much progress I have made in my Portuguese language skills and also how much farther I still need to grow.  It was frustrating to not be able to communicate at times and how I could only understand some of the general conversation topics and not all of the specifics.  One of the encouraging parts was listening to the translation and being able to understand most of the translation.

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Bonfire Preaching Opportunities

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Beautiful Beaches in Santa Catarina


Visiting Estadio Beira Rio

In this part of Brazil there are two soccer teams which people cheer for, International and Gremio.  In time I will have to choose which team I will root for but prior to choosing a team I have told everyone that I will need to visit each of the stadiums and experience what it is like to be a fan.  Visiting Estadio Beira Rio, Riverfront Stadium, was a great experience for me.

Selfie at Estadio Beira Rio

The rivalry between the two teams is very serious and both fan bases are very passionate about their teams.  I don’t really know what to compare it to except for the Giants and Dodgers baseball rivalry in California.  Both fan bases believe that their teams are the best and don’t like the other team.

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Roberto, Bladimir, and Me

Going to the stadium was an experience.  I didn’t know that you could sell more tickets than seats for each game.  It turns out that you can purchase season tickets and get an ID card to use when you enter each game.  I am glad that I was able to experience the game with Roberto and Bladimir.

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Great International Fans

One of the things that really stood out to me was the passionate rooting of the fans at the stadium.  I was told that passionate soccer fans are called hooligans and it was amazing to see them standing up and chanting the entire time that the team was on the field.  I had never seen a group of fans stand for the entire first half chanting and waving their arms.

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Watching the Game

I have lots to learn about the game of futbol or soccer.  I still do not understand what they are doing at all times and what the players are trying to accomplish with their formations but I want to learn.  The best way to learn is to watch and ask questions.

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Players thanking the Fans

Before everyone thinks that I have chosen the side, I want to say that I have not decided on a side yet.  Once I choose a team I will write a blog about that but before I choose I still need to visit the Arena do Gremio.



First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I normally spend with friends and/or family.  This year was my first Thanksgiving as a full time missionary in Brazil.  This year I was in charge of making the green bean casserole and the broccoli casserole.  I enjoyed making the casseroles and it seems like people enjoyed them because there was only a couple of servings of green beans left when I came home.


Broccoli, Bacon, Rice and Cheese Casserole

I loved that we were able to get together as a missions team for Thanksgiving.  We also were able to have some other expat’s come to the Thanksgiving festivities.  It was awesome to see the great turkey’s carved and then enjoyed by all.

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Carving the Turkey

There was plenty of food for everyone to enjoy at the meal.  After the meal we were able to watch some American Football and play some games with the kids.  I really enjoyed my first Thanksgiving as a missionary in Brazil and I look forward to many more Thanksgivings in the years to come.

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Plenty of food for everybody


Preaching in Portuguese

I am thankful that I was able to preach an entire sermon in Portuguese this past Sunday.  I not only prepared the message in Portuguese but I also prepared slides so that people could follow the message easier.

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Beginning of the Sermon

The message was written in manuscript form and was on Hebrews 2:1-4 with the title A Great Salvation.  There were three points to the passage, A Great Savior, A Great Message, and The Great Messengers.

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Looking Up from the Reading

There are many different errors that I can remember in my sermon.  Of the problems that I identified there were none that are not correctable.  I am so thankful for the gracious people who listened to my sermon and gave me many compliments after in spite of the miss prounced words, poorly contrasted slides, and poor reading skills.


The Power Point needs work

I am so thankful that despite all of the errors this still represented great progress in my Portuguese language abilities.  I am also thankful for all of the kind words of encouragement from not only the members of the church but also from the visitors who came not expecting an American to be preaching.  Most of all I am thankful that the LORD will continue to do his work through his word even with the poor delivery from this messenger.

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Making an emphatic point


Preparing to Preach

It takes a long time for me to properly prepare to preach.  The normal process begins with prayer and reading the passage multiple times.  Following reading the passage in English I then turn to the Greek or Hebrew and look at the passage in the original language.  Following the study of the language in the original languages I will then outline the message in English.  After that I would be ready to preach in English.  However, the process is much longer to prepare to preach in Portuguese.


Lots of Time Typing the Sermon in Portuguese

My limited language abilities in Portuguese necessitate me writing a manuscript of the entire sermon.  The manuscript is then edited and revised multiple times.  I think that I have 6-7 different revisions that happened to help me prepare for the message.  I am so indebted to my professor and all of the Brazilians who helped me with the grammar and revisions of what I was trying to express in Portuguese.

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Grammar Editing by my Portuguese Professor

One of the great things was thankful for were the people who didn’t know that they were going to help me with my sermon but did anyways.  One day while I was at the Hangout, a coffee shop in Sao Leopoldo, I couple of people who came in were able to read the entire sermon that was prepared at that point and give me some pointers with my grammar.

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Grammar Help from Non-Christians

One of the last steps was to meet with a couple of friends for the purpose of helping me with fine tuning what I was trying to say and also helping me with my pronunciation.  It was difficult but one of the meeting was held at the local Mexican food restaurant, this was good for Brazilian Mexican food.

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Reviewing the grammar with a Pastor Friend


Car Problems

Last week I saw my check engine light come on my car as I drove home Tuesday night.  I contacted the mechanic and then took my car in.  When I got in on Wednesday I talked with the mechanic and he said that the car should be fine to drive until this week when I had an appointment to install a new engine head gasket.  On my way home I noticed that the engine seemed to be overheating.  As I pulled into my garage I saw the engine oil light start to flicker.  I took a picture and shut off the car.

Car problems

Overheating and Engine Oil Pressure Light

When I saw the engine starting to overheat I saw some wisps of smoke coming out of my engine compartment.  When I got home about 2-3 minutes later I opened the hood to see what was going on and I was greeted with smoke pouring out of my motor.  I took a video if it is you want to see just click on the link.  I got to learn that insurance in Brazil includes towing services which I used with the help of a Brazilian friend to tow my car back to the mechanics.  The mechanic checked out the car and said that I had burned up the engine head gasket and it would take them a week to fix the car.  So I had an opportunity to rent a car in Brazil for the second time.  It is great practice for me to be driving a stick shift around here.

I am very thankful for all of my friends and team mates who helped me with some of the very difficult phone conversations and in person conversations which are required with the mechanic, towing service, and car rental place.  Without you this would have been an even more sanctifying situation.

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Rental Car




National Bird Park

During afternoons at the conference we had free time where we could go and see some local sights, play games, catch up on sleep or get some work done.  On Monday afternoon a large group went to the National Bird Park.  I got a picture with my room mate Nathan at the entrance to the park.


My and My roommate

For the majority of the park I was walking with Jackson.  We had a great time seeing all of the different birds, crocodiles, snakes and lizards.  We got a great picture with Jackson’s favorite bird, the Toucan, in the background.

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Me and Jackson

This bird park had different aviaries where we could view some very cool birds.

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Cool Parrots

Many of these birds were so used to humans that it seemed like they would pose for the picture.  I found this bird hiding behind a pillar so that most people would not see him.  However he was at eye level for me and I was able to get some cool close up shots.

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I forget what this bird’s name is but he has a very distinctive bump on the top of his head that I felt was very cool.

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Unique Birds

This Parrot seemed to be modeling when I was taking pictures of him.  He would move a little and then pause and then reposition himself and pause again.  It was a great opportunity to see all of the cool birds at the park.

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Big Parrot