Overconfidence

When learning Portuguese I feel like I am in a boxing match that I am loosing.  The first two to three rounds have been very rough.  Recently I feel like I have turned a corner and I felt like I was going to either win round four or at least break even.  I felt like I confidence that I would maybe win a round.  This time I feel like I got kicked in the nuts because I have not won this round but I lost yet again.  This loss cam while purchasing curtains for my apartment.  I went with a great family from church to get the original fabric and they graciously took me to the seamstress to get the curtains made.  The seamstress called and said that the fabric that I had purchased was not the correct size.  I felt confident enough to handle this without any assistance.  However,  I was mistaken because the fabric store ladies kept on saying that they gave me the right amount and the seamstress had miss cut the fabric on purpose.  They also said many other things which I didn’t pick up or understand.  I wish that I had brought one of the many people who have offered to help in times such as this.  Instead I felt that too confident and actually ended up purchasing the required fabric again.  I look forward to a time where I will be able to argue a little during situations like this.

 

Curtains

Extra Fabric from Curtains

I am so thankful that I was able to get at least one curtain made that fit where I wanted it to fit.  The other curtain does not fit because of some structural beams that I am not able to drill through.  I am so thankful for being able to finally get the curtains made for my apartment.

 

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Good Looking Curtains

 

 

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.

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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

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

Church Building Dedication Service

Lots of work has gone into completing the church building for Ministerio Biblico Ivoti.  I have had the joy of helping with many different parts of this construction.  I am looking forward to the dedication service which will take place on July 8th.  However before the dedication service the church will be hosting a missions conference on June 30-July 2.

 

building

Dedication Service Poster

 

Love from the States

It is so encouraging to know that there are many people in the United State who are praying for me and care about me.  I know that every missionary enjoys to hear from the people who helped send them to their final destination.  There are four specific ways that I have felt encouragement from those back in the states.  The most simple was is the e-mail and phone communication that I have received from supporters in the United States.  I really enjoy reading all of the e-mails that I get in response to the prayer letters and updates that I send out on a monthly and quarterly basis.  If you want to receive the monthly prayer letters and quarterly updates please sign up here.

The second way that I feel encouraged is by the communication that I have gotten from my sending church.  I have gotten messages from different leaders who are my friends.  One of the other major ways that I have felt encouraged over the past couple of months is a Skype call that I have received from my sending church pastors.  I remember talking with another missionary who had been on the field for over 11 years before getting contacted by their sending church.

Sending Church

Skype with Placerita Church Pastors

The third way that I have been encouraged is from receiving gifts from different families in my sending church.  These gifts have normally come in the form of different items placed into a white envelope.  Each envelope contains different items which represent the individual or families who have filled it.

May Gift

Contents of a Gift Envelope

The fourth way that I have felt encouragement from the states is to have my sending church and many others lifting me up in prayer.

Sending Church 1

Sending Church Updating the Body

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

This weekend I made some Peanut Butter Cookies.  The primary ingredient is peanut butter but the peanut butter in Brazil is very different than the US.  I think that the peanut butter in Brazil is less oily and sugary which causes the recipe I normally use to produce drier cookies.  This is the second time that I have tried to make Peanut Butter Cookies in using Brazilian peanut butter.  I think that I have figured out how to modify the recipe to my satisfaction.

cookies 3

Brazilian Peanut Butter

The cookie recipe is very simple with only four ingredients.  Peanut butter, sugar, eggs, and crushed peanuts are the only things that are needed.  The ratios are approximate but here is what I used 750 grams Brazilian Peanut Butter, 3 eggs, 150 grams crushed peanuts, and 500 grams sugar.  The most difficult part of baking this is the actual baking but the ovens here are a little temperamental.  200 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes makes good cookies in one of my ovens.  However, in the other it is about 20 minutes of cooking at 200 degrees.

cookies

The recipe makes a couple of cookies.

I took these cookies to the church Agape fellowship meeting on Sunday.  I believe that everyone liked the cookies very much.  I got many compliments and then also had a few ladies ask for the recipe.  I even got one guy saying that my wife will like the fact that I can cook.

cookies 1

Cookies Pre Church Agape Fellowship

The best compliment that I got was that almost all of the cookies were gone by the time I got home.  I think that I will keep this recipe around.

cookies 2

Cookies Post Church Agape Fellowship

Church Building Construction Continues

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to work on different parts of the church building.  I have enjoyed constructing some of the cabinets.  I am so thankful for having the tools that I brought with me from the United States they have been very helpful.

construction 5

Constructing Cabinets

The second floor is a great place for ministry.  There is a huge room which is great for ministry.  The picture below also shows the two offices on the second floor.

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Second floor Ministry Room

One of the most beautiful parts of the new building construction is a mural which was painted by a short term missionary.  I know that the little kids and especially the teachers/parents are going to love viewing it.

construction

Mural in Kid’s Room

There are two beautiful bathrooms in the building.  It is great to see the church coming together.

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Beautiful Bathrooms

Joy’s of Hospitality

I have had the joy of having many people over to my apartment this last month.  When people come over it normally includes food, conversation and maybe some games.  I was warned by other missionaries that I should probably make American food or another type of food that is not Brazilian when I host people.  So I have tried to make only food that I have not found in Brazil or at least different flavors than similar dishes in Brazil.

hosting 5

Home Made Chicken Wings

I tend to make different types of food that I feel like eating.  One day I had a hankering for chicken wings so I made them, they turned out to be a hit.  Another day I desired Italian food so I made baked pasta and home made garlic cheese bread.

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Italian Food

Not only do I get to enjoy good food but I also get to enjoy some great fellowship.  This is the difficult part of hosting.  Not being able to communicate even poorly in Portuguese is hindering some of my ability to host.  Even with this difficulty it has not stopped me from welcoming many people into my apartment.

hosting 4

Groups of Friends

A byproduct of hosting people is the ability for me to get to know different families in the church.  I really enjoy getting to know all of the precious families who have come over to my house.

hosting 1

Church Families

 

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.

easter

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.

easter 1

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

 

 

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.

construction 1

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.

construction 2

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.

construction 3

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.

construction 4

The mural in the children’s room.