Fellowship and Language Practice

A great way to enjoy some fellowship and practice my language skills is to have people over to my house.  It is a great opportunity to get to know some people from the church and to do that I need to speak Portuguese.  I have found myself able to speak Portuguese easier the more that I have people over.  One of the draw backs of having people over is that I get tired and after having people over.  It normally takes me at least an hour to wind down after having a family over for an evening but on the upside I normally get a good nights sleep after.

Practice and Fellowship 1

Fellowship with Families

Another bonus to having people over is that I get to cook for not just myself  Most single people I know find it difficult, to some extent, to cook for themselves.  Most recipes that I know are for 4 people  and you end up putting in the same effort even if you only make one serving.  However,  when I have people over I get to think about different foods that I am craving which I would like to share with my guests.  Recently I have been craving American comfort food (Bacon Mac & Cheese, with grilled beef) and Thai food (Chicken Satay and Curry Pasta) which are two of the recent meals that I made for my friends.

Practice and Fellowship

Fellowship with Couples

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

 

 

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.

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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.

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Cookies Post Church Agape Fellowship

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.

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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.

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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.

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Church Families

 

Apartment Issues

I really am blessed to have my apartment.  However, there are some issued that I have found with the apartment recently.  During the first major rain storm I found a couple of places that were leaking.  One leak was found under the wall near the churrasqueira.  It was interesting to see the water seeping in along one of the seems.

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Water Leak between the cracks

Another place that I found a leak was behind the tiles in the laundry room.  It was interesting to see the water seeping through the back of the tiles.

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Water Leaking through the walls

The third issue that I have found was that my churrasqueira cracked the second time that I used it.  With me being the first to live in this apartment I did not expect the crack to appear already.

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Crack in the Churrasqueira

The crack spread down the wall in front.  As I think back the crack was probably due to the differential heating of the materials.  I am thankful to have the real estate office say that they were going to take care of these issues.  I realize that these are minor issues and I am so thankful for my apartment.

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Crack in the Granite of the Churrasqueira

 

First Churrasco

I have tried to invite people over to my apartment regularly.  Before last Friday night I had not ever made churrasco, Brasilian BBQ, by myself.  The churrasceira, Brazilian BBQ pit, had only been used once before by a friend of mine who grilled.

BBQ

Seasoning the Meat

 

When making churrasco it is important to order some good meat.  I only know how to order a couple of different kinds of meat from the butcher so I ordered what I know how to say, linguisa and filet minion.

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Meat on the Churrascaria

I enjoy cooking a good meal.  A good meal is best eaten when shared by friends.  I not only made steak and sausage but also seasoned sliced baked potatoes which were excellent.  I believe that my guests also had a good time.

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Friends to enjoy the food

 

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

 

 

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

 

Enjoying the New Diet

I am really enjoying my new diet in Brazil.  I am a fan of many different foods but I especially enjoy different meats.  Churrasco is Brazilan for BBQ.  The classic BBQ is done over a wood fire with simple seasonings like rock salt.  I enjoyed the beef, pork and chicken BBQ one Sunday afternoon with some people from the church.

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Backyard Churrasco

Schneider’s is a very nice and expensive Churrascaria (BBQ Restaurant) that I had the privilege of going to one day.  Some of the best things that they do is cow hump, filet minion, garlic roles, mozzarella balls, and their roasted pineapple desert.  Being a missionary is tough some times but for the sake of the gospel I will rough it.

Food

Schneider’s Churrascaria

As I was car shopping with one of the missionaries it came time for lunch.  We were driving by a place and he told me that this is the best Thai food in South Brazil.  The name of the restaurant is Thai in a Box.  I have to say that I was disappointed because I went to a good Thai food place just two weeks earlier before I left the states.  However,  I am told that in about 6 months to a year this will be a great place for Thai food.  On a side note this may be the only Thai place in South Brazil.

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Thai in a Box

One of the meals that I had was a great fresh chicken, fruit, and nut salad.  It is great to enjoy some awesome food.  This might have been the most healthy thing that I ate in the 3 weeks that I have been here.  I do have to say that I have been enjoying the food here and have found it good to only eat a couple of meals a day with the major meal actually happening around lunch time.

Food 1

A Healthy Salad