A Missionaries Real Day

After giving my perspective on what I thought was the ideal missionary day I want to give you a picture of an actual day in my life.

I wake up early so that I can study, pray, and exercise before class.  After reading my bible I normally begin to do some studying before it get’s light enough for me to go and get some exercise.  The bible reading and prayer times are not as rich as I would hope for.  At times it feels like I am talking to a wall instead of the God of the universe when I am praying.

Real 4

How devotional and prayer time feel at times.  Just empty framework.

The day continues with me not understanding what is going on during my Portuguese class.  It seems like I am starting to understand what is going on during class but my mind is not functioning properly.

Real 3

Pictorial representation of the mess in my brain during Portuguese class at times

I get to go and have lunch after class with friend.  We talk in English and for that I am thankful.  At the end of lunch I forgot that I had a meeting later that day.  I check my phone for the time and figure out that I can actually make the meeting on time.

I get to my meeting and the person that I am meeting is going to be getting there late.  We had a great conversation and I eventually look at my watch and realize that we just spent 3 hours at the meeting and not 1 hour like I planned.

Real 2

Empty Parking Space means I get to walk to class

After the meeting I run to the auto mechanic to get car fixed.  The day before I noticed that my air conditioner was not working and my car wouldn’t two minutes after I turned it off.  I get to the mechanics and thankfully he is still there.  I then called uber for the first time in my life to get home.  I am now going to have to uber back to the mechanic tomorrow to pick up my car in the afternoon.

Real

Time to clean so I can study

When I get home I remember that I still have to clean and do laundry today before I begin to study for class tomorrow.  I am actually hungry and open my refrigerator to reveal that I have some pasta left over from earlier in the week and not much else in the fridge.

Real 1

Home to an almost empty refrigerator

I was able to study for 2-3 hours at night before I got too tired and began to watch the Thursday night football game until I went to sleep.

 

Advertisements

Importance of Friends

During the very quick trip back to California I was able to spend a couple of meals with some friends.  Unfortunately I was unable to see and meet with every friend in the area.  One of my oldest friend’s Ken and his wife Sherrie happened to be visiting my parents at the same time I did.  It was great to be able to have breakfast with Ken and my Dad.

Friends 1

Dad, Ken, and Me

I was also able to have dinner and catch up with two dear friends of mine.  Matt and Josh are also old friends of mine.  It was great to have a meal with them and their family one evening.  I am so thankful to have faithful friends who support me.

Friends

Josh, Matt, Seth, and Me

No missionary is an island unto themselves.  I was reminded of this during my visit to the United States this past week.  I am so blessed to have many friends all over the United States who are faithfully supporting me in many ways.  I wish that I could have spent time with all of my friends who contacted me about visiting when I was in the States.  I think that I will need at least 6 months to visit everyone when I return again in about 3 years.

 

A Missionaries Ideal Day

When I thought of being a missionary I had many preconceived notions of what it would be like and how I might be different than the norm.  I knew that my day would never mirror the day that I describe below but it didn’t keep me from dreaming that this day might actually happen.

The ideal day would begin with getting up and having a wonderful 1 hour devotional time studying the scriptures and praying.  Following the studying of the scriptures and prayer I would go and get about an hour of exercise during which I would be able to continue to pray.

Ideal Day 2

Portuguese Class

After this I would prepare to go to Portuguese class.  While in class I would instantaneously understand all of the material for the day and be able to clearly articulate these things to my teacher.  Following class I would go to the local supermarket and pick up the exact food that I am wanting to eat for the day.  I would run into a neighbor who want to talk.  We would have a great conversation about life that would end with me inviting them to come to church and them saying that they would come next Sunday.

Ideal Day

Quality Conversations

On my way home I ran into the lady who cleans the common space in the apartment building.  We have a great conversation that began with the current weather and ended with a great conversation about how she is Roman Catholic and how that is different than being Christian.

Following this conversation I was able to study and understand all that I was trying to learn in my Portuguese class.  After about 5 hours of quality study time I feel very accomplished and ready for my guests to arrive.

Ideal Day 1

Fellowship with Church Friends

That evening I have a family from the local church come over to my house for dinner.  We have a great time over food and I am able to clearly communicate with them in Portuguese.  We play games until midnight and then I get some quality sleep until I wake up the next morning.  Thus ends my ideal day.

Agape Fellowship

Two Sunday’s ago my church in Brazil had an Agape Fellowship time of prayer, communion, and fellowship.  It was great to have about 30+ people come to the Agape Fellowship.  I enjoyed listening to all of the people praying and the devotional.

Agape

Corporate Prayer

After corporate prayer, the devotional, and communion we had a potluck.  It was great to have all of the people make different things to eat.  For this Agape Fellowship I made Mac & Cheese similar to what my grandmother used to make.  The big difference is that they do not have Velveeta cheese in Brazil so I had to use a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese to make the cheese sauce.  The Mac & Cheese was well received by the people at the church.

Agape 1

Lunch is Served

After getting your food we all sat down at one long table to eat all of the food.  I am thankful for my friends at the church who speak a little slower when I am around so that I can better follow the conversation and even participate.

Agape 2

Meal with the Church

Thankful for Friends

Over the past few months I have had many friends come over to my house.  As much as I have enjoyed having them over and cooking different meals for them I was reminded this past week about how much things have changed recently.  I had a few friends over this past week and they commented on how much my language skills have improved from the last time they visited.  I am so thankful for friends who are willing to come over and put up with my non-existent to poor language skills.  Of course it helps when you bribe them with good food.

 

Friends

Food Bar

 

This past visit was special for me as I was able for the first time to pray in Portuguese before the meal.  I feel like it went ok.  The other thing that was special was that I was able to give about a 10 minute devotional in Portuguese for my friends.

 

Friends 1

Food and Fellowship

 

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.

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

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.

4th 2

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.

4th 4

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.

4th 5

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.

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

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.

hosting 3

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