Super Bowl and Portuguese Progress

In past years I would go to the city which hosted the Super Bowl and do some street preaching to share the gospel with all of the people who were there for this cultural event in the United States.  This year was different because I am living in Brazil and did not go to the host city.


Superbowl 3

Super Bowl Party 


I had 9 friends come over to my house for a Super Bowl party this year.  This year the kickoff was at 9:30 pm my time which was different than on the west coast when the game typically beings in the afternoon.  I wanted to make this party as typically American as I could so that my friends could experience some American culture.  I made some really typical American Super Bowl food (Hamburgers, different chips and different dips).

It was great fun to have friends come over and enjoy the game this year.  It was great to cheer for the Eagles to win their first Super Bowl this year.

Superbowl 2

Enjoying Food and Cheering for the Eagles


One major change for me this year was that I watched the Super Bowl in Portuguese.  I could not imaging that in the span of a year I would feel comfortable enough to watch an entire football game in Portuguese.  I have to admit that I did not understand everything but I was pleased with the progress that I have made at over the past year.


Memories of my Grandmothers

When I think of my grandmothers I always have great memories of them.  I can think of all of the amazing meals that we enjoyed together, the vacations we took together, the camping trips, and the lessons that they taught me.  These memories are often stirred when I see different things that they gave me or am reminded of a lesson they imparted.


grandma 1

Great Memories of Grandma Z.


A Grandmother has a very important place in the life of grandchildren.  I am so very thankful for all of the lessons that they taught me.


grandma 2

Great Memories of Grandma Candee


One of my grandmothers really did a great job of correcting my grammar and helping me understand the difference between “can” and “may.”  My other grandmother’s lesson that stands out is “learn something new each day.”

Youth Retreat

The past weekend I was able to attend a youth retreat with my church.  It seems like it is normal for each youth retreat to happen at a beach.  It was great to have a car full of people driving to the retreat at the beach at Imbe, Rio Grande do Sul.


Driving to the Retreat

The housing at the youth retreat was very cool and many people slept in tents outside the main rental house.

Retreat 1

Hanging out with People

Youth retreats can be very tiring and many people including me took a naps whenever we were able to.

Retreat 2

Youth Retreats can be tiring

I was thankful for all of the conversations in English and Portuguese which I was able to have with the people on the retreat.  I think that the picture below really shows how much fun we had.

Retreat 3

Fun Times

We had a party the last night at the beach and I think that many people had lots of fun.

Retreat 5

Party Night

The drive home from the retreat was great and we had some great conversations and even had one fall sleep during the trip.

Retreat 4

Driving Home from the Retreat


Year in Review: Fellowship Required

Throughout the year I tried to have people over to get to know them.  I am so thankful for the people who came over early because it was very difficult for me to communicate with them.  I would spend 2-3 hours preparing to try and say 2-3 phrases when I first had people come over.

Ideal Day 1

Dinner with Friends

One of the basic things that is required is having meat at meals.  I really enjoyed the Rio Grande do Sul culture of BBQed meat.  This was a staple of every meal that I served.


Dinner always includes meat

While the beginning of fellowship time at my place was difficult as the year progressed so did my Portuguese abilities.  Towards the end of the year I was able to enjoy many more and longer conversations during the fellowship times.

hosting 1

Great Opportunities for Conversations

At times I would have multiple families over at the same time.  I am so thankful for everyone who was able to come over and have fellowship during the year.  Next year I hope to have many more people come over for more fellowship.

Friends 1

Sometimes Groups Came

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.

retreat 1

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.

retreat 4

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.

retreat 3

Bonfire Preaching Opportunities

retreat 2

Beautiful Beaches in Santa Catarina


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.

Thanksgiving 1

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.

Thanksgiving 2

Plenty of food for everybody


All Brazil Conference

My first all Brazil conference was a great experience.  It was about a week long and had all of the ABWE missionaries from Brazil who were not on furlough.  It was great to have all of the visitors from the states there.  One church even sent 7 individuals to serve us at the conference.  There were also 13 other people who came to serve us at the conference.  I am so thankful for all of the different ways that these servants blessed us missionaries.


Introductions to the team from Bethesda that served us

We had a great time singing together during the conference.  It seemed like we would sing before and after each session.  It was the first time in 9 months where I was able to sing each song that was played during that part of the worship service.

Conference 2

Worship as a group

4 mornings during the week we had a training session for at least 3 hours.  The topic of this conference was Essential Mission Components 2.  During EMC 2 we learning about holistic ministry, networking, partnerships and some other topics.

Conference 1

EMC 2 in the mornings

At EMC 2 all of the different teams worked at different tables to go through all of the different topics.  It was a great opportunity to get to know my team better and to work as a group to better understand our region and how to strategically reach Rio Grande Do Sul.

Conference 4

Singing before each Session

One of the ways that us missionaries were blessed was all of the different candy that was brought from the US.  Our table especially liked the Reeses Peaunt Butter Cups.  I had some fun with our answer paddles on the table.

Conference 3

Fun with the answer boards

One evening we got to hear a story of how Al Yoder almost crashed his airplane once.  He was a great storyteller with not only great verbal inflections but also fantastic mannerisms and expressions.

Conference 5

Listening to Missionary Stories

A favorite part of the conference was talking with many of the veteran missionaries.  I was extremely blessed to have them drop some serious wisdom on me about missions and some practical tips specific to Brazil.


Receiving Wisdom from Veteran Missionaries


Culture Learning: Churrasco

One of the things that any missionary has to do is to learn the culture of the people and country where they are going to serve.  I have had some difficulty learning Brazilian culture but this time it was a joy.  An important aspect of the South Brazilian (Gaucho) culture is that of Churrasco or BBQ.  One night at the church they decided to make Costelas (Large Beef Ribs) and I had an opportunity to learn about this part of the culture from some of the men in the church.

Culture 1

Preparing the Meat (Costelas) Gaucho Style

It was great to be able to talk with these guys about some of the cultural differences in Churrasco in the United States and Brazil.  The simple difference is that in Brazil they like to really taste the flavor of the meat and only season it with salt while in the United States they like to add different flavors and sauces to the meat.

Culture 3

Learning from the Guys

The other thing that I really like about the Brazilian culture is that they cut slices off of the meat and snack as they cook.  I really enjoyed being able to sample the sausage and some of the meat that has already been cooked.

Culture 2

Snacking on meat

After the meat was cooked it was cut of the bones and into chunks before it was served.  These men are much more skilled with their knife work than I am but at some point in the future I hope to catch up. After reading this I am now hungry for Churrasco again and hope that you are too.  P.S. If you ever visit me we will definitely have to do Churrasco.

Culture 4

Costelas are served


Cooking Brazilian (Pastel)

I have not tried to cook many authentic Brasilian food in my time here except for churrhasco.  For a while I have been thinking about cooking a Pastel but have not tried until now.  A pastel is a baked or fried pocket filled with sweet or savory stuffing.  I decided to make a savory pastel.

Pastel 1

Savory meat sauce

The most important part of a pastel is the sauce.  I made a meaty sauce with onion, bell pepper, garlic and a tomato base.  It would be a great sauce and was specifically made nice and think so that it would not run out of the cooked pastel.


Pre-baking pastel stuffed with cheese and meat sauce

I purchased the pastel dough and stuffed it with motzerella cheese and the prepared sauce.  I then placed it on top of a metal rack so that the bottom of the pastel would be crisped while I baked it.

Pastel 2

Post baking pastel

The pastel turned out great with the filling piping hot and the dough nicely browned.  It was great to have the pastel dough nice and crisp and the correct liquid content in the stuffing so it did not flow out of the pastel after I cut it.  I will definitely have to make this again because it turned out great.

Pastel 3

Yummy Dinner


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.


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.