Baptism in Brazil

It was so exciting to be able to baptize two men this Sunday evening.  I have enjoyed watching these two guys grow in Christ during the 9 months that I have been in Brazil.  A few weeks ago we were talking and they both expressed interest in getting baptized.  On Sunday night I had the pleasure of baptizing Richter and Thomas.

Baptism 2

Pre-Baptism Picture with Richter and Thomas

One of the best parts of a baptism is listening to the testimonies of those who are getting baptized.  It was great to listen to both of these young men testify to the work that Christ has done in their lives.  After the testimonies I gave a short devotional in Portuguese about the purpose of baptism.  The worst part of giving this devotional was getting bitten by the bugs.

Baptism

Explanation of Baptism in Portuguese

The pool was a little deeper than I thought it would be but it made it really easy to baptize these two young men.  Thomas was the first man that I have ever baptized.

Baptism 1

Baptism of Thomas

I absolutely loved the fist pump that Richter gave after being baptized.  I look forward to more baptisms as the LORD works in the lives of many people in Rio Grande do Sul.  It was awesome to be able to get to baptize these two men.

Baptism 3

Baptism of Richter

 

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Church in the Dark

On October 1st the storm in Ivoti caused the power to go out at the church.  It was a blessing to see the body still come together for worship.

Night

Fellowship in the Dark

The conversations that normally happen before and after continued as if there were lights in the building.  Even with the only lighting being emergency lights the fellowship was real.

Night 2

Singing in the Dark

Normally we have the songs projected onto the wall of the building.  This time we passed out song books and the worship band played a few songs while the church sang into the dark.

Night 1

Preaching in the Dark

Andreu still preached but it was very hard to hear him without amplification and with the rain pattering on the roof.  It was very difficult for me to follow what was being said without the amplification and also the slides which are normally on the wall.  I have to say that I was impressed that we even had church without power.  My first thought was to go home when I saw that there was no power but I am glad I stayed.

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.

Church Membership and Preaching

This past Sunday was a big day in my life as a missionary.  I became a member of the local church in Ivoti that I have been attending and I also preached at the evening service.

membership

Membership Testimony

It was great to be able to begin the day with seeing about 20 people become a member of Ministerio Biblico Ivoti (MBI).  I enjoyed being able to listen to all of the testimonies of the others.  Many of the testimonies were very emotional.  My testimony, in Portuguese, was short and sweet but it was well received.

 

Preaching

Reading the Sermon Introduction in Portuguese

 

Later in the same day I preached at MBI.  This was a difficult sermon not only because of the topic (giving) but also I began the sermon in Portuguese before switching to a translator.  I was very nervous to begin the sermon in Portuguese.  I think that it was well received even with all of the miss pronounced words, miss conjugated verbs, failed gender assignments for the nouns, and the poor reading tempo.  I look forward to peaching a whole sermon in Portuguese in the future but for now only the introduction will have to do.

Preaching 1

Full Church listening to me speak and understanding what I am saying.

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

 

Bonsai!!!

I have wanted to purchase a Bonsai tree for the last 20+ years.  I have enjoyed looking at different Bonsai trees over the years.  I used to think about stopping to purchase a tree during college when I saw the Bonsai guy while driving home but I never stopped to purchase a tree.  Over the years of moving I determined not to purchase a tree because I never had a place to in my apartments.

Bonzi

Many Plants to Choose from

Once I arrived in Brazil I saw a sign for Bonsai trees along the road side and determined to purchase one.  One day I stopped by and there was no worker at the roadside Bonsai stand.  A few weeks later I was talking with a friend and he said that he wanted to purchase a Bonsai tree also.  We made arrangements to go together to purchase trees.  I looked at many different tree options to purchase.  Once I narrowed down the type of tree that I wanted, I then had to determine the age of the tree to purchase.

Bonzi 1

40 year old Bonsai

The Bonsai pictured above is a 40 year old tree that is similar to the one that I ended up purchasing.  It is actually in the private collection of the owner.  I thought that the root ball and bark looked really cool.  I ended up purchasing a tree that is only 15 years old and has red flowers during the fall each year.  I really like the bark, root ball, branches and the red flowers that are characteristic of this tree.  One day I hope to see this tree at 30 years old.

Bonzi 2

My Bonsai

 

 

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.

 

Curtains 1

Good Looking Curtains

 

 

Coaching Football

Over the past couple of months I have begun to help coach football.  There are some great opportunities which helping coach football provides.  The first is that of being able to practice my language skills.  I feel especially able to learn a simple phrase and then go to practice and use it repeatedly.  I also understand the game and am able to listen to what is said and pick up different words which will help me later during class.

Football 1

Beautiful Day for a Game

The second thing which is important is that I feel like I am able to get to know some people in a more organic way.  The guys know that I am here as a missionary and know that I don’t speak Portuguese very well but I am able to still help out.  There are mistakes that I make in speaking Portuguese but the guys are able to help correct me.  The most recent one that I can think of is that I told the guys that they should not have ice cream the day before the football game when I wanted to tell them that they should not drink beer the day before the football game.

Football

Watching them get ready to run the next play

The drawback to coaching from the sideline is that I am more emotionally involved with the game that is being played.  It is different than being on the field and being able to personally affect the outcome of the game.