Wood Projects

I have enjoyed making some wood furniture recently.   I have gone to the same wood store so much that they know me by name and are now asking what I have been making.  This time I figured that I would fix my curtain rack near my kitchen and build a shoe rack and dirty clothes rack.  Living in an apartment with no outside deck means that you need to some times do construction on the dining room table in the family room.  The only problem with this is that I get wood dust all over everything and have to clean the entire apartment when I finish.


Building in the Family Room

The first time I built the two stands for the curtain rack I made the bases too small so they would fall over with some wind.  This time I lengthened the base and now it is much more stable in the wind.

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Kitchen curtain

One of the things that I have struggled with recently is the fact that I have so many shoes here.  I am not used to having this many shoes but now I find myself not being able to stack all of my shoes in my armoire.  This time I built a second shelf to help stack all of my shoes.

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Shoe Rack

I enjoy separating my dirty clothes but until recently I have just been throwing them in a pile and separating them before I do my laundry.  I had the idea to build a dirty clothes rack in the free space between my armoire and wall.  I think that the rack turned out really well and now I can practice my throwing skills as I put away my dirty laundry.

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Dirty Clothes Rack



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.


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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.

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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.

Purchasing a Car

Buying a car in Brazil is a great exercise in patience and bureaucracy.  The first issue with purchasing a car is finding one that I fit in.  Car’s here are very small in comparison to car’s in the United States.  I tried to sit in many different cars to see about the fit and that narrowed the possibilities to only a few cars like the Chevy S-10, Toyota Corolla, and the  Volkswagen Jetta.  I also narrowed the cars down by what my mechanic said is easy to fix and also the size of the engine (In Brazil they value economy over power, while in the US they want power and economy, so a large engine here is a 2.0 liter as opposed to the US where a normal car could have a standard 3.6 liter engine.)



Exchanging Key’s



After looking at many car prices and uses I finally determined that the best car for me to purchase would be the Jetta after weighing the price, fit, functionality, and economy of the car.  I finally found the correct Jetta for the price and began the process of purchasing the car.  The process includes exchanging money and getting all of the documents in order to exchange cars.


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2015 Volkswagen Jetta


I finally got everything together thanks to the help of many different Brazilian friends who helped with the translation of documents, conversations beyond my Portuguese abilities, and other difficulties.  It was also encouraging to be able to talk with the salesman during this process.


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Adam the car salesman


The final day I was supposed to purchase the car I ran into more difficulties than I expected.  The first came with registering the car because the Brazilian department of transportation (DTRAN) did not accept the documents provided by the Federal Police saying that I am legally allowed to live in Brazil.  This turned out to be fairly easy as I was able to go to the local DTRAN office, explain the situation in Portuguese, and get the registration resolved.  The second situation that came up was the lack of a clean title.  To clean up the title I had to go and pay a ticket, which I am currently disputing.  To pay the ticket I had to go to a bank but the bank closed about 1 minute before I could enter to pay the ticket.  I went back to the car lot and explained that I would need to come back another day but they figured out how to pay the ticket online for me.  Well after resolving the second issue of the day I was finally able to pick up my new car and take it home.

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.

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Hanging out with People

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

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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.

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Fun Times

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sometimes Groups Came

Visiting Igreja Batista Pioneira

When I returned from the youth retreat last week I immediately left to go and visit Igrejas Batista Pioneira in Santa Cruz and Vera Cruz.  I was very encouraged to be able to meet with these like minded men.

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Cal, Jair, Marco, and Me at the Church in Vera Cruz

One of the great things that happened during this visit was being able to hear the philosophy of ministry for these churches.  I was impressed by their articulation of the philosophy of ministry and it excites me to see these men desiring to radically pursue Christ and see the church body also do likewise.

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Listening to a presentation on the Philosophy of Ministry

With any good church there is a group of men who lead the church.  It was great to hear the excitement of the men on the leadership team at the church in Santa Cruz.  I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the day with such great guys and to have so many good encouraging conversations about ministry and the churches.

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Enjoying a meeting with leaders at the Church in Santa Cruz

Visiting Estadio Beira Rio

In this part of Brazil there are two soccer teams which people cheer for, International and Gremio.  In time I will have to choose which team I will root for but prior to choosing a team I have told everyone that I will need to visit each of the stadiums and experience what it is like to be a fan.  Visiting Estadio Beira Rio, Riverfront Stadium, was a great experience for me.

Selfie at Estadio Beira Rio

The rivalry between the two teams is very serious and both fan bases are very passionate about their teams.  I don’t really know what to compare it to except for the Giants and Dodgers baseball rivalry in California.  Both fan bases believe that their teams are the best and don’t like the other team.

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Roberto, Bladimir, and Me

Going to the stadium was an experience.  I didn’t know that you could sell more tickets than seats for each game.  It turns out that you can purchase season tickets and get an ID card to use when you enter each game.  I am glad that I was able to experience the game with Roberto and Bladimir.

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Great International Fans

One of the things that really stood out to me was the passionate rooting of the fans at the stadium.  I was told that passionate soccer fans are called hooligans and it was amazing to see them standing up and chanting the entire time that the team was on the field.  I had never seen a group of fans stand for the entire first half chanting and waving their arms.

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Watching the Game

I have lots to learn about the game of futbol or soccer.  I still do not understand what they are doing at all times and what the players are trying to accomplish with their formations but I want to learn.  The best way to learn is to watch and ask questions.

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Players thanking the Fans

Before everyone thinks that I have chosen the side, I want to say that I have not decided on a side yet.  Once I choose a team I will write a blog about that but before I choose I still need to visit the Arena do Gremio.



Preaching in Portuguese

I am thankful that I was able to preach an entire sermon in Portuguese this past Sunday.  I not only prepared the message in Portuguese but I also prepared slides so that people could follow the message easier.

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Beginning of the Sermon

The message was written in manuscript form and was on Hebrews 2:1-4 with the title A Great Salvation.  There were three points to the passage, A Great Savior, A Great Message, and The Great Messengers.

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Looking Up from the Reading

There are many different errors that I can remember in my sermon.  Of the problems that I identified there were none that are not correctable.  I am so thankful for the gracious people who listened to my sermon and gave me many compliments after in spite of the miss prounced words, poorly contrasted slides, and poor reading skills.


The Power Point needs work

I am so thankful that despite all of the errors this still represented great progress in my Portuguese language abilities.  I am also thankful for all of the kind words of encouragement from not only the members of the church but also from the visitors who came not expecting an American to be preaching.  Most of all I am thankful that the LORD will continue to do his work through his word even with the poor delivery from this messenger.

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Making an emphatic point


Preparing to Preach

It takes a long time for me to properly prepare to preach.  The normal process begins with prayer and reading the passage multiple times.  Following reading the passage in English I then turn to the Greek or Hebrew and look at the passage in the original language.  Following the study of the language in the original languages I will then outline the message in English.  After that I would be ready to preach in English.  However, the process is much longer to prepare to preach in Portuguese.


Lots of Time Typing the Sermon in Portuguese

My limited language abilities in Portuguese necessitate me writing a manuscript of the entire sermon.  The manuscript is then edited and revised multiple times.  I think that I have 6-7 different revisions that happened to help me prepare for the message.  I am so indebted to my professor and all of the Brazilians who helped me with the grammar and revisions of what I was trying to express in Portuguese.

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Grammar Editing by my Portuguese Professor

One of the great things was thankful for were the people who didn’t know that they were going to help me with my sermon but did anyways.  One day while I was at the Hangout, a coffee shop in Sao Leopoldo, I couple of people who came in were able to read the entire sermon that was prepared at that point and give me some pointers with my grammar.

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Grammar Help from Non-Christians

One of the last steps was to meet with a couple of friends for the purpose of helping me with fine tuning what I was trying to say and also helping me with my pronunciation.  It was difficult but one of the meeting was held at the local Mexican food restaurant, this was good for Brazilian Mexican food.

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Reviewing the grammar with a Pastor Friend


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.