Coxinha da Asa

I had the privilege of having 10 friends over to my house for coxinha da asa, chicken wings, the other night.  It all started with one friend asking if I had seen a video of a guy trying 30 different hot wing sauces and asking if we could do something like it.  I said send me the video and I will see if we can do it.

Coxinha

Barbeque the chicken wings

We finally decided that about 10 people would be the max and that 5-6 sauces would be a good number because then everyone could try one of each and then eat more of the sauces that they prefer.  The death sauce which I made was good but I wanted it to be hotter,  I went and purchased 5 different peppers that I found in Brazil and then blended them together to make the sauce.  I purchased the sweet pepper sauce and Frank’s hot sauce and the sweet pepper sauce was probably my second favorite sauce of the day.  I also made teriyaki, barbeque, and garlic parmesan sauce from scratch, I think that the barbeque was my favorite sauce of the day.

Coxinha 1

Franks, Garlic Parmesan, Barbeque, Sweet Pepper, Teriyaki, and Death Sauces (rt to lt)

Along with the chicken wings I also made ranch dipping sauce from scratch to dip the wings into.  It is important when you have wings that you also have a couple of sides.  The sides for the night were carrot sticks, a classic pairing, and homemade macaroni and cheese with candied bacon topping.

Coxinha 2

Full Table of Food

I am so thankful that my friends were able to come over and enjoy the food.  It is pretty clear that they were all comfortable with the events of the night.

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Enjoying the meal

My churrasceira did not hold all of the chicken wings so I had to cook them in 3 batches in the grill.  The first batch seemed to just wet the appetite of the people for more wings.  I am glad that between everyone there was one or two sauces which they liked and they were all different.

Coxinha 3

Everyone was able to eat their fill

One of my favorite part’s of the night was seeing cemetery full at the end of the night.  Seeing the bones of about 7 kilos of chicken wings in one bowl was a sight to see.

Coxinha 4

The Cemetery

 

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Bulls Futebol Americano

I have had the privilege of coaching the Bulls for most of the past year.  This past Sunday I got to see them play what I think was one of the best overall games that I have seen them play. Unfortunately we ended up loosing the game but it was filled with exciting plays and gives me a great amount of hope for the future.  If you want to watch the game you can see it on facebook using the link.

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Bulls Football Team

Coaching football has been a great experience so far.  Coaching has helped me with my language acquisition.  I have had many opportunities to practice on the players and especially with the offensive and defensive line.  The line’s favorite saying of mine is “pague dez” which literally means “pay ten” but to them it is the 10 pushups that they owe me for making a mistake.

Football

Our Federation Page

Coaching football has also reminded me that I enjoyed playing football and at times I want to play with the team and not coach them.  It also reminds me that I am not willing to put in the time and effort to be physically able to play the way that I would want to.

Hamburger School, Basic Burger and BBQ Sauce

Last Friday I had the youth group over to my house to have Hamburger School, Basic Burger and BBQ Sauce.  I created a recipe for basic hamburgers and BBQ sauce that I make and then invited the youth group over to my house to make hamburgers.

Hamburger

Youth preparing the Hamburgers

I prepared for this by purchasing all of the materials to make the hamburgers and sauce.  In all I had about 10 people over to my apartment to prepare the food.  There were two simple rules that I gave them when they came over: 1) You don’t help make the food you don’t eat and 2) Let me know ahead of time so that I can get enough food.

Hamburger 1

Preparing the BBQ sauce

It was interesting to watch the youth group prepare the hamburgers.  Measuring out all of the ingredients was very fun as I only have one set of measuring cups and spoons so we had to use some regular spoons to help speed up the process.  I think that they had fun mixing the hamburger meat with their hands although it was clearly very strange for them to mix with their hands.

Hamburger 2

Cooking the Hamburgers

After forming the meat patties with the cheese surprise in the middle we began to cook the hamburgers on the churrascria (BBQ).  While the meat was cooking we prepared the BBQ sauce and green mayonnaise.  We made two different types of BBQ sauce, we just changed the type of mustard in the recipe, which allowed for the youth to taste the differences which might happen when they make the hamburgers for their families.  The green mayonnaise is something which is very good to have with the burgers.

Hamburger 5

Preparing plates of food

After finishing the sauces we put everything together on the table so that we could start to eat while we finished cooking the rest of the hamburgers.  Everyone enjoyed the burgers and most even went back for seconds.

Hamburger 3

Enjoying the fruits of their labor

We then cleaned up the food we had eaten and sat down to chat a little.  A while later we were all able to enjoy the desert which I made for the evening.  I think that the chocolate mousse in Brazil is the best that I have had anywhere in the world.

Hamburger 4

Nice full apartment

When the youth left I told them that they could now make this for their family.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to have the youth group over to my house for this event and look forward to hosting Hamburger School Part II, Advanced Burgers.

Graduating Language School

It seems to me like one of the things I am learning about the Brazilian culture is that they like graduations and that it is important to have a certificate that you completed a course or class.

graduation

Graduation Song

For me it is not important to have a formal graduation so I tried my best to argue that I should not graduate or have a graduation party.  No argument that I used worked and I finally had to concede to having a graduation last Thursday.

graduation 1

Graduation Testimony

It was great to have an excuse to get together with fellow missionaries and some Brazilian friends.  Graduation was a simple affair which consisted of a song, my testimony, words from my professor, a message and receiving my diploma from the director of the language school.  After the short ceremony we had desert, which was awesome because it was apple pie and red velvet cake, and a time of fellowship.

graduation 2

My Professor

I tried to set the expectations of my testimony very low, it was my stated goal to set the low bar for missionary testimonies. 😉  However,  I exceeded the bar and really enjoyed sharing my testimony with those present.  It was great to be able to share my testimony in Portuguese and it has already come in handy because I have been able to share an abbreviated form with a few other people.

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Graduation Message

It was fun to listen to my professor talk about how our classes went, reminiscing about different times where we helped each other when times were tough.  He also shared one story where we were talking in a group after bible study and the people were teaching me the word “jaguara.”  This word has a very negative connotation and generally seems to mean deceiver.  So in my naivety I put together a phrase “Meu professor sou a jaguara.” This got everyone to laugh because I just called my professor a deceiver.

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Receiving my Diploma

I appreciate the message that one of the other missionaries gave about how this year in language school is only a small part of my life and how I have more time to learn and use Portuguese in the future.

graduation 4

Graduation Fellowship

Reviewing Language School

Formal language school has been a long arduous process for me.  It began a couple of weeks after I arrived last February and finally ended last week.  I have had 2 different teachers for Portuguese Class.  With the guidance of these two teachers I survived the rigorous course that was laid out before me.

Language 2

Andreu and I in class

Classes began with a focus of being able to correctly pronounce the sounds used in the Portuguese language.  With that foundation different words and grammar continued to be added after the first week or two till the final days.  There was much frustration on my part during language school due to the schools philosophy that everything get explained to me in only Portuguese.  (It is very difficult to understand something when you only have a vocabulary of less than 50 words and the teacher continued to use new words to explain a different new word or gramatical construction.)

Language 2

Working with a friend to help me understand a Portuguese concept

I would say that the last 1/3 of class was much better than the first 2/3rds simply because my vocabulary and language abilities had grown to the point where I had a chance to understand what was being explained.  This also coincided with the confidence and ability to ask the correct question about what I didn’t understand.

Language

Completed at least one “Grupo”

There was one activity which I struggled with above all of the others, that activity was “grupos.” “Grupos” are a set of 6-8 questions and answers which you need to repeat in a given time while only looking at the English.  To complete this task it took 6-20 hours of study in the beginning to complete one grupo because I basically just had to memorize the entire grupo to repeat it.  I have to say that I didn’t learn lots from the grupos especially in the beginning except to speak quickly without understanding.  As I continue to complete the grupos throughout the year I felt them it took less time as I grew in understanding the language and also my vocabulary.  In the end it took 2-4 hours of study to complete one grupo.  I am so thankful to be done with this exercise and never desire to return to them again.

Language

Summary of a conversation about education in Brazil during class

When I think about the progress that I have made in the Portuguese language there has been lots of growth.  However, I know that I do not speak Portuguese well right now, just think of a 5-6 year old speaking their first language and you will know where I am in Portuguese.  I am confident that I will continue to improve and strive to get fluent in the language.  The final weeks of language school were marked by the ability to converse over many different subjects and left me with lots of hope that I might actually be able to speak good Portuguese.

Dangers of Understanding

This past Sunday I preached at Ministério Bíblico Ivoti on Sunday night.  It was a great opportunity to not only work on my Portuguese but to have a great time studying the scriptures.

 

Preaching 1

My study area after preaching Sunday night.

 

The process of preaching is similar to the one I did in the United States but includes two key steps which elongates the process.  These key steps are writing the manuscript of the sermon and having Brazilian’s review the Portuguese to make sure that it is correct.  It takes me an average of about an hour and a half to type one page of sermon in Portuguese.  The review process with a Brazilian depends on the person and how much of the manuscript has been completed.  It ranges from about an hour to several hours to review the sermon.  After each reviews the sermon it takes me another hour or two in order to process and input the changes.

 

Preaching

Comfortable enough to actually look up during the sermon.

 

On Sunday when I preached I felt that the sermon went very well.  I could tell that I was exceptionally nervos for the first half of the sermon but then I settled in and was even comfortable enough to adlib a couple of sentences in the midst of the sermon.  While I was practicing the fastest that I went through the sermon was 45 minutes but when I actually preached it was down to about 30-35 minutes for the sermon.  I was surprised that I could speak that fast in Portuguese.  The best part of the sermon was after when people said that they understood everything that I said.  My response was to thank them and then reply that it is more dangerous for me now that they can understand everything that I say instead of before when they could mostly understand what I was saying.  I now feel more pressure to speak properly but I am also up for the challenge.

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.

wood

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.

wood 1

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.

 

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.

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.)

 

car

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.

 

car 1

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.

Retreat

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.

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Driving Home from the Retreat