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.

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.


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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.


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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.

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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


Dealing with Grief: Missing My Grandmother

I received news last Friday that my last living grandmother passed away that morning.  It has been difficult to walk through this loss and I find myself thinking about her during different times throughout each day sense I heard.  Each time I think of her I have a multitude of emotions that accompany each thought.



Grandma Feeling Better


I do know that I will be dealing with this loss for a while and I am thankful for the memories of her that I have of all the times we spent together.  I was truly blessed to know my grandmother and thankful to have wonderful memories to dwell on for the rest of my life.


Vacation Fun: Building a Spice Rack

I have two weeks off of Portuguese school between Christmas and New Years.  During this time I decided to build a spice rack for under my kitchen counter.  Doing a wood project is something that I have enjoyed while I have been here.  Wood projects are a little different here.  One of the major differences is that in the United States I would buy planks of wood an cut them down to size myself but here I go to the wood store and give them the specific dimensions (thickness, height, and length) that I want each piece of wood to be.  After ordering the wood I pick it up all cut out a day later.  One of the things that you have to worry about is that even though you gave them the exact dimensions the wood will still not come out all the same.  For example I ordered 6 pieces of (2.5 cm x 6 cm x 60 cm) the same size wood and I got 6 different lengths ranging from 59 cm to 62 cm.  This did not stop my from building the rack but it did slightly change the size of the finished project.


Fabrication Process

After constructing the spice rack I decided to stain it and the rack that I build to hold my BBQ tools.  It was interesting to stain the two racks inside of my apartment.  I put out a drop cloth and went to two staining both racks.  I enjoyed the process of applying both coats and thankfully the racks dried quickly because of the hot weather that was going on that day.

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Staining in the Apartment

I think that the spice rack turned out well.  I am pleased that the stain came out well and that the rack holds all of the spices that I have.

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Finished Product


Year in Review: Missionary Family

When I left the US to become a missionary I knew that I was leaving my family behind and hoped that I would get a new family with the other missionaries on the field.  I am thankful for the missions team because I am able to spend time with them during the different holidays that come up throughout the year.

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Holiday Celebrations

I got to meet all of the missionaries who were on the field in Brazil at the all Brazil conference this year.  It was great to be able to meet and talk with all of the other missionaries from all over the country.

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All Brazilian Missionaries

One of the things that I enjoyed this year was being able to pray with the missionary team in Rio Grande do Sul.  We get together quarterly to give updates on the different ministries, have fellowship and pray for one another.

Field Team

Team Meetings


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 Gramado for Christmas

I visited Gramado with some other missionaries last week.  It was great to get into the Christmas spirit by visiting the well decorated vacation destination.

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Picture with a Nutcracker


One of the cool things to see was the Christmas light show that was put on.  I enjoyed seeing the face of the missionary kids who were with us when they saw the different parts of the show.



Light Show in Gramado


The light show ended with them lighting up the street and making “snow” fall from some machines.  The “snow” was actually soapy bubbles and it was great to the awe on the faces of the kids as they saw it falling.


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“Snow” in Gramado