Time to Think

I have had some time to reflect recently on my path of Portuguese language acquisition.  I am so excited and encouraged by the progress that I have made up till now, even if I am very frustrated at the lack of meeting my personal expectations.


Listening to the Speaker


Recently my Portuguese language learning has taken another step forward.  This step is that I am understanding more about what is being said however I am struggling on keeping up in real time.  I have noticed recently that if I am listening to or participating in a conversation I am only a sentence or two behind.  This is a big change from a month or two ago when I was really focused on just understanding the major theme of the conversation.  I am very thankful for the change but I am reminded of my slow progress every time I have to think about the sentence.

conference 1

Catching up with Friends


This past weekend I went to a conference for the new seminary in the area.  It was a great opportunity to practice my Portuguese.  I was able to follow all 3 of the messages which were preached on the scriptures.  The highlight of the conference for me was when one man who I did not know came up to me the second day and said that he did not realize that I spoke English when we had a short conversation the previous night.  This was a very encouraging part of the conference for me.

conference 2

Men riveted during the preaching.



Full Saturday of Activities

This past Saturday we had a church work day at the church building in Ivoti.  It was amazingly similar to church work days in the USA.  It was well organized and I really liked how we all worked very hard to clean and do other projects to keep up the building and the surrounding property.



Ministerio Biblico Ivoti


I got a chance to work with some of the guys on cleaning the steel fence along the outside of the church.  I am continually amazed at the fences that seem to be around most buildings and houses in south Brasil.

Saturday 2

After working the morning at the church I had to take an hour break before I went to the class at The Hangout later that day.  The class was actually two classes, one on how to study the bible using the inductive method and how to prepare a message.  These classes reminded me a little of Adult Sunday School at my sending church, Placerita Bible Church.


Saturday 1

The Hangout in Sao Leopoldo


It was great to be able to participate in the classes and to also to be able to understand the majority of the class.  I have observed that many of the theological terms used are the English term with a Portuguese ending.


Saturday 3

Full House for the Class


After an entire day of listening to and speaking Portuguese I was tired but we, including the youth I drove to the class, continued at the Hangout ordering Xis for dinner and playing games until a little before 10 pm.  I was so tired at the end of the day but it was encouraging to have spent 9-10 hours interacting in Portuguese.


Saturday 4

Xis with Bacon



Burger Time

One of the things that I enjoy doing is cooking and specifically sometimes I feel like cooking American favorites.  I recently purchased a new burger former here in Brazil and wanted to try it out so I invited over some friends and made some burgers.  Typically the burgers end up being 100-150 grams each but the burger maker ended up kicking out 200-250 gram burgers.  I was very pleased by the way that these burgers turned out.


Cheese Stuffed Burgers

On the grill the mozzarella stuffed burgers turned out great.  I was very pleased that the majority of the burgers stayed sealed while being completely cooked.  There was only two of the burgers who had some of the mozzarella escape.  I also fixed some of my favorite toppings for the burgers like brown sugar glazed bacon, avocado, tomato, red onion, lettuce along with two homemade sauces.  I made a green mayonnaise sauce with green onions and cilantro, which was awesome.  I also made a home made BBQ sauce that was the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, mustardy, and vinegary.

Burgers 1

Grilling on the Churrascaria

The burgers came out wonderful with the toasted buns from a local bakery being the perfect boat for the rest of the burgers.  The burgers came out so huge that even after squishing the burger it barely fit into my mouth.  However, the burger was great and I think that I ruined some of my friends because almost all of them said that it was the best burger they have ever had.  It always makes me feel good when I am able to make and enjoy some good food with friends.

Burgers 2

Final Product

Christmas Decorations

When I first set up my Christmas Decorations it was like reliving my college years.  I put up my plastic Christmas tree with my favorite Hawaiian Shirt Décor and the 49ers Helmet Tree topper.  The nativity set I have had sense I was little and always reminds me of Christ’s birth.  The stocking is new because my old stocking is going to stay with my parents but I think that it is a fitting to have a 49ers Christmas Stocking.  I think that the Christmas stockings have been one of my favorite parts of Christmas for years.  The first placement of the decorations was near the window of my apartment.  However, during the first wind it blew the tree over and I set it up again only to have the second wind blow the tree over again.

Christmas 1

Initial Decorations

After the failure of the first set of Christmas decorations I decided to redo all of my Christmas Decorations.  The new setup gave me the opportunity to put out Christmas lights.  I like the new setup more than the previous one and I feel like it has helped with me getting into the Christmas spirit more.


Final Decorations


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.


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.


Dinner is Served

I have really enjoyed cooking this month while I am in Sacramento.  It has been good to be able to create some food in my own kitchen while house sitting for my parents.  Two of the best meal’s that I prepared this month were twice baked potatoes and stuffed round loaf.


Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

I was thinking about what sounded good and I came up with a stuffed baked potato one night.  To prepare this I got some spicy sausage, bacon, onion, bell pepper, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parmarsean cheese, and russet potatoes.  I began with baking the potatoes and while they were baking I prepared the sausage, bacon, vegetable, and cheese mixture.


Sausage, Bacon, Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes

I took out the baked potatoes cut them in half, hollowed them out and then stuffed them with the mixture and melted everything together. It turned out great.   I enjoyed the left overs for a few meals also.


Stuffed Bread Round Loaf

Another night I was inspired to make a stuffed sourdough bread round loaf.  I had seen something like this on Facebook and decided to make my own version of the meal.  I do have to say that it turned out very good.  I stuffed the loaf with Italian seasoned BBQ chicken, bacon, cheese, and meat marinara sauce. After cutting off the top of the loaf I hollowed it out and then layered the stuffing in.  I then replaced the top and baked the entire loaf until it was all crispy on the outside and hot on the inside.  This meal will be made again and it was great to be able to eat it a few more times.


Chicken, Bacon, Cheese stuffed Round Loaf

Destination South Brazil

I am so excited to announce that I am going to South Brazil as a missionary with ABWE.

I went on a survey trip to South Brazil for 3 weeks in November and December 2015. During this survey trip I spent all of my time in the State of Rio Grande Do Sul.  It is the most southern state in Brazil.  I spent most of my time in the area surrounding Porto Alegre.  Below you will find 9 reasons why I am excited to go to South Brazil.

Brazil State Map

1) The idolatry in Brazil is front and center in the culture.  The picture below is of the Fresh Water Idol in Porto Alegre, notice the fresh offerings and candles which are below the idol.

Brazil Freshwater Idol

2) The Roman Catholic presence is strong in Brazil.

Brazil Catholics.jpg

3) I have a growing love for the people in Rio Grande Do Sul.  It seems like the children like me also.

Brazil Ministry

4) There are great opportunities to share the gospel with people in Rio Grande Do Sul.  The picture below is of a missionary sharing the gospel in a shoe factory that is owned by a man who had his life transformed by the gospel.

Brazil Gospel Opportunities

5) The ABWE missions team in South Brazil works closely with national pastors.  They meet regularly with national pastors of like minded churches in the area that they work in.

Brazil National Pastor Meeting

6) There are national churches who are passionate about church planting and asking for help.  Below is a church in Santa Cruz that wants to plant 52 churches in the region around their church.

Church in Santa Cruz

7) ABWE supports national churches planting national churches.  Below from left to right are two church planters, the mother church pastor, and the Brazilian director of ABWE.

Brazil National Church Planters

8) Fellowship is sweet in Brazil.  I enjoyed the times getting together to spend time and talk with pastors of like minded national churches.

Brazilian Fellowship

9) Brazil loves BBQ.  This is the cherry on top of the cake.  It is not necessary but it is absolutely awesome.  I can’t wait to get back to have some more.

Brazilian BBQ

Encouraging Words

One of the most encouraging things to happen to me this month was to catch up with an old friend of mine. He first contacted me on Facebook and we were able to talk a little.

Last Sunday we had an opportunity to catch up further. It was then that he told me that the LORD had used me to encourage him while I was at college.

While at Cal Poly we would spend time discussing different parts of the bible. At the time there was some very frustrating because we would talk about different passages and have some very different views. I loved my buddy while at Cal Poly, while it was frustrating to have different views we both were very committed to using the scriptures as our guide.

Now he sees the scriptures in a very similar way. He figured that it would be very encouraging and it was. After this conversation it got me thinking. Why don’t I call people who have impacted me life and let them know different ways that they impacted my life? It only takes a couple of minutes but it can make a world of difference to someone.

Difficulties of Focus

Each one of us has many different things to focus on. There are the usual financial difficulties, living arrangements, car issues, job responsibilities, and relationship issues that everyone seems to be consumed with from time to time. These are all normal parts of life which every individual has to deal with. As I was thinking about this I remember hearing that single people have it easier. From a Christian perspective singles are to be concerned about how to please the LORD while the married are concerned about how to please his spouse (1 Corinthians 7:32-33). The argument normally goes that the single guy or gal has less to worry about and so it is easier for them to focus on how to please the LORD. I have a hard time believing it. I agree that the single man or woman does not have to think about what their spouse would want or need but there are other things which they have to deal with that the married couple do not have to worry about. For instance the single person eventually has to think about someone to pursue or allow someone to pursue them if they are ever going to get married. This will probably lead to them loosing their sole focus on Christ. (At least it is hard for me to do this personally.)

All of this is actually a moot point. Both the married and single are to have a singular focus. Their focus is to be on Christ and his kingdom. Matthew 6:33-34 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The Christian’s focus can be divided but should not be. I was recently reminded of where Peter walks on the water in Matthew 14:27-32. Peter saw Jesus on the water and was focused on him. Peter was so focused on Jesus that he asked to be commanded to come to him over the water. Peter then got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. As his focus waned he saw the wind and became frightened. Jesus stepped in at that point and took hold of Peter and the storm stopped when they got on the boat. We should learn from Peter that what really matters is not what is happening around him but on simply perusing Christ.

During this month I have simply learned that I need to stay focused on what really matters, my pursuit of Christ. That means living out the gospel by evangelizing, discipling, and serving in the church. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but one which was well worth all the pain.

I think that each of us would live a more fulfilled life if we each focused on what really matters. That does not excuse us from work or things which are not enjoyable or maybe less important in the entire grand scheme of things but it does mean that we should stay focused when doing those daily or life tasks so that we can complete them sooner to get back to what really matters.

Mud Volleyball

Saturday August 20 I had the opportunity to play in a Mud Volleyball tournament fundraiser for Sequoyah High School in Madisonville. We had a great team who won every game we played. Our team had some great ladies who played awesome.  Here is a picture of us resting between games.

I was unable to get a picture of us playing but here is a picture of other teams with mud covered players like how we looked.

I am so excited that even though we were there to play in this tournament I was able to talk with some people about Harvest Knoxville. Continue to pray for the opportunities which we have for witnessing to the community and reaching out to speak with individuals about Harvest Bible Chapel Knoxville.