Year in Review: Great Opportunities

When I thought of the experiences that I would have in Brasil this year I never thought that I would experience all of the great opportunities that I have had.  One of the great opportunities was to get to know all of the possible future ministry partners that I have met with over the years.

Santa Cruz

Talking with Possible Ministry Partners

I have been able to preach in Portuguese once this year.  It was more difficult than I ever thought it would be but I am so thankful for being able to do it and I am looking forward to preaching in Portuguese again.

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Preaching in Portuguese

Being able to baptize two people during this year was awesome.

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Baptizing People

I was very thankful for the opportunity to join the church in Ivoti earlier this year.


Becoming a Member of at the church in Ivoti

Getting to see Carlos get baptized was amazing.  I can remember praying for him ever sense I first met him towards the end of 2015.

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Being Part of Other Baptisms



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.

Ideal Day 1

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.

Friends 1

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


Cultural Learning: Traffic Tickets

I have received my first two traffic tickets in Brazil this year.  After driving for 20+ years in the United States and receiving only one ticket I have gotten two in the last year.  The first ticket that I got was well deserved as I was speeding on a surface street.



Mailed all the documents to challenge the ticket.


Tickets are a little different here because you just get them in the mail and have to pay them.  I received the ticket and then was told that I just had to wait until I received the actual bill to pay the fine.  Soon after I received the actual bill to pay I received a second ticket for driving without a license.  It turns out that as a non-national living in Brazil you automatically get a second ticket if you do not fill out the first.  It is a very difficult process for challenging tickets in Brazil also.  Thankfully I have a friend who is helping me with proving that I actually have a valid drivers license.

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.

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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.

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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


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.

Santa Cruz

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

Cultural Learning: Returns

I purchased a triple pot crock pot in November and had to return it after the first time I used it.  I figured that sense I purchased the item at Sam’s Club that it would be as easy as it is in the US to return a defective product.  However, I was pretty wrong.  I had assumed that I could just walk in and exchange the item or get the money put back on my credit card.  That did not happen.


Crock Pot to be Returned

I found out that there were three options for a returning an item.  1) I get store credit that is only good for that day and can be used to exchange for the same item or purchasing other items, 2) I get store credit that can be used another day for a direct exchange or on other items only during that day.  This is a little different because they don’t accept the return until you decide to use the credit so you leave with a signature of the manager and the item you wanted to return, or 3) They will credit back your credit card but it will take a minimum of 2 months to return the money to your credit card.

Two New Unique Experiences

This past weekend I had two unique experiences.  The first was that of driving on a car ferry and then crossing the mouth of a large lagoon.  It was really a bitter sweet time for me because I had to drive a girl who got sick to the local hospital.  It was very interesting because when we arrived at the hospital we found out that the doctors had gone on strike so that they were not receiving any patients who were not going to die.  So we simply returned over the ferry again.

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Car Ferry accross the inlet at the lagoon near Laguna, Santa Catarina

The second unique experience was that of riding inside of a car on top of a tow truck.  While on the way back to the rental property I noticed that my car was overheating very quickly.  When I got out of the car I could hear a hissing sound but could not find the leak.  I messaged my mechanic and he said to try and get the car back so that he could take a look at what was wrong.  Other guys at the retreat also looked at the car and could not find the source of the hissing. (It turns out that there was a leak in a hose to the radiator and that was fixed.)

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Friends Looking at the Car

Therefore I topped off the water in the radiator and tried to limp the car back to Ivoti which was about 380 km away.  I got about 2 km down the road when the engine over heated again and I had to shut it down.  We called the insurance company at about 8 pm and it was 10:15 pm before the tow truck arrived to take me home.


Waiting for the Tow Truck to come

Being as there was 3  people in the car and only two could fit in the cab of the tow truck the driver allowed us to illegally keep two in the cab of the car on the back of the two truck.  It turned out to take about 7 hours to get us back to my house on the back of the tow truck.  That meant that we arrived home at 5 am on Monday morning.

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Arriving at 5 am Monday morning


Youth Retreat in Santa Catarina

I had the privilege of preaching at a youth retreat this past weekend.  I was so thankful for the opportunity which was presented to me.  I prepared to preach 4 different messages on Evangelism over the weekend.  The three messages were 1) Our Great Salvation, 2) The Gospel Messenger, 3) Preaching the Gospel, 4) Examples of Gospel Proclamation in the Scriptures.


Awesome Retreat Housing

The youth message was well received by the majority of the youth at the retreat.  I heard that one of the non-Christians repented during the retreat and that many of the Christians were challenged by the different messages.

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Breakfast at the Beach

I enjoyed the various beaches we were able to visit while at the retreat.  I had a wonderful time at the great beaches with the youth group.  One of the cultural takeaways for me from the weekend was how much Brazilians enjoy their beaches.

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Beach Day

I also enjoyed talking with all of the youth at the retreat.  I was reminded of how much progress I have made in my Portuguese language skills and also how much farther I still need to grow.  It was frustrating to not be able to communicate at times and how I could only understand some of the general conversation topics and not all of the specifics.  One of the encouraging parts was listening to the translation and being able to understand most of the translation.

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Bonfire Preaching Opportunities

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Beautiful Beaches in Santa Catarina