Monday, September 21, 2009

Outback of Brazil - Pelo Sinal (Part 2)

When our team went to go look at the living conditions of the family that I mentioned in my previous post, we sent all the children of Pelo Sinal to the town square. We told them we would meet them under the big tree in the center of town shortly.

All the children gathered there as we sang songs and taught them hand gestures to some of our favorite songs. Here we were teaching them lyrics and hand motions to "O, Happy Day".

O, happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
O, happy day, happy day
and I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed.

We wanted to make one home visit before time to meet back with our entire group for lunch, so my team grabbed two precious sisters, Victoria and Raphaela, and asked them if we could go to their home for a visit. My team leader, Daniel, already knew them from a previous trip.

(L to R) Shelby, Katarina, Daniel, Raphaela, Victoria and me

We headed through the village and up the hill to their home.

We had an amazing visit with this sweet family. Unfortunately, their brother, Oscar, was not there when we visited in their home, but the girls' parents and their paternal grandfather were there. They were so gracious to us and so appreciative to us for coming to visit them. Their mother was disappointed that we could not stay and eat lunch with them and made us promise that when we come back that our entire group would eat lunch at their house!

Victoria went to her room and got a notebook with her schoolwork in it and read some of her answers regarding what she believed about the Bible and why, and I was absolutely amazed with her spiritual maturity! She said she had been reading her Bible that had been given to her on a previous trip.

My heart just melted as little Raphaela snuggled up to me on the sofa. She just latched onto me from the minute we sat down in their home and I couldn't get enough! So precious!

This is a picture of this precious family (minus brother Oscar) with our team. (Unfortunately, our translator, Katarina, was taking the picture so was not able to be included in this photo.)

They made us feel so welcome that it was really difficult to leave. I had to snap one more photo of this precious family- taken outside the door of their home.

We headed back through the village to Nalva's house (the Mayor of Pelo Sinal) for a delicious lunch prepared by Pastor Carlos' wife, Dinalda.

As soon as lunch was over, it was time to head back to the town square. The "Face Painters" took their places......

The lines started to form ......

And beautiful faces were painted!

My daughter, Faith, even threw in her hair braiding services!

Afterwards we even got to observe a dance class that the little girls in the village got to be a part of. So sweet!

To be continued.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Outback of Brazil - Pelo Sinal (Part 1)

Saturday was our first day in the Outback and the first village we would be working in was Pelo Sinal. Several of our team members had been in Pelo Sinal on previous trips and had started building relationships with some of the people they had lead to the Lord on previous trips, so they were very excited about getting back to this little village. At this point, I still didn't know what I was in store for.

We ate breakfast and loaded the bus early. On the way, Pastor Carlos and our team leader, Daniel, gave us our schedule for the day and assigned our teams for the day.

We drove by bus to the end of the dirt road that lead to Pelo Sinal and there we unloaded all of our supplies and left the bus for the day.

This is a picture of my son-in-law, Chad, my daughter, Faith, and myself. I was blessed to have them on the trip with me. They have been on several mission trips before and were a great help to this "rookie"!

These were four of our amazing translators on that first day. Ruth, Katarina, Anne and Monica (L to R).

Here are my team leader, Daniel, and his wife, Jennifer . I cannot even imagine how much work went into planning and organizing a trip like this, but they did an amazing job! Everything went so smoothly!

After we got all of our supplies unloaded from the bus we all climbed onto the "Turnip Truck". It was at this point that I really started to get excited! This trip was finally a reality and I was really here in the Outback of Brazil!

After about 6 miles of very rough roads we started approaching a little village and this is a glimpse of what I saw. Children from the village came running toward our truck because they were already expecting us.
As I went to climb off the truck, I was taken aback by all the beautiful little children. It was a very emotional moment for me to see all of these precious ones.

On our way over on the bus, Pastor Carlos had mentioned to us about a home that needed to have a new roof put on it that they were hoping that we could help with, but they had not been able to come up with all of the money to buy the necessary supplies prior to our coming. The family that lived in the little house had 3 children, the youngest of which was 4 months old. On an average day this time of year, the temperature inside their house was approximately 40 degrees Celsius! That translates to over 100 degrees Farenheit!

Our first stop was for the team to take a look at the living conditions of this family. As you can see, they had a flat metal roof and the heat was just being absorbed into this house.

This is a view from the side of their house. It was made out of block and they only had one window in the entire structure.

These were the children's toys that they played with.

This was their "oven" -- whatever they place in here was cooked by the sun.

And this was their laundry area. The big 50 gallon drum was full of rain water that they captured during the rainy season.

As we were walking around and through this little house, I think all of us were very disappointed that we had not known about this need prior to our coming so that we could have raised the necessary money and had the supplies on hand to replace the roof while we were there.

We broke up into our teams for the day and I was on the team that stayed to talk to the woman that lived in this home. As Daniel and Monica began to talk to the lady, her baby started to get a little fidgety and I asked if I could hold him so I could remove that distraction and have her focus on what they were sharing with her. As you can imagine, this was right up MiMi's alley!

Daniel used the Evangecube to share the Gospel and with the help of our translator, Monica, the lady of the house prayed to receive Christ! We gave her a Portuguese Bible and a list of verses to encourage her, but she told us that she could not see. She needed glasses, but that she had been to the doctor and the glasses she needed were too expensive. Last year, a group had taken reading glasses to give out on the trip and she had tried a couple of pairs left from that trip, but none of them had worked for her. This just broke my heart that she could not see to read and I hope that there is some way we can get her some glasses so that she can read the Word of God.

We all signed the Bible that we left with her.

Here is a picture of us with our new sister in Christ! I know the angels were rejoicing in Heaven!

This was only the beginning of our exciting day in Pelo Sinal. I have lots more to share.

(To Be Continued)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BRAZIL - Finally A Reality

Well...after about 6 months of planning for, praying about and looking forward to my very first mission trip, it finally became a reality! I, along with my team, left on Thursday, September 3rd for the Outback of Brazil. Our flight left Charlotte in the evening and we flew to Miami, FL. We immediately got onto a flight (10:30 p.m.) and flew all night to Salvador. After a brief layover in Salvador, we boarded our last flight that took us to Recife, where we landed around 10:30 am on Friday. It took us a while to claim our baggage and get through Immigrations and Customs, but soon we were greeted by Pastor Carlos. I had heard so much about him and could hardly wait to meet them.

We headed out with all of our luggage to our tour bus that would be our transportation for the 7 hour trip to the Outback. Our first stop, before we got on the road, was to stop for lunch at a local restaurant in Recife, called Tio Pepe....and OH MY WORD!

It was here that I knew that I was probably not going to be losing weight on this trip as I had hoped and expected! The food was delicious and I also had my first taste of Guarana- the carbonated beverage that is original to Brazil that I had heard so much about. It tastes sort of like a much sweeter Ginger Ale and is really yummy! Pastor Carlos and our team leader, Daniel, ordered a variety of different dishes --beef, chicken and fish -- and everything I tasted was great! This is a picture of my plate. YUMMY!

It was here at the restaurant that I first got to meet Pastor Carlos' sweet wife, Dinalda, and with the help of an interpreter, start to get to know her. I could tell right away that I was going to love her! (Please keep in mind that this was me after being on an airplane for about 14 hours! lol)

It is also where we got to meet up with more of our amazing translators that would be helping us all week, two of which are pictured here L to R, Katarina, and Carla, Pastor Carlos' daughter.

This is another one of our translators, Anne, with my daughter, Faith. God was so faithful to provide us with so many awesome translators and we certainly could not have done it without them!

Soon it was time to load onto the bus again and head for the Outback.

After driving a couple of hours, we stopped at a little place on the side of the road that everyone on my team that had previously been to Brazil fondly called "The Chicken Ball Place". It was like a little "Cantina" with a gift shop, ice cream, fresh coconuts, and the infamous "chicken balls". Several people had Coconut Water, but most of us had ice cream and an opportunity to stretch our legs.

Here is Brooke, one of our precious teens on the trip, giving the the fresh coconut a try.

After this little stop, it was back on the bus for the remainder of our trip into the Outback. We arrived at the Hotel Brotas somewhere around 9:00 that night, and after checking into our rooms, we headed for the hotel restaurant and found this spread awaiting us.

After dinner, it was off to our rooms for a good night's sleep before heading out the next morning to Pelo Sinal, the first village where we would be ministering.