Saturday, September 10, 2016


Reflection, an image, a fixing of the thoughts on something, careful consideration.  Those are a few definitions but it's so much more when trying to wrap your mind around all the experiences and feelings that have occurred this past week during our reflection time with our team from KY and the home team here in Brazil. Pete set aside 2 times of sharing and reflecting on our experiences this week and Friday evening was a wonderful way to culminate the week 

We were able to share reactions from the  people of the favelas and how we felt going to their world . We climbed a very steep hill to deliver food and the message that God loves them to a few specific families that the local leaders have a relationship.  The climb was physically demanding and dangerous after the rains that day.  Imagine the climb with a newborn or with a painful knee or hip several times a day. Reminds us that our comfortable homes are luxuries and not lice ridden with potentially fatal wiring! Yet we were welcomed with joyful hearts and smiles. Seats and coffee offered while many asked us to sing in English!  We gave food, some dolls and clothes for the kids, along with lice shampoo and flip flops. But they gave more in return, perspective!  They endure, hope, pray and sing praises to God of grace and love.  I pray they were able to see a reflection of Jesus in our words and actions!

We were able to enjoy a few local experiences - eating Pastels for dinner, lunch at Brazilian steak house and even grocery shopping!  The local team described , and help order, our  stuffed pocket then deep fried Pastel.  Pretty much anything you wanted could go in it.  Seating for 34 was needed to feed our hungry bunch on Thursday at the steak house. We had some local kids with us as well!   We were stuffed. The Brazillians were so thankful that we cooked an American meal for them!  We had  hamburgers, hotdogs, slaw, potato salad, green beans and banana splits!  It was a treat to share part of our culture as well. 

The volunteers that work here every day gave powerful testimonies also. Reflecting and processing  our experiences from one short week  and asking God to show us how to use them seems selfish after hearing the struggles and obstacles these young servants have faced. Their seemingly broken lives that have been repaired by God's unfailing love was moving for us all. The volunteers here all came from the communities we visited. They have either survived or are still enduring hardships of the favelas.    "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless " Isaiah 40:29. Please pray that they continue to receive power and strength from the Holy Spirit 

Jerry and Rick have worked so patiently and hard to not only make. Bunk beds but teach the locals how to make them  so this ministry can continue. These beds will allow more children to rest easy and safety at the property. The volunteers have invested in some special children and this will bless so many. 

We were often reminded that this was God's work but the people here are his hands and feet. It was an honor to be a part of that this week. As we reflect on our experiences and emotions of the week, I pray that we continue to reflect God's love, mercy, and grace.  We will return home to our " normal ' life but will carry a piece of this place with us forever 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Go Therefore.....

“Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

When we first arrived here, the first thing I noticed was the smell. Smoke, and the distinct aroma of raw sewer hung heavy in the air. Those smells seemed to go away as we drove through the city but in reality they are still there, we have just become accustomed to them and don’t notice them as much. In the days since we arrived here we have been exposed to many different environmental realities. The sight of favelas (shantytowns) both in the inner city and on the mountainsides. The streams and rivers flowing with dark grey water (raw sewage) that seem to be everywhere. The smell of good food from kitchens big and small mixed with body odor from people not being able to bathe for weeks or months at a time. And, the smell of strong coffee. Brazilians like coffee and they like it strong! Luckily our team likes it that way too. 
We have also been exposed to a lot of beauty. The majestic mountain ranges that envelope the area. Riding in a vehicle in this part of the world is somewhat akin to being on a roller coaster, up down and all-around with lots of stops and starts. We have seen smiles on people’s faces who are living in the most desperate situations.  We have seen the beauty of the stars at night when it is not rainy or overcast. We have stood in awe at the majestic beauty of a vividly painted sky (seemingly limitless variations of red, orange, dark blue, white, and grey) as the sun was setting over the filth and mutes tones of the shantytowns where thousands of people live in abject poverty every single day of their lives. Lots of contrasts, things that shouldn’t go to together but somehow seem to blend perfectly.

We have also seen Jesus here, in the face of a child who is playing and running on the dirt streets. We have seen Him shining through a family that made us Brazilian expresso in their modest home in the shantytown. We have seen Jesus’ presence in the tears of joy flowing down the face of someone who has just met Him. We have seen His joy and determination of the missionaries we are staying with that are constantly serving others. We have also noticed Him in ourselves as He gives us power to share the gospel.   

Jesus is all around us and is always with us. He gave us that promise in verse 20 of the above text. He is available in every place and in every situation. He meets us when we go beyond our comfort zones and shows us sides of Himself in unexpected ways. The story is not over, for any of us. There are still many beautiful people to meet and numerous adventures to experience. We look forward to the rest of the journey. 
Lots of beds for children are getting made with love!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I Can Read My Bible Now

"Amazing grace , how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I'm found, 'twas blind but now I see". These words echoed through the room as we sung in jubilation after witnessing a petite grandmother putting her new reading glasses to use by reading her Bible for the first time in many years. "I can read my Bible now" proclaimed the grandmother. Although, not blind, now she could see well enough to read the word of God. These eyeglasses are just one of the many things we were able to share with this family. 

We had a very different experience with another woman that we were blessed to give glasses. This woman asked why we were here. We explained to her that it was God's love that brought us here. She stated that she didn't understand that kind of love. Although, we were there for good, because of the atmosphere created she felt unworthy. She didn't understand why we would come so far to do good. In her mind she was far from deserving of any love, especially the type of love we are commanded to give as Christians. She wondered what the catch was, what was she going to have to give up in order to have this blessing? Should there be such a penalty for being given the gift to read Gods word? I think not. But so often we take those things for granted. You see such cynicism makes you wonder where the trust has grown so thin. Our aim was to show her, and others that our love isn't just this facade meant for deceitful tactics. Fear, the feeling of unworthiness, and cycle of oppression cover the heart and create this shell making it difficult for grace and love to find their way in. The only thing capable of breaking that mold is the love of the Holy Spirit. 

Back at the mission house part of the team was working to finish the bunk beds for the children that would be staying there in the future. It was a tedious and at times it seems a redundant process. But by the end of the day the team completed a lot of work and was able to get the missionaries that much closer to their goal. 

When in the mission field it can seem like some things you do are for nothing. Maybe you don't see the immediate gratification you were looking for. We are called to plant the seeds that we may never harvest, plant trees that we may never rest in the shade of, but as children of God we are called to be a witness and yes even to ends of the earth.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Do We Have What It Takes?


Day three in Brazil. Our day starts with Brazilian Coffee, fellowship, prayers and fresh bread just from the bakery.  Along with whatever our hosts are cooking.  

Today was a work and refresh day after nonstop service to children in many places.  It gives us time to think do I have what it takes?  The missionaries we are working beside have church at their home to get kids out of the favela.  The dirt road up the hill had a truck drop gravel.  We helped spread the gravel about one half mile with a hoe.  

This is just the beginning of do we have what it takes.  If the van gets stuck and the kids can't get there.  We don't have what it takes.

Jerry with The Bed Ministry buillt bunk beds for new housing we helped paint.  If we didn't have these the kids wouldn't have a safe place to stay.  

We tilled the garden, planted , but most importantly we harvested to take tomorrow to the favela.  If we don't till, and plant we can't harvest.  This is important for the kids to receive some nourishment.   They don't have anyone that provides food.  But more importantly this work is the same spiritually. We may not know the difference we make, but we can feed them.


We sorted donations supplied to help the families and kids?  Do we have what it takes?
We pray before during and after.  Do we spiritually have what it takes?  Yes, if God calls us to do something, we have Him, so we have what it takes.  He uses us wherever we are, and he equips us.  

We visited homes of some church members that have weekly bible study.  As some were in the home some walked down the street to a park that is usually empty at night.  We witnessed and prayed with these and prayed with them thanking God for his salvation.  We do have what it takes through Him!

More importantly do we have what it takes?  Not with out you.  We can only reach these children with your support. Teams need your prayers, support from everyone at home helps protect and helps us to serve.  We need items and money donated for needs when the teams go serve.  

But most of all we need you. We need you to do as God leads.  Praying, supplying needs, and without you going there is no team!  

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you..." Matt. 28:18-20


Color Blindness

Brazil is a beautiful country! There were monkeys playing in the trees this morning, outside the guys dorm. There are beautiful mountains all around where we are staying! The people are beautiful, the landscape is beautiful. We got to love on so many children as well as many adults today, and it was a great day! 

When I think back over the past two days, the thing that struck me first and foremost is the vast array of skin color. That may sound strange, but to a mom of a child that happens to be a different race, I notice things like this. There is every shade that God made, right here in this one country, and no one seems to notice that there's a difference! It is so refreshing!  I believe that it is the most beautiful thing about Brazil! It seems as though there is no sensitivity about race, no prejudice, just complete and total color blindness. 

How will Heaven look? I think that if we have different skin tones, it will look a lot like the people of Brazil.

In the US I have seen and heard racism, in Central American countries I have heard and seen extreme prejudice within a race, due to the shade of ones skin tone. Here, I see none of that!  This country is far from perfect, but I believe they have this area (the lack of skin "skin-tonal" prejudice) correct and it's beautiful!
We had church this morning with people from nearby communities, we loved on their children, we made their pictures and printed them off, and decorated frames, which was a real treat for the kids! Some played soccer while others visited. I made some new friends that share my sons love for the game of soccer. 

This afternoon we went to a nearby town and visited people in a "shantytown". We all got to talk to and pray with people in their homes and on the streets. Then we had church in that community. We observed the Lords Supper and divided into age groups. We all left feeling very blessed,

I think we are all overwhelmed for the great opportunity to serve here!  Please keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

God With Us

 We finally left Dallas after multiple delays on Friday evening. The flight from Dallas to São Paulo was over 10 hours long. We arrived in São Paulo at 11:00 in the morning, bleary eyed but excited to get started, and that's exactly what we did! 

What humility it brings me to once again be those beautiful feet! After a long delayed flight, after being so tired I cannot think straight, after hearing my stomach grumble begging for food. I still cannot help but focus on these beautiful people. So full of life and joy. But still needing something. Whether it be love, we will pray God will grant it, if it be food let us pray God sends us, if it be hope lets us sow those seeds. There is no greater joy than seeing joy in the darkest of places. Seeing the gospel as Jesus did, and thinking back at how we've missed it all along. True joy is certainly not found in wealth, possessions, or status. But it is found even in smallest of seeds.

Seeing the gospel without it being dressed up almost makes it unrecognizable. It's not always the prettiest of things either. Churches don't look the same, wants don't look the same, and most of all the way we view the character of Jesus will never be the same. One scripture that has stuck out to me throughout the day is this, "and the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of these brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" (Matthew 4:40)


Whatever breaks the heart of Jesus should break ours. It's the moments you look into a child's eyes, and although you may never see them again. You're prayer is that they have a long and beautiful life. Even if they never make it out of that slum, you know that God is going to give them water so that they never thurst, that you will one day see them again in heaven, and they will recognize your face. This untamed, unbridled gospel is a way that many will never know.  But once you do, it's call is irresistible.