"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Friends

Everyone we've met so far in our apartment has been super friendly and helpful. We've been blessed so much.

People have welcomed us and told us they are here for us if we ever have a need. People speak and are friendly when we pass on the stairs, in the garage or in the elevator. That isn't always the case in our big city.

Giovanni already has a girlfriend. It's a woman who lives above us. She has grown teenage kids and she just fell in love with Giovanni the first day she met him. They went for a walk together on that first day and she came back the next day wanting to see him. To make it even better, she told us she is our sister in Christ.

Anderson already has a new best friend that, sadly, is no longer here.

Our first day here my girlfriend met a woman named Ana. She is Brasilian and said she was married to an American.

Later that same day we met the American. His name is Don and he is a retired school teacher/principal. He and Ana live half the year in the states and half the year here in Porto Alegre.

Anyway, Don and Ana have an English bulldog named Fiona. They used to have another one named Shrek. Now it's just Fiona.

Fiona and Don go to the garage every day to play catch. When we met Don the first time it was in the garage with Fiona. Carys and Anderson were with us and so they stayed and played. They LOVED Fiona and Don.

The next day I saw Don and Fiona in the garage, came upstairs and told Anderson about it. He sprinted down to the garage to play.

The next day I saw Don and Fiona again in the garage. Don asked if Anderson was around. I told him he was upstairs and he asked if I could tell him that they were playing in the garage.

I went upstairs and said, "Hey Anderson, Don wants to know if you can come down to play."

Anderson's response? "I've been waiting all day for Don to call me."

They have obviously become fast friends.

Sadly, Don and Ana left on Wednesday to go to the states to take care of Don's sick dad. Ana told Benay that it might be a year before they get to come back.

We'll miss those guys and Anderson, for sure, will miss his playing buddies but I know they will be right back in the garage playing again when Don and Fiona get back.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Place

I think the kids are already getting used to the apartment and it's proximity to their school.

We can, literally, step out the front door of our apartment building and be at school, walking, in about a minute.

Here's some good ones from the first couple days of school in our new place:

Monday, after Carys left for school, she called my girlfriend and told her she was coming back to get a book she had forgotten. She then she said, "You can either throw it out my window to me or bring it down to me......but I'd prefer it if you threw it out the window."

If you know Carys then that doesn't surprise you.

My girlfriend threw it out the window.

Yesterday I walked the kids to the front door of the apartment. After I opened the gate, Garrett and Carys took off toward school. I looked at Anderson and asked if it would be okay if I walked him to school. He looked at me and said, "Are you kidding? I've been waiting for this day my whole life!!"

If you know Anderson and the extremes in every day of his life then that comment doesn't surprise you either.

We held hands and walked to school together.

We are thankful that the kids are loving our new place and we feel blessed to be here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

AFC

We made our move on Saturday. We are officially apartment renters again. God has blessed us in every way and, after we get rid of all the boxes, we will enjoy our new apartment. I'm sure we'll share more about the experience later.

For now we wanted to introduce you to these guys:
There is actually one more in the group, Kyle, who they picked up in Peru before coming here. They sent us this picture a few months ago.

These guys are from Texas A&M University. They are the Aggies for Christ and this is the third group that has come to Porto Alegre.

Traci is actually the only one who has been here all three times. She's kind of the coordinator of the Aggies groups and so she has some ties to our family and what God is doing in Porto Alegre.

Everybody else is new as they are current college students who sign up to go to on short term mission trips during their summer breaks.

These guys got here about 10 on Saturday night.

They are staying with different people in our house church family. We split them up and had them be a part of the various house church worships groups on Sunday.

We took them to see a soccer game on Sunday and yesterday they spent the day at our old house helping us get the rest of the junk cleaned out and get it cleaned up before the next missionary family moves in it in about 10 days.  We'll be, hopefully, finishing up that job today and then the next couple of days they will be working out at the ch├ícara (the drug/alcohol rehab center that our church family works with).

That's one of the things that I love about the Aggies. Every time a group is here they do whatever is asked of them. They never complain and they work hard.

Another plus is that our kids get to be around Christian young people who speak English. Our kids still talk about the guys that were here in 2009. In fact, a few months ago when we told them the Aggies were coming back and the little guys flipped out because they thought the same group from 2009 was coming back. These groups are always a great influence on our kids and our kids love spending time with them.

I'm sure we will share more about the Aggies visit later. For now, we ask that you pray for them, for their travels and that they can make a kingdom impact while they are here. They are learning (as some stay in homes where no one speaks English) that the language barrier is nothing for God to overcome.

Go visit their blog if you get the chance and see what God has done in Peru through them and what He is doing while they are in Brazil.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Postponed

We postponed our move.

It didn't happen last Saturday. We are doing it this Saturday. Too much stuff to get done before it could happen.

Maybe it's a good thing.

Why?

We have more time to prep our daredevil (Carys) on the do's and don'ts.

Our new apartment is on the second floor. Carys' room is right above the entrance to the apartment and above the only grass there is.

My girlfriend told her the other day that she better not think of ever jumping out her bedroom window. Carys said she would never do that. She then said, "Which window is mine again?"

My girlfriend showed her the window. Carys' response? "I could so jump out of that!"

She was reminded that even though she could do it she shouldn't do it because there are two little brothers that might see it and try the same thing.

We haven't lived in an apartment in over 7 years and we have our fears that the loudness of our family might get us kicked out soon. If that doesn't do it then 12 year olds jumping out the window might be the thing that tips the scale against us.

Pray for us.

And pray for our neighbors. One way or another, through meeting them in the elevator or apologizing for a soccer ball breaking something of theirs, we will be meeting them soon.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Moving

Yesterday me, my girlfriend, our two co-signers (we can't remember what it's called in English but it was Garigran and Gabriella for those of you who know them) and the owner signed the papers on the lease of our new apartment.

This will be the 5th place we've lived in Brasil (if you include the hotel we lived in for the first 3 weeks after our arrival). And it's been more than 7 years since we've lived in an apartment. It will be an adjustment for sure but we are excited.

Why are we excited? Because new moves are exciting. New place, new neighborhood and new friends. It's like I tell the kids when they go to a new school or go to a new sports class, "Who knows? Maybe the best friend you'll ever have in your life is in that group of people."

A new move is cool because it's like God gives you a new beginning.

We are also very excited because of where the apartment is located. We can, literally, throw a rock from the entrance of our apartment building and hit the kids' school. All four of our younger kids go to school within a block of where we live. Ansley teaches a private English class on our street and English to pre-schoolers a block away.

We will be driving 15-20 hours less per week just by not taking kids to school, after school classes and practices. Our stress level has already gone down just thinking about staying out of rush hour traffic 2-3 times (we have 4 rush hours) per day.

God worked in an amazing way in giving us this apartment.

We'll probably share more about that story and some pics from the new place (we know how you love those new house pics Jennifer) on a later blog.

For now, we ask that you pray for our move this weekend, for things to get repaired in the apartment (hot water heater, leak in bathroom and glass enclosure installed in one shower) quickly, for us to repair what needs to be repaired in our current house before the next missionary family moves in and for our health. We have a few people with colds right now.

Don't know how much we'll be blogging over the next few days. If we miss a few days you'll know why.