Thursday, December 31, 2015


I am not a photograph
I am much more than the moments captured on camera
I frown more than you see
I wake up looking much worse, and I go to bed looking more tired
The closer you get to the real me, the less you see in a frame

I am not a photograph
When you pick up that 4x6, or slide through an album
That is one moment of one day of one part of the rest of my life
Don’t make me a saint, don’t make me a devil
Don’t close me in farther than I already put myself

I am not a photograph
I might try to share myself through selfies
I might present myself to you in a way you’d like
But don’t let it stop there

Because only part of the truth is a lie—don’t let me lie to you

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday Funday

Christmas started for me with the candles at the Christmas eve service
It had been a long, non-holiday filled with frustrations about how hard it is to work with a Sprint phone and rent a car. We almost didn't go to the service. But I am so glad we did. We came home to "Carina Christmas" (also with Emma and her family) and Christmas Wassail and the holiday on track. 
Lil lady's first Christmas
The day after Christmas we packed and left for Caid's family, staying with friends and speaking at their church about Brazil.
We are so excited to be with all 6 of Caid's siblings and their children. Ana Sofia is literally overrun with cousin love:). 
My favorite Christmas post about God paying for Christmas
Books to read (Can't get enough of these lists!)
My favorite New Years post--cool printable! I was reading about choosing a word for the year, and saw the first word on the printable and got no further: Embrace. Sounds like a good word for 2016! We love you all:),
The Fergusons

Monday, December 21, 2015

Safe and Sound

We are back in our Indy home, unpacked and happy. Our little lady did well traveling, except for deciding at 2:30am that it was time to play with all the people on the plane. She aced the first meeting of everyone with smiles and snuggles for everyone.
Basic rundown:
1. I don't have a cell number yet, as Sprint only unlocked the phone internationally, apparently. 
2. I am in love with wet wipes. Wet wipes for baby, wet wipes to dust and clean the house, wet wipes for general sanitation...wet wipes to clean the world's problems! And they are cheap. 
3. We are student loan free! God is so good!
4. Almost had a heart attack at the cuteness (and good price) of Ana's new boots at Goodwill
5. Found out, while leading a big group of kids, that I do NOT know the words to "Frosty the Snowman" after the first line...
6. Loved getting to see my "kids" from the youth center:

7. Loved, as always, my girls and our annual Christmas caroling party
8. Had a great time sharing with the kids from Shelbyville Community church: thanks for your support!
9. It has been amazing to see everyone--and so many more yet to see!
10. On to sending out Christmas cards and drinking eggnog!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ferguson Missionary Update (the long one)

1. What, specifically, have you been working on this past year?
Rachel: I had been in Brazil since 2004, but when we got married, we were not sure of what God had for us together. Over 2014, God made it clear to both of us that we were called to return to Brazil to serve, which we did in March, 2015. Ana Sofia Carol Ferguson was born June 25, 2015, and because she is Brazilian, we were able to receive permanent residency (ending lots of visa issues for us).
Caid: While Rachel was focusing on preparing our apartment and having a baby, I jumped into intensive Portuguese learning and ministry. I am the choir director at the International school, give voice lessons, and have been able to help/share music/choir training in some of the churches. We are coordinators for Living Stones, working weekly in the communities and local churches of Cajueiro Claro, Lagoa de Itaenga, Guadalajara, and Mussurepe. We have been equipping, assisting, and encouraging the leaders, and loving the kids through teaching English, music, and sports. I have also taken an active role in Glory Sports, something that will continue to grow as the Glory Sports complex is completed at the International school.
Rachel: This fall, Caid has taken the lead in meetings and training, while I work on writing for the blogs, updates, resources, and general paperwork at home. We love going as a family to Living Stones programs whenever we can. In September, the director for child sponsorships with World Help visited, and we have started a partnership with them and Lagoa Living Stones. We hope to have 32 children sponsored through World Help by 2016. We also work with Jeff and Lindsay Turner, creating videos/material/training for short-term missions trips, and working with trips when they come. Caid also helps translate and teach a martial arts outreach at local public school in a high crime rate area, and is concluding a ministry of helping coach a (American) football team in Recife.

2. What are your goals for the next year?  If applicable, please include a timeline for your plans.
Rachel: We will be on furlough in the USA from December-March. Our objectives are to spend time with family (they all need to meet Ana Sofia!), raise $15,000 for a car and plane tickets, and $300 more monthly personal support. We will also share about Living Stones, and hope to raise $400 monthly support for the children. We will be getting re-entry/marriage/parenting counseling to encourage and facilitate personal growth. When we return in March, we hope to jump back into things with Easter celebrations with Living Stones. We will be leading a mission’s trip in April with Shelbyville, and also in October (as well as being available to help out with any other trips that come).
Caid: I will continue leading the choir at the International school, and help out the churches with musical training. I will be working with Glory Sports, as well as our work with Living Stones. Our goal at Cajueiro Claro is to have more of an education focus, and teachers able to come regularly. At Lagoa, we hope to double to 60 children (32 supported by World Help), and perhaps expand our partnership with World Help. Next year, we hope to assist Guadalajara in becoming an official Living Stones program. We hope to continue to minister, in some way, to the Mussurepe and Trash dump communities. Rachel will continue to run the blogs and monthly updates of all the Living Stones ministries, and as a Fergie family we hope to continue to make vlogs and videos to help connect people in the USA with daily life in Brazil.

3. What financial needs do you currently have?
Rachel: Our budget hadn’t changed much since last year, but we started off a bit underfunded and some of the promised assistance hasn’t arrived. To make up for this, we need $300 more a month. We are also trying to figure out a good way to handle health insurance, and how to fund that. Our big, one time need is $11,000 for a car, and $3,000 for plane tickets (to return to Brazil in March). As coordinators for Living Stones, we are also working on raising funds for them. We need to raise $400 a month to start a new Living Stones program for the future.

4. What guidance, accountability, or mentorship do you currently receive?  How often?  Please include an example of how this mentorship was effective in your ministry in the past year.
Caid: We are sent through our church, Horizon central. I received guidance and mentorship through one of the leaders there, Jake Medlong. Our sending ministry is World Renewal International, where we have received guidance from Gary Wright and Steve Turner. In Brazil, we are blessed to have the leadership and guidance of Tele Moraes, whom we meet with periodically to “check in.” Most of our personal guidance, accountability, and mentorship has come through Jeff and Lindsay Turner, who also serve with World Renewal Brazil. They open their home to us (and many others) for Taco Tuesdays, something that has encouraged us greatly.  I have been grateful for personal conversations/mentorship from Jeff Turner, as well as Ricardo Silva, the pastor at Lagoa.
Rachel: One example of how our mentorship with the Turners was effective was with Lindsay’s help in the whole baby/becoming parents process. She set us up with our baby doctor(s) and doula, and was an incredible strength to me through pregnancy and becoming a mother. We always have so many questions for them about parenting, especially a TCK (third culture kid), and are so excited that the Turners are Ana Sofia’s godparents. I also share accountability/encouragement with my long-time friend, Karianne Charbonnel, through e-mail.

5. Are you planning on making any major changes to the function of your ministry in the next few years?  If so, please explain these changes.
Rachel: We strongly feel that we are here to serve and assist as God has called us. But we also know that God’s plans can change and look very different than we originally planned. We are dedicated to following Him wherever He leads. We are, in a sense, working ourselves out of a job—training the leaders at local churches, and enabling them to reach out to the poorest children in their community.
Caid: My ministry has expanded to include music and sports outside of Living Stones as well, and we are excited to see what God has for us in these areas. We are careful to evaluate every six months how the ministry is going, and what changes we feel that God is leading in (each semester the ways/times we serve in the churches changes, according to their needs). We also hope to have more children in the future, and this might change some ministry aspects.

6. Do you have unmet needs? If so, what are they?  How can we pray for you?
Rachel: It has been a monumental year for us: moving to Brazil and having a baby! We have been well supported by our USA team and Brazil team. I feel well-supported in my role in Brazil, after being here single for so long. Having those years in ministry has taught me how to ask for help when I need it. I would like prayer for wisdom as our family grows, and my role becomes more home-centered (and also the fund-raising that it would require).
Caid: I have loved being able to dive into life in Portuguese. It hasn’t been easy, but we have a strong support system. An unmet need I feel is close, deep, give-and-take relationships with Brazilians. Please pray for God’s leading in expanding my discipling/being discipled small group here in Brazil, and what that will practically look like. Please pray for both of us, and our consistent intimacy with the Lord, and in seeking more and more opportunities to share and be bold about God and having a growing personal relationship with Jesus.

Budget for 2016:
1. Personal: $750 monthly (Food/non-food: $385, Gifts: $65, Car insurance/car savings: $100, Health insurance/savings: $200, Car buying: $11,000-one time)
2. Housing: $400 monthly (Rent: $230, Water: $50, Internet:$35, Utilities: $40, Upkeep/house items: $45)
3. Ministry: $350 monthly (Mileage ($225 ish), Living Stones supplies/printing/postage: $70, Phone: $35, Ministry food: $20, Plane ticket: $3000-one time)
4. Total: 1500 monthly, plus 10% admin. Fee: 1650 monthly, and 14,000 (1,500 admin. Fee) 15,500 one time cost: total: 35,200 for the year

Ministry expenses from 2015 (not including December): $16,391
Donations for Fergusons 2015 (not including December): $16,355

Merry Christmas!

Two years ago when we got married in Brazil, we had no idea what was coming next. Last year, Caid finished his degree, Rachel found out she was pregnant, and they were commissioned as missionaries. This year, we moved to Brazil, had our daughter, Ana Sofia Carol Ferguson, and served Living Stones, a program that enables local leaders to LEND to the neediest children in their communities ( We love training leaders and working with the kids through English, music, and Glory Sports ministries. Rachel does a lot of writing and resource-building (also with the Turners), and Caid jumped into intensive Portuguese learning and being the choir director at the International school.

In 2016, we will be in the USA until March, raising funds for a vehicle and monthly support. On returning to Brazil, Caid will focus more on in-person networking (with Living Stones, Glory Sports, Music and English ministries, and short term missions trips), and Rachel on internet resources/connections, including World Help child sponsorships. We are so thankful for our community and support in Brazil, and in the USA! Please pray for our family to grow in consistent intimacy with the Lord, and in seeking more and more opportunities to share and be bold about God and having a growing relationship with Jesus. Find everything about us at

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Knocks on the Door

We haven't been to the trash dump community as much as I wanted this year. I haven't (Caid has) been to the actual trash dump at all. First of all, I was pregnant for awhile, and didn't even want to go across the street. All of the walking was daunting. Then Ana was born--and you can't take a baby with no immune system to a dirty place like that. When she was big enough, we took her to the relocated trash dump community (still a dirty place, but definitely a step up). But I didn't get to see the kids like I used to. 

One day on our way home, two of the kids from the dump saw us and followed us home (literally). Once they learned that we live (almost) on their way between them and their school, pop-up visits became almost daily Now I love these little girls. And working with these kids is my LIFE. But...when the doorbell rings and Ana is just about asleep...when I hear a knock and I am not dressed yet, or just about to jump in the isn't easy. 

They are two sweet, darling little ladies, but they run around my little apartment and ask for everything "Tia, can I have this mango? I want that picture on the wall of you! What are you doing with all that change (we keep our loose change on the table)? Ana has so many bows--I don't have any!" And they don't want to leave. Ever. After finally insisting that Ana did have to go to sleep, and rustling them out the door (rustling is the perfect word), Clara turns to me with her big eyes and says, "But I want to live here." 
What do you do with all of that? You love. You break. You hurt and then you do it all over again. And sometimes you groan when you hear the knock on the door. But this is the life I want to live. This is the life I want for my family. I was reading this and saw this:
YES. Let's change this. 

More Sunday Funday stuff:
1. I find it easy (pretty much) to ignore Trump. But not this. Here is an article about it from Shane Claiborne...I really don't know where I stand on guns and war--at least not from a knock-down-study-all-Bible-passages-and-wrestle-with-it thing. Looks like I need to do that soon. 
2. This is my cousin (or something like that? we are related). Seems like EVERY. SINGLE. MISSIONARY I know (including myself) has some kind of breakdown in some kinda store when returning to the USA. Mine was Kroger. Trying to decide what kind of soy sauce to buy. 
3.I am really liking this lady. She also wrote the first link. 

Pray for us! We leave on Tuesday!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Be a Missionary Every Day (clap, clap, clap, clap)

He looked into my eyes, and with all of his seven-year-old self he asked, “Can I be a Missionary too?” Of course you can, was my teary-eyed response.
I refused to call myself a missionary until I was “on the field” for many years already. I had grown up reading biographies of great missionaries like George Muller and Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor—and I knew that wasn’t me. I was simply following the green lights God had on my path—and loving it—was I supposed to be enjoying myself so much?
Jump forward to speaking, as a missionary, to children’s church. Trying to lump 10 years of my life and thoughts and learnings into seven-year-old speech. They want to know two things: what is a missionary, and can they be one. Two HUGE questions for any of us.
I have heard that being a missionary is telling others about Jesus. That everyone is—and should be—a missionary. Yes, AND. And so much more. We all, as Christians, are called to tell others about Jesus. I have heard it amplified to say that being a missionary is GOING and telling others about Jesus. Yes, AND. Much of the current focus on being a missionary is going to a different CULTURE than your own. This could be your next door Muslim neighbor or to Muslims in Africa. Being a missionary definitely carries the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing Jesus.
Officially, I would say when most people think of the word “Missionary,” they mean someone who has moved (become a migrant) somewhere different (than their own culture) for the specific purpose of telling others about Jesus (direct spiritual ministry in some form), mostly being supported (at least partially) by Christians from their original culture/home.
I love being a missionary. It is my dream job. But like all jobs, it is hard, it has its downsides, and sometimes I just don’t want to get out of bed. My biggest struggle in being a missionary has been the money. It is hard to receive money (no, really). It is humbling and requires grace—both giving and receiving. God is my boss, but there is a lot more to it than that. I hate to say it, but many of our plans revolve around if the money comes in or not. How do you tell that to seven-year-olds?
I had a wonderful childhood, and wouldn’t change it for anything. But in middle school I looked around my life and realized I didn’t have any friends who didn’t know Jesus. I was so embarrassed when we were supposed to bring our “unsaved friends” to a church event…and I couldn’t find a single one.
I am all for telling our seven-year-olds that they can be missionaries. But let’s make sure it is true. Let us, as parents, as older siblings, as aunts and uncles, as mentors, make sure our children/the children in our lives have the opportunities to be those missionaries we told them they could be. Let’s choose to live in THAT part of town. Let’s choose to go to the church that doesn’t feel so comfortable. Let’s maybe even choose THAT school.
Here is a challenge a little closer to home: let’s choose to actively have other cultures as a vital part of our lives. Let’s have friends who don’t agree with us. Let’s have people over to our house that don’t look like us. Let’s not encourage/support people (especially in politics) who don’t love people who are different than they are (race, religion, sexuality)—but let’s still love and pray for them. If we are not doing these things: we need to stop telling our children they can be missionaries.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is scary. Not being “home,” not knowing if they will accept you, not knowing if they will be kind to you…these are all things involved with being a missionary. It is not safe. It is not being cautious. It is being so full of Jesus that you have to share or you will burst.
There is a lot of discussion lately about refugees and migrants and how we should treat Muslims. As a missionary, I am saddened where many of these discussions lead in the name of safety/caution. I have friends who have given their lives to go and minister to Muslims—to the applause of many people. Those same people are now discussing ways to not have Muslims anywhere near them. God is providing more and more opportunities to be missionaries without moving to another country: let us rejoice! Let us stand up and take the opportunity to share Jesus.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December Sunday Funday

I am so glad to be able to take a moment to enjoy reading encouraging things this Sunday, Advent Sunday. I am hiding in the dark at the bottom of the bed, as Ana is still sleeping, and I was too lazy to move my computer. It has been a good week, and I am happy, even though my to do list is growing rather than shrinking, and I feel the sniffles coming on.
This was beautiful...and made me want to stop and try to figure out how my views on suffering have changed the past decade...but something I will save to do another day. I still love my questions...but am seeing the wisdom in how is time to lay them aside.
This post about being white and raising black children held a lot of insights. I need to revisit this as my kid(s) grow older.

I feel like the #wewelcomerefugees and that whole crisis has officially been taken out of the spotlight, and that is sort of a relief (as I do not like arguing, or my heart hurting), but is sad because it is still an issue. People still need help. Please keep joining me in prayer for those running from/unable to be home...especially for the holidays.

Leaving one home and going to another in a week and a half! 
Mom (I know you read this) another FiveMinutesOfFergie vlog is coming soon:)